Politics
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during an economic roundtable at the Treynor State Bank, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, in Treynor, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during an economic roundtable at the Treynor State Bank, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, in Treynor, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)  

All the president’s men go after Romney

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Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

The president’s men are plumbing new depths of negative campaigning and this week again tried to kick around former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by saying he is unprincipled and a coward.

Would-be GOP candidate Romney “has no core,” President Barack Obama’s senior advisor David Plouffe declared Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “If [Romney] thought … it was good to say the sky was green and the grass was blue to win an election, he’d say it,” Plouffe said.

The Democratic National Committee broke into the conversation at 11.51 a.m. Sunday by sending out a tweet titled “Chicken Mitt.”

The message linked to a video-clip that shows Fox News’ Chris Wallace saying Romney was the only major GOP candidate who has not come onto “Fox News Sunday” for an interview  “He has not appeared on this program or any Sunday talk show since March of 2010,” Wallace said. “We invited Gov. Romney again this week, but his campaign says he’s still not ready to sit down for an interview.”

By repeating the “flip-flopper” charge, the administration is trying to have its message creep into the media’s coverage of the GOP primary campaign.

The charge is double-edged because it is aimed at both the GOP’s political idealists — who doubt Romney is a committed conservative — as well as at swing-voters. A high proportion of swing-voters will pull the lever in 2012 for the person whom they think to be the most determined leader.

Plouffe and DNC’s criticisms of Romney also complement the president’s Rose Garden strategy, in which he portrays himself a busy chief executive, while also accusing his political rivals of unpatriotic activities. For example, on numerous occasions since September the president has accused GOP leaders of putting “party before country.”

This charge was escalated Sunday when David Axelrod, one of Obama’s top campaign officials, verbally carpet-bombed the GOP’s legislators. “You have to ask a question, are they willing to tear down the economy in order to tear down the president or are they going to cooperate?” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” (RELATED: Cain, Romney finish atop Des Moines Register poll)

Sunday’s criticisms did not bug the Romney campaign, which chose not to respond to Plouffe’s claim or the DNC’s jibe.

Romney has been the DNC’s primary target for several months.

The DNC has cited Romney in 94 of its 108 messages emailed out since Oct. 17. The messages have not accused him of being a crook. But numerous messages charge Romney with changing his position under political pressure.

For example, an Oct. 23 post-debate message from DNC spokesman Ricardo Ramírez said that “Romney made it clear that he makes decisions not based on right and wrong, but on what’s convenient for his political career … It’s high time for Mitt Romney to listen to his advisor and support comprehensive immigration reform – not because he’s running for office, but because it’s right for the country.”

Immigration, and the related debate over the Democrats’ efforts to win a conditional amnesty for Hispanic immigrants, who incidentally tend to lean Democratic, are controversial issues.

They’re controversial partly because the nation has admitted a record-breaking 14 million legal and illegal immigrants since 2000. The easy-immigration policy has become even more contentious since the economic meltdown in 2008. Currently, there are at least 14 million unemployed people in the United States.

Obama’s deputies have largely ignored the other GOP candidates.

The DNC’s critical messages have mentioned Perry only 30 times since Oct. 17.

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