Mitt Romney’s campaign plans to hire experienced press handlers to shore up its messaging operation, the Washington Post reported on Thursday evening.
The staffing move follows several missteps that drew conservative criticism this week when Romney contradicted his own senior adviser, Eric Ferhnstrom, on whether the health reform law’s individual mandate is a penalty or a tax.
Romney, in a CBS interview that aired on July 4th, maintained that the mandate the Supreme Court ruled constitutional is indeed a tax. Ferhnstrom, however, told NBC’s Chuck Todd that it was a penalty in an interview just two days earlier.
That prompted the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Bill Kristol, Laura Ingraham, and even Rupert Murdoch, who has previously pressed Romney to shake up his team, to sound the alarm.
“This latest mistake is of a piece with the campaign’s insular staff and strategy that are slowly squandering an historic opportunity,” read the WSJ editorial.
From the Post:
Romney’s advisers strongly rejected the course-correction suggestion but said they have been in the process of recruiting more political muscle to his Boston-based headquarters.
The campaign plans to bolster its rapid response and overall messaging operations and to assemble a senior staff for the eventual vice presidential running mate, according to strategists close to the campaign. They said some Republicans who have been informally advising the campaign may assume more official duties, including appearing as surrogates on television. The strategists said the moves could be announced as early as next week.
Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site's coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at email@example.com.