On Sunday, Newark Mayor Cory Booker told the country on “Meet The Press” that the president’s attacks on Bain were “nauseating.” If that wasn’t bad enough, the Obama campaign dug itself deeper by trying to clean up the mess. Booker was obliged to record a four-minute video that didn’t make things much better, as Politico noted. He didn’t renounce, and indeed he repeated, his assertion that negative ads were nauseating.
So the Obama campaign edited what will surely be hereafter called the “Booker hostage video” into a 35-second video that left out the continued criticism of negative campaigning. In sum, as Politico’s Dylan Byers writers:
What gets lost in the edit is the nuance of Booker’s argument. Watching the 35-second video, you would believe that Booker was flip-flopping from his comments on Meet The Press and going on an all-out assault on Romney. In the four-minute video, Booker stands by his comments -- including “nauseating” -- and explains that while he does think Romney’s record is fair game, he remains “frustrated” by the Obama campaign’s negative attacks.
Let’s count the ways Obama’s team has messed this up.
First, the original Bain attack ad was weak, easily rebutted because Romney was not at the steel company at the time of the layoffs depicted in the ad. To make matters worse, the day the ad was released Obama was fundraising among his group of investment bankers, resulting in widespread ridicule in the media. And don’t forget Obama’s former car czar also blasted the ad.
Then along comes Booker and his forced recantation. That only highlighted his searing indictment on “MTP.” Because it wasn’t, in the Obama team’s view, sufficiently convincing, it necessitated the edit. This clown show resembles more a Communist propaganda operation (shall Booker next be airbrushed out of all photos with Obama?) than a supposedly formidable presidential campaign.
The Bain attack now is largely in tatters, savaged by Democrats who don’t want to be the Occupy political party, by the media (which has begun to denigrate the Obama team’s prowess) and of course, by Romney, who has turned the tables comparing his real experience in the private sector with Obama’s crony capitalism.
This is one more “shiny object” gambit (e.g. “war on women,” gay marriage) gone wrong. Not only has Obama utterly failed to stain Romney or distract the public from the economy, but he also seems to have convinced even the previously sympathetic media that his campaign is both desperate and inept.
The Obama team has come to resemble Wile E Coyote — each silly plot intended to wipe out his adversary blows up in the plotter’s face. Moreover, with the hyperspeed of a New Media-era campaign Obama is burning through his negative attacks with lightning speed. By July he might actually have to talk about some of the issues.