President Barack Obama’s “failed record over the last four years has reduced his campaign to the petty, polarizing politics that he warned this country about four years ago,” political consultant Peter G. Flaherty tells Newsmax.TV.
“In 2008, when he accepted the nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention, he used these exact words,” Flaherty, a political consultant and co-founder of the Boston-based Shawmut Group, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “He said, ‘If you don’t have any fresh ideas, then use stale tactics to scare voters.’ And he said, ‘If you don’t have a record to vote on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from and you make a big election about small things.’ And now that is exactly what he is doing.
“His failed record over the last four years has reduced his campaign to the petty, polarizing politics that he warned this country about four years ago,” Flaherty added. “So this divisive strategy that he told everyone to be on the watch for and everyone to be on the lookout for — and that his candidacy was going to transcend — has now become the heart and soul of his entire campaign.”
Flaherty, who served presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney as deputy chief of staff when he was Massachusetts governor, said the Obama campaign’s theme this election year should be “Downward” versus the “Forward” concept that carried him to the White House in 2008.
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“He really has taken it to new low — and some of those comments don’t even bear repeating they’re so disgraceful,” he said.
A senior adviser to the Romney presidential campaign, Flaherty believes that naming Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to the ticket has “supercharged this race” on several levels.
“It has really added a jolt of enthusiasm across the board,” he said, noting that the Romney campaign raised $7.4 million within 72 hours after Ryan became the likely GOP vice presidential candidate.
“It is the first presidential-level decision that Governor Romney has been able to make and that people can actually assess and look at,” Flaherty added. “And it shows that Governor Romney is not afraid to take on the tough issues and tackle the big issues with a person who has known record and a proven record of doing just that: tackling big issues, solving big problems and being bold, and giving the American people an honest assessment of where things stand.
“And the choice of Paul Ryan now, even more importantly, provides crystal clarity to the choice before the American people,” he said.
Flaherty, considered a social conservative, described the chairman of the House Budget Committee as “a well-known, full spectrum conservative who has earned the respect of conservatives across the board.
“And he is a staunch defender of personal freedom like Governor Romney. He’s a staunch defender of economic freedom and a staunch defender of religious freedom — all very serious and important issues before the American people right now.”
Romney’s selection, further, foreshadows serious discussion on Medicare during the campaign, Flaherty said. Democrats have long assailed Ryan’s plans to reform the program, saying they will “end Medicare as we know it” and harm seniors.
“Medicare is a debate that we want to have, and it’s also a debate that we’re going to win,” Flaherty said. “It tells you that Governor Romney is going to protect Medicare for seniors and ensure that the program is strengthened and saved for future retirees. It also tells you that we’re not afraid to have this debate because we look at this debate through the lens of what President Obama has done to Medicare.
“President Obama has cut Medicare by $716 billion to pay for Obamacare,” Flaherty added, referring to the Affordable Care Act. “He’s also gone further and promised to veto a bill that would restore those cuts. And he’s installed a panel of Washington bureaucrats to make decisions about what kind of care seniors will receive under Medicare.
“So, there is a clear distinction between what Gov. Romney and Paul Ryan will do with respect to Medicare as compared to the cuts that President Obama has already made to the tune of $716 billion.”
“We raised over $100 million a few months in a row, and we expect that pace to continue,” he said. “We had been outspent in the primary in certain states.”
Those included Florida, where the Obama campaign outspent Romney’s effort $17 million to $2 million, Flaherty said. In Ohio, it was $22 million to $6.5 million — and in Virginia, $11 million to $3 million.
“Now, we look forward to deploying the resources and putting the resources to use in an aggressive and an informative campaign that addresses the substantive issues that people are concerned about,” Flaherty said. “You will see a very clear difference between an Obama campaign based on negativity and division and a Romney-Ryan campaign that will be based on optimism and vision.”
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