AP: “The threat of Tropical Storm Isaac left delegates to the Republican National Convention recalibrating Sunday but insistent that the show will go on with just a few modifications due to the weather. The GOP postponed most of Monday’s lineup, cramming four days of events into three with hopes for a major send-off for Mitt Romney on Thursday.”
Romney did interviews in Ohio Sunday before the convention, with Fox News, Politico and USA Today. On FOX, he accused the president of character assassination.
Politico: “Mitt Romney conceded President Barack Obama has succeeded in making him a less likable person, but he offered a defiant retort to those hoping he will open up this week: ‘I am who I am.’”
He added, “I don’t think everybody likes me. I don’t believe that, by any means. But I do believe that people of this country are looking for someone who can get the country growing again with more jobs and more take-home pay, and I think they realize this president had four years to do that. … He got every piece of legislation he wanted passed, and it didn’t work. I think they want someone who has a different record, and I do.
More: “I was voted the president of my fraternity,” he said. “They don’t call them fraternities at Brigham Young University. They’re called Service Clubs. It was the Cougar Club. But you don’t get voted to be head of your group if you don’t get along with people, if you don’t connect with people.”
And: “Certainly, their ads have some impact or they wouldn’t be running them. But there would be an opportunity for people to get to know me better during the debates and during the time in the campaign season when people are actually paying a lot of attention to the candidates."
Politico’s take: “His language, his approach, his mannerisms convey: I am not asking you to trust me to see into your soul, or to feel your pain, or bring you hope and fuzzy change. I will bring you concrete, measurable, profitable change — the kind you can authentically take stock of, and even measure in your family’s bank account.”
‘I am who I am,’ and all business” is on the cover of the Tampa Bay Times from the Politico interview.
USA Today: “Mitt Romney calls campaign attacks by President Obama and his allies ‘vituperative’ and ‘vicious’ and ‘absurd’ and ‘sad.’ Also: Effective.”
Romney: "I do think that the president's campaign of personal vilification and demonization probably draws some people away from me.”
But: “Romney defends the welfare ads as accurate, accusing Obama of offering state waivers as a political calculation designed to ‘shore up his base’ for the election.” He also said he doesn’t regret his birth certificate joke: "I understand some people don't think we should ever joke.”
Flashback to Jan. 30, Today Show, when Romney was asked about his campaign’s attacks on Gingrich ahead of Florida: "There's no question that politics ain't bean bags, and we have made sure that our message is out loud and clear.”
Romney also told USA Today, "We won't be talking about my life. We'll be talking about policy." But his campaign team is certainly concerned about his image problems. Said pollster Neil Newhouse: "Even more than a ballot bounce we are looking for an image bounce, we are looking for voters to learn more about who Mitt Romney is, what he stands for, his character and something they can connect with.”
And he himself put the personal on display on FOX: “Beginning the effort two days before the weather-delayed start of the convention in Tampa, Romney put his family-man qualities on display Sunday in a television interview at his lakeside home in Wolfeboro, N.H. Romney made buttermilk pancakes with his wife, Ann, for Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace and strolled the grounds of his family’s vacation compound with a young grandson on his hip,” the Boston Globe writes. “Romney discussed policy, yes, but devoted more time to personal matters, showing off the household ‘chore wheel’ and laughing about his struggle -- at age 65 -- to keep up in the annual ‘Romney Olympics.’”
Political Wire: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) ‘wasn't willing to give up the New Jersey statehouse to be Mitt Romney's running mate because he doubted they'd win,’ the New York Post reports. ‘Romney's top aides had demanded Christie step down as the state's chief executive because if he didn't, strict pay-to-play laws would have restricted the nation's largest banks from donating to the campaign -- since those banks do business with New Jersey. But Christie adamantly refused to sacrifice his post, believing that being Romney's running mate wasn't worth the gamble.’”
Ron Paul doesn’t want to “fully endorse” Romney.
Party town? Stip clubs “all braced for a windfall from the Republican National Convention — three times a Super Bowl weekend was the industry number thrown around — but at least early Sunday morning many wondered if conservatives were being, well, conservative,” the Tampa Bay Times writes.