Obama Campaign Stepping Up Damage-Control Over Remark

President Obama’s campaign scrambled to combat Republican efforts to highlight his “you didn’t build that” remark — a sign there are concerns the story could have legs far into the election cycle.

Team Obama released a new television ad late Tuesday with the president himself directly addressing the controversy. And the Democratic National Committee circulated a memo Wednesday detailing how it would respond to the GOP messaging. 

The actions indicate Democrats are concerned the remark could haunt the campaign, especially given the persistent GOP strikes at Obama’s handling of the economy. Republicans have repeatedly knocked the president for not understanding the private sector, and their attacks have been amplified by criticism from business leaders, who were unhappy with Obama’s comment.

“Obama did for Romney what Romney couldn’t do for himself, which is to create a clear contrast and unlock emotions on the key issue of the campaign,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “It helps Romney with independents, with GOPers and with white, working-class Democrats who needed an economic message that they could rally around.”

Republicans are clearly enjoying the Democrats’ discomfort.

“This is something that can keep the base fired up at least until the convention, and maybe longer,” said O’Connell. “We’re in the dog days of summer, and you need something that can harness supporters in a concentrated way. The Obama team is smart, instead of arguing about it, to try to get out there and fight back, but it’s going to carry for awhile.”

Read more from Justin Sink at The Hill

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published this page in In The News 2012-07-25 20:30:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy