Democrats photo-bomb the Iowa caucuses

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Democratic campaign officials are fighting to get onto the GOP’s Iowa podium, because they’re hoping to jostle the GOP candidates, trip up Mitt Romney and color the public’s image of the Republican coalition and the eventual winner.

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, where she’s expected to slam Romney as an out-of-touch elitist.

Brad Woodhouse, the DNC’s communications chief, was in the state Jan. 1. He worked to damage the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign by trying to shape reporters’ coverage of Romney‘s win or loss in the race.

“Romney has now predicted a win tomorrow. He’s been running for 5 years, is all in here and has spent millions to win. He sure better,” said a Monday evening tweet from Woodhouse.

Democrats also showed off their Iowa general-election organization in the hope of a getting favorable comparisons to the Republicans’ ill-funded, ramshackle campaigns.

The New York Times displayed a flattering video of campaign volunteers hard at work, but also downplayed Obama’s use of Wall Street donations to portray itself as a champion of Iowa’s middle class.

Third-ranked Democratic surrogates pitched in with their own taunts. (RELATED: Full coverage of the Iowa caucuses)

Paul Begala, who worked for Bill Clinton in 1992, for example, jeered at the line-up. “Country-club moderates” chose not to run against Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich because “they’re worried that their base is so crazy they’ll be dragged so far to the right in the primaries that Obama will capture the center in the general election and make it impossible for them to win,” he wrote in the The Daily Beast.

The party-crashing by Obama’s deputies is almost entirely focused on Romney, because polls show him running ahead of Obama with swing-voting university graduates. Romney doesn’t do as well with non-university and blue-collar voters, but Obama has lost traction among those voters too.

To aid the anti-Romney campaigns, Obama’s people also showcased criticism from Randy Johnson, a Democratic union official and a former worker at a factory bought and later closed by Romney’s investment firm in 1992.

The pitch, made by Johnson and his political allies in the Obama campaign, is that Romney’s company made $100 million by laying off 200 workers.

That new pitch is drowning out the Democrats’ older claim that Romney is an insincere flip-flopper. The changed pitch makes sense, if the Obama team sees Romney as the likely GOP nominee.

The flip-flop charge undermines Romney’s chances among GOP activists, many of whom want to support an ideologically confident conservative. But that primary election flip-flop charge may actually shield Romney in the general election from the usual Democratic claims that the GOP candidate is an ideological extremist.

Once the votes are counted, Obama will try to grab the media’s attention on Wednesday from the winner of the Iowa caucuses by flying into Cleveland in the must-win state of Ohio.

He’ll give a speech on the economy at Shaker Heights High School, where he’ll get a raucous reception from the students, most of whom are African-American.

The speech is expected to showcase his re-election themes, in which he promises a country where “everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and engages in fair play.”

The campaign-style speech, however, will not be a campaign speech, but instead will be a normal political speech. That classification ensures that taxpayers will fund the cost of transporting him on Air Force One and the cost of arranging the school event.

Still, Obama’s campaign and his allied advocacy groups are expected to raise and spend roughly $1 billion in political donations by November.

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