The risk to the strategy is that the emphasis on foreign policy takes Romney away from talking directly about the economy, which is the central theme of the election. GOP strategists have said Romney should focus on the economy every day.
But Republicans say Romney is at the point in the election where he needs to take some risks.
The president is enjoying a bounce in polls after the Democratic National Convention, and some polls suggest his lead in the swing states of Ohio, Virginia, and Florida has solidified.
“Politically, this was a life raft that was thrown out to Romney that he grabbed, and now they're paddling,” said GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak. “This is a very uncertain situation, and Obama is sort of reacting, he's not out ahead of things and it could get a lot worse. For Romney, he's building off these events.”
Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan pressed the issue of leadership during his address on Friday to the Values Voter Summit in Washington.
The Wisconsin lawmaker gave a laundry list of foreign policy concerns facing the nation.
“Amid all these threats and dangers, what we do not see is steady, consistent American leadership,” Ryan said. Just a few lines later in his speech, he made the connection to the economy, saying that “in the all-important election of 2012, values voters are also economic voters.”
Campaign aides said Romney explicitly made the connection between the economy and foreign policy in a Virginia address on Thursday.
“We're going to make sure we have the jobs that we need. America's going to remain strong… As we watched the world today, sometimes it seems that we're at the mercy of events instead of shaping events and a strong America's essential to shape events,” Romney said.
GOP strategists say linking the two issues is a crucial point for the Romney-Ryan ticket.
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