Senior political advisers for President Barack Obama say Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is way off base when he argues that he is more in touch with everyday Americans than the president is.
In an interview at Obama's re-election headquarters in Chicago, a top strategist called it "laughable" for Romney to raise the issue and he added: "I don't think he knows what's going on in the lives of Americans... I'm happy to have the out-of-touch war."
The strategist went on to list a series of examples of Romney being "out of touch" and seeming to be living "off this planet." It amounted to a bill of particulars that Obama will use against the GOP challenger through the rest of the campaign.
Among the paths of attack:
—Romney supports failed economic policies of the past, such as more tax breaks for millionaires.
—He opposes more federal aid to education and federal help to hire more teachers.
—Romney has expressed doubts about withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq.
—He opposes setting a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan.
—He wants to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision whereby the Supreme Court legalized abortion.
—His background as a leader of Bain Capital, a private-equity firm, was geared toward creating wealth for investors, not creating jobs for everyday people. The senior Obama adviser said Romney got "exceptionally wealthy" and lived in "splendid isolation" at a time when Americans were suffering economic trouble.
—He has held bank accounts in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and other places where most Americans could not or would not put their money.
—He opposes gay marriage.
It adds up to a portrayal of Romney as a political mutant, an image that Team Obama will promote for the remainder of the campaign.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook and Twitter.