Some polls have shown that more Americans think Mitt Romney would be better on the economy than Barack Obama has been. Are voters already proving willing to accept the premise of Romney’s candidacy — that his business background has left him equipped to turn around a whole country faster than Obama has? I’ve theorized as much.
But another possibility is that many voters still see Romney as just a generic economic alternative to Obama — their willingness to accept that Romney can turn around the economy is rooted in their disillusionment with Obama for failing to do so as fast as they’d hoped.
Either way, Job One for the Obama campaign is to undermine what appears to be a widespread presumption of Romney’s economic competence, and ABC News reports that the Obama team is redoubling their efforts on this front, by launching a new and aggressive campaign targeting Romney’s economic tenure as Massachusetts governor:
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 latest line of attack will be a major focus from now through the election.
This again points to Obama’s core challenge. Romney wants the election to be all about the President. As Steve Kornacki put it recently, Romney’s pitch is: “If you don’t think the economy’s in good shape, don’t ask questions – just vote the guy in charge out.” Obama needs to persuade voters to do more than simply accept Romney as an alternative to the economic status quo who’s worth taking a flyer on. He needs to get them to look past general impressions of Romney’s competence and to realize that Romney is offering an actual set of policies and ideas about the economy that have been tried before. His “Mr. Fix It” aura — which is rooted in the pitch that he can translate private sector know-how to the public sector — is belied by his actual record as a public official.
The point the Obama campaign needs to drive home is that Romney has already tried to bring his private sector experience to bear on the public sector, even if he isn’t eager to talk about it. Hence the broadening of the case against Romney that we’re about to see.
* Dems amplify case against Romney’s Massachusetts tenure: The DNC’s new Web video features footage of Romney’s Republican rivals mocking his job creation record as Governor — and pairs it with his tone deaf remarks about liking to fire people — another sign that his Massachusetts tenure is becoming more central to the Dem effort to undermine presumptions of Romney’s economic competence.
* Another Bain talking points crashes and burns: Post fact checker Glenn Kessler demolishes the latest Romney/GOP Bain talking point: That eighty percent of the companies Bain invested in grew, proving Romney was a job creator.
There’s really no end to the dissembling here. Romney and his allies previously have made a series of ever shifting claims about the number of jobs that were “created” by Bain, whether it’s been “over 100,000,” “tens of thousands,” or mere “thousands.” Despite getting called out by fact checkers, Romney keeps doing this — which suggests he won’t be dropping the 80 percent figure anytime soon, either.
* Dems grapple with strategy for debt limit fight: A dynanmic worth watching: Dems are struggling to decide how hard a line to draw in the coming standoff over the debt ceiling, and are unsure whether to demand a “clean” hike or to agree to some spending cuts while also demanding that Republicans agree to tax hikes on the rich.
Note Dem Rep. Peter Welch’s point: By dropping their demand for a clean hike last time around, Dems have effectively ensured that they’ll be fighting this battle again mostly on GOP turf. Meanwhile, Republicans again have already signaled a hard line at the outset.
* Massive turnout expected in Wisconsin: Via Taegan Goddard, Wisconsin election officials are expecting that at least 60 percent of voters will turn out in next weeks election over whether to recall Scott Walker, far higher than the 49 percent who turned out in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
I’ve registered my skepticism of the chances of recalling Walker before, but this again underscores the folly of declaring this race over, particularly since labor and Dems may mount a superior turnout operation.
* Both sides revving up their bases in Wisconsin: Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing: Virtually all Wisconsinites have already made up their minds about Walker, and it will all turn on which side has done a better job of whipping up their respective bases and getting their voters to the polls.
* Scott Walker’s recall hypocrisy: Walker and Republicans regularly blast Dems for pursuing his recall by arguing that they are merely refusing to accept the results of the 2010 election. But as John Nicols notes, Walker himself has repeatedly spoken of recalls in a positive way in the past, and has even suggested that they are a legitimate way to litigate political differences.
* A tough question for Elizabeth Warren detractors: David Bernstein poses exactly the right question: In what way does the “controversy” over Warren’s Native American heritage actually compromise her integrity, and why on earth should it make people less inclined to vote for her?
Has anyone actually proven that Warren personally benefitted in any meaningful way from touting that heritage, real or not, and if not, what exactly is the scandal here?
* Why Donald Trump matters: Alex Roarty makes a smart point: The problem isn’t Trump himself. The problem is that the forces within the GOP that have driven Romney to join forces with him will persist long after the media’s latest fixation with Trump disappears.
* And the Trump circus won’t end: Nice catch by Christian Heinze: On Fox News, Trump repeatedly insisted that we have no “good, solid proof” that Obama was born in the U.S., but then refused to say what would actually constitute “good, solid proof.”
The Trump circus shows no signs of abating — he will continue to bang his birther drum, and the media will continue amplifying it. But Romney still hasn’t distanced himself from Trump, perhaps because it could only make the circus worse and trigger still more unpredictable tirades from his leading surrogate and fundraiser.