The Republican National Committee's latest gambit is to hit President Obama for telling a citizen at a public forum that he couldn't understand why her husband had been out of work for three years because Obama thought labor conditions were improving. To RNC strategists, this suggested that the president was out of touch.
The Democratic National Committee has latched onto Romney's appearance on CNN Wednesday morning in which he said, "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it." To the DNC, this suggested that Romney was out of touch.
The DNC wants to exploit the fact that Romney, although he is the GOP front-runner, now has a very low favorability rating of 23 percent among independents, a key voting bloc. His unfavorable rating has soared to 51 percent among independents, according to the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll. At the same time, Obama's approval rating is only 42 percent among independents, a bad sign for his re-election.
Matthew Dowd, a Republican strategist and former adviser to President George W. Bush, says the parties may be heading toward a campaign of "un-electables."
"What happens in an election when two candidates who are unelectable run against each other in the fall?" Dowd asks in a Huffington Post column. "We are about to test that proposition...Anything is possible. Could a third-party candidate emerge? Yes. Could Romney unify the Republicans? Very possible. Could Obama get a lift from an improving economy? Sure. We won't know any of those answers for quite a while, but it is sure going to be fun to watch this contest unfold."
Dowd says both Obama and Romney have big vulnerabilities and large swaths of the electorate unhappy with each of them in different ways. Many voters consider Obama a weak leader on economic issues because he has failed to get unemployment below 8 percent, as he promised to do, and is running up vast deficits. Many others consider Romney a weak leader because he has changed his mind on many issues and has lived the life of an American aristocrat far removed from the problems of everyday Americans.
Each major party is doing its best to make the other side's candidate as unelectable as it can.