Via RCP, the quick turnaround is impressive but I don’t see what the rush was. It was just this morning that Romney unloaded on Plouffe for his dopey “insight” about how voters don’t vote based on the unemployment rate. Six hours later, Team Mitt’s already got this up at YouTube and keyed to a petition posted at Romney’s website. There should be ads made about what Plouffe said — many, many ads — but this is too minimalist to get traction online, especially on a slow Friday night. Unless the idea was to rush something out to make the Sunday morning chat shows pay attention, they were better off waiting and putting out something more dramatic/elaborate. Hopefully they’ll do that anyway. If nothing else, they succeeded in irritating Axelrod. Maybe that was the real aim here — to elevate Romney by baiting the White House into a war of words.
Since the left is hyperventilating about everyone having supposedly “distorted” what Plouffe said, I’ll be a sport and note that Romney’s not quoting him exactly here. Plouffe’s words:
“The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Plouffe said, according to Bloomberg. “People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’”
Mitt’s translation: “Unemployment rates do not matter to the average American.” Strictly speaking, Plouffe didn’t say that they don’t matter, just that they won’t determine how people vote. Which, of course, is laughably untrue: Even a voter who feels okay about his own “situation” will look at the trend in unemployment to gauge the likelihood of his situation becoming not so okay if we continue down the path of Hopenchange. A Fox News poll taken a few weeks ago found 94 percent have a negative view of economic conditions, which means even Americans whose “situation” includes a job are panicked. Ace points to another poll conducted last month by Pew claiming 61 percent see their own “situation” as just fair or poor. With the way unemployment is going, unless you have an unusual degree of job security (i.e. unless you work for the government), why would you rate it any better than that? In fact, Dave Weigel dug up a killer quote from Plouffe’s own book on the 2008 campaign stressing how, when you’re saddled with a bad campaign narrative on the economy, you should be very, very careful not to say something dumb that might reinforce it. Consider this narrative reinforced.