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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dems Try to Influence GOP Race

John Heilemann writes at New York:

In the midst of his controversial comments last week, Perry was hammered mercilessly by every liberal under the sun—except one. “I think that everybody who runs for president, it probably takes them a little bit of time before they start realizing that ... you’ve got to be a little more careful about what you say,” President Obama told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “But I’ll cut [Perry] some slack. He’s only been at it for a few days now.”

It’s no secret that the White House would prefer to run next fall against the likes of Perry (or, perish the thought, Bachmann) than Romney, the easier to paint Obama’s opponent as unacceptably outrĂ© and even scary. Less appreciated is how significant a player Obama’s reelection team—along with its allied outside groups—may be in the Republican primaries. By spending millions of dollars on anti-Romney ads and pointing out the similarities of his Massachusetts health-care plan to Obamacare at every opportunity, they may be able to function effectively as a pro-Perry “super pac”—and one with greater resources and media reach than anything Perry and his allies can muster. The irony here would be rich, for sure, and the effect bordering on perverse. But don’t kid yourself: The possibility of things playing out just this way is one of many nightmares that keep Romney’s advisers awake at night.

Alexander Burns writes at Politico that the DNC is highlighting Huntsman statements that will not help him among primary voters.

Jon Huntsman's appearance on ABC's "This Week," is winning applause from one of the two major political parties. It's not the one Huntsman's hoping to represent as its nominee for president.The Democratic National Committee just blasted out a greatest-hits reel from Huntsman's Sunday show appearance, wherein the former Utah governor criticized Rick Perry for being anti-science, Michele Bachmann for being unserious about the economy and Mitt Romney for being a flip-flopper.The DNC subject line: "Don't take our word for it ..."
The Note notes:

Huntsman, embracing the newfound strength of his Twitter voice, replied via tweet:

@JonHuntsman:.@thedemocrats - You missed 1. "Pres. Obama is too far left. His policies have failed." " Time to get economy back on track w/ new leadership.

Huntsman’s spokesman Tim Miller followed up with a statement to ABC News: "The DNC is shilling for a President who has failed on the most important issue to Americans - the economy and job creation. Governor Huntsman has a record of creating an environment for job growth and balancing budgets, President Obama has none. He's the one person who is offering serious solutions and has a record to back it up."
The "pick your opponent" strategy does not always work. In 1966, California governor Pat Brown tried to undercut GOP primary candidate George Christopher, in hopes that the party would nominate the other major candidate. Brown figured that the other guy was too extreme and would be easy pickings in the fall. His name was Ronald Reagan.