Noam Scheiber

Senior Editor

So, according to the new CW, Team Obama is no longer portraying Mitt Romney as a convictionless panderer but as a Goldwater-esque extremist instead. As I noted in my own take on this question, that’s clearly the way to go here—Bill Clinton’s success with the strategy in 1996 speaks for itself. But I’d submit an added selling point that the coverage has so far ignored. The first-order benefit of the 1996 strategy is obvious: The right-wing views Romney has adopted will turn off women, independents, and Latinos, all of them key voting blocs.

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It’s a question I raise in today’s piece about the ways the 2012 vintage Obama campaign is a bit harder-edged than the 2008 version, but which I didn’t have the space to resolve. The concern, as I say, is that running a traditional war room operation could dent Obama’s reputation for being above conventional politics. Should Team Obama worry about that? I don’t think so.

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Though it was obvious to almost no one at the time, Thursday, April 5, may have certified a momentous change in contemporary politics. It was that day when Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus was quoted saying that the Republican “war on women,” a favorite liberal talking point, was a creation of Democrats and the media—no more reality-based than a Republican “war on caterpillars.” It probably wasn’t the most outlandish comment a GOP operative uttered that hour.

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The news accounts of Rick Santorum’s exit from the presidential race are rife with testimonials about how the former Pennsylvania senator departs the campaign a much larger figure than when he entered it. “It was an impressive performance and it leaves him with an elevated status and a prominent role as a leader for evangelicals and conservatives,” Ralph Reed told The New York Times. “No one can know what the future holds, but my guess is we haven’t heard the last from Rick Santorum.” Er, I’m not so sure.

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Jon Chait read the following in yesterday's New York Times and concluded that Rove Inc. is worried:  Mr. Law [the director of the super PAC Rove created] said, Crossroads research suggests that Mr. Obama’s campaign has started to gain traction among critical swing voters by arguing that Republicans, including Mr.

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I've been offline most of the day on a cross-country flight (fittingly enough), so apologies if the point has already been made. But this detail from this weekend's Times profile of Romney's body-man, Garrett Jackson, struck me as not-at-all flattering to the presumed nominee. I'm frankly shocked that Jackson confirmed it:   Mr. Jackson, a University of Mississippi graduate and a licensed pilot, was applying to the Air Force’s officer training school when he took the job with Mr. Romney. Mr. Jackson once acted as co-pilot for a flight Mr.

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For the last three months, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have been repeating the same argument against Mitt Romney: He’s a moderate, and a moderate Republican can’t win the White House. Naturally, given Gingrich’s stature as a historian, the critique dredges up memories of campaigns past. “We tried a moderate in 1996, and he couldn’t debate Bill Clinton effectively,” Gingrich said in January. “We tried a moderate in 2008. He couldn’t debate Barack Obama effectively and lost.” Santorum, too, has invoked the gruesome specters of Bob Dole and John McCain.

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You may recall that I suggested Rick Santorum had a shot of exceeding expectations in Wisconsin by doing well in the Milwaukee suburbs, which looked on paper like they were solid Romney country but had a reputation for being more conservative than other Midwestern suburbs.  Well, as it happens, Romney beat Santorum by more than 2:1 in Waukesha County, one of the most closely watched of these suburbs, which certainly surprised me. What explains the trouncing? Did the pundits who assumed Waukesha is a pretty conservative place just completely whiff?  Not necessarily.

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The good news for Mitt Romney is that he comes out of Tuesday night with a boatload of delegates and a symbolically important win in Wisconsin, where it was once tempting to imagine Rick Santorum pulling off an upset.

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By this point in the primary season, everyone has his or her preferred metric for predicting the outcome of a given contest. We’ve all noticed that Mitt Romney tends to perform well in states with small evangelical and rural populations, and in states with large numbers of college grads and affluent voters, while the opposite is generally true for Rick Santorum.  Since Wisconsin’s smallish evangelical population cuts the opposite way of its large-ish rural population, let’s keep things simple and take the final two demographic factors. According to the U.S.

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