Romney to explain plans to cut $500 billion per year in federal spending

Alex Pappas Political Reporter

Mitt Romney is launching a “renewed emphasis” on specifics related to policies he would advance as president, his campaign said Monday, including how he plans to cut $500 billion in annual federal spending.

“These things will result in about $500 billion a year by the end of his first term,” Romney campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie explained in a Monday conference call.

Gillespie said Romney would “look to increase the productivity of Washington by reducing federal government employment by 10 percent through attrition, and combine agencies and departments to reduce overhead, and link government compensation to that of the private sector.”

Romney, he added, would “limit spending for programs that have been growing uncontrollably fast,” including Medicaid, which he would turn back to the states. He would also limit funding increases to the inflation rate plus one percent.

“We think people will be appreciative to hear some of those kinds of specifics,” Gillespie said, explaining the renewed focus is meant to target independent voters who the campaign believes are just now tuning in to the election.

“A lot of those voters who are in the middle and truly independent, undecided, are looking for information now,” he said.

The Romney campaign has been wary to say the names of what federal departments or agencies he would eliminate or consolidate. Gillespie dodged a question about whether they plan to announce specific departments that could get the axe in this new emphasis on policy specifics.

“We’ll continue to talk about those mergers,” he said.

Gillespie said the new effort will be apparent in speeches, remarks, background papers, surrogate efforts and paid advertising from the campaign.

The announcement that Romney plans to provide more policy details on what his presidency would look like comes as conservative critics have argued that the former Massachusetts governor must be more than just the alternative to President Obama.

But Romney’s campaign argued that it’s President Obama who has been vague on this front.

“They also are curious about President Obama and what he would do in a second term if he were to be re-elected,” Gillespie said of independent voters. “They haven’t heard many details from him, or many policy proposals at all from him.”

“We are looking forward to this new emphasis and renewed emphasis,” Gillespie said.

Follow Alex on Twitter