Campaign diary

Mitt Romney's strategy to win Virginia: Lyme Disease?

The GOP candidate ignores big-ticket issues in a campaign mailer about ticks

The image: The Weekly Standard reports that voters in Virginia are starting to receive their first mailers from the Romney campaign — and the top issue isn't the lackluster economy or the bloated budget deficit, but Lyme Disease. (See an image of the full mailer here.) "It's a disease that begins from a small bug," reads the mailer. "But Lyme Disease has quickly become the most common vector-borne disease in the United States." The mailer, which describes Lyme Disease as a "massive epidemic threatening Virginia," promises that a President Romney would take action to bring the disease under control. The mailer is apparently part of Romney's micro-targeting strategy, which seeks to engage voters on the local issues they care most about.

The reaction: Well, "it's tough to micro-target any deeper than a mailer talking about ticks," says Tim Murphy at Mother Jones. But remember, Virginia is an immensely important battleground state where Romney needs to establish his bona fides on the economy and other presidential-level issues. Indeed, a micro-targeting campaign won't be much use to Romney, says Josh Kraushaar at National Journal, since he "badly needs an overarching vision that appeals to Americans dissatisfied with Obama's performance in office and struggling in a stagnant economy."

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