DNC Memo: Romney's Brutal Two Weeks

Democratic National Committee

 To:     Interested Parties

From:  Brad Woodhouse, Communications Director

Date:  October 29, 2011

Re:     A Rough Two Weeks for Mitt Romney

The past two weeks have been brutal for Mitt Romney on the campaign trail.  Self-inflicted wounds like waffling on basic issues and callously standing with Wall Street and the big banks over the middle class have brought to the fore issues about Mitt Romney as a candidate that were fatal when he ran for President the first time: that he is wholly out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans and that he is a finger-in-the-wind politician who lacks any core convictions.

As the Republican presidential frontrunner continues to travel the country talking about his proposals for the housing crisis, taxes, foreign policy and any number of issues, the American people are learning that from his politically motivated calculations to his out of touch positions, Mitt Romney would be a disaster for middle class families and he cannot be trusted to lead.    

Mitt Romney: Let Struggling Homeowners “Hit Rock Bottom”

At the beginning of last week, in comments made to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mitt Romney said that his plan for America’s struggling homeowners – hard-working Americans who in many cases have been cheated, scammed and seen the value of their homes plummet as a result of Wall Street’s risky bets – is simply to let the foreclosure crisis “run its course and hit the bottom.”  That way, Romney argued, banks and investors could then come in and scoop up the properties and rent or sell them for profit. 

Mitt Romney’s position that we should allow homeowners to “hit rock bottom” - most of whom are responsible and find themselves in their current straits through no fault of their own - is callous and appalling.  It treats the homes of honest, hard-working Americans like nothing more than Monopoly pieces that bankers can use to get rich.  According to Mitt Romney, American families who work hard and play by the rules should be kicked out of their homes so that his friends on Wall Street – the same corporate executives whose recklessness crashed the housing market and our economy in the first place – can try to turn a profit. 

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by Romney’s proposal to let struggling homeowners fend for themselves - this is, after all, the same Mitt Romney who made a fortune firing workers and sending their jobs overseas.  It’s the same Mitt Romney who said that “corporations are people” and called tax relief of $1,500 for a typical middle class family “little Band-aids.”  And it’s the same Mitt Romney who wants to repeal Wall Street reform and let bankers write their own rules again, all while handing out more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.

Meanwhile, President Obama is fighting to create jobs and to adopt policies that give underwater homeowners a chance to refinance and stay in their homes.  Earlier this week, he outlined a series of executive actions that will be carried out by the Federal Housing Finance Agency which will make it easier for responsible homeowners who have little or no equity in their homes to take advantage of current low mortgage rates.  These actions will help middle-class families who are struggling to make their payments – and it’s a far cry from the proposals of Mitt Romney, who sounds more like he’s running to be CEO of a hedge fund than President of the United States. 

This episode was not just appalling because of the callous approach that Mitt Romney took towards struggling homeowners – but because of the sheer hypocrisy it showed.  Just months earlier, Mitt Romney appeared in a neighborhood hit hard by the housing crisis and expressed sympathy for the plight of struggling homeowners (as if he might offer them some relief) to score some political points and to attack the President – just to turn around months later and tell them tough luck – you’re on your own.

 Mitt Romney: Keep America’s Troops in Iraq without a Plan 

On Friday of last week, President Obama announced the end to the war in Iraq, and that all of our troops will come home by the end of the year.  In doing so, the President followed through on one of his core promises to the American people: that he would end the Iraq war in a responsible manner and bring our troops home. 

Following President Obama’s announcement, Mitt Romney was at it again – releasing a statement attacking the President in which he called the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq a “political calculation” and suggested that American troops ought to remain there indefinitely.  This is an astonishing charge coming from Mitt Romney, who has taken multiple positions on virtually every major foreign policy issue that the U.S. has confronted over the past several years and changes his tune day in and day out for sheer political gain. 

The fact is that when Mitt Romney delivered a foreign policy speech earlier this month, he didn’t lay out a plan to end the war in Iraq – he barely even mentioned it, and it seems he is willing to leave American troops there indefinitely without identifying a new mission.  This puts Mitt Romney at odds with the overwhelming majority of the American people who believe we need to bring our troops home from Iraq now.  The fact that Mitt Romney is calling the President’s effort to bring America’s servicemen and women home for the holidays a “political calculation” says a lot about Romney’s own judgment and preparedness to be Commander-in-Chief.

While the American people still have no idea what Mitt Romney’s plan would be for the war in Iraq – and there’s a good chance Mitt Romney has no idea either – the President’s announcement last week demonstrates that as Commander-in-Chief he does what he says he will do, and his actions have made our nation stronger and more secure.

 Mitt Romney: Shift our Country’s Tax Burden onto the Middle Class

Mitt Romney has also been facing recent criticism over the last couple of weeks for his economic plan, which doubles down on the failed policies of the past with more handouts for millionaires, billionaires and large corporations while middle-class families are left to fend for themselves.

For starters, Mitt Romney wants to keep the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which were set to expire this year.  So much for fiscal responsibility – according to the Office of Management and Budget, extending the Bush tax cuts for the top two percent of America’s taxpayers would cost $700 billion.

The largest tax cut in Mitt Romney’s economic plan would, unsurprisingly, go to corporations.  Romney promised to immediately slash the corporate tax rate which would do nothing for the middle class yet would cost our nation $915.5 billion, according to an analysis conducted by the Tax Policy Center.  All this while he dismisses the President's plan for a middle class tax cut to the tune of $1,500 for the typical family as nothing more than "little Band-aids." 

Mitt Romney also appears to be embracing the flat tax.  In the past, Romney has criticized flat tax proposals – describing one such proposal as “a tax cut for fat cats” – but more recently has said, “I love a flat tax.”  Which is it?  Americans deserve a straight answer, as the flat tax amounts to a tax cut for the rich which shifts more and more of the tax burden to the middle class.

Romney’s regressive policy on taxes perhaps is only exceeded in its harm to the middle class and seniors by his approach to the rest of the budget - an approach that endorses House Republican/Tea Party plans to end Medicare as we know it, cut Social Security to the bone and slash spending on every promising initiative to create jobs and make America more globally competitive – everything from education to job training and research and development.

Taken together, these are policies that our nation simply can’t afford, and would put a larger share of the burden on working families.


Mitt Romney has had a rough couple of weeks – that’s because the American people are learning more and more about his out-of-touch policies that would simply help the wealthiest few and offer no economic security to middle-class families.  Americans also continue to learn more about a man whose pursuit of higher office is more important than any animating principle or convictions about what he would actually do as president or what he actually stands for.  To say that Mitt Romney flips around on his positions more than a weathervane would be an insult to weathervanes.     

As Mitt Romney clings to his status as frontrunner of the GOP presidential field, even Republicans seem to be nervous about who Mitt Romney really is and what he actually believes.  He continues to garner just a quarter of the Republican primary vote – hardly a ringing endorsement from his own party.  And while a right wing primary electorate may forgive Mitt Romney the occasional flip-flop if he is flopping in their direction; and while they can likely live with a person who believes in the tried and failed trickle-down economics that Mitt Romney is promising to visit upon Americans, over the last two weeks Mitt Romney has filled in a portrait of himself as an out of touch, calculating and value-less politician that will not resonate broadly with the American people.