Obama campaign memo casts Romney and Perry as extremists

President Obama's re-election campaign isn't wasting any time going after his 2012 Republican rivals.

In a memo released Monday, the Obama campaign sought to portray Mitt Romney and Rick Perry—the frontrunners for the GOP nomination—as extremists on issues like Social Security and immigration who have "embraced policies that the American people oppose."

"The campaign to win the Republican nomination has become a campaign to win the hearts and minds of the tea party," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt wrote. "They would return to policies that have been tried before and done nothing to improve economic security for the middle class, rewarding special interests who can afford to pay for lobbyists instead of looking out for working families."

The memo marks the first major attack lobbed at Perry and Romney by the Obama campaign, which has largely focused on raising cash and getting its campaign infrastructure in place ahead of 2012.

But with Obama's poll numbers at record low levels, some of the president's allies have argued he should be more aggressively attacking his likely GOP opponents and setting up an early contrast between his policies and those pushed by the Republican field. It's advice that the Obama campaign appears to be taking.

The memo accuses the GOP field of being out of the mainstream on issues like tax cuts for the wealthy, health care reform and attempts to overhaul Wall Street.

LaBolt brings up Perry's rhetoric on Social Security—noting he called the program a "Ponzi scheme"—and accuses Romney of wanting to turn the program's funds "over to Wall Street." Their positions are at odds with even members of their own party, the Obama campaign says, noting a recent Gallup Poll that found a majority of Republicans—55 percent—think Social Security shouldn't be fundamentally overhauled.

The Obama campaign also slammed the GOP field for being at odds with public opinion on immigration. LaBolt pointed to a Gallup survey that found 64 percent of Americans support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

"The Republican field has become increasingly out of step on immigration," LaBolt declared.