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Is it a good idea for Mitt Romney to 'take the gloves off'?
The GOP challenger seems ready to fight dirty, with plans to remind voters of Obama's college drug use and his ties to jailed former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich
 
Mitt Romney is reportedly going on the offensive, dredging up President Obama's druggy past and shining a spotlight on his ties to questionable characters.
Mitt Romney is reportedly going on the offensive, dredging up President Obama's druggy past and shining a spotlight on his ties to questionable characters.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins is out with a report that Mitt Romney's campaign is ready to "take the gloves off," preparing to launch an all-out character assault on Obama in response to the president's relentless attacks on Romney's tenure at Bain Capital — which have politicians on both sides of the aisle arguing that Romney should release more of his tax returns. The Romney camp will reportedly nail Obama over his teenage drug use, his ties to jailed former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and Fast and Furious, the botched gun-running sting that earned Attorney General Eric Holder a vote of contempt from the House. Conservatives are, of course, thrilled: Blogger Michelle Malkin broke out "a Hallelujah Chorus for today's great news." But is attacking Obama's character the GOP candidate's best bet to break out of his campaign rut?

Yes. It's time for Obama to be vetted: The best part of BuzzFeed's story, says Bryan Preston at PJ Media, is a quote by an unnamed Romney adviser: "[Mitt] believes it's time to vet the president." He's got that right. With the lies he's spewing about Romney, "Barack Obama is starting to make Slick Willie" — former President Bill Clinton — "look like a choirboy, at least on the honesty front." An Obama campaign spokeswoman unleashed "Mitt's rage" by insinuating that Romney committed a crime by supposedly misrepresenting his tenure at Bain to the SEC. The only way Mitt can hit back is to go after Obama's lies. "It's four years past time he was vetted."
"Is the Romney campaign about to go MMA on Obama?"

No. This strategy is doomed to fail: So the Romney campaign plans "to mutter darkly about Chicago, and drug use, and sundry other biographical details that conservatives believe they wrongly shied away from four years ago," says Jonathan Chait at New York. That makes no sense at all. Attacking Obama's character is meant "to paint him as a cultural alien unfit for the presidency," which will be pretty hard to do since he's, ya know, "already President of the United States." Hardline conservatives might still think of Obama as foreign, but this latest line of attack "stands zero chance of working with middle America."
"Mitt Romney gets angry"

Romney needs to relate the character fight to the economy: Romney's biggest objective in the general campaign has been to keep the conversation focused on the economy, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. But it's clear Obama is skirting that issue, launching this "character fight as a distraction." What Romney has to do is "find a way to turn that fight into something relevant to the economy." The good thing is Romney has already started to pounce on Obama for referencing the stimulus program "as a way to argue that Obama is hopelessly corrupt."
"Romney camp: The gloves are coming off after the Bain attacks"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

 

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