In speeches from Des Moines to Dallas, Romney has always been careful to hedge his tough digs at Obama with a civil nod toward the president's moral character: "He's a nice guy," the Republican has often said. "He just has no idea how the private economy works." But Tuesday's speech included no such hedge — and one campaign adviser said there's a reason for that. "[Romney] has said Obama's a nice fellow, he's just in over his head," the adviser said. "But I think the governor himself believes this latest round of attacks that have impugned his integrity and accused him of being a felon go so far beyond that pale that he's really disappointed. He believes it's time to vet the president. He really hasn't been vetted; McCain didn't do it." Indeed, facing what the candidate and his aides believe to be a series of surprisingly ruthless, unfounded, and unfair attacks from the Obama campaign on Romney's finances and business record, the Republican's campaign is now prepared to go eye for an eye in an intense, no-holds-barred act of political reprisal, said two Romney advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In the next chapter of Boston's pushback — which began last week when they began labeling Obama a "liar" — very little will be off-limits, from the president's youthful drug habit, to his ties to disgraced Chicago politicians. "I mean, this is a guy who admitted to cocaine use, had a sweetheart deal with his house in Chicago, and was associated and worked with Rod Blagojevich to get Valerie Jarrett appointed to the Senate," the adviser said. "The bottom line is there'll be counterattacks." The reference to Obama's past drug use seems to suggest that former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu wasn't going off-script after all when he dinged the president for spending "his early years in Hawaii smoking something" during a Tuesday morning Fox News appearance. Returning fire with personal attacks on Obama offers both emotional satisfaction to Romney and many Republicans, and an answer of sorts to relentless Democratic attacks on Romney's time as an executive.
Hoo boy. Blago and coke. This ain't beanbag. The Romney campaign has also released two new hard-hitting ads, the first of which slams the wasteful, failed "stimulus..."
Uh oh, if the Romney camp keep using Chuck Schumer's words to hurt the president, the New York Senator might start chirping about supporting additional restrictions on the First Amendment. Incidentally, since the ad singled out Obama's Solyndra disaster, you might be interested to see what an Obama campaign spokeswoman said about the politically-connected, now-bankrupt solar company:
"The reality is that Solyndra received funding through a Department of Energy program created under the Bush administration — a program that has supported tens of thousands of jobs across the country and is moving forward with investments in innovative projects like the first nuclear plant built in the U.S. in decades and the world's largest wind farm," Lis Smith told the Detroit News. "In fact, both Republican and Democratic administrations advanced Solyndra's application, and the company was widely praised as successful and innovative both before and after receiving the Department of Energy loan guarantee."
Actually, Solyndra's loan was rejected by Republicans because of numerous (justified) red flags, all of which were explicitly buried and ignored by Obama's political team for political reasons. But keep on selling that "Blame Bush, plus is was successful!" argument, guys. Nobody's buying. The Romney's campaign's other video juxtaposies the president's "you didn't build that" speech with Romney's inspired response:
Which man would you rather have managing the struggling US economy? Before you offer your final answer, read today's superb Wall Street Journal editorial comparing Romney's massive success at Bain Capital with the cronyism of Obama's mismanaged, "green jobs" flop.
UPDATE - Right on cue, another Obama-backed "green energy" company bites the dust:
The Amonix solar manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas, heavily financed under an Obama administration energy initiative, has closed its 214,000-square-foot facility 14 months after it opened. Officials at Amonix headquarters in Seal Beach, Calif., have not responded to repeated calls for comment this week.
Heckuva job, champ. B-b-but...Bain!
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography