Republican activists have long complained that their leaders are too timid in going after President Obama. For better or for worse, they may finally get their dream campaign.
Romney surrogate John Sununu raised eyebrows Tuesday by bringing up President Obama’s teenage marijuana use and suggesting his time in Indonesia as a child may have given him a muddled sense of America. But subsequent reports suggest it was no accident, as the Romney campaign preps a more personal line of attack against the president.
Unamed aides to Romney told both Buzzfeed and NBC that they plan to step up their game, possibly including attacks on Obama’s biography that have up to this point been solely the domain of right-wing media.
The assumption up to this point among strategists on both sides has been that objections to attacking Obama as a teen drug user or as personally corrupt were about keeping the message on the president’s record in office. The biggest conservative outside money groups, like American Crossroads, focus on Americans’ economic struggles, based on research showing it to be the most effective angle.
“Obama is setting a trap, and Romney is not a Chicago street fighter,” unaligned GOP consultant Ford O’Connell told TPM. “If Romney dabbles in this tit-for-tat style of political warfare for too long, he will lose.”
O’Connell called on Romney to stick to his existing script, “focused on the problems affecting Americans and the president’s abysmal record.”