President Obama's political advisers say one reason for their confidence that he will be re-elected next year is that the Republican field is so weak and Obama will be very effective in defining the eventual Republican nominee in harsh and negative ways.
"This will be a close election," that will be determined by perceptions of the economy in the battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, a senior Democratic strategist says. But in the end, Obama will win because his message and his campaign will be superior to the eventual Republican nominee's. "We haven't spent a penny yet for defining their candidate," he says, and Obama's TV advertising will be hard-hitting and pivotal.
The outline of the attack strategy for each major GOP candidate is becoming clear. For example, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, if he is the nominee, would be portrayed by the Democrats as a politician who can't be trusted because he lacks "convictions and values" and changes his mind too often. Texas Gov. Rick Perry would be billed as an overly conservative politician who is out of touch with the country beyond his home state.