After debate, Democratic operatives replay anti-Romney themes

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

Democratic flacks trumpeted their standard criticisms of Gov. Mitt Romney again on Monday night, added a few extra notes, and continued to ignore the other GOP candidates.

Romney “will say anything to get elected,” said one post-debate email from Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee.

“With every passing moment, Mitt Romney finds a new opportunity to distort the facts and try to tell voters what he thinks they want to hear,” said her message, released shortly after the South Carolina debate ended.

Democrats also continue to portray Romney’s business career as selfish. “Romney’s goal as a corporate raider for Bain Capital was never job creation — it was putting profits over people by bankrupting companies, outsourcing jobs and laying off workers,” said Wasserman Schultz.

These themes were complemented by new variations, including the claim that Romney dodged questions and keeps changing his job-creation claims, and that he punted on releasing his tax records.

By not quickly releasing his tax records, Romney is “defying a practice that every Republican and Democratic nominee for President has adhered to for decades,” Wasserman Schultz’s message claimed.

Other Democratic activists used Twitter to pump up the anti-Romney volume.

“#SlipperyMitt. How many questions did he dodge tonight @ericfehrn?” said a tweet from Wasserman Schultz’s deputy, Brad Woodhouse, aimed at Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom.

That message played off Fox News’ novel effort to use social media to measure audiences’ assessment of whether the candidates dodged or addressed the questions asked of them. Fox’s data showed that the Twitter audience gave Romney poor marks.

One new theme was created by Romney’s awkward answer to a question about hunting, which Democrats immediately used to portray him both as insincere in proclaiming his support for hunting and as insensitive for supporting hunters in the first place.

The first charge might weaken his support among rural voters and blue collar voters, while the second might weaken his support among urban college graduates.

“Mitt stumbles and bumbles again,” tweeted Paul Begala, a Democratic political strategist who helped run Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 run for the White House. “This time when asked if he’s been hunting in the last 4 years. Hell, I’ve been hunting in the past 4 days.”

“YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE ‘DELIGHTED’ ABOUT HUNTING,” Bill Burton, a former Obama staffer, tweeted. “Sorry for the yelling. Even a liberal like me knows that,” said Burton, who is now raising money for Priorities USA, a political action committee seeking to boost Obama’s re-election chances.

Follow Neil on Twitter