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Mitt Romney plays into Democrats’ looming rich-guy attacks

at 12:58 PM ET, 02/01/2012

Mitt Romney insisted in his victory speech Tuesday in Florida that a prolonged Republican presidential race wouldn’t hurt his party.

But the longer the former Massachusetts governor has to campaign, the more ammunition he’s giving Democrats, at least when it comes to potential footage that could be used to paint him as an out-of-touch rich guy in the general election.

And that appears to be precisely the argument President Obama’s team is prepared to make.

Romney’s assertion Wednesday morning on CNN that he’s “not concerned about the very poor” because they have a social safety net is the latest quote that Democrats can — and likely will — put to good use during the fall campaign, should Romney emerge as the GOP nominee.


Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney celebrates his Florida primary election win at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday. (Charles Dharapak — Associated Press)

But it’s not the first time Romney has served them a quote or a clip on a silver platter.

At two points in the campaign, Romney has described his desire to fire people — first a health insurance provider and then a hypothetical adviser who told him a moon colony was a good idea. That context aside, both could be very unhelpful sound bites for someone whose biggest liability may lie with people laid off by Bain Capital.

In the same vein is Romney’s “corporations are people” argument at the Iowa State Fair. And then there’s the time he defended banks.

And let’s not forget the time when Romney offered Texas Gov. Rick Perry a $10,000 bet at a debate, or the time he only had $100 bills in his wallet and needed an aide to hand him a single, or the time he gave an unemployed woman a $50 bill (who carries around $50 bills?).

We’ve written before on this blog about whether it matters that Romney is rich.

And we’ve also noted that some of the richest presidents are some of our more beloved presidents, including George Washington.

Romney’s liability, though, seems to be in how often he reinforces his wealth and appears out of touch with average Americans. And the more concise he makes those moments, the better it is for Obama’s team.

The footage described above has been used in more piecemeal fashion by Romney’s GOP opponents, who may be more wary of being accused of class warfare.

President Obama’s team, on the other hand, has shown far less hesitance to make this election about rich guys doing their part for the country. And in fact, that seems to be one of the prevailing messages of Democrats’ and the president’s public rhetoric these days — not to mention the entire Occupy Wall Street movement.

“I think we saw the outlines of the 2012 campaign starting with last week’s State of the Union — heavy emphasis on fairness,” said Democratic pollster Fred Yang.

It’s a message which seems tailor-made for a matchup with Romney.

And Romney is giving them ammo.

 
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