During much of the Republican presidential primary campaign, Mitt Romney and most other candidates went out of their way not to mention George W. Bush. But the 43rd president is nevertheless back in the news.
Now that Romney appears to have cleared the field, President Obama's re-election team has made clear it will do everything it can in the months ahead to tie Romney to Bush.
The Obama strategy was at work on Sunday. When Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said on CNN that Bush “did a fantastic job," Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith blasted out an email asserting that "data shows that the recovery under President Obama has been much more robust than the one under President Bush."
Smith also made reference to an earlier media appearance by Republican National Committee spokeswoman Alexandra Franceschi. When asked how different Romney's policies were conceptually from Bush's, she responded: "I think it’s that program, just updated.”
Whether Bush-bashing has any effect on Romney is an open question. But we're likely to see more in coming weeks.
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
The Great 2012 Debate: Who Broke the Economy?
[National Journal, 4/22/12] Mitt Romney’s core attack on President Obama is that he’s made a bad economic situation worse. Obama’s main response is that Romney wants to go back to the policies that made the economy bad in the first place. In other words, as National Journal’s Jim Tankersley writes, we’ll get to Morning in America, just as soon as we’re done sorting out whom to blame for nightfall.
Some Conservative Lawmakers Still Loath To Praise Romney
[The Daily Beast, 4/22/12] Though many former Romney critics are turning to support him, they're not particularly effusive about it. And Romney is still working to win over some Republicans skeptical of his conservative credentials.
‘Presidential’ vs. ‘Political’ Trips: A Blurry Line, and Tricky Math
[New York Times, 4/22/12] Obama routinely travels to universities and community centers to tout his policy proposals and accomplishments, but it's difficult during an election year to tell the difference between a presidential pit-stop and an appearance on the campaign trail. That's troublesome, when federal laws bar Obama from using presidential funds for campaign activity.
Romney Plays the Victim Card
[Politico, 4/22/12] With respect to his wealth, the coverage he receives from the press, and his wife's choice to be a stay-at-home mom, Romney has taken to portraying himself as a victim of hostile forces trying to take him down.
Border Hawks Warn Romney Not to Soften Immigration Stance
[The Hill, 4/22/12] Romney once touted self-deportation and has said he would veto the DREAM Act if passed, but he's been increasingly working to win over Latino voters, which might require a shift to the center on the issue -- something that conservative lawmakers and activists have warned against.
Daniels Offers Romney Advice on Rhetoric
[National Journal, 4/22/12] Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who endorsed Romney last Wednesday and was quoted as critical of Romney's rhetoric days later, expanded on those remarks on Sunday, explaining that Romney's principles are right—he just needs to express them better.
Romney Addresses A Touchy Subject About His Religion
[Christian Science Monitor, 4/21/12] Romney is typically silent on issues surrounding his religion, but when Montana Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Romney's family came from a "polygamy commune," Romney spoke out.
Christian Conservatives At Florida Revival Are Lukewarm on Romney
[Huffington Post, 4/21/12] At the Awakening Conference, a gathering of Christian conservatives, attendees expressed resignation that Romney had taken the nomination, but affirmed that they'd be voting for anybody but Obama come fall.
New Curbs on Voter Registration Could Hurt Obama
[Reuters, 4/21/12] A number of new laws across the nation, many of which require voters to show identification, could hurt turnout in demographics that supported Obama in 2008.
Big Money for Obama’s Reelection Campaign
[Washington Post, 4/21/12] Though he's not receiving a big boost from Wall Street, Hollywood donors and the entertainment industry have contributed a large amount of Obama's big-check donations. With 533 bundlers, Obama's stepping up the money game.
Rubio Touts Jeb Bush for Veep
[National Journal, 4/22/12] Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, continuing to play down talk of his possible selection as Romney's running mate, on Sunday tried to shift the speculation to another Sunshine State Republican: former Gov. Jeb Bush.
Attend a National Journal LIVE event | Sign up for National Journal newsletters