How does Mitt Romney convince voters that he’s not a rapacious capitalist or right-wing extremist bent on destroying the middle class? His best bet might simply be reminding them he was once governor of Massachusetts.
Romney’s single term as chief executive of the Bay State, a four-year stint marked by bipartisan achievement, is a potentially key asset of his biography, one that tempers criticism that he’s an out-of-touch businessman. Even as the Obama campaign scrutinizes his record there – a potentially potent line of attack – the former governor could ultimately benefit from the extra attention.
Gubernatorial backgrounds have a strong track record of success in past presidential elections. Before Obama’s election, four of the last five presidents (George H.W. Bush being the lone exception) had been governors before taking up residence in the White House.
Romney’s record isn’t pristine, however, and the Obama campaign has taken advantage where it can, leading to skirmishes between the two campaigns on Sunday about how to characterize Romney’s time in Massachusetts.
One number stands out: the state was only 47th in job creation during Romney’s time in office, well below the national pace. The statistic is a damaging one for a candidate whose central campaign theme is that he can reinvigorate the economy. Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Obama Seeks Way Out of Jobs Gloom
[Wall Street Journal, 6/3/12] After a weak jobs report, Obama has limited options to stimulate the economy because of resistance from both European leaders and congressional Republicans. The Obama camp is working to position the election as a choice between two men with contrasting economic philosophies, but voters often view a weak economy as a referendum on the incumbent.
Axelrod Stands by Bain Attacks NEW!
[National Journal, 6/4/12] The Obama reelection campaign released a new ad that tries to knock down Romney's claims of having been a "job creator" in Massachusetts by poking holes in his economic record as governor. In a conference call with reporters, senior adviser David Axelrod and other campaign officials did not, however, back away from the Bain attacks, which have portrayed Romney as a “corporate buyout specialist” and profit-monger.
With Boos and Solyndra, Romney Plays Offense
[New York Times, 6/3/12] Romney plans to double down on the campaign’s strategy of keeping the president on the defensive by focusing on the struggles of average Americans. That task may be easier in the wake of Friday’s disappointing jobs numbers.
American Crossroads Video Says Obama Running On Fear, Not Hope NEW!
[TPM, 6/4/12] A new web video from American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-affiliated super PAC, attacks President Obama for what it says is a campaign based on fear. At the end of the video, the iconic Shepard Fairey poster of Obama, in which the word “Hope” adorns the bottom, is altered to say “Fear,” with the word licked by flames.
New Obama Ad Hits Romney’s Gubernatorial Record
[National Journal 6/4/12] Team Obama’s new ad, “Heard it Before,” hits Romney on his gubernatorial -- and presidential -- campaign promise to bring new jobs to struggling economies, highlighting Massachusetts’ uneven economic performance while Romney was governor.
Obama Campaign Manager Offers Reassurance to Supporters In Video Message NEW!
[YouTube, 6/4/12] “We knew this was gonna be a tough race,” Jim Messina says in the video. He offers advice about what Obama supporters can tell friends about the latest polls, which show a narrowing race. For instance: he notes that Obama was actually tied or losing in some polls at this point in the 2008 election.
Bill Clinton Campaigns As Obama's No. 1 Surrogate
[NPR, 6/4/12] Former President Bill Clinton is hosting a fundraiser for Obama on Monday night. Although he is sometimes off message, Bubba has become one of Obama’s best surrogates. The Republican National Committee, however, is pointing to the Obama/Clinton relationship’s rough history.
Wisconsin Recall Battle May Snarl Obama Camp
[New York Times, 6/3/12] Even as the fight to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker comes to a head on Tuesday, a Republican resurgence in the Badger State is spilling into the presidential race. A GOP victory there could set off a wave of adjustments in the lineup of swing states that will shape the general election. Meanwhile, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch poked Obama on Monday for skipping the recall campaign.
Working Class Whites Still Wary of Obamacare NEW!
[National Journal, 6/4/12] Since late 2010, the share of people who say that their own family will be worse off because of the health care law has almost always exceeded the percentage that say it will benefit them personally, as National Journal’s Ron Brownstein writes. The skepticism is most concentrated on working class whites without a college degree.
Potential Romney VP Rob Portman is a Method Actor of Debate Prep
[Yahoo! News, 6/4/12] Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a potential vice presidential pick for Romney is more than just a good political ally, he’s a good actor too, apparently. Portman has played the role of Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards, and most recently, Barack Obama in debate prep—and is really good.
Sarah Jessica Parker Ad Touts Obama as ‘That Guy’ Who Created Jobs
[ABC News, 6/3/12] In an attempt to appeal to younger supporters, the Obama campaign ran three 30-second spots on the MTV Network on Sunday night during the MTV Movie Awards. The ad featured actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who said Obama was “the guy who ended the war in Iraq; the guy who says you should be able to marry anyone you want; the guy who created 4 million new jobs.”
Utah is Romney’s Key to Western Contests
[Boston Globe, 6/4/12] Enthusiasm for Romney among Utahns – 60 percent of whom share Romney’s Mormon faith – have made the state perhaps the most promising source of volunteer labor in the country, which the campaign hopes to use as a staging ground for competitive neighbors like Nevada and Colorado.
Poll: Romney’s Youth Gap
[Politico, 6/4/12] Despite a recent double-digit rise in the GOP candidate’s favorability ratings, a Monday poll shows that Obama remains more popular than Romney – particularly among young voters.
Obama Outspends Romney on Online Ads
[CNN, 6/3/12] The Obama campaign is spending twice as much money on online advertising than its Republican rival—$16.4 million in the first few months on 2012. By this rate, he is on pace to set a record on spending for digital ads. Romney’s campaign has spent $7.8 million this year.
Obama's 2008 Donors Don't Give In 2012
[BuzzFeed, 6/4/12] In a staggering gap between elections, 88 percent of the people who gave $200 or more in 2008 — 537,806 people — have not yet given that sum this year. Even further, 87 percent of those who gave $200 or more by April 2008 have yet to donate that amount in this election cycle.