Democrats slam Romney in preview of possible November race

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Democrats dumped on Gov. Mitt Romney Tuesday night, saying he won the Florida GOP primary only because of expensive negative ads, that the GOP turnout was low, and that Romney is both “extreme” and “out of touch.”

“Tonight Romney was successful in buying his way to victory. He & his super PAC outspent his nearest opponent by running 13,000 negative ads,” claimed a late-night tweet from Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

The same message was pushed by Bill Burton, a former press aide for President Barack Obama who is now running his own SuperPAC, Priorities USA Action. “Team Romney spent 1.5 [times] as much as the entire GOP field spent in [Florida] in 08 on TV,” Burton tweeted.

Since Obama’s team is running a character-focused campaign, they are eager to paint Romney as an elitist who doesn’t understand ordinary Americans’ lives.

“The more voters learn about Romney’s extreme, out-of-touch positions, the less they like him or trust him to lead,” Wasserman Schultz claimed.

Democrats are also trying to paint Romney as ruthless and untrustworthy.

“With every passing GOP contest, Romney becomes weaker with key general election swing and independent voters—should he make it that far,” Wasserman Schultz claimed in another tweet. “That’s because Romney will say anything, take any position, and will distort any fact about his or his opponents’ record to win.”

In contrast, Democrats are working hard to paint Obama as a leader who cares about, and is working hard on behalf of, middle-class Americans.

That character-focused strategy actually uses the stalled economy, high unemployment numbers and America’s fast-growing debt as a reason to vote for Obama.

Their hope is that depressed voters will vote for an empathetic and caring Obama, rather than for a supposedly elitist, uncaring and untrustworthy GOP challenger.

Democrats have dropped their early depiction of Romney as a flip-flopper, perhaps because that claim undermined their current efforts to paint him as extreme and ruthless.

Ben LaBolt, press secretary for Obama’s 2012 campaign, highlighted the relatively low voter turnout in the Florida GOP race. (RELATED: Full coverage of the Florida primary)

In 2008, the Florida turnout was a record for the GOP, hitting 1,949,498. Last night’s turnout was a comparatively modest 1,72 million.

“More signs that GOP enthusiasm gap was nothing more than overly enthused GOP pundits,” LaBolt claimed in a tweet.

Paul Begala, a long-time Democratic strategist, continued to tweet taunts at Romney’s team.

Last night, he slammed the former Massachusetts governor for criticizing Obama’s Ivy League elite advisors, even though Romney himself holds two Harvard University degrees.

“Mr. 2-Degrees-From-Harvard, Mitt Romney, attacks intellectuals in his FL speech, blasting O’s ‘friends in the faculty lounge,’” Begala tweeted.

When the voting result was clear, Begala also gloated about the defeat suffered by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose 1994 takeover of the House derailed the ambitions of Begala’s former client, President Bill Clinton.

“Newt vows to fight all the way to convention in August. Crowd cheers a little. I cheer a lot,” he tweeted.

Begala’s desire for a long and bitter primary battle also colored his compliment for the third-place finisher, Sen. Rick Santorum. “There is a homemade quality to Santorum’s campaign that is a stark contrast to the 100% Rayon phoniness of Romney,” Begala quipped.

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