Team Obama Takes Attacks To Mitt Romney's Home Turf

Team Obama went after Mitt Romney on his home turf Thursday, criticizing his tenure as governor of Massachusetts from the steps of the State House and in a video that features local Democrats taking apart Mr. Romney’s record.

Supporters for both campaigns gave the event a carnival-like atmosphere. Obama supporters carried signs saying “Romney Economics: It Didn’t Work Then, It Won’t Work Now,” a line Axelrod repeated in his remarks. The pro-Romney supporters shouted “We want Mitt!” and “Solyndra! Solyndra!” – a reference to the solar manufacturer that received more than $500 million in loan guarantees authorized by the Obama administration, only to go bankrupt. In a bit of counterprogramming Thursday, Romney criticized Obama’s energy policies from the steps of the shuttered Solyndra plant in Fremont, Calif. 

The Obama campaign’s focus on Romney’s Massachusetts tenure represented a pivot away from the carpet-bombing of Romney’s time as CEO of Bain Capital, a private-equity firm. Republicans argue Team Obama is simply throwing dirt wherever it can, in the hopes that some of it sticks. The challenge for Romney, they say, is to explain all the underlying factors marking his time as governor.

“Romney has to say, ‘I inherited a mess in the Bay State like the companies we turned around at Bain and I improved the situation,’ ” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “That is the Bain tie-in. Obama doesn't want voters to make that causal link.”

It’s telling that Obama has gone so negative in this opening round of the general-election campaign, he says. “It indicates that they know they are in trouble,” says Mr. O’Connell. “And it is cutting into the one item that Obama has a clear advantage on – likability.”

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Romney still trailing Obama on favorability, but he has closed the gap, as Romney has gained among women and Obama’s popularity has slipped. Obama still beats Romney on favorability by 11 points, 52 percent to 41 percent, but last month the gap was 21 points.

Read more from Linda Feldmann at The Christian Science Monitor

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published this page in In The News 2012-05-31 18:00:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy