- (Photo: Reuters/Denis Poroy)
Industry titans Rupert Murdock and Jack Welch have suggested via the social media site Twitter, that soon-to-be GOP nominee Mitt Romney replace his top campaign staff if he wants to defeat President Obama in November.
"Met with Romney last week," tweeted Murdoch last Sunday. "Tough O Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team and hires some real pros. Doubtful."
The CEO of News Corporation, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal and owner of Fox News Channel met with Romney last Thursday in New York City to discuss the campaign. However, Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, who was also in attendance, said Murdoch did not raise his concerns about Romney's top advisers during the meeting.
"I can tell you confidently and competently that neither Governor Romney or anyone in that room raised any talk of personnel, let alone a shake-up," Conway told The Washington Post on Thursday. "Personnel matters were not discussed whatsoever. It was a very constructive conversation where he showed some teeth and a little leg. To me, Romney seemed like the guy in the Florida debate all over again."
Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch also attended the meeting and tweeted that he agreed with Murdoch's comments. Others in the room included Univision CEO Randy Falco, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson.
Despite the undercurrent over his senior advisers, business leaders are funneling money into the Romney campaign at a rapid rate in hopes of defeating Obama in November.
But according to Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul, Romney has no plans on replacing longtime aides Eric Fehrnstrom or Beth Myers, who is leading the search for a vice presidential running mate.
"Governor Romney respects Rupert Murdoch and also respects his team and has confidence in them," Saul said in a response to The Washington Post.
Some of the discussion last Thursday centered around the hot-button issue of immigration, with Romney saying he was attempting to carefully tip-toe around the subject to avoid looking as if he were flip-flopping.
According to Politico, multiple sources inside the private meeting said Murdoch challenged Romney on the immigration issue, telling the candidate, "You have to take the fight to Obama on this."
Romney reportedly responded by noting that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and one of his own sons who is fluent in Spanish, will be helpful in winning Hispanic votes over the next few months.
"I know I took some positions in the primary that are hard to contend with in general," Romney was quoted as saying by the sources in the room. "I am not going to be a flip-flopper."
Several executives, including some of those who attended the private New York meeting with Romney, have expressed concern that he is allowing the Obama campaign to negatively define his work at Bain Capital and that Romney needs to adopt a more proactive strategy in how he frames his business and executive experience.