Romney's Lack of Solid Background Narrative Lets Democrats Define Him

Failure to create positive background story for Republican lets Democrats fill in the blanks.

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Democratic strategists are increasingly confident that Republican challenger Mitt Romney won't be able to unseat President Obama in the November election and that the GOP national convention next week won't do much to change the dynamic of the race. That's partly because Romney and his campaign have failed to create a positive narrative about his background and character, allowing Obama and his allies to fill in the blanks in a very negative way, Democratic strategists say.

Romney "ran a brilliant primary campaign by annihilating the primary field," argues Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher, an informal adviser to the Obama campaign. "But in so doing, they never defined who Mitt Romney is, and all this negativity certainly had a bad impact on his image and left an opening for others to define him."

Belcher adds that the Democrats picked up where Romney's GOP opponents left off when they criticized him for practicing predator capitalism as a private businessman, having a weak record as governor of Massachusetts, and living a millionaire's lifestyle that prevents him from connecting with Middle America.

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, released this week, finds that 52 percent of voters say Obama cares about "average people" while only 30 percent say Romney does.

Belcher points out that Romney's unfavorable ratings are high among the swing voters who will make the difference in battleground states such as Colorado, Florida, and Ohio.

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 in the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and on Facebook and Twitter.