Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry and President Barack Obama have little in common. But their campaigns do share one goal: to defeat GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, Politico
The Obama camp views former Massachusetts Gov. Romney as its most formidable opponent, given his moderate views. Obama campaign officials see little chance that Romney will lose and hope that Texas Gov. Perry can weaken him in a drawn-out, bitter primary fight.
The Obama campaign is trying to portray Romney in the same way that the Perry campaign is — as someone who changes his views according to the direction of the political wind.
“It will be hard for Romney to beat Obama if he can’t get out from under the flip-flop narrative,” former Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney told Politico. “It plays into concerns the primary voters have that he can’t be trusted, [and it’s] equally important in a general election against an incumbent president people like and trust.
One Democratic operative tells Politico “If you close your eyes and have somebody read the attacks on Romney, it would be impossible to know if it’s coming from Perry, [Rick] Santorum, the DNC, [Democratic strategist Bill] Burton or [Obama spokesman Ben] LaBolt. The fight he’s having in the primary is the fight he’s gonna have in the general.”
One Obama supporter even offered a backhanded compliment to Perry. Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern told Politico, “For once in this campaign, Rick Perry is correct in his evaluation of Mitt Romney’s commitment to an issue.”
The Obama campaign’s strategy is an all-too-obvious attempt to “co-opt the Perry vehicle to run attacks on Romney,” Republican strategist Scott Jennings, an aide to President George W. Bush, told Politico.
“They have concluded that Mitt Romney is their strongest opposition, so now they’re employing tactics to meddle in the Republican primary specifically to damage Mitt Romney,” he said. “I just think they’re running a big risk of tipping off the Republican rank and file that, gee whiz, Obama is scared to death of this guy.”
The Obama and the Perry campaigns scoff at the notion they’re in any sort of alliance. Perry spokesman Mark Miner told Politico that his boss is “focused on policies that will improve the economy and create jobs — issues that both President Obama and Mitt Romney have failed at.”
From the Romney camp’s standpoint, Perry and Obama make a nice target together. “Gov. Perry and President Obama have a lot in common, including their support for tuition breaks for illegal immigrants and opposition to a border fence. They also share abysmal jobs records,” Romney communications director Gail Gitcho told Politico. “It is no wonder their only strategy is to issue false and negative attacks on Mitt Romney.”
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