September 17, 2012 7:08 am

Romney to go on offensive over deficit

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.US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Fairfax, Virginia©Bloomberg

Mitt Romney on Monday plans to refocus his campaign on tackling the US budget deficit, even as a media report highlighted concerns among some Republicans that his campaign was stumbling six weeks before the presidential election.

The Republican presidential nominee is expected to tell the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles that his deficit-reduction plan will cut $500bn a year in government spending by the end of his first term.

According to his prepared remarks, the former Massachusetts governor hopes to achieve this partly by cutting the federal workforce by 10 per cent through attrition and eliminating all programmes that are not “absolutely essential”.

“Many Hispanics have sacrificed greatly to help build our country and our economy, and to leave for their children a brighter future. Today, those sacrifices are being squandered by a president who cannot stop spending,” Mr Romney says in the remarks.

He will also criticise President Barack Obama for promising – but failing – to deliver on his campaign promise to pass immigration reform in his first year in office.

“Despite his party having majorities in both houses of Congress, the president never even offered up a bill,” Mr Romney says. “I will work with Republicans and Democrats to permanently fix our immigration system.”

While many conservatives, including Mr Romney, were highly critical of a plan announced by the US Federal Reserve last week to move forward with a third round of asset purchases, the Republican nominee will take a softer tone on Monday, saying the Fed had no other option.

“The Fed knows this comes with a high cost and risk for the future, but it feels it has no choice. Our leaders in Washington have failed to produce a real recovery,” Mr Romney will say in the speech.

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His remarks will come on the heels of a report on Politico, the political news website, on Sunday night that raised questions about his campaign.

Headlined “Inside the campaign: How Mitt Romney stumbled”, the article quoted unnamed aides, advisers and friends of Mr Romney who were highly critical of the campaign’s chief strategist, Stuart Stevens.

The report detailed how Mr Stevens set off a “chaotic eight-day scramble” to prepare Mr Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Committee in Florida after he “junked” a draft written by a speech writer and that the dash to write the speech ultimately gave way to a poorly orchestrated evening at the convention, including Clint Eastwood’s discussion with an empty chair.

While the Politico story may not impact swing voters, it will probably be a distraction inside the Romney campaign and is an apparent sign of discord among some of the nominee’s top advisers.

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