Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Behind Obama's Bain-Bashing

FWIW, from Beth Reinhard at National Journal, "Why Obama Is Doubling Down on Bain Capital Attacks Against Romney":

Why is President Obama’s reelection campaign doubling down on its attacks on Mitt Romney’s business record at Bain Capital, despite blowback from some supporters? Because they might work.

While many voters recall an image of "hope" and "change" from Obama’s successful 2008 campaign, he ran as many negative ads as GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona—and sometimes more. The message in those 2008 ads wasn’t so different from the anti-Romney theme today: The Republican nominee favors the wealthy at the expense of the struggling middle class. Voters bought it.

Lessons from two other campaigns also illuminate Obama’s strategy in going after Romney’s record at Bain Capital. In President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, the military record and foreign-policy experience of Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts was nullified with strident criticism of his Vietnam service and changing position on the war in Iraq. Similarly, Obama is trying to take one of Romney’s greatest assets in an economy-focused campaign—his business success—and turn it into a liability.

The other race shaping the 2012 campaign is Romney’s defeat at the hands of Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994. The Indiana paper company that was the subject of the anti-Romney attack on Monday, Ampad, marked a turning point in that year's Massachusetts Senate race. After Bain bought the company in 1992 and used it to acquire a paper factory, workers were laid off and then rehired at lower wages and benefits. The company ultimately went bankrupt, yet Bain made millions. Ads about the saga helped Kennedy leap over Romney in the polls.

“Obama is absolutely doing the right thing," said longtime Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, who helped run Kennedy’s campaign. “This is a very powerful issue. I saw its power in 1994. Romney was unprepared to deal with it well then, and he’s unprepared to deal with it well now."
More at that top link.

Actually, I think Reinhard's a little too in the tank for O.

But if these scurrilous attacks deflect attention from the Democrat's failed record on the economy, perhaps she's got a point.

Either way, see my earlier report, "'Big Bain Backfire'."