Scott Walker, who knows something about messaging, gives some trenchant, oft-offered but rarely-heeded advice on Mitt Romney's messaging.
Walker, on Morning Joe today.
"I think there's a lot of caution. I think the mistake that they've made is this feeling that it can just be a referendum on the president, and certainly a part of it for any incumbent has got to be a referendum.... but there's got to be something more than that. People won't just vote somebody out. They want to vote somebody in."
Stretching back to the primary, this has been the biggest concern for many conservatives -- that Romney is unwilling to be specific and bold lest he offend someone and lose their vote.
But Walker says it didn't exactly work that way in his own recall reelection.
"The last month or so, a lot of the voters that would come to me would say 'You know, I voted for your opponent two years ago, I'm a Democrat, but I'm voting for you', and one of the biggest reasons that we got those independent, swing voters was people said we appreciate somebody who's willing to take a chance at sticking their neck out to do something."
Karl Rove has also made this point -- not in conjunction with Romney -- but in the context of his old boss, George W. Bush. Rove is fond of pointing out that Kerry polled better on issues, but voters respected Bush's willingness to take unpopular but strong stands.