Mitt Romney’s campaign is reorganizing itself around a new last-second message, accusing President Obama of urging his supporters to vote out of “revenge.”
The new line of attack stems from an Obama rally in Springfield, Ohio on Friday in which he briefly interrupted his speech after the audience booed House Republicans and Romney.
“No, no, no — don’t boo, vote,” Obama said. “Vote. Voting is the best revenge.”
This didn’t sit well with Romney, who incorporated it into a speech the same night, also in Ohio.
“Vote for revenge?” Romney said. “Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: Vote for love of country.”
His running mate Paul Ryan referenced Obama’s “revenge” in a speech on Saturday morning in Ohio as well.
“We don’t believe in revenge, we believe in change, in hope. We actually do!” he said.
In addition to targeting the quote in speeches, the campaign released a new television ad entitled “Revenge Or Love Of Country” on Saturday featuring clips of Obama’s “revenge” moment and Romney’s response.
The Obama campaign defended the president’s aside, saying it came in the context of a speech playing on local resentments over Romney’s use of misleading ads that suggest Chrysler is looking at outsourcing jobs at its Toledo factory to China.That claim has drawn a savage response from Chrysler, GM, a slew of fact checkers, and both local and national media.
Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that Romney was “frightening workers in Ohio into thinking, falsely, that they’re not going to have a job” and that Obama’s comments reflected the resultant backlash in the state.
“The message he was sending is if you don’t like the policies, if you don’t like the plan that Gov. Romney is putting forward, if you think that’s a bad deal for the middle class, then you can go to the voting booth and cast your ballot,” she said. “It’s nothing more complicated than that.”
Ohio is the undisputed central battleground heading into Election Day, with a win likely guaranteeing electoral victory for Obama. He currently holds a small but very stable lead in dozens of recent polls.
(Photo Credit: Brett Marty)
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.