For Obama and Romney the General Election Has Begun

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While Herman Cain ducks reporters' questions about sexual harassment and Rick Perry promises he wasn't wasted when he gave a giddy speech, Mitt Romney and President Obama have moved on. The two are acting like the general election has already started. The Hill's Sam Youngman writes that having succeeded in Phase 1 of his jobs tour -- "making people hate Congress," Youngman says -- his reelection team thinks it's time for Phase 2: "making people hate Romney. Or at least fear him."

Youngman says it's hard for Obama to compete with a generic Republican candidate. Voting in the primaries hasn't started yet, but Obama's aides "need an enemy with a face, a name, and a record of flip-flops." The pro-Obama group Priorities USA, run by former Obama spokesman Bill Burton, has launched an online ad that NBC News' First Read says is the first to use the 1984 photo of Romney with money dangling out his suit. The ad warns, "Mitt Romney’s America is not our America." The Washington Post's Philip Rucker says the ad, which cost $100,000 to run on several social networks, "leaves little doubt as to who the Democrats believe will face Obama in next year's general election." Rucker points to recent comments from Obama advisers David Axelrod and David Plouffe that questioned Romney's principles. CNN's Alexander Mooney points out that White House spokesman Jay Carney joined in too, saying Monday, "As anyone who's watched [Mitt Romney], it's always a question as to where he was and where he is and where he might be on any given issue." Previously, Carney hasn't commented much on the Republican candidates, Mooney says.
But Romney isn't shrinking from this fight. Though his campaign hasn't forgotten about his Republican rivals -- he's running a new online ad against Perry, First Read notes -- Romney is going after Obama. NBC News' Mark Murray and Garrett Haake report that after Obama had interviews with nine local TV stations in Iowa Tuesday, Romney got follow-up chats with three of them Wednesday.


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.