Romney usually charges that Obama doesn’t understand how to manage an economy, and he offers general policy points. He’ll probably detail his plan to reduce federal spending to 20 percent of the economy by the end of his first term — it’s now about 24 percent — and reduce income-tax rates 20 percent across the board.
He’ll likely wrap it in a philosophy that asks, as he did in Ohio, questions such as “Do you want a president who honors your right to pursue happiness, not as government commands, but as you choose? Do you want a president who will celebrate success, not attack it?”
But Romney is running for president, not just chief executive officer. He “needs to explain what kind of person he really is,’’ said Douglas Scamman, a friend from Stratham, N.H., who’s a former speaker of the House of Representatives in that state. “He’s proven all his life he’s willing and eager to help people. He needs to explain that.”
He hoped that Romney would recall his days in France as a missionary, or the 1996 effort to find the 14-year-old daughter of Robert Gay, a partner at Bain Capital, the Boston firm that Romney co-founded.
She disappeared after attending a rave party in New York. Bain virtually shut down while employees joined the search; the daughter was found safe after a teenage boy alerted authorities to her whereabouts.
The most important thing Romney can do, his friends and associates said, is to tell stories like this, and be himself. Don’t try to be like Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama, just play to his strengths.
As Dal Col put it, “People need to see him as engaging and sensible, as opposed to being a businessman.’’