Communications Director, Romney for President, Inc.
Communications Director, John McCain 2008
Communications Director, Huckabee for President, Inc.
Communications Director, Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee, Inc.
Date: January 18, 2008
Re: A Word of Caution
If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then we owe you a word of thanks. As you might have guessed, we’ve been following your candidates for a while now. So you can imagine our surprise to watch as one by one, they have all tried to emulate our Party’s candidates by co-opting our message about the need for change in America. In fact, just yesterday, even Karl Rove tried to borrow a few lines from Governor Dean about the importance of showing up everywhere and fighting for every vote. (Apparently, "fighting for every vote" doesn't include showing up for debates with key constituencies.) We doubt that a simple change in rhetoric will work at this point.
Now, we know you guys don’t like to let the facts get in the way, but a word of caution. American voters can already tell that while your candidates may be mimicking our rhetoric on change, their policies and records are in lock-step with the head of your party, George W. Bush.
- After running as a Bush Republican in Iowa, Millionaire Mitt Romney is now trying to smooth talk voters by talking about change and the economy in Michigan and South Carolina. Mitt’s new message ignores his dismal record in Massachusetts, and fails to explain why he “fixed” companies by slashing jobs or his numerous flip flops on issues like taxes, gay rights and abortion. The only way Romney can call himself a change agent is if we could count the number of times he’s changed positions.
- The “maverick” John McCain from 2000 is driving the Straight Talk Express in circles as he’s gone from standing up to Bush to trying to be Bush on just about every issue -- even trying to outdo him by saying our troops could be in Iraq for 100 years. No wonder the Michigan Independents who fueled his 2000 win abandoned him this year.
- Mike Huckabee, or Huck-a-Bush as we like to call him, is trying to portray himself as a Washington outsider, even though he’s promised a third Bush term on everything from Iraq to health care.
- And now that Rudy Giuliani has fallen woefully behind, the exaggerator-in-chief has kicked it into high gear stretching the truth about his accomplishments while mayor of New York City to co-opt the message of change, even though he was critical of Democrats for talking about change just weeks ago.
With a field like this, it’s easy to see why the Karl Rove dream of a permanent Republican Majority is in shambles. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and with your Party simply refusing to rally around one of your bosses, you’ve all clearly fallen on some pretty tough times. Why else would so many of you so desperately cling to the Democratic message?
This can’t be easy for any of you, considering how steadfastly your bosses have clung to the Bush record on everything from ending the war in Iraq to fixing our economy. We know this whole idea of change is totally new and a bit scary for a Party so intent on returning to the past. So, as a professional courtesy, we’ve taken the liberty of helping out by offering a few pointers. Colleague-to-colleague.
- DON’T mention George W. Bush. His poll numbers are abysmal, his record even worse. Distance yourself from him as much as possible.
- DO think about policies and change that would help working families in our country, not just the wealthiest Americans. Remember the middle class?
- DON’T say the word Republican too often. With the sagging economy, the war in Iraq, and the failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina, the American people have lost confidence in the GOP’s ability to handle a crisis or get things done. You’re probably better off pretending you’re not a Republican at all.
- DON’T think rhetoric is enough. Change is not a catch-phrase, it’s a call to action. The last thing the American people want is a third Bush term and another Republican president who will say what they want to hear then turn his back on them in office.
We know that adopting a radically new message on the fly is always tough, but that should be enough to get you started. We’ve also attached some talking points to help you out. And please, don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions.
- Democrats are seeing record turnout this year -- nearly twice as many people participated in the Democratic caucus in Iowa as in the Republican caucus -- proving what we've been hearing for months: voters want change. Voters know that all of our Democratic candidates can deliver that change, while the Republican field is offering nothing more than a third term of George W. Bush.
- Strong turnout among independents, youth voters, and Democrats across the board shows that Americans from all different walks of life are hungry for change and an end to the era of George Bush Republicans.
- At the same time, the fluidity of the Republican nominating contest shows how dissatisfied voters are with their choices. Each offering a third Bush term, none of them can catch on with the American people.
- As we've been saying for a long time and the New York Times noted yesterday, Republicans are "a party adrift" and they are "deeply divided and uninspired when it comes to its presidential candidates and unsure of how to counter an energized Democratic Party." [New York Times, 1/16/07]
- As we head towards November, it’s more certain than ever that Americans will elect a Democratic president to bring our country the change we need.
- Driven by poll numbers, Republican candidates are coming late to the message of change. Don't be fooled by their rhetoric. On the economy and other issues, they offer only a third Bush term.
- Americans think our country is headed in the wrong direction and want change that Democrats offer.
- The economy will be important to voters in the Nevada and South Carolina contests. Nevada leads the nation in number of home foreclosures, and South Carolina has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs to workers overseas.
- You just can't trust Republicans with your money. Skyrocketing health care and energy costs, stagnating wages, the home mortgage crisis, and unemployment at its highest rate in years have American families worried about the strain Republicans have put on their pocketbooks.
- Bush Republicans have left our economy sagging and America on the verge of a recession. With their support for Bush's tax cuts, the Republican field offers only a third Bush term on the economy.
- It took a Democratic president to balance the budget, turn out surpluses, and help the middle class. In this time of uncertainty, Americans know that it will take a Democratic president to fix our economy once again.