Obama re-election campaign kicks off with withering ad attacking Mitt Romney's 'greatest lines'
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Thursday 12 April 2012
The Republican primary contest may be over, but the Obama campaign served notice yesterday that it intends to let no one forget the professions of ultra-conservative faith that have helped make Mitt Romney the president’s all-but-certain opponent in November.
Less than 24 hours after the withdrawal of Rick Santorum, Mr Romney’s last realistic rival for the nomination, team Obama issued a withering attack ad, in effect a two-minute collage of what Democrats might call ‘Mitt’s Greatest Lines.’
“Memories to Last a Lifetime,” it is entitled. “Unforgettable Moments from an Unforgettable Campaign” – and all of them moments Mr Obama’s strategists believe will prove that the former Massachusetts Governor is a callous conservative, a rich man out to make the rich richer and out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans.
The featured “moments” include many of Mr Romney’s statements that made headlines during the bruising primary season, as the candidate desperately sought to assure sceptical Tea Party supporters and social conservatives that he was one of them.
They range from his “corporations are people, my friends” remark, to his confession that he enjoyed “firing people who provide services to me”, his hostility to the rescue of the car industry during the financial crisis, and his insistence that the cure for the foreclosure crisis in the housing market was to “let it run the course, hit the bottom.”
Also featured are Mr Romney’s efforts to prove himself a social conservative. He is shown urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling that guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion, and declaring his belief that life begins at conception. As for immigration, another litmus issue for the right, there is a clip of Mr Romney vowing to veto any bill that would allow some illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.
This pre-emptive strike from the Obama camp not only underlines how, for all intents and purposes, the general election campaign has already begun, but it strikes to the core of the dilemma Mr Romney faces as he switches gears for a contest in which he must broaden his appeal to win over independent and moderate voters.
Simultaneously, Mr Romney must retain the faith of his party’s conservative wing, crucial for energising the base and getting out the vote, while persuading potential swing voters that he is a pragmatic moderate at heart. Most presidential nominees move towards the centre once the primaries are won, but for Mr Romney, an awkward campaigner at the best of times, the task will be especially tricky.
Last month, Eric Fehrnstrom, one of his top aides, caused a furore with his now notorious ‘Etch a Sketch’ remark, apparently suggesting that his candidate would wipe the slate clean of the “severely conservative” Governor of Massachusetts (as Mr Romney famously described himself) and portray himself as a man of the people.
To square the circle, Mr Romney is likely to focus his fire on Mr Obama and his economic record, presenting himself as a competent manager whose policies will create jobs. One thing is clear however, as Mr Obama’s new video broadside underlines: in Campaign 2012, no holds will be barred.
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...