Skip to comments.Barack Obama's new ally: Rick Perry
Posted on 10/27/2011 8:33:35 AM PDT by smoothsailing
October 27, 2011
President Barack Obamas 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 Obamas opponent, Perrys 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 arent 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 doesnt deserve the presidency.
Its 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 cant 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 cant be trusted [and its] equally important in a general election against an incumbent president people like and trust.
Its 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 Romneys 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 its coming from Perry, [Rick] Santorum, the DNC, [Democratic strategist Bill] Burton or [Obama spokesman Ben] LaBolt: that he doesnt believe anything, that you cant trust him, that hes a flip-flopping weasel, the Democrat said. The fight hes having in the primary is the fight hes 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, Im running for office, for Petes sake. Perry and the DNC simultaneously leaped on the quote as evidence that Romneys 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 wont make a decision beyond the headline of the most recent newspaper hes read.
For once in this campaign, Rick Perry is correct in his evaluation of Mitt Romneys commitment to an issue, Redfern told POLITICO Wednesday, acknowledging: Weve 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 its possible that the attacks may do real damage at some point, at the moment, it feeds the impression cherished by Romneys campaign: that hes 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 Obamas backers and the Perry campaign downplay the idea that theres 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 presidents 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.
Theyve 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 Perrys 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 Republicans views so that he wont be able to run from them in the general election.
Theres been no story analyzing the impact of Romneys commitment to repealing Wall Street reform, no story on Romneys commitment to the congressional Republican budget plan, LaBolt said. Theres been a void out there in which those questions havent been asked and answered and until somebody steps into that void, its 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 cant really defend himself, Gerstein said.
Democrats are betting that Perry will keep the pressure on Romney from the right and hoping hell use the millions of dollars he has stockpiled to run TV ads, undermining Romneys carefully cultivated image.
Either way, Democrats have made clear they dont have time to wait for Romneys GOP rivals to take him down a notch, and theyre 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 theyre employing tactics to meddle in the Republican primary specifically to damage Mitt Romney.
He added: I just think theyre running a big risk of tipping off the Republican rank and file that, gee whiz, Obama is scared to death of this guy.
© 2011 POLITICO LLC
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?
Mitt Romney can kiss my grit.
Obama + Perry = Liberal people who are the exact same. This article does not surprise me. Obama loves Perry go figure.
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.
Naps, you never disappoint! :)
The liberals know they could beat Romney like a rented mule. and Perry is spoiling their game plan.
Clever. Me thinks Obama does not want to go up against Perry.
Definitely deceptive. It is Politico, after all. They’re worried, but it’s not about Romney.
“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?
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Wouldn’t this concept make FR “Barack Obama’s new ally”?
Romney is Obama without the teleprompter, they’re both five dollar floozies.
LOL! Yes, we’d be Oblahma’s biggest cheerleader! :)
You know that is false..Shame on you.