GOP Sees Mitt Romney Debate Performance as New Boost for His Candidacy - Politics
The solid verdict for Mitt Romney following the first presidential debate — on style points, at a minimum — has pushed the Obama campaign to rethink strategy and the Republican team to reload.
The much-anticipated debate at the University of Denver on Wednesday surprised advisers in both camps, both because of Obama’s passive approach, and for Romney’s aggressive, crisp, and confident attack.
How this performance, the most widely viewed event of the campaign so far, affects the race will become apparent in coming days as new polls are released in the key swing states where the president has built a lead. Another milestone in the campaign will be the release Friday morning of updated monthly jobless figures.
But the debate disparity between Obama and Romney has prompted immediate rethinking among the president’s advisers and a reenergized push to build on momentum among Republicans.
“There is some strategic judgment that has to be made, and we’ll make it,” said David Axelrod, senior adviser to the Obama campaign. “I’m sure that he will consider his approach moving forward.”
Axelrod and other campaign officials likened Romney’s showing to “theater” and countered that Obama was focused on providing clarity to his vision for the country. That approach avoided references to Romney’s links to Bain Capital, the “47 percent” video, and women’s health issues — all of which have been assailed by Obama’s ads — and left observers from both parties stunned by the omission.
David Plouffe, a senior Obama campaign adviser, dismissed the importance of using the debate to attack Romney’s comments about the 47 percent of Americans he had described as “victims” who believe they are entitled to government handouts. That remark, delivered at a private fund-raiser, “is a fully known thing that’s baked into the cake,” Plouffe said.