Hume: Obama’s really going to have to go negative

posted at 1:21 pm on June 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Can Barack Obama win a second term in November? Last week’s jobs report makes it more difficult for the President to win, but perhaps more importantly, more difficult to run on his own record, too. Last night, Brit Hume and Bill O’Reilly debated over campaign strategy for both Obama and Mitt Romney, with O’Reilly suggesting that Romney go full-tilt negative on Obama’s record. Hume disagreed, saying that Romney needs to remain positive in significant measure as a contrast to the Obama campaign — because the only strategy left for them now is to attack Romney constantly:

“My thought about that would be that Romney will undoubtedly run a lot of ads that add up to saying that, and he will say it a lot himself and so will his surrogates on the campaign trail,” Hume said. “I think Romney has — look, I think Obama’s record is such a burden to him that he has no real choice but to go negative and go negative hard, which to a great extent he has.”

The reason Romney shouldn’t go as negative, Hume said, was to set up a contrast between him and the negativity of Obama.

“I think Romney is in a different position because when people turn to the prospect of, ‘Well OK, what happens if we elect him’ — he needs to radiate something of a positive spirit … I would just say that people need to believe that if they turn to him, he can make things better. And if he seems morose and negative all the time, he’ll fail to convey that sunny spirit. He needs a bit of sunlight in his message and I think that’s important to him. In a way that’s the game and it’s too late for Obama. He can have all the sunlight in his message that he wants. The results kind of speak for themselves.”

Hume’s right, but that strategy will only work if the Obama campaign can figure out how to go negative without shooting themselves in the foot.  As I write in my column at The Week today, Team Obama demonstrated a breathtaking level of incompetence last Friday in their clear lack of preparation for the May jobs report — and their decision to make Anna “Nuclear” Wintour a surrogate on the same day:

That very day, the Obama campaign released a new video spot featuring Vogue editor Anna Wintour promoting a new raffle for a spot at a future fundraising party cohosted by Wintour and actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Wintour was widely rumored to be the inspiration for the sadistic boss in The Devil Wears Prada, written by former personal assistant Lauren Weisberger, and is sometimes called “Nuclear Wintour” for her, er, people skills.  Even among fashion elites, Wintour is infamous for being an elitist.

At a moment when ordinary Americans worried about the impact of a declining economy on their lives, the Obama campaign made Wintour its national spokesperson. Could the raffle not have waited a few days in order to give Obama a chance to focus on a response to the jobs report everyone knew was coming? How could the Obama administration, with its access to economic data, not see the trainwreck that was coming in that June 1 report and fail to warn the campaign to change its plans for the video’s release? How, in fact, could the campaign have scheduled six fundraisers on the same day that the BLS released its jobs report at all? …

Right now, it looks as if the president’s re-election campaign is being run by Inspector Clouseau. If Team O believes that a winning campaign strategy will be to have the notorious “devil” of a boss act as their surrogate as job creation grinds to a halt, then Romney will only need to demonstrate calm competence over the next five months to win this national election.

Juan Williams had a lot of fun with this decision, as I wrote yesterday.  This demonstration of incompetence should have Team O doing some housecleaning at the top, but it may be too late for that.  And honestly, it may not matter in the long run.  As my colleague at The Week Bob Shrum said on Sunday, Obama’s going to lose this election if it’s a referendum on his record.  If the economic indicators continue to slide all summer, they won’t be able to avoid the referendum, not even with the most expert campaign strategists imaginable running the show.  So far, though, Team O’s leadership has demonstrated that they are not among those ranks.


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Does’nt matter. The public school History books will be re-written to show that Obama was a world leader and none of his massive failures will be mentioned. Pages will be dedicated to how he single-handedly killed OBL.

Cherokee on June 5, 2012 at 2:40 PM

The history books will list him in the top three greatest presidents ever. They will blame his one term on a homophobic electorate who chose to eighty-six him because of his SSM stance.

Kataklysmic on June 5, 2012 at 2:42 PM

The history books will list him in the top three greatest presidents ever. They will blame his one term on a homophobic electorate who chose to eighty-six him because of his SSM stance.

Kataklysmic on June 5, 2012 at 2:42 PM

The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, that even a god-king can lose an election.

Bishop on June 5, 2012 at 2:50 PM

O will not have to “have” to go negative. O loves being bitter. Loves it. Relishes it. It is not something he “has” to do.
And O knows how to do damage, especially at the 11th hour. So, especially with the polls at best a toss up (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/), and notwithstanding Dick Morris (and forget Wisconsin), I don’t understand why we are gloating in anticipation of victory, when there is no basis for that. Today’s 2 trackers: one has O up by 1, the other has Romney up by 1. A wash.
Yes, it’s a no gloat zone. In fact, the only way Romney is going to pull this out is if Romney gets caustic super-negative. This Mr. Nice Guy thing is going to flop. The real horrible “necessarily skyrocket” Obama must be patently clear in the eyes of the voters, or the voters will revert back to lionizing the sentimental good feeling of the “first black president” and the like.

Romney needs to get dirty to expose the dirty. Get dirty, or lose. Look at the polls, and consider how O will fire the afterburners when we least expect it. O is a master. Not to burst bubbles, but I’m very afraid now that unless Mitt attacks with truly bloody gusto, we are headed for a bitter defeat. And we will suffer from Pavlov’s Dog syndrome after this election. Someone, get Mitt to get to brutal attacking, as with his ads and PACs. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

anotherJoe on June 5, 2012 at 2:52 PM

This demonstration of incompetence should have Team O doing some housecleaning at the top, but it may be too late for that. And honestly, it may not matter in the long run.

They have been performing poorly for a couple months. I agree the purge is coming.

dogsoldier on June 5, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Can’t. The Chicago Outfit’s campaign team bench is not deep. Most of the other possible recruits are Clinton workers.

Also, if by ‘top’ you mean Jarrett, that’s not going to happen. Jarrett runs it all, She decides who goes and who comes.

slickwillie2001 on June 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Of all the establishment who brung Mitt, I hate Hume the most.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Mitt brung himself. We the people, recognizing his superior qualities, chose Mitt. It’s hardly surprising that Hume, as one of the brightest and best informed among us, supported Mitt.

It looks like Obama isn’t the only one who has nothing to offer but negativity.

Basilsbest on June 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Basilsbest on June 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

.
Now you done it !
you gonna be wakin them Zombies who agin Super Mitt !

FlaMurph on June 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Of all the establishment who brung Mitt, I hate Hume the most.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 1:25 PM

If he wore the ascot his demeanor suggests, would you like him then?

verbaluce on June 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Yes, it’s a no gloat zone. In fact, the only way Romney is going to pull this out is if Romney gets caustic super-negative.

Advice from an Obama supporter or someone who is just plain clueless?

Basilsbest on June 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Did Brit Hume advise the Mccain campaign?
Should Romney just say “you will have nothing to fear from an Obama second term, he is an America loving family man who just had some bad luck i am sure four more years will make a big improvement?

I say NO!
Bash the Lyin kING bloody then drive a stake through the heart of the Progressive beast!
metaphorically speaking of course.

Say was that drone flyin over my house just scoping out my termater farm, lookin for cow pee, or spying on me? Just askin!

ConcealedKerry on June 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

I’m not to worried that Team Romney won’t know how to handle Axle…they’ve done a fine job so far. And Romney doesnt have to say a thing…isn’t that what Super PAC’s are for…?

lovingmyUSA on June 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Did Brit Hume advise the Mccain campaign?
ConcealedKerry on June 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Strategy has nothing to do with this; it’s just a bald statement of fact. Obama HAS to go negative, because he has nothing else.

Last time around, Barack [Middle Name Deleted] Obama could play an incredibly bizarre shell game with absolutely every aspect of his life and “career.” He was allowed to just put two completely ephemeral and prospective notions out for the public to evaluate him by: hope and change.

But he can’t hide what he’s done the past three years. That only leaves two accomplishments for Obama to brag about now: jack and squat.

Everything else will be absolutely nothing but attacks against “The Evil George Romney McHitler.” That’s not a suggestion; it’s not even a prediction. It’s a fact.

logis on June 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Did he take off Wednesday?

JPeterman on June 5, 2012 at 1:50 PM

He had to. He was just exhausted from slaving away for a country full of bumpkins who don’t understand that he’s a genius and knows what’s best.
It’s the lack of appreciation that’s raggin’ him out.

Poor guy.

///s///

Solaratov on June 5, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Obama actually has 2 paths:

1. Run a positive campaign, showing you are the President. This involves touting your accomplishments (which contrary to what many of think, President Obama has “accomplishments” that he can tout) and providing a vision for where he wants to take this country over the next 4 years. The only mention of Romney is a contrast in visions and deals only with policy.

2. Run a negative campign, getting in the mud. This involves ignoring accomplishments, not talking about the next 4 years, and seeking only to scare voters by smearing Romney and telling people how bad the world would be if Romney became President.

Obama has chosen to follow the second path, however, he did not have to choose this path.

milcus on June 5, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Yes, it’s a no gloat zone. In fact, the only way Romney is going to pull this out is if Romney gets caustic super-negative.

Advice from an Obama supporter or someone who is just plain clueless?

Basilsbest on June 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

I am not an O supporter. See my blog if you want to judge how clueless I am.
I know McCain had a Mr Nice Guy campaign. Those that advise Romney to go in that direction are misdirecting. And when we may get a slight margin of error lead we may get complacent, and by October it will be too late. The thing is that being seen as a “negative campaigner” is not considered a negative in the eyes of voters. How could you, Basisbest, advise Romney to go nice when it is mudslinging that wins? Mudsling now. You have to tar the opposition with ugly mudslings daily: collateral damage to yourself (Mitt) is minimal. Go for it.
I have to say it as plainly as possible, to be forward and obvious. I have to speak over the politically correct and those with a “gentile temperament.” Mitt needs to get caustic super negative. Otherwise, the lovey-dovey feeling about Obama will likely prevail, I’m afraid. You’ve got to preemptively demolish the potentiality of that feeling.
Mudsling. That’s what beat Kerry, and McCain. O is heading for a victory lap unless we take him down, imho.

anotherJoe on June 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Basilsbest on June 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

You, and FlaMurph right behind you, make Goebbels proud.

If he wore the ascot his demeanor suggests, would you like him then?

verbaluce on June 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

No, I never liked him, I just like him now less than ever. I detest snotholes.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Did he take off Wednesday?

JPeterman on June 5, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Don’t know about last Wed.

However, even though calendar is empty, you’ll see him in LA tomorrow, again, and in Vegas on Thursday.

He needs the artists and the fools.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Going to have to go? Everything about 0 has been negative.

Bmore on June 5, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Correction, almost everything.

Bmore on June 5, 2012 at 4:50 PM

No, I never liked him, I just like him now less than ever. I detest snotholes.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 4:10 PM

.

Schrutenfreude !! Chill out dude ! Its ONLY entertainment !!!

FlaMurph on June 5, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Monday, Memorial Day photo

Tuesday, insult the Poles with “Polish death camps”

Thursday, Axelrod makes a fool out of himself

Friday, clueless campaign video/bad jobs numbers, does 6 fundraisers.

Did he take off Wednesday?

JPeterman on June 5, 2012 at 1:50 PM

…come on JP! JugEar’s has to work Saturday and Sunday at golf!
Like, for everybody else…Wednesday is HUMP day!
JugEar’s gets a geh day off! (:->)

KOOLAID2 on June 5, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Of all the establishment who brung Mitt, I hate Hume the most.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Mitt won the primary. You know, an election? It’s not like John McCain and Olympia Snow were in the polling booth looking over the public’s shoulders.

So, when you bitch about the “establishment” selecting Mitt, the establishment is the people.

WeekendAtBernankes on June 5, 2012 at 4:56 PM

How did Hume know angryed and Honda have made themselves scarce?

WeekendAtBernankes on June 5, 2012 at 4:57 PM

I have to say it as plainly as possible, to be forward and obvious. I have to speak over the politically correct and those with a “gentile temperament.” Mitt needs to get caustic super negative. Otherwise, the lovey-dovey feeling about Obama will likely prevail, I’m afraid. You’ve got to preemptively demolish the potentiality of that feeling.
Mudsling. That’s what beat Kerry, and McCain. O is heading for a victory lap unless we take him down, imho.

anotherJoe on June 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM

..Joe, I think you are conflating Romney’s approach with the John McCain paddy-cake approach in 2008. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. McCain completely rolled over and played dead perhaps, as some speculate, because he was almost afraid to stand in the way of the First Black POTUS.

Whatevs; he was a nutless wonder.

Hume, much to beloved schadenfreude’s disgust, nailed it when he said that folks are looking for some one to provide solutions, NOT to confirm their opinions about Obama’s lack of abilities.

Romney is attacking Obama by pointing out what a hopeless incompetent he is as well as offering people his (Romney’s) ability to solve the nation’s problems on the basis of his past considerable business and government experience.

Also, as evidenced in the primaries, there will be a formidable array of PACS firing daily, if not hourly, broadsides against the SCOAMF.

By the way, I checked out your blog that has apparently lain fallow since mid-September 2010. (You should bring that up to date. You write well.) You were spot on re the Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman campaigns. THERE THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SOME MORE FIRE! I worked my asss off for Fiorina and felt with a little more zest, she might have dumped that stupid old woman, Box-a-Rocks. Dunno about you, but I worked out of the O.C. office and found later that the guy that ran that was a professional campaign operative and later hired onto a Dem campaign.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

The War Planner on June 5, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Chill out dude ! Its it’s ONLY entertainment !!!

FlaMurph on June 5, 2012 at 4:51 PM

It w/b, if it were. You have no idea how much fun it c/b.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 5:00 PM

The Obama campaign has burned through most of their toolbox and its all backfired, what’s left except the kind of slash and burn that hurts the President as much (worse) as it does Romney? Not much.

I love the smell of terrified democrats, smells like..Victory, for America.

Speakup on June 5, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

The War Planner on June 5, 2012 at 4:58 PM

R omeo
I ndia
N ovember
O scar

in sheep’s clothing

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Th

APACHEWHOKNOWS on June 5, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Enjoy

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Enjoy

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Enjoy what ?

yada yada yada….same ol same ol

Regurgitated talking points do not make for good entertainment.

Rerun.

FlaMurph on June 5, 2012 at 5:27 PM

FlaMurph on June 5, 2012 at 5:27 PM

You like to be antagonistic – this actually was in your favor.

It had great points on WI and against Oaf in Chief, yet you attacked me. Maybe you need to open the gray cells.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 5:30 PM

It had great points on WI and against Oaf in Chief, yet you attacked me. Maybe you need to open the gray cells.

Schadenfreude on June 5, 2012 at 5:30 PM

.
Attack is a rather harsh word. I will plead – induced data overload.

Maybe I read, hear on radio and see too much on the telly – but there was nothing new or anything I hadn’t heard yet- I always enjoy Krisiten though. The snippet montage, although reinforcing as it is, goes along the lines of what awesome Britt was saying…. that I (a voter) don’t need my opinions confirmed.

Solutions are my drug.

FlaMurph on June 5, 2012 at 5:51 PM

EXIT POLLS SHOW WALKER HOLDING SEAT

By 5

Resist We Much on June 5, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Bill O’Reilly is a goofball.

Tzetzes on June 5, 2012 at 7:55 PM

The War Planner on June 5, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Thanks, for your comment, and checking out my blog. I’ll read yours as well.
Anyway, I get your point on the difference between Mitt & McCain. Yet, I think either way the cost to our candidate of being seen as a negative campaigner is generally way overestimated, as it is minimal to none. People understand that that is the nature of this game. So why not go after Obama with a vengeance? It’s a no lose, win win proposition.

anotherJoe on June 5, 2012 at 8:04 PM

I am half way through “The Amateur”
Fantastic read.

It will be almost impossible for Romney to sound negative. Every thing Obama is or has done is so idiotic and amateurish.

I hope Romney just stays as positive as he can and lets the surrogates point out Obama’s record which is ultimately very negative.

The contrast between these two candidates is so extreme that it boggles the mind.

esnap on June 6, 2012 at 1:39 AM

Obama’s going to lose this election if it’s a referendum on his record

A fact that I shouted from the rooftops all through the primaries. As long as we selected the candidate who was acceptable as a POTUS, and we did, this election will be a judgment of Obama’s term.

MJBrutus on June 6, 2012 at 4:58 AM

His advisors should tell him to move quickly to the center, approve Keystone, extend Bush tax cuts, and stop the daily campaigning. Sure looks like the un-presential Obama has pressed the panic button.

Amazingoly on June 6, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Hey Brit!

America will not be held to ransom by anybody.

It must not stand.

It will not stand.

Enslaved? or Free?

If given a choice between freedom and enslavement, most people choose to be free.

In fact, our forefathers risked their lives to avoid enslavement.

It was through life or death challenge that our nation was created by men and women of strong character who gave credit to God for their success.

“In short, we must now determine to be enslaved or free. If we make freedom our choice, we must obtain it by the blessing of Heaven on our united and vigorous efforts.”

(George Washington, August, 1776). Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.” The choice is the age old battle between good and evil or truth and deception.

Today the gulf between freedom and enslavement is gaping open and some are choosing enslavement through willful inattentiveness or unabashed greed for power and money.

Daniel Webster knew of the inherent danger of “inattention of the people to the concerns of the government, from their carelessness and negligence.” He said, “I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing.”

We live in a time of crisis.

If this tyrant gets the right crisis, he will use it to confiscate our firearms and he will say, “Everybody must turn in your guns… for your own safety.”

And whoever doesn’t… well, they will be labeled a terrorist and detained indefinitely under the NDAA that he just passed, which allows indefinite detention of Americans without a trial. This move is calculated and this man cannot wait to use his executive orders to fundamentally ‘change’ America into a communist dictatorship.

What happened in other countries in the past can happen here.

We are not immune to political corruption.

It is happening here and you live in denial. A crisis will happen in which the Council of 10 Governors (signed in January 2010 by BO) will take the National Guard away from the governor of each state, as prescribed by the Constitution, and be under the control of the executive branch.

The Council of 10 Governors is a tyrants wet dream, simply because the country is divided up among 10 people that Obama chooses who answers directly to him, and places our National Guard units under his command instead of being commanded by each states Governor
(as prescribed by the Constitution).

It truly burns this man up that the Constitution limits his power.

He will not let the next crisis go to waste. It is the oldest trick in the book..

Divide and Conquer.

Never has our Nation been confronted with a critical choice as we face today.

A Trojan horse has been wheeled into the highest position in our country under the auspices of smooth talking “change.” Czars and members of congress without ethics or morals have jumped out of the Trojan horse to reveal themselves as enemies of the Constitution.

Elected representatives who have vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution are destroying the structure of our country as they vote in favor of legislative bills that kill free enterprise and private property rights in favor of government control over private decisions.

These elected elitists refuse to listen to average Americans, their constituents, whom they disdainfully label as “right wing nuts.”

Greed and power prevail over common sense while bribery and coercion in exchange for legislative favors are practiced.

Sensible policies that have made our country strong and successful are being thrown out to be replaced with unparalleled debts to foreign countries, government seizures and closings of private businesses.

Freedom of speech is threatened by the practice of propaganda, political correctness, internet censorship, spying, and media control.

Truth is distorted, omitted or denied. Patriots who question the new policies are placed on watch lists with the label of “questionable characters.”

Capt-Dax on June 6, 2012 at 5:50 PM

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