Even if Mitt Romney survives the challenge from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and secures the Republican presidential nomination, President Barack Obama’s political team believes the former Massachusetts governor has severely damaged his standing with the independent voters he will need to win in the fall, The Washington Post
The advisers believe that Romney has suffered a number of self-inflicted wounds in his fight with Gingrich that present real openings. The campaign had expected to go after Romney for his role with the private equity firm Bain Capital, but were surprised at Romney’s inability to handle questions about it from GOP opponents, the Post reported.
“These are all self-inflicted,” one adviser to the president told the Post. “He has done as much damage to himself with how he’s handled this as anything his opponents have said about him. That’s why I think he’s made it worse.”
Romney has been hit with questions about his wealth, tax rate, Swiss bank account, and offshore investments. Top Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod told the Post that “large numbers of independent voters are free agents right now.”
“We are picking up with them,” Axelrod said. “But as the Republican candidates drag themselves further and further to the right, in pursuit of the nomination, they’re absolutely blowing themselves up with independent voters, and you can see it in the numbers.”
A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that by a 2-to-1 margin, independent voters now have an unfavorable impression Romney. Just two weeks ago they had a favorable view.
At the same time, Obama’s numbers have inched into the positive range with independents, with 51 percent now having a favorable view, the Post reported.
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