Tuesday, August 09, 2011

So much for hope & change...

From Politico:

Obama plan: Destroy Romney
Barack Obama’s aides and advisers are preparing to center the president’s re-election campaign on a ferocious personal assault on Mitt Romney’s character and business background, a strategy grounded in the early stage expectation that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee.

The dramatic and unabashedly negative turn is the product of political reality. Obama remains personally popular, but pluralities in recent polling disapprove of his handling of his job and Americans fear the country is on the wrong track. His aides are increasingly resigned to running for re-election in a glum nation. And so the candidate who ran on “hope” in 2008 has little choice four years later but to run a slashing, personal campaign aimed at disqualifying his likeliest opponent.

In a move that will make some Democrats shudder, Obama’s high command has even studied President Bush’s 2004 takedown of Sen. John F. Kerry, a senior campaign adviser told POLITICO, for clues on how a president with middling approval ratings can defeat a challenger.

“Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,” said a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House.

The onslaught would have two aspects. The first is personal: Obama’s re-elect will portray the public Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama’s advisers in about a dozen interviews, “weird.”

Romney officials shrug off the tough talk, arguing that there’s nothing Obama can do that will turn the campaign away from functioning as a referendum on his stewardship of the economy.

“There’s so many wonderful ironies here: Obama spent his whole political career perfecting the best argument against Bush 43 and now he’s going to run as 43?” said Romney strategist Stuart Stevens, who also worked for Bush. “They can try anything they want — but this race is going to be about the economy.”

They don’t have a choice. Even Obama’s top aides don’t expect unemployment to be below eight percent when next November rolls around.

Romney, currently the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, isn’t the candidate Democrats would most like to face. That honor goes to former Gov. Sarah Palin or Rep. Michele Bachmann, vocal conservatives who may not be able to reach swing voters. Romney’s moderate record as the one-term governor of a liberal state – the target of conservative rivals’ criticism – could also make him a strong general election candidate.

The attack on Romney is, to the Massachusetts Republican, nothing new. Senator Ted Kennedy used elements of it against him in the 1994 Senate race, and his former adviser Bob Shrum summarized the current case this way: “You don’t know what he really believes, he’s been on both sides of issues and, by the way, he didn’t create jobs he destroyed jobs while getting rich.”

ht: R 4 '12

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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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