CNN’s David Frum is watching every press conference in the ongoing character assassination campaign:
And it was that “win the hour” mentality that got the Romney campaign into much more serious trouble when the Obama campaign launched a big push on Romney’s business record the next day.
Thursday morning, the Obama campaign released a tough ad attacking the record of downsizing and outsourcing at Romney’s old firm, Bain Capital.
The Romney campaign reacted with outrage. That same day, it announced a multimillion-dollar purchase of airtime for an ad that bluntly accused President Obama of lying.
In support of the ad, Romney’s team argued that he had left Bain Capital in February 1999; the incidents alluded to by the Obama campaign all occurred after that date and had nothing to do with Romney.
Wham. The first attack on Romney had been a jab, dropping Romney’s guard against the haymaker: On Friday, the Obama team counter-charged that it was Romney who was lying in his ads or who had committed a felony, lying on 140 official forms that he signed as CEO and sole shareholder of Bain between 1999 and 2002.
[...] Romney’s core problem is this: He heads a party that must win two-thirds of the white working-class vote in presidential elections to compensate for its weakness in almost every demographic category. The white working class is the most pessimistic and alienated group in the electorate, and it especially fears and dislikes the kind of financial methods that gained Romney his fortune.
Romney has a strong potential defense: Bain was in the business of making companies more efficient and profitable. Downsizing and outsourcing were necessary — and often indispensable — means to that end… However, it’s not an argument that appeals much to the voters Romney most intensely needs to win. Hence his unleashing of the war room — but in the end, there’s only so much a war room can do. And this time, by trying to do too much, the Romney war room may have blasted its own side with lethal friendly fire.
It’s hard to find voters that identify with either candidate at this point in what has been an overwhelmingly negative game of “hate-monger your opponent”.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is conducting aggressive maneuvers against Iran with not a peep from either candidate (even Bush would have been politically smart enough to rub something like this in Kerry’s face by now).