The President’s Strategy: “Kill” Romney

The President’s Strategy: “Kill” Romney August 9, 2011

I almost didn’t use the word “kill” in the headline, but it’s right here in this Politico article:

Barack Obama’s aides and advisers are preparing to center the president’s reelection 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 reelection 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.

Of course, this is not a terrible surprise.  I mean, we know that the President’s mishandling of the economy is driving many of his former supporters right into the arms of the candidate who has demonstrated his fiscal responsibility time and time again.  Before he ran for Governor, he helped  launch the very successful Bain Capital — which helped launch such successful franchises as Staples and the Sports Authority — and then led a turnaround at Bain Consulting. He also saved the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City which, prior to his leadership, were mired in debt and corruption but subsequently became one of the most successfully-run Games in memory.  And then, he turned around debt ridden Massachusetts!

Obama plans to paint an ugly picture of his most likely opponent.

So, I get why the President is worried:

“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.

While the strategy is understandable, it’s sad that they’re going to try to make Gov. Romney — a successful businessman, leader, husband, and father — appear “weird,” and “out of touch” and…  wait for it…  wait for it…  a flip flopper.  However, be ready for the onslaught.  And instead of giving credence to the White House’s accusations, just take it as a compliment.

They are horrified and scared.  And with an unemployment rate at 9.2%, they should be.

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  • Jacob Bryant

    Nancy, thanks for your post. There are several questions that come to mind –

    How do you think the public would receive a critique of Romney’s work at Bain Capital? While a wildly successful company, their tactics for making companies profitable were and are pretty aggressive and likely uncomfortable to Americans in an environment of high unemployment.

    Also, how credible is Politico? It seems unlikely that their sources are really very central to the Obama campaign because (1) the campaign is pretty tight and (2) articulating this as a campaign strategy is pretty inflammatory.

  • Is this political strategy qualitatively different from Romney’s strategy of personal attacks on Obama’s character (e.g., summary here)? It doesn’t seem so to me. If one is sad (or, sad or not, run-of-the-mill politicking), it seems like the other is too.

    Also, Romney’s economic record is more of a mixed bag than you have portrayed in this post (e.g. link, link, link).

  • I must have botched the link that I intended to include as a summary of Romney’s attacks on Obama.

    Here it is: link


  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney blamed President Barack Obama Monday morning for Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade U.S. debt, saying the nation risks losing its sovereignty if it does not take “corrective action!”

  • Thanks, will check out!

  • Lets wait and see if he even faces Romney. Until then, if we are concerned about civility there are still plenty of Republicans yacking on about the “socialist, Muslim, not really a citizen Obama” in the here and now….