Even as he prepared to answer calls from within his own party to sharpen his message and ramp up his schedule, Mitt Romney managed to insist last night that he was running a "very effective" campaign for president, and that it was "doing a very good job".
A week after voters glimpsed him telling a private gathering of rich donors that 47 per cent of Americans were welfare-dependent "victims" , Mr Romney now finds himself under pressure to go back on the offensive.
The candidate may have startled even his closest loyalists by professing in an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes last night that all was well with his campaign. That has hardly been the verdict of pundits including some within the Republican camp. Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal clarified at the weekend what she had said last week about the 47 per cent debacle. "The Romney campaign has to get turned around. This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant 'rolling calamity'," she wrote.
But Mr Romney appeared to view things very differently last night. "I've got a very effective campaign. It's doing a very good job … It doesn't need a turnaround," he boldly told CBS, pointing to recent national polls that show him and President Obama in a dead heat.
Still, American presidents are elected according to state-by-state voting, not the national popular vote, and the past two weeks have seen Mr Obama widen his lead in crucial battlegrounds that will in all likelihood decide the election. It is no accident that Mr Romney hopes to close the book on his latest embarrassments with a bus tour in Ohio. It may also be telling that the tour will be opened today not by him but by his running mate, Paul Ryan.
Ohio is a key state in American presidential elections: it has backed the winning candidate in every poll since 1964, and no Republican has ever secured the White House without winning its support.Reuse content