Obama Campaign To Target 'Weird' Romney

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Campaign roundup: the best of the day's 2012 coverage

Obama's reelection campaign plans to zero in on Mitt Romney, pegging him as a flip-flopper and playing up a sense that he's, you know, "weird": "Barack Obama's aides and advisers are preparing to center the president’s re-election campaign on a ferocious personal assault on Mitt Romney's character and business background, a strategy grounded in the early stage expectation that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee. The dramatic and unabashedly negative turn is the product of political reality. Obama remains personally popular, but pluralities in recent pollingdisapprove of his handling of his job and Americans fear the country is on the wrong track. His aides are increasingly resigned to running for re-election in a glum nation. And so the candidate who ran on 'hope' in 2008 has little choice four years later but to run a slashing, personal campaign aimed at disqualifying his likeliest opponent." [Politico]

Rick Perry's changing stance on immigration during his ten-year run as Texas governor could come back to bite him in 2012: "As Texas' longest serving governor, Perry has had the unenviable job of balancing his states' Latino population, business community, and border hawks over one of the most tumultuous decades for immigration policy in recent memory. But while his careful triangulation has kept him in office through three elections and a bruising primary in 2010, it's also left a trail of resentment on all sides that could threaten his quest for the presidential nomination. On the right, anti-immigration conservatives have swung the GOP towards a hardline position, undoing a years-long effort by Perry's predecessor, George Bush, to bring Latino voters into the Republican fold. Once relatively uncontroversial positions by Perry have since become anathema: a bill offering in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, which passed with near-unanimous margins in Texas, now faces major protests in Maryland." [Talking Points Memo]

Perry is expected to announce his candidacy on Saturday, the day of Iowa's Ames straw poll. The timing might backfire: "With a campaign rollout planned for South Carolina, New Hampshire and Texas, Rick Perry threatens to overshadow this weekend's Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, the traditional kickstart to the Republican presidential race... 'His decision to announce his candidacy in a manner that attempts to pull some of the spotlight away from Ames and the Iowa caucuses will not sit well with Iowa activists,' [Iowa political consultant Craig] Robinson wrote. 'Perry now risks alienating the very people he needs to support him in order to win the nomination...' Perry's decision guarantees that whoever comes out on top in the Straw Poll, be it Reps. Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, or someone else, the win will come with an asterisk, reported side-by-side in news stories with Perry's candidacy." [LA Times]

Obama needs to sharpen his jobs message, writes Jim Tankersley, and revamp his overall strategy: "Administration officials hint strongly that Obama’s next messaging move is to take Republicans head-on in the court of public opinion. He’ll attempt to engineer a repeat of the grassroots-pressure strategy he executed in the debt fight, when he used his bully pulpit to urge voters to phone their members of Congress and demand compromise – a move that jammed Capitol switchboards – but didn’t appear to alter the terms of the bargain he struck with Republicans." [National Journal]

A new CNN poll has the GOP's favorable rating at an all-time low of 33 percent. The same survey finds that, for the first time ever, a minority (41 percent) of Americans believe their own member of Congress deserves re-election: "'That 41 percent, in the polling world, is an amazing figure. Throughout the past two decades, in good times and bad, Americans have always liked their own member of Congress despite abysmal ratings for Congress in general,' says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. Now anti-incumbent sentiment is so strong that most Americans are no longer willing to give their own representative the benefit of the doubt. If that holds up, it could be an early warning of an electorate that is angrier than any time in living memory." [CNN]

Republican candidates need to offer concrete solutions to America's financial problems – and not just criticize Obama – if they want to do well with voters, argues Beth Fouhy of the Huffington Post: "The 2012 Republican presidential contenders have roundly criticized President Barack Obama for economic policies they contend helped drive the downgrade of U.S. credit by a major ratings agency. But they've offered few of their own ideas to ease the current crisis, and analysts warn they could risk a backlash from voters frightened by the market turbulence and weary of partisan finger-pointing. 'Americans are exhausted with Washington's blame game and are craving anyone who can provide legitimate answers on a path on getting out of this mess,' Republican strategist Ron Bonjean said. 'The Republican who can rise above and provide a platform of answers, a blueprint – that will set them apart from the rest of the pack.'" [Huffington Post]