At the same time, Obama’s team is compiling data to defend his record, such as a Congressional Budget Office report showing that the stimulus raised employment by millions of jobs and testimony from economists that the legislation helped end the Great Recession. Democratic strategists say voters are more apt to see Romney as untrustworthy than to question the president’s leadership.
“Four years ago on Iowa caucus night, the president promised to make health care affordable and accessible for all Americans, put a middle-class tax cut in the pockets of working Americans, start to free us from our dependence on foreign oil and end the war in Iraq — promises that have been fulfilled,” said Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt. “Compare that to a candidate like Mitt Romney, who has been on both sides of every key issue and will say anything to try to hide that he was a corporate buyout specialist who bankrupted companies and fired workers and a governor with the third-worst job-creation record in the country.”
GOP officials are set to roll out new attacks in the coming days, starting Tuesday on caucus day in Iowa with a new video showing clips from Obama’s victory speech there four years ago. The RNC will buy TV ad time in select battleground-state markets within weeks.
Once a nominee is established, the strategy book will then serve as a turnkey battle plan as the campaign and RNC staff begin close coordination.
A Romney win should make for an easy transition, as the book’s primary author, Joe Pounder, a 28-year-old specialist in the political dark arts and the RNC’s research director, is a former Romney campaign aide. And Romney appears to already have adopted the same approach — often quoting Obama directly and even visiting venues where Obama spoke as a candidate or as president.
Last summer, Romney spoke at a now-shuttered Allentown, Pa., metal works factory that Obama had hailed a year earlier before it closed as a symbol of his economic success. The event was accompanied by a video, called “Obama Isn’t Working,” depicting images of the visit coupled with a year-after picture of the abandoned factory floor.
Last week, Romney spoke in Davenport, Iowa, down the street from the spot where Obama gave one of his last pre-caucus campaign speeches four years earlier.
“He closed with these words: ‘This is our moment. This is our time,’ ” Romney said. “Well, Mr. President, you have now had your moment. We have seen the results. . . . You have failed to deliver on the promises you made here in Davenport.”
Several Republican strategists said that striking the right tone in attacking Obama will be tricky, because many Americans, even if they disapprove of his job performance, still see the country’s first black president as a historic and admirable figure. Polls show that most people like him personally — making them more likely to discount traditional attack ads.