With regards to Mitt Romney’s renewed attack on President Obama’s economic stewardship, all of the focus seems to be on his assertion that “President Obama has never managed anything other than his own personal narrative.” There’s a little hypocrisy in the blow, given Romney’s complaint that Obama is waging a personal attack against him, but it’s far less important than what follows—-“[Obama] has never created a job and never run a business.”
After last week’s fight over Bain Capital, the Romney campaign is returning to safer ground with a renewed attack on Obama’s handling of the economy:
“President Obama has never managed anything other than his own personal narrative. He has never created a job and never run a business. President Obama not only doesn’t understand the economy - he also opposes the free-market principles that built it. His policies have prevented businesses from growing, thriving, and creating jobs, and he has no plans to change course.”
For political junkies, it’s easy to think that campaign tussles make a difference in presidential elections. Washington was consumed with the story of Mitt Romney the high school bully, but voters could care less—in a recent poll from ABC News and TheWashington Post, 90 percent said that it wouldn’t be a factor in their view of the GOP nominee. Likewise, the massive controversy over Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage has had zero effect on Massachusetts voters—69 percent say they simply don’t care.
In an interview with Time’s Mark Halperin today, Mitt Romney elaborates on his goals for economic growth in his first term. In particular, he hopes to see an unemployment rate of six percent:
I can’t possibly predict precisely what the unemployment rate will be at the end of one year. I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we put in place, we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent and perhaps a little lower. It depends in part upon the rate of growth of the globe, as well as what we’re seeing in the United States.
In my cover story for this month’s issue of the Prospect, I argued that it’s silly to expect moderation from Mitt Romney if he’s elected president. The former Massachusetts governor ran as a “severely” conservative politician in the Republican primaries, his policies are drawn from the right-wing social engineering of Paul Ryan, and in all likelihood, he’ll govern on those terms. Over at TheWashington Post, centrist extraordinaire Richard Cohen has, surprisingly, come to the same conclusion:
Depending on how you look, the most recent poll from ABC News and the Washington Post shows Obama in either a precarious position, or a decent one given the circumstances. If you’re inclined to take the former view, the evidence is clear: 55 percent of voters disapprove of how Obama is handling the economy, and 83 percent describe the economy as "not so good" or "poor." Thirty percent say they are not so well-off since Obama became president, and 47 percent say they trust Mitt Romney to handle the economy—a statistical tie with the president, and a sign that voters have faith in Romney’s ability to get things done.
Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown had an interesting op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times, where she criticized Obama for condescending to women voters in his attempt to gain their support:
It’s obvious why the president is doing a full-court press for the vote of college-educated women in particular. The Republican primaries probably did turn some women away. Rick Santorum did his party no favors when he spoke about women in combat[…]; when he described the birth of a child from rape as “a gift in a very broken way”; and how, if he was president, he would make the case for the damage caused by contraception.
CNN’s Peter Hamby describes the Obama campaign’s troubles in the Tar Heel State:
[I]t’s hard to find a Democrat in the capital of Raleigh who believes the president, saddled with the burdens of governing and a sputtering economy, can stir the enthusiasm of 2008 and repeat his near-flawless North Carolina performance.
Nationwide, Democrats are confident that President Obama will win reelection. But in Massachusetts, as TPM’s Benjy Sarlin found, Mitt Romney’s former Democratic opponents are far from sanguine:
Romney may have reinvented himself as a movement conservative in his two presidential runs, but those on the Democratic side in his two statewide campaigns tell TPM they see plenty familiar in his style. And they’re warning Democrats who are less than dazzled by his primary performance not to underestimate him.
The Romney campaign is out with its first ad, a positive spot that highlights Keystone, health care, and tax cuts. The aim of the ad is to show Americans what President Romney would do in his first day of office, and to that end, it gets the job done, even if it’s mostly paint by numbers:
Michael Tomasky looks at Mitt Romney’s speech in Des Moines, Iowa, and wonders why the Republican nominee would tie himself so closely to the radical right of the Republican Party:
Obama can say to voters: “Look at how far-right congressional Republicans are going lead this guy around by the nose if he becomes president.” Most independents may want tough talk on the deficit, but they certainly don’t want the Tea Party running the country.
Because I devote a fair amount of time to Romney’s dishonest rhetoric—-and the degree to which its ignored by mainstream reporters–it’s worth noting those times when someone shows that the former governor has no clothes. To wit, here’s Phillip Rucker at the Washington Post, on Romney’s response to the attacks on Bain Capital:
Bill Clinton has emerged as a player in the presidential election, but oddly, not as a surrogate for President Obama. Rather, Mitt Romney is using the former president as a +5 Amulet of Centrism—a way to assert moderate credentials without changing his policies or modifying his rhetoric. This was used to great effect in his speech yesterday, where he decried deficits and disparaged Obama for his “old school” liberalism: