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Barack Obama's new ally: Rick Perry
Politico ^ | 10-27-2011 | Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin

Posted on 10/27/2011 8:33:35 AM PDT by smoothsailing

Barack Obama's new ally: Rick Perry

By: Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin

October 27, 2011

President Barack Obama’s political machine is increasingly making common cause with Texas Gov. Rick Perry against a shared enemy: Mitt Romney.

Romney is the opponent Democrats most fear, and whom Obama strategists view as the near-certain Republican nominee. Yet even among strategists who assume Romney will be Obama’s opponent, Perry’s newly feisty performance on the campaign trail has raised hopes that he may drag out the primary fight and bloody Romney ahead of the main event.

Obama supporters aren’t exactly coordinating attacks with Perry. But the Texas governor and national Democrats are reinforcing and amplifying a single, sharply negative message that benefits them both: that Romney is a soulless political opportunist who doesn’t deserve the presidency.

It’s a familiar attack that could resonate with voters in both the primary and general elections — and that strategists say can be delivered from the left and right with almost equal effect.

“It will be hard for Romney to beat Obama if he can’t get out from under the flip-flop narrative,” said former Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney. “It plays into concerns the primary voters have that he can’t be trusted [and it’s] equally important in a general election against an incumbent president people like and trust.

“It’s not just that there is an alignment of interests” between Obama and Perry, Finney said. “But more importantly, it illustrates how vulnerable Romney is on this issue.”

As one Democratic operative aligned with Obama explained the strategy: “You get in the slipstream and get in behind the collective anti-Romney message. You jump in and draft off that.”

Far from an attempt to tilt the outcome of the Republican primary, the operative called the Democratic messaging push a “bow to the obvious” — that Romney’s likely to be the GOP standard-bearer.

“The thing that is unique about Romney, though, is that if you close your eyes and have somebody read the attacks on Romney it would be impossible to know if it’s coming from Perry, [Rick] Santorum, the DNC, [Democratic strategist Bill] Burton or [Obama spokesman Ben] LaBolt: that he doesn’t believe anything, that you can’t trust him, that he’s a flip-flopping weasel,” the Democrat said. “The fight he’s having in the primary is the fight he’s gonna have in the general.”

At the moment, Perry is as much a part of that fight as the Obama campaign and its Democratic allies.

The tag-team attack on Romney started last week after he slipped up in a GOP debate, denying an accusation that he knowingly employed undocumented workers — and claiming he told a lawn-care contractor, “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake.” Perry and the DNC simultaneously leaped on the quote as evidence that Romney’s a callow and calculating politician.

The dual offensive intensified Tuesday, when the Perry campaign called on Romney to release his personal tax returns. Almost immediately, the Democratic independent group Priorities USA Action — led by Burton and Sean Sweeney, two former White House aides — made the same demand.

Romney faced another pile-on a few hours later, after he ducked a question in Ohio about his position on a statewide referendum on collective bargaining. (He later clarified that he supported a restrictive labor law signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich).

Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan immediately accused Romney of practicing “finger-in-the-wind politics.” Backing him up was Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, who assailed Romney — on a conference call advertised by the DNC — as the “consummate evolving politician who won’t make a decision beyond the headline of the most recent newspaper he’s read.”

“For once in this campaign, Rick Perry is correct in his evaluation of Mitt Romney’s commitment to an issue,” Redfern told POLITICO Wednesday, acknowledging: “We’ve all come to the conclusion that Rick Perry … will be back in Austin signing bills and Herman Cain will be off on the Koch brothers speaking tour. It seems that Mitt Romney is the only legitimate candidate left in the Republican stable.”

For the Romney campaign, the harsh barrage looks like confirmation that their opponents in both parties are spooked. While it’s possible that the attacks may do real damage at some point, at the moment, it feeds the impression cherished by Romney’s campaign: that he’s all but inevitable in the GOP primaries.

“Gov. Perry and President Obama have a lot in common, including their support for tuition breaks for illegal immigrants and opposition to a border fence. They also share abysmal jobs records,” said Romney communications director Gail Gitcho. “It is no wonder their only strategy is to issue false and negative attacks on Mitt Romney.”

Both Obama’s backers and the Perry campaign downplay the idea that there’s a tactical friendship of convenience. Perry spokesman Mark Miner insisted that Perry is “focused on policies that will improve the economy and create jobs — issues that both President Obama and Mitt Romney have failed at.”

And Burton shrugged off suggestions that Priorities USA Action had effectively partnered with Perry to try and rough up the Republican front-runner, scoffing: “Rick Perry just brought on the former head of federal emergency management to save his campaign. I hardly think their tactics were a part of any cogent strategy.”

But several Democrats in touch with the Obama campaign have confirmed that the president’s advisers are concerned about Romney — and have been, as all incumbents do, hoping for a protracted and costly primary that would damage the GOP front-runner. They have been rooting for the success of not just Perry, but also Herman Cain, the latest inheritor of conservative and grass-roots GOP fury.

Democrats with ties to Obama said that it had taken an unusually long time for Romney to start getting dinged in his primary fight — Cain has barely touched him, and Bachmann has said precious little about him. At the same time, Democrats spent weeks publicly casting Perry — their best GOP-based weapon against Romney — as a dopey lightweight, a move that lessened the impact of his attacks on his own rivals.

They had grown increasingly concerned as Michele Bachmann, and then Perry, seemed unable to land a real punch on Romney. And for two weeks now, Democrats have taken it into their own hands to batter Romney — and almost Romney alone.

They’ve organized events and conference calls with Democratic surrogates to counter-program his campaign stops, blasted out a flurry of negativeonline videos and put up paid television ads in Arizona. The comments from campaign officials are directed at Romney. Even in putting out a statement on Perry’s tax plan, the Obama campaign invoked the former Massachusetts governor.

LaBolt called the amped-up messaging against Romney an attempt to lay bright markers around the Republican’s views so that he won’t be able to run from them in the general election.

“There’s been no story analyzing the impact of Romney’s commitment to repealing Wall Street reform, no story on Romney’s commitment to the congressional Republican budget plan,” LaBolt said. “There’s been a void out there in which those questions haven’t been asked and answered and until somebody steps into that void, it’s our obligation to ask them.”

Now, with Perry showing a quickening pulse, Democrats are privately expressing glee over the prospect of having an accidental ally in running an unrelenting, character-based campaign against the Bay Stater.

Democratic consultant Dan Gerstein predicted that the early campaign against Romney could weaken him “in the primary and increases the potential, albeit slim at the moment, that one of the other, far more beatable jokers gets the nomination.”

“It begins to define [Romney] to the general election audience when he can’t really defend himself,” Gerstein said.

Democrats are betting that Perry will keep the pressure on Romney from the right — and hoping he’ll use the millions of dollars he has stockpiled to run TV ads, undermining Romney’s carefully cultivated image.

Either way, Democrats have made clear they don’t have time to wait for Romney’s GOP rivals to take him down a notch, and they’re unlikely to stop whacking him, given the possibility that Perry could falter yet again.

Republican strategist Scott Jennings, a former deputy White House political director under President George W. Bush, said the anti-Romney drumbeat looked like an all-too-transparent attempt to “co-opt the Perry vehicle to run attacks on Romney.

“Their hope would be to soften Romney up and at least plant doubts in the mind of the Republican electorate that Romney is as good a candidate as he is,” Jennings said. “They have concluded that Mitt Romney is their strongest opposition, so now they’re employing tactics to meddle in the Republican primary specifically to damage Mitt Romney.”

He added: “I just think they’re running a big risk of tipping off the Republican rank and file that, gee whiz, Obama is scared to death of this guy.”


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: amnesty; heartless; moron; patriot; perry; rickperry; zots4romneybots
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1 posted on 10/27/2011 8:33:41 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

When will the repub’s stop picking the next guy in line, Romney is McCain 2. McCain was the lesser of two evils, is that the choice I’m being given again, A waffling Rino or a communist. Why can’t we pick a conservative?

2 posted on 10/27/2011 8:41:51 AM PDT by qman (If you are prepared you can't be surprised.)
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To: shield


3 posted on 10/27/2011 8:46:41 AM PDT by smoothsailing (FUMR-FUBO)
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To: qman

Mitt Romney can kiss my grit.

4 posted on 10/27/2011 8:48:19 AM PDT by smoothsailing (FUMR-FUBO)
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To: smoothsailing

Obama + Perry = Liberal people who are the exact same. This article does not surprise me. Obama loves Perry go figure.

5 posted on 10/27/2011 8:51:50 AM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: smoothsailing; napscoordinator

Deceptive headline. It implies that anyone who does anything to defeat Romney is someohow helping Obama.

The fact is that Obama will win handily against Romney, and everybody (including Obama) knows this, and therefore it is to their advantage to keep the Romney candidacy strong.

The only way Perry is “helping” Obama is that he is not having much luck against Romney, at least in part because of silly remarks that he is a “liberal.” He is liberal in nothing, so far as I can see; the only real liberal running at present is Romney, since Huntsman, Pawlenty and Christie pretty much dropped out.

But I think the Dems were very successful (probably by posting on FR!) at creating a real hatred of Perry that occasionally verges towards a remake of the BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) suffered by many here.

6 posted on 10/27/2011 8:59:45 AM PDT by livius
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To: napscoordinator

Naps, you never disappoint! :)

7 posted on 10/27/2011 9:02:58 AM PDT by smoothsailing (FUMR-FUBO)
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To: smoothsailing
Boo Hoo, the liberals at Politico are crying because that big mean Rick Perry is picking on their selected loser candidate, Mutt Romney.

The liberals know they could beat Romney like a rented mule. and Perry is spoiling their game plan.

8 posted on 10/27/2011 9:03:22 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: napscoordinator
This is a "if you hate me, you'll hate Perry" memo....

Clever. Me thinks Obama does not want to go up against Perry.

9 posted on 10/27/2011 9:05:56 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: livius

Definitely deceptive. It is Politico, after all. They’re worried, but it’s not about Romney.

10 posted on 10/27/2011 9:07:15 AM PDT by smoothsailing (FUMR-FUBO)
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To: napscoordinator; smoothsailing

“This article does not surprise me”

To the contrary, you might be surprised IF you bothered to read it.

It isn’t about anything you said. It’s about Obama supposedly being glad that Perry is going after Romney, because the WH figures Perry can hurt Romney enough that they will find it easier to run against Mitt in the general election.

That’s what the article is about. It has nothing to do with the utterly absurd statement that Perry and Obama are just alike.


Read any good articles lately? Actually READ them?

11 posted on 10/27/2011 9:08:09 AM PDT by txrangerette
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To: smoothsailing

Romney has his minions in the press doing articles like this to injure Perry.

Romney is a snake in the grass. And a flip-flopper.

12 posted on 10/27/2011 9:08:45 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True Supporters of our Troops PRAY for their VICTORY!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; RoosterRedux; jonrick46; deepbluesea; RockinRight; TexMom7; potlatch; ...
Perry Ping....

IF you'd rather NOT be pinged FReepmail me.

IF you'd like to be added FReepmail me. Thanks.


13 posted on 10/27/2011 9:11:43 AM PDT by shield (Rev 2:9 Woe unto those who say they are Judahites and are not, but are of the syna GOG ue of Satan.)
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To: livius

Obama will beat liberal Romney. The media pimps for him because they want him to run against Obama. Fox News pimps for him because they have been ordered by GOP insider Roger Ailes to do exactly that. Karl Rove, the ultimate insider RINO never lets a day go by without saying Romney will be the nominee and how stupid Perry is. Cain is not given much credit for anything but being lucky. Romney, if the GOP nominee, will lose to Obama. McCain redux. Romney can not get the real conseratives to the polls. Perry can. So start supporting Perry if you want a conservative in the White House. Mr. establishment liberal Willard Romney is not the answer in the year of the Tea Party. You would think that the GOP beltway boys would understand that. Guess they’ll have to learn the hard way.

14 posted on 10/27/2011 9:13:51 AM PDT by Luther1917
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To: smoothsailing

Karl Rove is that you.?

Rove is working double time to destroy Perry to get Romney nominated.

Obama will win if Romney is the candidate.

15 posted on 10/27/2011 9:13:58 AM PDT by marty60
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To: smoothsailing
Politico. Check

Alexander Burns, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin. Check

"Romney is the opponent Democrats most fear, ……" Checkmate. Strike Three. EPIC FAIL.

BZZZZZZ. Wrong. Utter pablum from the TeamRomney fake conservative media sycophant cheerleaders at the pollute_ico website.

16 posted on 10/27/2011 9:17:34 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: smoothsailing

Wouldn’t this concept make FR “Barack Obama’s new ally”?

17 posted on 10/27/2011 9:21:28 AM PDT by hocndoc ( Have mustard seed:Will use. Cut spending, cut spending, cut spending, now,now,now!)
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To: xzins

Romney is Obama without the teleprompter, they’re both five dollar floozies.

18 posted on 10/27/2011 9:21:41 AM PDT by smoothsailing (FUMR-FUBO)
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To: hocndoc

LOL! Yes, we’d be Oblahma’s biggest cheerleader! :)

19 posted on 10/27/2011 9:27:31 AM PDT by smoothsailing (FUMR-FUBO)
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To: napscoordinator

You know that is false..Shame on you.

20 posted on 10/27/2011 9:32:31 AM PDT by MEG33 (God Bless Our Military Men And Women)
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