Obama’s flacks try to drown out Romney’s speech with digital message avalanche

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama’s media team launched a huge wave of emails, tweets, videos and snark in the hours prior to Mitt Romney’s pivotal acceptance speech in Tampa, Fla., and then another wave as Romney spoke to the convention and to the nation’s voters.

Obama’s flacks even quoted articles from Rolling Stone.

The volume of material seemed intended to obscure, taint and distract from Romney’s carefully choreographed and emotional outreach to late-deciding swing voters, especially to women and Hispanics.

The Romney team’s all-angles outreach included the nominees’ home movies, testimonials from fellow Mormons, Clint Eastwood’s validation, Sen. Marco Rubio’s elegy to American exceptionalism and Romney’s own practiced speech.

Obama’s flood included 13 “FACT CHECK” emails, several videos, 10 emails from Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith and a stream of tweets from deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter; party spokesman Brad Woodhouse; super PAC executives Paul Begala and Bill Burton; and Obama strategist David Axelrod — even before Romney came on stage.

When he came on stage, Obama’s team redoubled their efforts, sending out another wave of messages and criticism.

“Is Mitt’s makeup weird?” tweeted Burton.

“Romney wanders to stage thru center of the hall. I haven’t seen this much excitement since my colonoscopy. But then I was unconscious,” tweeted Begala.

“Romney is 10 minutes into his speech and all he has done is tear down the POTUS,” tweeted Woodhouse. “After the Rolling Stone story today guess it’s all he has,” he added.

The tweets even included some policy-related claims. “Romney mentions small business. POTUS cut small biz taxes 18 times … [but] Romney increased fees on small businesses,” said a mid-speech tweet from Cutter.

The stream of “FACT CHECKS” continued; “Rubio & Romney Are Too Extreme On Immigration… Romney’s Housing Plan Is To Let Foreclosures ‘Hit The Bottom’… Romney Would Not Stand Up For Women.”

The pre-speech “FACT CHECKS” included rebuttals of pro-Romney statements made by the recipient of a Romney-arranged scholarship, a description of government funding for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and a denunciation of Romney’s attack-ads that show Obama’s steps to weaken the popular 1996 welfare-to-work law.

The Rolling Stone articles focused on Romney’s bare-knuckle negotiations in 1990 to save the Bain & Company consulting firm from its founders’ recklessness, which included — according to the magazine — the stiff-arming of a taxpayer-backed bank until it wrote off $10 million of a $30 million loan to Bain & Company.

Romney made his fortune at Bain Capital, which emerged from Bain & Company.

Much of the sarcasm and snark was directed at Eastwood for his unscripted and sometimes halting speech.

“Clint Eastwood is a legend. But in control rooms across Tampa, producers are debating killing this feed,” wrote Burton.

“Just to demonstrate my self control and affection for Clint Eastwood, I am not tweeting anything about his speech,” tweeted Begala.

“What the heck IS this?” tweeted Axelrod, who is more familiar with Hollywood Democrats.

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