In the late 1990s, House Speaker John Boehner, then chairman of the House GOP Conference, shared a political maxim: "Never attack your opponent when he's in the process of committing suicide."
It made a lot of sense as a political strategy, but it clearly won't be the guiding principle in the 2012 presidential campaign.
After Republicans committed multiple rhetorical blunders on women's health issues recently, President Obama took the offensive before several hundred politically active women on Friday, tearing into Republican governors in Virginia and Pennsylvania for legislation requiring ultrasound procedures before an abortion.
"For folks who claim to believe in freedom from government interference, it doesn't seem to bother them when it comes to a woman's health,” he said.
It's not as though Obama needed to reassure women he's on their side. Multiple polls show him with a strong lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in that demographic. A Quinnipiac poll last week gave the president a whopping 10-point advantage.
"Women's issues are more than a matter of policy," Obama told the audience. "They're economic issues that impact all of us."
What he did not say, but is nonetheless true, is that they are also a very potent political weapon this season. Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
Obama Campaign Confronts Voter ID Laws
[New York Times, 4/29/12] Obama campaign staffers are working hard in the wake of a spate of new voter I.D. laws that could dampen the turnout among demographics that supported Obama solidly in 2008.
Demographics Favor Obama Over Romney
[The Daily Beast, 4/29/12] The demographics that came out to support Obama in force in 2008 -- young voters and minorities -- are growing four years later, and white working-class voters are on the decline, potentially hurting Mitt Romney's chances.
Obama, Clinton Raise Money Together
[ABC, 4/29/12] This is the first time President Obama and Bill Clinton will appear together at a joint fundraiser this year, where it will cost thousands of dollars to dine with the two presidents.
Obama, Clintons Deepen Political and Policy Ties
[Associated Press, 4/29/12] Though they were bitter enemies just four years ago, Obama and Hillary Clinton (and Bill Clinton, too) have come together over the past four years to attain unified policy and political goals.
The 2012 Election Is Bush-Kerry in Reverse
[New York Magazine, 4/28/12] Just like in 2004, both candidates have flip-flopped over issues ranging from negative campaigning to big donors to the use of Air Force One.
In Rural Ohio, the Presidential Campaign Feels Far Away
[L.A. Times, 4/28/12] There's a lack of enthusiasm for the presidential race in Ohio, a swing state where blue-collar workers are still feeling the crush of the recession and don't feel helped by Obama's policies.
S.C. Republicans Step in Line Behind Romney
[McClatchy, 4/28/12] South Carolina was the only primary state aside from Georgia that Newt Gingrich won, indicating the difficulties Romney may have there this fall. Despite the state's vocal tea party element, however, Republicans seem to be warming to a Romney nomination.
Gingrich Was Unsuccessful, But Entertaining. Now What?
[Washington Post, 4/28/12] Though his run was unsuccessful, Gingrich's candidacy did help to shape the debate during the primary season and keep the candidates focused on Obama. Now that he's done -- due to drop out on Wednesday, CNN reports -- he likely won't be gone.
Campaign Aide Claims Auto Bailout Was Romney's Idea
[The Hill, 4/28/12] On Saturday, in a seeming walk-back of a 2008 New York Times op-ed penned by Romney titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said the auto bailout was "exactly what Mitt Romney told them to do."
Obama, Romney Tweak Strategies for Tight Race
[Reuters, 4/29/12] Over the past week, Romney has taken on a more forward-looking tone, offering his vision for governing if he wins in November, while Obama has started framing Romney as a far-right candidate, indicating angles they're likely to take throughout the rest of the election.
Romney Aide: We'll Reach Young Voters Through Substance, Not Gimmicks
[National Journal, 4/28/12] Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom indicated on Saturday that the former Massachusetts governor wasn't impressed with Obama's "slow jamming the news" skit on Jimmy Fallon's show, asserting that "this election is not going to be about who's cooler," but rather, who will better manage the economy.
Campaigns Spar Over Controversial Obama Ad
[National Journal, 4/29/12] Mitt Romney's campaign fought back on Sunday against a recent ad from the Obama campaign highlighting the president's approval of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, with top Romney adviser Ed Gillespie calling it "divisive."