The Obama campaign is opening a new front in its war against GOP rival Mitt Romney, ABC News has learned, with planned attacks to begin this week on Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts and the campaign promises Democrats say he left unfulfilled.
Team Obama will point to Romney’s rhetoric on job creation, size of government, education, deficits and taxes during the 2002 gubernatorial campaign and draw parallels with his presidential stump speeches of 2012. The goal is to illustrate that Romney has made the same promises before with unimpressive results, officials say…
The strategy is a shifting of gears for Team Obama which had spent the past few weeks hammering Romney for his business record at Bain Capital. The attacks had come under fire from some Democrats as being possibly too negative, too soon, while Republicans decried what they called a double standard for Obama’s treatment of private equity executives.
Ah, charges of unfulfilled promises from President Barack “If I don’t have this done in three years, then this is going to be a one-term proposition” Obama, the man who pledged who cut the deficit in half in his first term, the man who criticized Hillary Clinton’s proposal for a mandate requiring Americans to purchase health insurance, is going to hit his opponent on broken promises.
Four years ago this week, Obama said — with profound humility, he assured us — that future generations would look back and say, “this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick, and jobs for the jobless, this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and the earth began to heal . . .” and now he tells us to beware of politicians bearing grandiose promises.
Obama 2012: Stick with the broken promises you know.
“C’mon. Let’s get real,” an exasperated David Axelrod, Obama’s top campaign strategist, said when asked if Obama’s attacks are boomeranging. “Romney’s been beating us up in a very direct and personal way for a year. This is a guy who’s offering himself to the country as a kind of economic savior, as a wizard. It behooves us to pull the curtain back, and that’s what we’re going to do.”…
But several top Democrats interviewed by POLITICO said Obama’s recent attacks — including his long defense, at a press conference in Chicago last week, of his decision to target Bain — may further damage a hope-and-change persona already dented by three years of partisan combat and economic turmoil…
“Obama’s got this Reagan thing going, the 1983, 1984 dynamic — he’s personally popular even though people aren’t personally enthralled with his policies or performance,” said Frank Luntz, a veteran Republican pollster who thinks Romney’s lack of personal appeal guarantees a deadlocked race until the end. “But his campaign has gone very negative, and at some point, people are going to stop giving him the benefit of the doubt.”…
“The danger for Obama in these attacks on Romney is that he starts sounding like other pols, and people just start hitting the ‘mute’ button,” [Peter Brown] added. “When you stand behind the glass and watch a focus group, you hear independents say things like, ‘He seems like a nice guy, but why is he throwing all of these shots at Romney?’”
The picture Heilemann draws is of [Obama] campaign managers whose assumptions have been proved wrong and who seem to be fooling themselves about what will work in the campaign.
One assumption that has been proved wrong is that the Obama campaign would raise $1 billion and that, as in 2008, far more money would be spent for Democrats than Republicans…
As for fooling themselves, I have to wonder whether the Obama people were spoofing Heilemann at points. He quotes Plouffe as saying. “Let’s be clear what [Romney] would do as president,” and then summarizes: “Potentially abortion will be criminalized. Women will be denied contraceptive services. He’s far right on immigration. He supports efforts to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage.”
These claims don’t seem sustainable to me.
Obama wants to cast Romney as a return to Bush. It’s nearly the only argument he knows how to make. Romney, in my opinion, should turn the tables on Obama and make Obama defend his continuation of Bush’s spending binge (If Romney wanted to be really cruel, he could make the case Obama has continued many of Bush’s counter-terror policies as well). Romney has the luxury of being the outsider. He can criticize both parties’ records over the last decade. The tea parties won’t complain. Neither will independents. And, so long as Romney is respectful in how he frames his criticisms of GOP spending under Bush, most rank and file Republicans and movement conservatives will probably applaud as well.
Meanwhile, watching Obama try to deal with an “anti-Bush” opponent will hilarious.
“They are going after Solyndra,” he continued. “Americans don’t care. I’m sorry. I care about Solyndra, you care about Solyndra. Americans don’t care about Solyndra any more than they care about what Mitt Romney did 87 years ago with Bain Capital. They care about getting back to work, Carl. That’s a stupid ad.”
Bernstein agreed, adding that the ad reflects who Romney is: an opportunist.