Switching gears in a Presidential campaign noted for its rancor and unrelenting attacks from both sides, Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney Wednesday toned down he rhetoric and preached unity at a stop in Tampa, Florida.
In a return to campaign trail after both candidates suspended politicking during Superstorm Sandy’s devastating assault on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Romney said:
We love all of our fellow citizens. We come together in times like this, and we want to make sure that they have a speedy and quick recovery from their financial and, in many cases, personal loss.
Political strategists tell Capitol Hill Blue that Romney has no other choice if he wants to avoid backlash and find a way to recapture the momentum that appears to be on his side before the weekend storm that killed at least 74 and wreaked havoc from North Carolina to Maine.
“Romney has to be very careful now,” one top GOP strategist said. “The President has the spotlight and with less than a week to go, neither side can be viewed as using the disaster for political gain.
Romney did not mention Obama by name during his Tampa stop but did says “I don’t just talk about change. I actually have a plan to execute change and make it happen.”
People coming together is what’s also going to happen, I believe, on Nov. 7th. I could not be in this race if I were not an optimist. I believe in the future of this country. I know we have huge challenges, but I’m not frightened by them. I’m invigorated by the challenge. We’re going to take on these challenges, we’re going to overcome them.
Romney senior adviser Kevin Madden told reporters that the Republican nominee intended to take a more positive approach in the wake of the storm.
“Our focus today is going to continue to be to strike a more positive tone about what the governor would do on day one of a Romney presidency.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appeared with Romney.