The time has come for would-be vice presidential candidates to bare their fangs.
Republican senators Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, John Thune and Kelly Ayotte all attacked President Obama within the past week. They appeared on Sunday talk shows and penned articles on the Fox News website. They targeted issues from student loans to Iran to same-sex marriage.
It makes some sense. The vice president in any administration is often used as an attack dog, and the best way to prove one’s capabilities as an aggressor is to show them off.
And so, on student loans, Rubio wrote, “The issue will test President Obama and how badly he wants to exploit rising student loan debt for his own political gain.” On Iran, Ayotte said, “There’s been some major strategic errors.” Portman wrote an attack on Obama for his home state constituents, saying, “The Obama administration seems out of ideas and out of touch with the realities in Ohio.” And Thune accused the president of changing his position "more than once" on whether gay couples have the right to marry.
As the Romney campaign continues its process, which is apt to be heavy on vetting to avoid the mistakes of previous campaigns, a candidate’s ability to bite into the president without hesitation or provocation may well be an asset. The candidates seem to think so.
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
Romney Courts Christian Conservatives
[National Journal, 5/12/12] Though he only briefly touched on gay marriage, saying that "culture matters" and defining marriage between a man and a woman, Mitt Romney's pitch at Liberty University was tailored to win over the Christian conservative crowd. Some praised the effort on Sunday.
Obama 2012 Takes Multiple Pages From GOP Playbook
[Huffington Post, 5/13/12] President Obama is using a strategy perfected by previous GOP presidents running for reelection, exploiting regional divisions, emphasizing military strength, fashioning opponents as out-of-touch and bringing wedge issues to the fore.
As Romney Drifts, Boehner Stays Focused on Economic Message
[The Hill, 5/13/12] Over the past few weeks, Romney has been distracted by a number of issues from the one area where he's strongest: the economy. He could learn a thing or two from House Speaker John Boehner, who has not been sidetracked.
Cardenas: Gay Marriage Issue Will Inspire Passion in Romney Supporters
[National Journal, 5/13/12] Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, said that Obama's support of gay marriage would energize social conservatives to back Romney.
Dems Mock Preibus Stance on Wall Street Regulation
[National Journal, 5/13/12] Undeterred by this week’s disclosure of massive losses at JPMorgan Chase, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus insisted that it shows Wall Street needs less regulation—a position immediately mocked by Democrats.
Thune on VP Role: ‘Never Rule Out Opportunities’
[National Journal, 5/13/12] Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a name often mentioned as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney, did not rule out the prospect when asked on Sunday. “You never rule out opportunities or options,” he said.
With or Without Romney, Washington is a Surprising Mormon Stronghold
[CNN, 5/12/12] There's a remarkable number of Mormons already involved in government, ranging from Obama administration officials to Capitol Hill staffers. That indicates Romney's rise to power wouldn't be as shocking as some might say.
Women Ponder How They Became a Campaign Issue
[Associated Press, 5/12/12] As the "war on women" takes center stage in the 2012 elections, women wonder whether their best interests are involved in the discussion, or if they're truly just political pawns.
Support But Little Chemistry Between Brown, Romney
[Boston Globe, 5/13/12] As Scott Brown moved to the center and Romney shifted hard-right to woo the Republican base, the two formerly friendly politicians have grown farther apart.
After Divisive Primary, Shifting to the Center
[New York Times, 5/12/12] The drawn-out primary made Romney's general election contest a little more difficult because it forced him to take a hard-right stance on a number of issues. Now, he's trying to appeal to a wider swath of conservatives by moving to the center.
Romney Uses Jimmy Carter as Campaign Weapon
[Politico, 5/12/12] Jimmy Carter is considered by most Republicans to have been an incompetent president, but that's only one of the advantages Romney claims by framing Obama as a Carter redux. If the metaphor plays out, Romney would be to Obama as Ronald Reagan was to Carter.
Paul Clan Has Dynastic Ambitions
[National Journal, 5/10/12] Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is poised take over the libertarian movement led for decades by his father, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, one of the reasons that the elder Paul has continued his presence in the 2012 presidential race. On Sunday, Rand Paul was criticized for his comments on gay marriage.
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