Nicholas and Wellsten: “that Romney and Clinton would shake up the playbook with the caucus just a month away underscores the worry in both camps”

“CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA — — Facing fresh polls showing their leads in Iowa disappearing, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Mitt Romney rolled out new campaign tactics Sunday in an aggressive push to regain lost momentum,” writes LA Times staffers Peter “bury the lead” Nicholas assisted by Peter “Clueless” Wallsten in an LA Times article titled Romney, Clinton shake up tactics; As they slide in polls, he plans to speak on his religion, while she draws pointed differences with rival Obama

… Romney announced that he would deliver a speech Thursday on religion, a subject that he has been reluctant to touch despite growing signs that voters are leery of putting a Mormon in the White House. As recently as last week, Romney’s eldest son, Tagg, said in an interview that he was beseeching his father to give such a speech but had yet to persuade him …

NOTA: the elderly Nicholas and his ambitious young intern, Wallsten, link “the speech” to Team Romney’s agony in Iowa, a trope that has emerged as the consensus. Yet further testimony to Romney’s disastrous timing.

… that Romney and Clinton would shake up the playbook with the caucus just a month away underscores the worry in both camps.

“It’s really without precedent,” said Gordon Fischer, a former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party. Fischer, who is backing Obama, said: “They’re both very, very concerned. They were the front-runners who are no longer front-runners” …

The 2 Peters conclude on this theme:

Romney’s challenge with evangelicals was evident last week when he appeared flummoxed by a question during the CNN-YouTube candidates debate about whether he believed the Bible was true. He seemed to rely on legalisms to work through an issue that he knew to be sensitive. “You know — yes, I believe it’s the word of God, the Bible is the word of God. . . . I mean, I might interpret the word differently than you interpret the word,” he said.

Former White House official Kuo saw Romney’s response as a missed opportunity.

“He easily could have taken that question and in some ways put the faith issue to rest,” Kuo said. “And instead he just added fuel to the fire” … etc.

Kuo’s argument anticipates Brody’s

Brody: Romney’s answer to bible question “problematic”

Kuo’s theme of missed opportunity anticipates our own analysis

how Romney botched the Mormon-Kennedy-speech issue by setting up impossible expectations, by consistently failing to identify opportunity and seize the initiative, and by allowing others to frame the debate

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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