The Romney campaign has a new strategy: paint President Obama as a worn-out politician running a dirty campaign. Obama’s campaign isn’t just nasty, Romney says. It’s the nastiest.
This new tactic was on full display Tuesday night in Chillicothe, Ohio, where Mitt Romney summoned some strong words about the president.
“[H]e’s intellectually exhausted, out of ideas, and out of energy,” Romney said, according to prepared remarks. “And so his campaign has resorted to diversions and distractions, to demagoguing and defaming others. This is an old game in politics; what’s different this year is that the president is taking things to a new low.”
The proof? Romney accused Obama and his surrogates of unleashing “reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the presidency.” On Tuesday, the Romney campaign released an ad in Iowa holding Obama accountable for a super PAC ad that connects Mitt Romney with a woman’s death.
On Tuesday, according to the Romney, the Obama campaign hit a “new low” when Vice President Joe Biden used the word “chains” in front of a largely black audience in Virginia, purportedly injecting racial “code words” into his campaign.
“Another outrageous charge came a few hours ago in Virginia,” Romney said. “And the White House sinks a little bit lower. This is what an angry and desperate Presidency looks like.”
Early on in the campaign, President Obama’s personal likability among voters shielded him from these more personal kinds of attacks. But recently, the Romney campaign has decided they need to up the attacks on the president and has seen openings, such as the infamous Priorities USA ad, to get personal. Since adding Paul Ryan to the ticket, the Romney campaign has also sought to build off of Ryan’s reputation as a serious politician who cares about the issues.
“So, Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America,” Romney said.
The Obama campaign called Romney’s comments “unhinged” in a terse response from press secretary Ben LaBolt.
“Governor Romney’s comments tonight seemed unhinged, and particularly strange coming at a time when he’s pouring tens of millions of dollars into negative ads that are demonstrably false.”
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.