An essential component of Team Obama’s reelection narrative is convincing voters that the president -- unlike Mitt Romney -- espouses and supports the values of the American middle class. To that end, the White House has launched a series of factually inaccurate attack ads portraying his Republican challenger as a “corporate raider” and “vulture capitalist,” presumably to distort his record at Bain Capital and stir up class resentment. Now, however, it seems Team Romney is adding a new narrative into the mix, suggesting that while President Obama ostensibly represents middle class families -- and is fighting on their behalf -- he is not only rewarding major Democratic donors with lavish financial perks, but actually doing so at the expense of his political base.
This is an interesting spot. It’s no secret that Mitt Romney is staking his candidacy on his business experience, touting his years of service as a job creator in the private sector to galvanize the electorate and convince them he has the knowledge and experience to turn around the economy. And with 23 million Americans unemployed, underemployed, or no longer looking for work, it’s a powerful and at times compelling message. I suspect, too, Team Romney readily concedes that President Obama is a charismatic and affable chief executive. But can the American people -- no matter how much they like the president on a personal level -- afford four more years of this administration’s economic policies? This is the essential question the Romney camp is proposing to voters.By the way, I’m sure Mr. Obama is not the first presidential candidate to give political payoffs to major donors. But if voters get the sense that he cares more about his political patrons than his political base, it will not bode well for his chances of winning reelection. I fully expect Team Romney to exploit President Obama’s, ahem, “warm” relationship with his top fundraisers, but it remains to be seen what -- if any -- effect this new line of criticism will have on the outcome of the November election.