Just Trying To Help: Right-Wing Media's Advice To Romney Campaign

››› ››› TERRY KREPEL, MIKE BURNS, DAVID SHERE & HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY

Right-wing media are acting as de facto political advisers for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, offering the candidate an array of advice that includes replacing his staffers, finding "his inner pit bull," and talking more about his faith.

Conservative Media: Romney Should Release Tax Returns When Obama Releases Other Documents ...

Alex Castellanos: Romney Should Withhold Tax Returns Until Obama "Releases 10 Years Of Birth Certificates." The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake quoted CNN contributor and Republican consultant Alex Castellanos saying: "I'd advise Mitt to release 10 years of tax returns when Obama releases 10 years of birth certificates." [The Washington Post, 8/16/12]

Dana Loesch: Romney Campaign Should Say "We'll Release The [Tax] Returns When The Media Releases The Rashid Khalidi Tape." In a Breitbart.com post, CNN contributor and conservative pundit Dana Loesch said that the Romney campaign should respond to calls for the release of Romney's tax returns by saying: "We'll release the returns when the media releases the Rashid Khalidi tape." [Breitbart.com, 7/17/12]

Donald Trump: Romney Shouldn't "Give Anything Until Such Time As Obama Gives His College Records And Applications." Discussing calls for Romney to release his tax returns, Fox regular Donald Trump said in a phone interview with the co-hosts of Fox & Friends: "I don't think Romney should give anything until such time as Obama gives his college records and applications." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/16/12]

Erick Erickson: Romney Should "Tie Release Of His Tax Returns To Barack Obama Releasing The Fast And Furious Documents." In a post at his RedState blog, CNN contributor and conservative pundit Erick Erickson wrote: "I just wish before Mitt Romney caved he would tie release of his tax returns to Barack Obama releasing the Fast and Furious documents or his college transcripts or more." He added: "Romney might as well try to score some solid points on this before taking what will be spun, rightly or wrongly, as a hit." [Red State, 7/19/12]

Sean Hannity: "I'm All In Favor Of Mitt Romney Discussing ... His Taxes," So Long As Obama Releases College Records. On his radio show, Fox News host Sean Hannity said that "as soon as" Obama "gives the family of border agent Terry all the information they want on Fast and Furious, and as soon as he gives out his college records, I'm all in favor of Mitt Romney discussing the issue of his taxes." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 7/16/12]

Rush Limbaugh Encouraged Romney To Avoid Releasing His Tax Returns. On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh advised Romney to "hold" and not release his tax returns. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/2/12]

... Should Replace His Staffers ...

Limbaugh To Romney Camp: "We Don't Need The Etch-A-Sketch Guy." Limbaugh said on his radio show that "all Romney has to do is get some real conservatives as his spokespeople, and this problem won't happen anymore. We don't need the Etch-A-Sketch guy, and we don't need people who are not ideological." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/10/12]

Eric Bolling: Romney Should "Fire His Staff," Replace Them With Former Walker, Christie Staffers. On The Five, co-host Eric Bolling said that Romney "should fire his staff. Eric Fehrnstrom -- remember the guy who said the mandate's not a tax? -- you can get rid of him. You can get rid of Andrea Saul." Bolling added: "I've said it before. I think the best thing for Mitt Romney would be to go talk to Scott Walker and say, 'Who ran your campaign? I'd like to hire him,' and Chris Christie and say, 'Who ran your campaign? I'd like to hire him'." [Fox News, The Five, 8/9/12]

Ann Coulter: Romney Donors Should Withhold Money Until Saul Is Fired. Complaining about Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul's response to an ad from pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA, Ann Coulter said:

COULTER: Anyone who donates to Romney, and I mean the big donors, ought to call Mitt Romney and say if Andrea Saul isn't fired and off the campaign tomorrow, they are not giving another dime, because it is not worth fighting for this man if this is the kind of spokesman she has.

[...]

COULTER: There's no point in us going to a convention and pushing for this man if he's employing morons like this. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/9/12, via Real Clear Politics]

... Should "Find His Inner Pit Bull" ...

Ed Rollins: Romney "Really Has To Be Outraged." Discussing the Priorities USA ad, Fox News contributor Ed Rollins said, "He really has to be outraged. I mean, he should be outraged about this. ... There's a lot of things he can nail him on. He just -- he's -- the attack needs to be about the economy." [Fox News, Happening Now, 8/10/12]

Greg Gutfeld: Romney "Needs To Find His Inner Pit Bull." On The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld said, "Everybody's been saying this. [Romney] needs to find his inner pit bull. He's going up against Chicago. All that's missing is Al Capone and the little violin case. He's bringing a spatula to a knife fight. He's got to go get a knife. Mitt, you need a knife, not a spatula." [Fox News, The Five, 8/9/12]

Peggy Noonan To Romney: "You've Got To Know How To Fight." In response to the Romney campaign's "weak" pushback against the Priorities USA ad, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan suggested that Romney "respond with some force" and "hit back with indignation and disgust." She went on to write:

Some of the unperturbed sunniness you see modern political figures attempting to enact may be traceable to Ronald Reagan, the happy warrior who set a template for how winners act. But the Reagan of the 1950s and '60s was often indignant, even angry. When he allowed himself to get mad, or knew he should be mad and so decided to feign anger, it was a sight to behold. "I'm paying for this microphone," he famously snapped to the moderator of the 1980 primary campaign debate in Nashua, N.H. He didn't win that crucial state by being sunny.

[...]

[T]his cult of equability, this enforced, smiley, bland dispassion--Guys, we're in a crisis, you've got to know how to fight, too. [The Wall Street Journal, 8/10/12]

... Should Focus On The Economy ...

Bolling: "Mitt, Get Back To The Economy." Addressing Romney on The Five, Bolling said: "Mitt, get back to the economy. That's how you're going to win. It's not going to be these other games." [Fox News, The Five, 8/10/12]

John LeBoutillier: Romney Must "Sell America On A Plan To Rescue Our Economy." In an interview with Newsmax.TV, conservative pundit and former Rep. John LeBoutillier said that in order to win the election, Romney must "sell America on a plan to rescue our economy." He added: "He's spent too much time attacking Obama. He needs to go in the other direction now and sell America on a plan to rescue our economy." [Newsmax, 8/7/12]

... And Should Talk About His Faith

Michael Gerson: Romney "Should Talk More About His Faith." In his August 6 Washington Post column titled, "Romney should not be afraid to highlight his faith," former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson wrote that Romney "should not be afraid to highlight his faith," adding: "Romney's pressing need to inject some authenticity -- or at least some personality -- into his campaign is the primary reason he should talk more about his faith." [The Washington Post, 8/6/12]

FoxNews.Com Op-Ed: Romney Should Use His Faith "To Convince Many Voters That He Shares The Same Conservative Values That They Do." In a FoxNews.com opinion piece, Bethany Blankley, a religious and political commentator, wrote that Romney should use his faith to "convince many voters that he shares the same conservative values that they do." From Blankley's piece:

Romney has a great opportunity to convince many voters that he shares the same conservative values that they do. If he keeps emphasizing the religious liberty on which this country was founded, and the liberty this country continues to afford minority faiths, he'll reach more voters. [FoxNews.com, 6/21/12]

Conservative Media Also Suggesting Romney Should Re-Manufacture Wright Controversy ...

Hannity: Obama's "Relationship With The Reverend Jeremiah Wright ... Is A Very Important Campaign Issue." During the May 17 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity disagreed with the Romney campaign's decision to avoid highlighting comments by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, stating:

HANNITY: Now, I do believe the economy, jobs, national security are by far the most pressing issue facing the country today. I also feel that every candidate, though, needs to be fully vetted. Now, that's something the mainstream media failed to do back in 2008 with Barack Obama, and I believe that the president's relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a man that influenced him for over 20 years, inspired him, is a very important campaign issue. After all, it is a matter of character. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/17/12, via Media Matters]

Kimberly Guilfoyle Called Romney's Decision To Avoid Wright Issue As Not "The Right Thing To Do." On the May 17 edition of Hannity, Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle responded to the Romney campaign's decision not to run the Wright ads by saying: "I don't think it's the right thing to do." [Fox News, Hannity, 5/17/12, via Media Matters]

Jim Hoft: Romney's Decision "Is Certainly Disappointing." In a May 17 Gateway Pundit post, blogger Jim Hoft reacted to the Romney campaign's decision by saying, "Well this is certainly disappointing." [Gateway Pundit, 5/17/12]

NRO Contributor Michael Walsh: Romney's Decision Was "An Impressive Display Of Preemptive Surrender." In a May 18 post on the National Review Online, contributor Michael Walsh contended that the decision to forgo using Wright to attack Obama as "an impressive display of preemptive surrender." [National Review Online, 5/18/12]

... And Advising Him To, Among Other Things, Be "A Warrior"

Charles Krauthammer: Romney Needs To "Unleash Paul Ryan." During an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said, "I think the one thing Romney's got to do right now, unleash Paul Ryan. Let him go on every interview show, national show in the country. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 8/14/12]

NRO's Jay Nordlinger: Romney Should Say Obama And His Team "Are Total Ignoramuses When It Comes To Business." In a July 17 article, National Review senior editor Jay Nordlinger wrote that "Obama and his team are talking nonsense about outsourcing and other economic matters," adding:

Romney should say, more or less straightforwardly, "These people are total ignoramuses when it comes to business. They know nothing. They wouldn't know a real payroll if it bit them in the butt. Free enterprise is completely foreign to them. They know ACORN, they know lawsuits, they know 'community organizing,' whatever that is. But they know nothing about an economy, and this is the knowledge we desperately need now." [National Review Online, 7/17/12]

Bill O'Reilly: "I Would Advise" Romney To Be "A Warrior" In Debates With Obama. On his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly said, "I think people want a warrior. They want to see a warrior in the debates." He added: "And that's what I would advise [Romney] to do. I would advise him to throw caution to the wind -- not be the mean guy. Don't be the mean guy. Be the 'hey, I've had enough guy.' " [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 5/29/12]

O'Reilly To Romney: Say That Obama "Doesn't Like This Capitalistic System." O'Reilly said that if he were Romney, he would "keep pounding" the message that Obama "doesn't like this capitalistic system." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 5/23/12]

Gretchen Carlson Gave Romney Advice For A "Pretty Compelling Campaign Ad." Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson said that Romney could create a "pretty compelling campaign ad" by juxtaposing Obama saying he had three years to fix the economy with him saying he needs another four years. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/4/12]

Erickson: "It Is Madness For The Romney Camp To Praise A Failed Healthcare Regime In Massachusetts." In a post at Red State, Erickson advised conservatives to be "vocally on the record" that "it is madness for the Romney camp to praise a failed healthcare regime in Massachusetts." [Red State, 8/8/12]

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