How Mitt Romney Can Go Bold to Win the Middle Class

Republicans must show Americans they have the growth-and-prosperity agenda the country needs.

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Middle-class voters know that the problem with American healthcare isn't quality, it's cost. For small businesses, rising premiums are creating a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Republicans could address that doubt by spelling out, in plain English, exactly how they'll fix the problem, something the Democrats have not been able to do with middle-class voters.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]

Finally, Romney served as head of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics without pay, which sent a strong message of personal sacrifice in a time of crisis. He did the same thing as governor of Massachusetts. Doing it again as president, and getting a few high-profile, highly successful business leaders to serve as "dollar-a-year men" alongside him, would send a great signal to worried middle-class voters. Romney should consider approaching some of the members of the president's abandoned Jobs Council—AOL cofounder Steve Case, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, or Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, for example. All of the council's members are hardworking, public-spirited, and worried about the economy; some have not endorsed Obama and just might sign up for a Romney cabinet position. If they agreed to it now, that would be even better.

Similarly, Romney should consider recruiting a few conservative, pro-business Democrats, like former Indiana senator Evan Bayh or North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler to join his team. In an early bipartisan move, Obama named a few Republicans to his cabinet—former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood come to mind—and Romney might win over Reagan Democrats if he reached across the aisle as well. These days in Washington, that would really be going bold.

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