President Obama's political advisers expect to face Republican front-runner Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, and they're preparing a "ferocious personal assault" on his character and business background, say Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin at Politico. Resigned to campaigning in the midst of a sour economy, Team Obama is apparently planning to "destroy" Romney by highlighting his time as CEO of the financial firm Bain Capital, which outsourced jobs abroad, and by painting the former Massachusetts governor as unprincipled, inauthentic, and just plain "weird." (The Romney campaign responded with a web video blasting the president's strategy.) Is this a smart approach for the former purveyor of hope and change?
This negative strategy makes complete sense: It would seem that Politico is overdramatizing the Obama campaign's intentions, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, but the basic plan it's outlining sounds about right. "When voters are frustrated and discouraged," of course the incumbent will try to cast his opponent in a negative light. And a "weird, unlikable, and unprincipled flip-flopper with no core values" like Romney makes that job easy.
"Obama campaign team eyes Romney nod"
The Obama team is getting desperate: The plan to "kill" Romney is a "tacit admission" that Obama doesn't expect to have a positive argument to run on in 2012, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Obama is also gambling that his personal popularity with voters will withstand both economic malaise and "a series of personal attacks on his opponents." That's unlikely. And what if Romney doesn't even get the GOP nomination? Obama's campaign just flubbed by tipping its hand.
"Obama campaign gearing up to 'destroy' Romney"
And the religious overtones are troubling: Obama's team is probably right to assume that their candidate will benefit "the more the campaign is about personality, especially if you accept the Obama team's claim that Romney is 'weird'" says Michael Crowley at TIME. But the word "weird" also "rings of innuendo about [Romney's] Mormon faith." Let's hope that a president who's been "slurred countless times because of his race" will "take a higher road" when it comes to Romney's religion.
"Operation 'Kill Romney'"