“Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago,” Romney said while campaigning in Ohio. [The Hill]
“Well I think, if you look at the ads that have been described and the divisiveness based upon income, age, ethnicity and so forth, it’s designed to bring a sense of enmity and jealously and anger. And this is not, in my view, what the American people want to see. I know what I’m running for. I’m running to get America working again, to get good jobs for people with more take-home pay. And the President seems to be running just to hang on to power. I think he’ll do anything in his power to try and get reelected. I want to get this country going again. That’s what brought me into the race. And hopefully we can have a debate about issues and of our differences on issues and contrast in that area. But these personal attacks, I think, are demeaning to the office of the White House and the comments yesterday by the Vice President, I think, just diminish the White House that much more.” – Mitt Romney
AFTER A PRIMARY season that included Republicans accusing Pres. Obama of not being an American, Mitt Romney’s outrage late Tuesday seemed surreal. But Mitt Romney has utilized the 2008 playbook of Obama from the start, playing the long game in the primaries, now shifting to the honor and integrity hill, because Romney himself has stayed out of the muck. That’s what surrogates were made for, especially those unconnected in any way with the campaign.
It was a perfect moment for the diminished hockey mom to start squealing.
“There weren’t enough groans and boos when he said such a disgusting comment, really, especially to a demographic there that was includes 48 percent of the community being black Americans,” Palin said Tuesday night. “Greta, if that’s not the nail of the coffin. Really the strategists there in the Obama campaign have got to look at a diplomatic way of replacing Joe Biden on the ticket with Hillary.” – Sarah Palin [Politico]
Equally outraged were the refs on “Morning Joe,” who couldn’t believe what Joe Biden said when he warned an audience that included African Americans that Romney-Ryan policies would “put y’all back in chains.” All that was missing between Joe Scarborough and Mark Halperin this morning was a vile of smelling salts to be passed between them. I won’t quote Willie Geist, because his only contribution to any conversation on this show is to fluff the stars.
It took Jonathan Capehart to remind the Republican apologists that Obama’s entire first term has been riddled with anti-American, un-American and down right treasonist accusations from Republicans, all aimed at Barack Obama because he wasn’t sufficiently red, white and blue.
Mitt Romney never personally engaged in this stuff, but he had no trouble standing next to Donald Trump at a time when he was railing at Obama about his birth certificate. This despicable charge went all the way down the Republican ranks with a wink and a nod, with very few leaders on the right saying it was wrong.
What Team Romney is doing is about character, which is a very crafty attack. Digging in on Pres. Obama on character issues, including Joe Biden, in order to bring them down to size is smart politics, though the current path is low. To strip away the mantle of presidential incumbency and the respect inherent in the office itself, so the contest is on a level playing field, is a good tactic in an overall strategy that’s all about raising Romney to presidential.
Character is the one angle that can hurt Obama the most and Team Romney and his band of surrogates have it in their sights and the barrage won’t end until it’s over.
From Ben Smith at Buzzfeed:
Romney’s strategy had been different: To simply stay out of Obama’s way as he fell. The race, his aides promised, would be a referendum on Obama; Romney was an obviously acceptable alternative, a success in the private and public sector who had avoided being pinned down on policy and, whatever his flaws, could hardly be labeled extreme. Obama, the focus-group tested story went, was a nice guy out of his depth. Romney was the solution.
The ferocity of Obama’s assault on Romney’s character had already rattled this plan. On June 18, after a top Obama aide suggested that he could be a “felon,” Romney dropped the “nice guy” line.
“[Romney] has said Obama’s a nice fellow, he’s just in over his head,” an adviser told BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins. “But I think the governor himself believes this latest round of attacks that have impugned his integrity and accused him of being a felon go so far beyond that pale that he’s really disappointed. He believes it’s time to vet the president. He really hasn’t been vetted; McCain didn’t do it.”
Whenever you hear anyone saying “it’s time to vet the president,” you should know by now what that really means. That it’s a line straight from Sean Hannity tells you the rest.
This post has been updated.