(Bloomberg) – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus predicted that presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney will get a â€œrealâ€ and â€œvisibleâ€ bump in the polls at the party’s national convention next week in Tampa.
“As people get to know Mitt Romney, we have a higher propensity for a quicker ascent thanâ€ President Barack Obama, Priebus said in an interview on Bloomberg Televisionâ€™s â€œPolitical Capital With Al Huntâ€ airing this weekend ahead of the conventionâ€™s Aug. 27 start.
Priebus said past conventions produced bigger leads in the polls and â€œnowadays the news cycle is two or three times a day,â€ limiting those kinds of huge changes in public opinion.
Republicans are seeking momentum after a week of distractions, including Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akinâ€™s assertion that â€œlegitimate rapeâ€ doesnâ€™t often lead to pregnancies and the publication of hundreds of pages of investment and tax documents from Boston-based Bain Capital LLC, the private equity firm Romney helped establish.
Romney also had to explain, in a CBS interview, that a comment he made at a Michigan rally earlier today about his birth certificate was a joke, not a swipe at Obama, after Democrats said he had aligned himself with the so-called birther movement that questions where the president was born.
Priebus said he supports a plank in the Republican platform, drafted by a party committee in Tampa earlier this week, that calls for a study to determine whether to return the U.S. dollar to the gold standard. It also advocates an annual audit of the Federal Reserve Board and the 12 regional reserve banks, including monetary policy decisions.
â€œDoing an accounting of the Federal Reserve, finding out where the moneyâ€™s coming and where itâ€™s going is not a bad thing for our country,â€ Priebus said in the interview, outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum where the convention will be held.
The platform proposal, to be submitted for approval by the convention, calls for a commission to study â€œpossible ways to set a fixed value for the dollarâ€ similar to one in the early 1980s that studied â€œthe feasibility of a metallic basis for U.S. currency.â€
Priebus said â€œitâ€™s an issue thatâ€™s bubbling up in this country, and in particular in our party.â€
The chairman defended his partyâ€™s decision not to mention the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, killed in a May 2011 raid overseen by the president.
â€œItâ€™s a mission accomplished,â€ Priebus said. â€œWeâ€™ve given credit to the president for his role in that mission and we applaud him for his role in that mission and I think weâ€™re better off as an entire world without bin Laden in it.â€
Priebus repeated his calls for Akin, a U.S. House member, to â€œget outâ€ of the Missouri Senate race after his Aug. 19 remarks that â€œlegitimate rapeâ€ rarely leads to pregnancy. Akin has since apologized for the remark, which he made as he argued that abortion shouldnâ€™t be allowed in cases of rape. Akin has rejected calls for his exit from prominent Republicans including Romney.
Akin is running against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, whose seat is considered a central part of Republican strategy to take control of the Senate.
â€œPeople that really believe that the idea of liberty and freedom is on the ballot, people who are really believers in the cause, sometimes ought to kind of look in the mirror and realize that, you know what, sometimes you have to put yourself aside and give someone else an opportunity to win,â€ Priebus said.
Priebus said that while he doesnâ€™t know whether Akin ultimately will step aside, he hopes he can â€œread a few polls and realize where he sits.â€
He insisted that Akinâ€™s remarks wonâ€™t hurt Romney with women voters because he said they still care most about the economy.
â€œWe know that our party is the party of a better future, the American dream,â€ Priebus said. â€œAnd these are things that my mom and my sister care about deeply.â€
On the Hispanic vote, Priebus said he expects Romney to get more than the 31 percent the partyâ€™s 2008 nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, won. Romney may even â€œget closeâ€ to President George W. Bushâ€™s 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004, Priebus said.
An NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll showed Hispanics favoring Obama over Romney 63 percent to 28 percent. The poll of 300 registered voters was conducted Aug. 16-20 and has a margin of error of 5.66 percent.
For Romney to win Hispanic voters, Republicans have to make clear that Obama hasnâ€™t delivered on his promises, Priebus said.
â€œOur partyâ€™s actually done very well with Hispanic candidates. Weâ€™ve done a lousy job talking about it,â€ he said, citing U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.
Priebus said heâ€™s optimistic that Tropical Storm Isaac wonâ€™t interfere with the convention. While the storm, which may reach the southwest coast of Florida on the opening day of the convention, â€œlooks very good on the track,â€ the RNC is â€œprepared for anything,â€ he said.
â€œWe can do whatever we need to do to make sure that, number one, people at safe, but also that we conduct the business of the convention, which is what weâ€™re here to do.â€