The Obama campaign released a new ad this morning attacking Mitt Romney over his “Swiss bank account.” The spot will be widely seen as the most direct and negative assault on Romney’s background yet, and it’s certainly an effort to define the challenger early on with an attack on his profiteering and wealth.
But the ad is more than that — it’s also the beginning of an effort to draw a stark contrast between the two candidate’s visions of the economy and the future — a contrast the Obama team hopes will be central to the campaign:
The ad, which will air in Ohio, Virginia and Iowa, is about pivoting off Romney’s moneymaking to make a larger point: That Romney’s vision of the economy ensures a future founded on a flimsy foundation of corporate profits driven by tax breaks and risky deals. The Obama campaign will contrast this relentlessly with Obama’s message that rebuilding a stable middle class is the route to a secure economic future. The sharp clash of visions is designed to sow doubts among swing voters about whether a President Romney would truly have the economic security of middle class Americans at heart. It’s all about turning Romney into the walking embodiment of the type of economic behavior that led to the meltdown.
The spot also suggests that the Obama campaign will make green energy — and the role it should play in strengthening the economy and the country — more central to the campaign than expected.
* The overlap between private equity and the Romney campaign: The New York Times has an interesting scoop this morning, reporting that in 2008, Romney’s son and a top Romney campaign fundraiser founded a private equity fund with money from investors who were also bankrolling Romney’s last presidential run. The Times calls the overlap “potentially nettlesome,” given the “widespread presumption” that Romney would get the GOP nomination four years later.
Also: Tagg Romney’s firm got a $10 million start-up loan from Mitt and Ann Romney, which is interesting in light of Romney’s recent suggestion to students: “borrow money from your parents.”
* Will Romney support the Paycheck Fairness Act? Steve Benen gets right to the heart of the dilemma:
Romney refused to state a firm opinion on the Violence Against Women Act, and he’s said even less about the Paycheck Fairness Act....If he sides with Democrats in support of the measure, Romney undercuts his allies on Capitol Hill, as well as friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is lobbying to kill the bill. If he sticks with this party, Romney risks exacerbating the already-large gender gap, taking yet another position that’s hostile towards women’s interests.
* What’s Romney’s position on Paycheck Fairness? As of Friday, the Romney campaign wouldn’t reveal his position on this pending legislation, and presumably news orgs will soon begin to press for an answer to this question.
* The justification for touting Bin Laden killing: Chris Cillizza and Rachel Weiner make the case: Obama’s order of the Bin Laden raid goes directly to the heart of his capacity as a decisionmaker, which is central to Obama’s argument for a second term — and Obama’s decisions about the economy are central to the GOP’s case against him.
* Romney “applauds” Obama’s decision: On the anniversary of Bin Laden’s killing, Romney’s statement says: “I commend all those who planned and conducted the bin Laden raid, and I applaud President Obama for giving the go ahead for the mission.”
Just yesterday, Romney said that any president, “even Jimmy Carter,” would have done the same. It’s still unclear why the only one deemed to be taking a political risk in this dispute is Obama.
* Would Romney have ordered Bin Laden killing? Romney has laughed off the question, but Jon Ward makes a good point: Romney’s 2007 criticism of Obama for saying he’d send troops into Pakistan without permission may well have precluded Romney from giving the order Obama gave.
* The argument over Bin Laden and torture heats up: Scott Shane explains the latest turn in the dispute: Democratic Senators who are about to release a three-year probe of the torture program adamantly insist that it played no role in the capture and killing of Bin Laden. If and when the probe’s details are released, it will inject the argument over torture into the highly charged political battle over Bin Laden that has erupted in the presidential race.
A question that’s still unanswered: Would President Romney overturn Obama’s executive order banning non-coercive techniques?
* Romney’s moral challenge on immigration: As the Post editorial board notes, if Romney is really going to moderate on immigration, it would be nice to see him acknowledge the truth about the need for a DREAM Act:
it would be nice if his shape-shifting were paired with some truth-telling: that illegal immigrants have vitalized the economy by doing jobs Americans don’t want; that it’s unfair, and antithetical to American values, to penalize immigrant children for the sins of their parents; and that eventually the nation will have to forge a solution for all 11 million illegal immigrants that does not rest on the fantasy of mass deportation — enforced or voluntary.
* And Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown trade “hypocrisy” charges: Dems are excited about this new Globe story reporting that Senator Browh’s daughter is benefiting from the very same Obamacare Brown would repeal. Republicans, meanwhile, are circulating this story detailing Warren’s role in representing an insurer in a big aesbestos case.
The dueling “hypocrisy” charges illustate again the centrality of bio and character in this race, and the urgency with which Republicans are trying to prevent Warren from clearing a likability threshold.