A Press Strategy that Worked.

A Press Strategy that Worked.

As Herman Cain was dominating headlines and Rick Perry was defending the erratic delivery of a New Hampshire speech last week, Mitt Romney delivered an address on curbing the cost of entitlements.

His speech did not dominate the headlines (nothing trumps sex or the prospect of a campaign coming apart), but it didn’t matter. What did matter is who covered the speech, and what some opinion leaders had to say about it.

Today Romney got his reward, from both David Brooks at the New York Times and, even more important, the Wall Street Journal. Both praised the speech. The Journal, which has, to date, been highly antagonistic toward Romney, finally found something in Romney’s rhetoric worthy of praise. Brooks was more effusive…calling the speech “politically astute and substantively bold, a quality you don’t automatically associate with the Romney campaign. Romney grasped the toughest issue — how to reform entitlements to avoid a fiscal catastrophe — and he sketched out a sophisticated way to address it.”

Why was this important to Romney? 1. It helps beat back the notion that Romney is an incessant finger in the wind flip-flopper afraid to say some of the things that need to be said. 2. Conservatives are influenced by the WSJ and the speech earned some kind words, and 3. Contrast the coverage of Romney (substance and policy) with that of Cain and Perry (who were not talking about things that win votes).

The lesson in this for candidates running for public office? The press is an important pressure point in politics. And in the early stages of a campaign, people you need are influenced by what they read on the opinion pages of important publications. And even though your policy address may not trump the coverage of a candidate fighting allegations of tawdry behavior, those covering the speech, and what they say about it are sometimes more important than the number of people who heard it.

For more FREE political candidate training tools, communication and campaign tips, sign up for Jay Townsend’s FREE newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don’t miss any updates

Copyright © 2022 JayTownsend, All Rights Reserved.