Obama and Romney Would Like to Start the General Election Now

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Hardly anyone is paying attention to Mitt Romney but the Democratic National Committee. Romney has gotten more attention from broadcast and cable news than his Republican rivals in only four of the last 22 weeks, according to an analysis of broadcast and cable news by the University of Minnesota's Smart Politics. The other primary candidates have drawn attention to themselves, but not to Romney's flaws, so the DNC has started airing ads to nudge the Not Romneys into attacking Romney successfully, NBC News' First Read writes. The biggest spender on TV ads so far this year hasn't been the well-financed Rick Perry, but the DNC, which has spent more than twice what Perry has. The thing is, Romney's campaign likes this just fine.

As Talking Points Memo's Benjy Sarlin explains, Romney's campaign responded with "a full day of press calls hosted by supporters in states -- notably, general election swing states -- around the country, including New Hampshire, Virginia, Iowa, North Carolina, and Florida." The campaign addressed the ads' flip-flopping charge by pointing out that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz said in 2008 that Obama's "word doesn’t always mean what he says." (She backed Hillary Clinton then.) While Romney's in Florida Tuesday, his campaign went further, noting that Obama attacked the now-popular Clinton in 2008, saying she "parses and calculates and shifts for political position," The Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson notes.

First Read says starting the general election early is best for both sides: 'Democrats and the Obama campaign want the next 35 days to be about Mitt Romney, not Newt Gingrich (or another anti-Romney alternative). The question is whether any of the Republicans will take this blueprint." Is that a job for Newt Gingrich? He's already hinted at it, saying he's the "solid conservative" in the race.

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