President Obama has personally signed off on and has no reservations about running a predominantly negative re-election campaign against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to Obama advisers cited in a new e-book.
“Obama desperately wanted to win, and the pivot to negativity was, people close to the president told me, not an especially agonizing one,” author Glenn Thrush wrote in the e-book “Obama’s Last Stand.”
“In fact, the change was hardly discussed at all,” the author wrote. “Obama simply felt he had no choice.”
Thrush quotes a Democratic strategist aligned with the White House saying: “Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney.”
“If the outside world found that approach jarring,” Thrush wrote, “Obama didn’t.”
“In interviews with two dozen current and former Obama advisers, not one said he expressed reservations—at least in the beginning—about the ‘kill Romney’ strategy, and he personally signed off on all of his campaign’s paid advertising, although he often toned down the very harshest attacks,” Thrush continued.
He also reported that Obama has “a genuine disdain for [Romney],” and the president is worried that the Republican will “win and steal credit for all of Obama’s hard work.”
“If the former Massachusetts governor won,” Thrush wrote, “[Obama] told people around him, Romney would reap the political benefit for the inevitable economic turnaround he foresaw in the middle of his second term.”
“Obama’s Last Stand” also describes Obama as “a cocky trash-talker,” though his “confidence … was not absolute.”
In one anecdote, Thrush wrote that in the months before Romney announced his running mate, Obama asked a friend of Marco Rubio’s if she thought the Florida senator would be tapped.
“Tell your boy to watch it,” Obama said, according to Thrush. “He might get his ass kicked.”