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MEMO: Debate Prep For Republican Presidential Candidates

To: Republican Presidential Candidates And Their Esteemed Representatives
From: Ty Matsdorf, Senior Advisor American Bridge 21st Century
RE: Debate Prep
Date: January 19, 2012

Tonight’s debate may offer you your last best chance to reach voters not only in South Carolina, but across the nation. After more than a dozen debates, a lot of ground has been covered but there is still room to distinguish yourselves from Mitt Romney and attempt to derail his coronation. Since it seems that you have struggled to focus in on a sustained line of attack that erodes Mitt Romney’s standing and qualifications for being president among the Republican primary voters while not costing you support from your conservative base, we have mapped out three central themes that will accomplish both should you choose to highlight them in tonight’s debate.

Themes For The Debate:

Romney Puts Personal Profit Above Values And Beliefs: It is no secret that Governor Romney is wealthy, and that is not something to begrudge. But highlighting what that wealth encompasses is a key line of attack that could be used. Below are examples that should be broached tonight:

Romney Profits From Abortion Services: On the campaign trail (even though he was previously pro-choice,) Romney continually touts his pro-life positions. However, that hasn’t stopped him from padding his bank account with investments in Stericycle, a company that disposes of aborted fetuses. Stericycle has been targeted by many conservative groups, the same demographic that Romney has been pandering to on the trail. (Huffington Post, 1/17/12)

Romney Profits From Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Despite demonizing Speaker Gingrich for his work for Fannie/Freddie, and the continual disparaging of them on the campaign trail, Romney personally invested up to $500,000 in these organizations and made up to $50,000 last year alone. (Boston Globe, 9/19/11)

Romney Profits From China: On the campaign trail Romney is quick to talk tough on China, but that didn’t stop his investors from investing his money in Chinese holdings. And if Romney hides behind his “blind trust,” remind him of his quote from 1994 calling blind trusts “rouses” (Wall Street Journal, 12/17/11)

Romney Profits From Offshore Tax Shelters: This line of attack writes itself. But just in case, this just further shows that with Mitt Romney his own personal profit trumps all else. (ABC News, 1/18/12)

Romney’s Business Success Was Due To “Corporate Welfare”: Governor Romney has held up his business experience as his main qualification for being President, and has been quick to dismiss the manner in which he acted as simply “free market capitalism.” What he doesn’t mention is that some of his success has been due to huge government subsidies and tax breaks, something decried by the conservative Cato Institute as “corporate welfare.”

Steel Dynamics: Undoubtedly, Governor Romney will tout Steel Dynamics, the “steel mill in Indiana,” as one of his successes. You must tell the other side of the story: this was only a success because of more than $37 million in government subsidies. And what is even more damaging, these subsidies were paid for by raising taxes on the local residents. (LA Times, 1/12/12)

Romney Is Out Of Touch: This has been percolating for months but nowhere was it more crystalized then his flippant comments about the amount of money he made from giving speeches. Again, while no one begrudges success, Governor Romney’s complete inability to relate to the struggles of working families is absolutely astounding.

Romney/Speeches: On Tuesday, Romney offhandedly said he didn’t make very much money from giving speeches. In reality, he has made more than $360,000 dollars last year alone giving speeches. (Politico, 1/18/12)