Opinion Brief

Mitt Romney: Vaguest presidential candidate ever?

Even some of Romney's supporters are demanding details about the GOP candidate's proposed policies. It may be time for him to specify how he would run the U.S.

Mitt Romney's campaign has been remarkably consistent with its core message: The GOP candidate is better equipped than President Obama to fix the economy. Romney is tapping into frustration with the president by presenting himself as the anti-Obama, but even some Republicans are starting to express frustration with the vagueness of the former Massachusetts governor's policy stances. From his "no-details" immigration policy to his bare-bones tax plan, Romney has declined to get specific on many of the most pressing issues of the campaign. Why won't Romney give voters more details on what he'll do if he makes it to the White House?

He's being remarkably vague to avoid being attacked: Presidents have clear records, so they're always "more specific than their challengers, says John Dickerson at Slate, but even Republicans are getting fed up with Romney's "thin or nonexistent" answers to questions on everything from tax reform to immigration. Romney "won't give details" so that Obama can't attack his policies. That's fine for now, but before November he'll have to give voters specifics so they can "evaluate him as a possible president.""Evasive maneuvers"

He can't be specific because his policies aren't realistic: There's an obvious reason for Romney's vagueness, says Scott Lehigh in The Boston Globe. "His numbers simply don't add up." He's promising to reduce spending to 20 percent of gross domestic product, but his cuts to Amtrak subsidies and Planned Parenthood are "just a drop in the bucket." And he favors $6 trillion more in tax cuts than Obama, while asserting he'll balance the budget. Every detail he offers makes it more plain that "he's trying to defy fiscal gravity.""Where are Romney's details?"

Romney is trying to keep the focus on Obama: Romney isn't being evasive, he's just "sticking for the time being with what's known as his 'safe' strategy," says Fred Barnes at The Wall Street Journal. He's trying not to say or do anything to distract attention from his "relentless focus on Obama and his record, particularly the weak economic recovery and the absence of strong leadership." There will be plenty of time for him to go "bold" with a conservative reform agenda in the final push between the convention and election day."The view from Romney's 'Victory Retreat'"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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