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.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a rally in Cornwall, Pa., on June 16: Romney may be playing it safe by keeping mum on the specifics of his policies, but Americans may grow impati
(Image credit: Mark Makela/In Pictures/Corbis)

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"

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

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.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us