President Obama's re-election strategists are zeroing in on what they consider Mitt Romney's strongest point—his argument that he is better equipped than Obama to fix the economy.
This was clear in the comments of Obama surrogates and spokesmen in news interviews over the weekend and Monday morning. It's increasingly apparent that deriding Romney's economic credentials and his economic agenda will be a major line of attack by Team Obama for the remainder of the campaign.
Obama is expected to make his anti-Romney case and defend his own economic record in separate interviews with eight local TV anchors at the White House Monday. The stations are in Roanoke, Virginia; Jacksonville, Florida; Greenville, South Carolina; Sioux City, Iowa; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Reno, Nevada, and Fresno, California. Most of the stations are in battleground states.
David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, hit Romney Sunday on ABC's "This Week." Axelrod attacked the presumptive GOP nominee for telling an Iowa rally that Obama is wrong to favor federal funding to hire more police officers, firefighters, and teachers. Axelrod said, "I would suggest he's living on a different planet if he thinks that's a prescription for a stronger economy." Axelrod made similar comments on CNN.
Romney had said of Obama, "He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin where Gov. Scott Walker won a recall election last week after taking on public employee unions? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."
As part of the concerted Democratic effort, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley also attacked Romney on the economy. O'Malley said on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday: "Last year more jobs were created in the private sector of our country's economy than in all eight years of President Bush. And that was true in 2010—more jobs created in the private sector than in all eight years of George W. Bush. So l think that President Obama absolutely needs to take away the false assertions of Mitt Romney that he created jobs either in [the] private sector or in Massachusetts [where Romney was governor]. He actually had the 47th worst job creation record as governor."
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made similar points on "Face the Nation." "Mitt Romney says he wants fewer teachers—that means larger classrooms," Trumka argued. "He says he wants fewer firefighters—that means less safety. I mean, rich people will probably still have good protection; working-class people won't. He wants fewer police officers—that means we're in danger."
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 email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter.