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May 1st, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Media, Blogging, Internet; News, Politics & History

The Obama Campaign, Punching Early and Hard


So much political news the past few days, much of it about the anniversary of the raid in which Osama Bin Laden was killed, and I’ve linked to some excellent pieces on that below*. Meantime, I really like how aggressively the #Obama2012 campaign is setting out to define Romney. While the Bin Laden dust-up is getting more coverage, yesterday there was this ad that ended with the line, It’s just what you expect from a guy who had a Swiss bank account, and now today it’s backed up with this infographic I saw on TPM showing Mitt’s foreign investment holdings. One hopes that at least some press people will be asking Romney’s people about these offshore accounts, and keep them on turf they’d rather not have to defend.

Mitt had such lousy opponents in the Republican primary that I detect he and his campaign are ill-prepared for what’s going to hit them in terms of coordinated opposition messages, one layered on top of another.  The copy below is straight from the Obama-Biden website, as is the graphic whose name on the jpeg is “Romney_World Map”. 

Mitt Romney has invested his money around the world, from the Cayman Islands to Ireland to Australia. We don’t know if he’s using these accounts to avoid paying his fair share in taxes, but we do know that in 2010, Romney’s tax rate was a startlingly low 13.9%. This means Romney pays a lower tax rate than many teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other middle-class Americans—even a lower rate than most other millionaires.
If elected, Romney’s proposed tax plan would cut tax rates for the wealthy even further—cutting his own taxes and protecting loopholes that he benefits from. At the same time, he opposes the President’s Buffett Rule, which would require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. That’s not right.

Another salutary benefit of this early aggressiveness will be to energize the DEM base, which will be delighted to see the campaign’s determination to play rough–accurate and tough. For sure, there will be people in the press who decry this aggression, but as Josh Marshall has repeatedly pointed out with his bitch-slap theory of politics, if you can make your opponent look weak, or even, in old-fashioned gender terms, “un-man him,” you’re on the way to winning your race. I’m still worried about the enormous amount of Super-Pac spending that is going to be thrown against the president (and other DEMs) but there’s no question which candidate is running the better campaign at this point.

*See this collection of excellent journalism and commentary from the past couple days:

1) David Corn’s excellent tick-tock on the Bin Laden raid and the president’s decision to launch it. PBO is a cool customer. Read this and I think you’ll see what I mean.

2) Rick Ungar’s piece on forbes.com, about what he believes is the bad character revealed by Mitt’s cheap “Jimmy Carter” shot. What’s more, I would add, it undercut his supposed point. It was stupid politics, while revealing a bad heart, at least over this.

3) James Fallows up-close recollection of President Carter’s failed raid to free the American hostages in Iran, and why Romney got the point so wrong.

4) And two pieces, one by Jed Lewison in Daily Kos, and the other by Michael Hirsh in National Journal, about the real politicization of 9/11, including Mitt’s appearance today in lower Manhattan with Rudy Giuliani.

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