When Mitt Romney visited Iowa last month, he released an ad highlighting struggling, unemployed Iowans—which sort of irked Terry Branstad, the state's Republican governor. "My state is seeing significant growth," Branstad tells the Wall Street Journal, saying he didn’t know why Romney tried to stress unemployment in a state with a 5.1% jobless rate. He's not alone. In a lot of key battleground states—like Virginia, Ohio, and Florida—Romney's message of economic gloom puts him at odds with governors from his own party.
In Virginia, for example, Bob McDonnell is running ads so packed with economic cheer that they could be Obama 2012 ads. Many of these governors say Romney should use their successes as examples of Republican principles in action. "He should be seizing that momentum and spotlighting it," Branstad argues. But Romney's team doesn't want to dilute his overall message. "Yeah, some states are doing better," a Romney pollster says. "But a specific governor's success … doesn't translate into economic optimism nationally."