And here comes the turn

July 24, 2012

The Obama campaign's assault on Mitt Romney has proceeded in phases. The most recent phase has been the attack on Bain Capital and Romney's taxes, which culminated in this devastating attack ad:

The next phase, Obama campaign insiders say, is the policy argument. Now that people understand Romney's background, it will be easier for them to believe his policy agenda, which cuts taxes on the rich while cutting spending on Medicare and Medicaid. And it arguably begins with this ad, which is less negative than it is descriptive:

I would love to hear what, if anything, Romney's supporters believe to be inaccurate in that ad. Meanwhile, the Romney campaign is taking aim at Obama's "you didn't build that" remarks:

There's an interesting interplay between these two spots. Obama is accusing Romney of wanting to give too much to the most successful. Romney is accusing Obama of being insufficiently appreciative of the most successful.

On some fundamental level, in other words, the two campaigns agree on the broad narrative of this race, and are even reinforcing the other's messaging. Romney isn't trying to show that he doesn't want to do more to reward the rich -- he's building a philosophical case for it. And Obama isn't trying to show that he doesn't believe the rich should be giving more back -- he's doubling down on the policy behind "you didn't build that."

The question that I'm still looking to see answered is how does the Romney campaign sell its policy agenda in a way that persuades voters that it's something different than what we saw in the Bush years?

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Sarah Kliff | July 24, 2012