Even when talking about health care, Romney does his best to stay on an economic message. In presenting both arguments he'll make Thursday -- depending on how the Supreme Court rules -- Romney portrayed Obama as too distracted by health care to fix the economy. You also see it in Romney's refusal to say whether he supports President Obama's executive order stopping the deportation of some young immigrants, and his not saying whether he supports the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration law. Sometimes this message discipline has comical results. But he's gone out of his way to avoid the pet issues that get cheers at CPAC. His pitch to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Thursday was based on economics, not immigration law. Romney's staff ended a conference call when reporters started asking questions that weren't "on topic." His press secretary issued a statement on the Fast and Furious investigation condemning the president for a lack of transparency without getting into the details, probably because it was too hard to shoehorn in a call for more jobs.
House Republicans have not shown the same discipline. The Fast and Furious details are, as House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa suggested on ABC News Sunday, that the Obama administration might have intentionally designed Fast and Furious to fail -- even at the cost of one person's life -- so that it could push gun control laws. Instead of government incompetence of the highest order, certain locales of Republican American see conspiracy. Issa might think the issue is election year gold, but House Speaker John Boehner does not. Boehner admitted so on Laura Ingraham's radio show last week, saying of the contempt vote, "politically this may not be the smartest thing to do…" Boehner was reportedly skeptical about the Holder vote, taking more than a year of meetings to win over. Nevertheless, it seems he couldn't convince his colleagues to give it up. Politico reports that Boehner had to do it after so many members of Congress insisted they had no way out of the issue but to vote on it. Rep. Jason Chaffetz told Republican leaders, "'Gentlemen, if you have another idea, let us know. But there has to be resolution. We cant let this go into the wind.'"
Some reporters have speculated that Mitt Romney is too focused on the economy. But several polls have showed that the economy is his best option:
Earlier this year, when contraception was a big issue in the news -- and House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa held his infamous all-male birth control panel -- Obama enjoyed a wider gender gap than he does now that the issue is off front pages.
The Associated Press's June 21 poll found of the 40 percent of adults who say they're worse off now than they were four years ago, 60 percent say they're voting for Romney.
A June 7 Fox News poll found that Romney beat Obama on cutting spending by 20 points, on creating jobs and improving the economy by 7 points, and on taxes by 4 points. But Obama was winning on education by 18 points, terrorism by 13 points, foreign policy by 11 points, health care by 3 points. Even on the values voter-sounding category "strengthening families," Obama was ahead by 4 points.