(WASHINGTON) — The Obama campaign is opening a new front in its war against GOP rival Mitt Romney, ABC News has learned, with planned attacks to begin this week on Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts.
Team Obama will point to Romney’s campaign promises namely his rhetoric on job creation, size of government, education, deficits and taxes during the 2002 gubernatorial campaign and draw parallels with his presidential stump speeches of 2012. The goal is to illustrate that Romney has made the same promises before with unimpressive results, officials say.
The approach is a part of an effort to keep the focus off of President Obama, who has an underwater approval rating and has struggled to bring down unemployment — currently above 8 percent nationally. He and his campaign are aggressively trying to make Romney an unacceptable alternative on the November ballot.
Obama campaign officials say the latest line of attack will be a major focus from now through the election.
A 14-page research document compiled by the campaign and obtained by ABC News reveals the breadth of material Democrats plan to deploy, listing dozens of examples of Romney rhetoric and corresponding video clips from 2002, 2012, and the comparative “results in Massachusetts.”
On jobs, for example, Romney pitched himself in 2002 as a conservative businessman who could right the economic ship after the tech bubble burst led to layoffs across the Bay State. During a Boston debate, Romney said, “I have experience in the private sector building and creating thousands of good jobs, and I want to bring that skill for you here in Massachusetts” — a theme he regularly reprises today.
But the Obama campaign notes, citing a report from the independent fact-checker Politifact, Massachusetts was 47th out of 50 states in job creation under Romney. In manufacturing jobs, Democrats point out, Romney presided over a net loss of 40,000 jobs, a drop of 12 percent according to Labor Department data.
The president’s campaign will use a number of former Massachusetts state officials who served with Romney between 2003 and 2007 to make their case, attacking him for, among other things, vetoing a bill against outsourcing. They also plan to release successive web videos to illustrate their points in what will be overall a national and state-level campaign.
The approach is a shifting of gears for Team Obama, which had spent the past few weeks hammering Romney for his business record at Bain Capital. The attacks had come under fire from some Democrats as being possibly too negative, too soon, while Republicans decried what they called a double standard for Obama’s treatment of private equity executives.
Obama strategists say they are not abandoning the assault on Romney’s record at Bain, but broadening their case by turning to an array of issues the Republican dealt with during his time in political office.
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