Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign scrambled on Monday to fight challenges on two fronts: fellow Republican Newt Gingrich’s momentum and new Democratic accusations of Romney’s frequent flip flopping on policies.
The former Massachusetts governor launched a media assault against President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, after Democrats released a biting new ad that accused the Republican of changing his policy positions with the political winds.
Romney also vowed to fight for every vote in New Hampshire, where he suffered a setback at the weekend when a leading newspaper endorsed Gingrich as a better choice for conservative voters.
The Democrats are targeting Romney early because “he’s running as the presumed nominee,” Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse told reporters.
Romney has failed to gain much traction in opinion polls. His support from Republican primary voters has stayed at around 25 percent, and a series of rivals seen as more conservative have briefly replaced him in the No. 1 spot.
Romney has been seeking to appeal to conservatives by staking out positions they agree with, such as insisting he would grant waivers to all 50 states so they can opt out of Obama’s healthcare overhaul law and a by taking a tough stance against illegal immigration.
Strategists said Romney needs to do more to win over the Republican right if he wants to beat Gingrich, businessman Herman Cain and Texas Governor Rick Perry for the nomination.
“If he can demonstrate that he is going to put conservative principles in place to fix the economy … he could have this whole fight in the general election with the Obama folks,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.