Video of the Day: Is the 2012 General Election Underway?

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It's no secret which Republican candidate the Democratic Party fears most.

With a new TV ad hitting Mitt Romney in five battleground states, the Democratic National Committee is acting as if the 2012 general election is already underway. The ad is a shortened version of the four-minute clip above, which the DNC is promoting online.

In two respects, it's a replay of the 2004 election between president George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry. By the spring of 2004, before the fall election season heated up in earnest, Bush had already developed an attack line on Kerry: that he was a flip-flopper. In March, 2004 Anne Kornblut noted at The Boston Globe that Bush's first anti-Kerry Web video sought to paint him as an "unprincipled" flip-flopper on special-interest donations.

So far, Romney's Republican rivals have used the flip-flop line against him in TV debates, and it's often cited by conservative pundits who wonder if the former governor can be trusted as a guardian of their ideology. In endorsing Newt Gingrich for president, the Manchester, N.H. Union Leader alluded to Romney's chameleonic tendencies.

But the DNC has given us a preview of the general election, telegraphing that flip-flop-ism is going to be the name of the game, if Romney wins the GOP nomination. And Romney, National Journal's Beth Reinhard and Ron Fournier suggest, will likely throw the flip-flop charge right back at the president.

And, if the Democrats have trouble making their flip-flop charges stick, they can always throw in a little bit of class-warfare visuals, as Bush/Cheney '04 did in the iconic TV ad featuring Kerry windsurfing:

Video credits: DNC, Bush/Cheney '04

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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