Team O shifts direction as more Dems balk at Bain attacks
posted at 12:41 pm on May 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Remember when the media kept insisting that the unity problem in the presidential election belonged entirely to Mitt Romney and the GOP? Good times, good times. The Hill reports this morning that Team Obama’s strategy of demonizing Bain Capital has two high-profile members of the Democratic Senate Caucus backing away from their party leader:
Some influential Democrats on and off Capitol Hill are refusing to give President Obama political cover for his attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital.
Despite pushback from more than a half-dozen Democrats, the Obama campaign on Tuesday defended how it has scrutinized Romney’s business background.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a widely respected member of Congress, stopped short of criticizing the president, but made it clear that the campaign should pivot.
“It’s done,” she said. “Go on to other things now.”
Feinstein has always been considered the more moderate of the two Senators from California. What about a Senator who identifies more with the class-warfare Left — like, say, Chris Coons of Delaware, who cruised to victory in 2010 over Christine O’Donnell? He’s not biting, either:
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told The Hill, “I think the average American … hopes that this campaign will focus on competing visions for how to strengthen our economy, help create jobs and move the country forward.”
Pressed on whether he thought Obama’s campaign had operated within those guidelines, Coons paused.
“I’m not going to comment on President Obama’s ad,” he said, shaking his head vigorously.
Former Democratic Representative Artur Davis of Alabama continued his criticism last night on Politico, calling the Obama campaign “a cult of personality that tolerates no dissent.” Fealty to Team O has already damaged Cory Booker, Davis wrote, saying that the mayor of Newark and rising star “already looks a little less brave and a lot more conventional after the forgive me video from the bunker he released on Sunday.”
With all of this backlash within their own ranks and the media asking tough questions about hypocrisy, is it any wonder that the Obama campaign has decided to shift directions today?
Two new ads from President Obama focus on benefits for veterans and senior citizens, a marked shift from the campaign’s recent ads attacking former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Obama says he is not dropping its campaign against Romney’s private equity experience, a line of attack that has led to blowback from some Democrats. “This is not a distraction,” Obama said Monday afternoon. “This is what this campaign is going to be about.” In fact, the campaign is buying more air timefor “Steel,” a hard-hitting ad about Bain.
But Obama is adding some positive spots to the mix in key swing states.
Here’s a question. Didn’t the Obama campaign think to reach out to their own surrogates and party leaders before launching this attack? Many of these Democrats have to raise money from the private-equity industry; more than a few corporations choose Delaware for their home base, too, thanks to favorable incorporation laws in the state. Or did Team Obama simply assume that Democrats would automatically fall in line with whatever strategy they concocted, regardless of whether the campaign consulted with other Democrats or not?
Of course, Obama also got a lot of cash from the private-equity industry, and the financial world in general. Nate Beeler gives us a look at the hypocrisy of the attack in his latest editorial cartoon for the Columbus Dispatch: