BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins reports that Mitt Romney is shifting yet again and characterizing the president as more of an incompetent Barney Fife than a malevolent prison warden.
Mitt Romney covered a lot of territory Wednesday — rhetorically and geographically — as he crisscrossed Ohio delivering stump speeches that emphasized, alternately, trade, debt, energy, and job creation. But there's one thing he said at every campaign stop.
"Look, I know the president cares about America and the people of this country," he told the roughly 3,500 supporters gathered in a convention center here. "He just doesn't know how to help them. I do. I'll get this country going again."
.... But as he dispatched that argument in campaign stops across the Buckeye State, Romney encountered some unexpected pushback from the crowds, underscoring a fresh challenge his campaign's confused messaging has created.
Many of the partisans who filled the rallies didn't like hearing their nominee assert that Obama "cares about America."
"Actually, when he came out and said Obama cared for Americans, I stood back here and said, 'No he doesn't!'" said Dan Berger, a welder from Oregon, Ohio. "Obama's for changing America, he's bringing America down, he's not pushing America forward. So I disagree with Mitt on that one."
The question is -- why is Romney shifting again? A possible answer -- he's making another push for independents.
The counter is that, even with this week's rash of unfriendly polls, he's tied or ahead with Obama among indies. BUT... that's down from a very solid lead he held with the group before the Democratic convention. So he's definitely bled some.
It could be that Romney knows he has to win indies by a bigger margin to compensate for the Democrats' broader base. That, of course, could explain the shift from a base-friendly to indie-friendly tone.
And, by the way, here's some further evidence that he's not exactly wowing the base. Yesterday conservative talk show host, Michael Reagan, frankly said the GOP base "is not, in fact, energized" and that Romney is working too hard to appeal to indies.
Here's Reagan yesterday.