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Homepage / CAMPAIGN 2012

N2K Presidential Race: 'The Other Guy'

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

May 3, 2012

David Axelrod, quoted in today’s New York Times piece about President Obama’s Sunday strategy sessions, at one point refers to Mitt Romney as “the other guy.”

Which, if employment trends reflected in today’s jobs numbers hold, might be enough.

The April figures failed to meet expectations, showing 115,000 jobs and cutting unemployment to 8.1 percent. That’s interpreted as a slowing economic recovery, which is interpreted as bad news for Obama.

Bad economic news is good news for Romney, whose strongest argument against Obama hinges on his own purportedly superior ability to manage the economy. Romney wants to cut spending, though he doesn’t get into specifics, and it’s an argument that gains currency as the unemployed watch tax dollars flow into a government that’s regulating an economy  which isn’t bouncing back as rapidly as hoped.

Voters like Obama. But likability goes only so far before impatience overwhelms it. Sooner or later, in an underperforming economy, they start taking a second look at “the other guy.”

-- Jim O’Sullivan

@JOSullivanNatJo

NATIONAL JOURNAL'S PRESIDENTIAL REPORT

Romney: Jobless Rate Is Double What it Should Be
[National Journal, 5/4/12] Romney told supporters during a campaign stop on Friday that there is no reason to celebrate any unemployment rate over 4 percent, suggesting that the jobless rate of 8.1 percent announced this morning is not good enough. He also said that 500,000 jobs should be created each month, a claim that could haunt him should he become president.

 

Obama Campaign Tailors Message for Key States and Voters 
[Chicago Tribune, 5/3/12] Hope! Change! Not quite. In 2012, the president’s campaign won’t have a singular message that relies on a nationwide wave as in 2008. Instead, it plans on having tailored messages for key states—a block-by-block, hard-slosh approach. Even before the Obama campaign unveiled the now-mocked "Forward" motto, its Ohio campaign had “Made in Ohio.”

Kristol: Romney's Attacks on Handling Of Chinese Dissident 'Foolish' 
[Daily Caller, 5/3/12] After Romney called the Obama administration’s handling of a Chinese dissident’s plight “a dark day for freedom” and a “day of shame” for the administration, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol countered: “To inject yourself into the middle of it this way, though, when there are all kinds of negotiations going on, and a fast-moving target -- I think is foolish.” On Friday, Romney softened his stance somewhat.

Republicans Redefine 'Julia' in Their Image
[National Journal, 5/4/12] Conservatives are having a bit of fun with the Obama campaign’s composite "Julia" character, saying that her life is a testament to big-state nannyism. And since the Obama campaign put out a literally faceless, voiceless surrogate for their campaign, Republicans have wasted no time in speaking for her.

Romney Faces Narrow Path to 270
[Washington Post, 5/3/12] Romney faces a narrow path to the presidency, one that requires winning back states that Obama took from Republicans in 2008 -- Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia -- and that has few apparent opportunities to steal away traditionally-Democratic states.

The Oppo File on Rubio: Why He's an Unlikely Veep Pick
[The Atlantic, 5/4/12] David A. Graham lays out the case for why Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is no slam-dunk as Romney’s running mate, including his improper use of a GOP credit card, his fines for campaign finance violations, and real-estate irregularities.

On Sundays, Tight Obama Circle Sizes Up Romney  
[New York Times, 5/4/12] After his usual Sunday round of golf, Obama gathers with his White House and campaign staff in the West Wing to get an update on how the campaign is going in battleground states, previews television ads to be used against Romney, and studies presentations on various paths to victory.  

Clooney's Obama Fundraiser Expected to Collect $12 Million
[The Hollywood Reporter, 5/3/12] If the Obama campaign didn’t already love George Clooney, they’re going to love him now. The highly-promoted fundraiser with the actor will reportedly net the campaign $12 million, the biggest presidential fundraiser in U.S. history. The May 10 event will take place at Clooney’s Southern California home.

Romney Camp Touts $2.3 Million Haul
[Wall Street Journal, 5/3/12] Romney’s supporters were unusually eager on Thursday to boast that they had raised more than $2.3 million on Wednesday night at a fundraiser in Arlington, Va. -- the former Massachusetts governor’s bundlers appeared more concerned about beating back perceptions that Romney has fallen behind in the money race, as Obama has a 10-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage.

Four Years Later, Race Is Still an Issue for Some Voters
[New York Times, 5/3/12] The Times visits Steubenville, Ohio, usually a reliable Democratic bastion. But Obama barely squeaked by there in 2008, and race remains a powerful factor among a small minority of voters—especially, research suggests, those in economically distressed regions like this one with high proportions of white working-class residents.

Poll: Obama Leads Romney in Va.
[National Journal, 5/4/12] In a new Washington Post poll, Obama leads Romney in the key state of Virginia. He leads among registered voters, 51 percent to 44 percent, according to the poll—nearly identical to the last poll conducted by The Post, which showed him leading 50 to 44 percent. Romney campaigned in the Old Dominion on Thursday. Virginia is competitive this year, but changing demographics might affect Obama's chances at a repeat performance from 2008.

Study: Campaign Ads Overwhelmingly Negative
[National Journal, 5/3/12] Almost 70 percent of the political ads run on broadcast and national cable television this year have been negative, with more of those ads coming from GOP-aligned groups than Democratic groups, according to analysis from the Wesleyan Media Project. This is up from four years ago, when fewer than 1 in 10 ads were negative.

Democratic Mayors Step Into Spotlight for Obama
[TPM, 5/4/12] In a time where Washington insiders are not very popular with the everyman, the Obama campaign is dispatching local mayors to help in his reelection effort. One of the president’s best allies on the Eastern Seaboard is Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a rising star in the Democratic Party.

Gov. Romney's Homeland Security Record: Domestic Spying, Wiretapping
[Huffington Post, 5/4/12] While governor of Massachusetts, Romney reportedly pushed for data-mining centers, wiretapping of mosques, and spying on foreign students. He also called on average citizens to keep tabs on other people, according to HuffPo.

Newt: Romney Said Untrue Things
[Politico, 5/3/12] Unity shattered! Just a day after dropping out of the race, Newt Gingrich was on CNN Thursday, saying, “I still believe that the Romney campaign said things that weren’t true.” He declined to call his former rival a liar, which is something.

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