With its candidate having been swamped in the debate by an aggressive and articulate Gov. Mitt Romney, the Obama campaign is switching fully into attack mode, moving beyond earlier assaults on Romney’s business record and wealth toward a new drive to destroy his character.
Casting completely aside the Obama 2008 brand of a hopeful unifier, Obama’s operatives Thursday dived straight the jugular, working on multiple fronts to brand Romney a liar. The campaign, Obama aides made clear, would henceforth be conducted exclusively Chicago style.
In a vicious and personal assault rarely conducted at the highest level of U.S. politics, White House senior adviser David Plouffe repeatedly told reporters aboard Air Force One that Romney was “dishonest.” With the president of the United States in a cabin just a few steps away, his top adviser pushed out the new campaign theme that the man who had bested him in the debate Wednesday night is an untrustworthy scoundrel.
Generally presidential campaigns leave such personal attacks to surrogates, at least preserving the appearance that presidential candidates are above such things
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki opened Plouffe’s remarks by airing for reporters the new Obama campaign ad, “Trust,” which claims that Romney is lying about his tax plan and can’t be trusted to be president.
On a separate front, top campaign adviser David Axelrod convened a phone call with reporters telling them that the “question” for them “is really one of character and whether or not a candidacy that’s so fundamentally rooted in hiding the truth and the facts from the American people and deception is the basis of trust on which you assign the presidency to a person.”
Axelrod announced that this would be the new theme of the Obama campaign. “That is what we are going to focus on moving forward,” he said.