The Obama political machine’s fear factor may be showing through its transparent meddling with the GOP presidential race, in which it has attacked Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Michele Bachmann. The political salvos are evidence that Democrats may be trying to influence who is the eventual nominee, The Washington Post
|Gov. Mitt Romney is "the only one who’s plausible,” says Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg. (Getty Images Photo)
So far, the Obama team went after former Massachusetts Gov. Romney for his flip-flops on the president’s economic record, with the belief that his history of shifting positions on issues is a major vulnerability. It also posted an online video targeting former Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty that featured Minnesotans complaining about rising property taxes.
However, much of the focus now is on Romney, whom Democratic strategists view as the biggest threat to Obama, the Post reported.
“He’s the only one who’s plausible,” Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg told the Post. “He looks like he could be president . . . He’s indicated that there’s some path that he could run as a non-extremist presidential candidate.”
A June poll of likely voters by Greenberg’s Democracy Corps group found Romney and Obama statistically tied in a potential matchup.
Regardless, Democrats deny that they are singling out Romney. “I don’t think any of us sit around and say, ‘Well, we’d rather run against this person or that person,’ because they all have flaws that we think we can exploit, not the least of which is their uniform support for the same failed policies that nearly sank our economy,” Brad Woodhouse, communications director at the Democratic National Committee, told the Post.
There also may be a Machiavellian aspect to the attacks. In 2004, President George W. Bush operatives were worried about the candidacy of John Edwards, so they launched an attack on the eventual nominee, John Kerry, the Post reported.
“Whomever we attacked was going to be emboldened in Democratic primary voters’ minds,” Bush strategist Matthew Dowd said after the election. “So we started attacking John Kerry a lot in the end of January because we were very worried about John Edwards. And we knew that, if we focused on John Kerry, Democratic primary voters would sort of coalesce.”
However, Paul Begala, a veteran Democratic strategist, had a be-careful-what-you-wish-for view of such tactics. “I am haunted and humbled by the legend of [Jimmy] Carter supporters saying we want [Ronald] Reagan,” Begala told the Post. “And I think everybody in politics ought to be.”
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