Romney campaign to attack Obama's 'political payoffs'
Romney's campaign will launch a fresh assault this week accusing President Obama of political cronyism at the expense of middle-class workers.
The Washington Post
Trying to shift the presidential-campaign narrative away from his personal finances and tenure at Bain Capital, Republican Mitt Romney will launch a fresh assault this week accusing President Obama of political cronyism at the expense of middle-class workers.
In a coordinated offensive starting Monday, the Romney team and its allies will say that the president has been a "typical politician" and has demonstrated "systematic favoritism" toward top campaign fundraisers by lavishing them with federal appointments and their companies with taxpayer money and special government deals, according to campaign officials.
Romney has broadly labeled Obama a "crony capitalist," but aides said the presumptive GOP nominee will deliver the attack to voters in a sharper and more substantive and sustained manner beginning at a Tuesday rally in Pennsylvania.
The overall effort, under the branding "Obama's Political Payoffs and Middle Class Layoffs," will highlight alleged administration favoritism toward more than 200 Obama donors. "If you're a political donor to Barack Obama, you're going to do fine, because you're going to get a payoff. If you're a middle-class worker, you're in jeopardy, you're facing a layoff," Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Romney, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
Obama campaign officials see this as a weak line of attack, in part because, they said, Romney played favorites by steering tax breaks to some companies over others as governor of Massachusetts.
"It's clear that Mitt Romney will do anything to avoid answering serious questions about his tenure as a corporate buyout specialist," Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith said. "But launching false attacks that only boomerang on his record of cronyism in Massachusetts and the Olympics won't do it."
With some prominent Republicans urging Romney to fight back harder against stinging attacks from Obama over his Bain career, the new cronyism offensive is designed to put Romney and his campaign back on the offensive. "We're turning the page," one adviser said.
It is unclear how easily Romney will be able to regain his footing in a race that has become consumed by questions surrounding his career at Bain, the private-equity firm he founded and ran, and his unwillingness to share more personal financial information.
In a rare move to defend himself, Romney granted interviews to all five major television news networks Friday night, but he did not put the issue to rest. He has not fully clarified the confusion surrounding his tenure at Bain — specifically the scope of his involvement between 1999 and 2002, when he was running the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City but remained listed as Bain's chief executive.
Gillespie said Sunday that Romney "retired retroactively" but was not responsible for Bain's day-to-day decisions while overseeing the Games.
"Either you're the CEO, president, chairman of the board of Bain Capital, as you attest to the SEC, or he's telling the American people he bears no responsibility for that. Both those things can't be true," Stephanie Cutter, the president's deputy campaign manager, said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Meanwhile, Romney is being scolded for not disclosing more than two years of tax returns. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, R, called on him to "release everything to the American people," a sentiment echoed on the Sunday political talk shows by other Republicans.