Here is the Democratic Party's attempt to strangle Mitt Romney's presidential campaign at birth (or at least, before he wins the nomination):
This ad will run on TV in six swing states, and will be heralded by press events across the country (and there's a longer, online version here). That represents a significant effort, considering the GOP hasn't even held its first primary yet.
Presuming the DNC is acting in coordination with the Obama campaign, this tells us two things:
- Obama is very keen not to face Romney in the general election. Like Nate Silver, his people have done the maths and worked out that if the president faces a credible, moderate Republican, his odds are 50:50 at best - and if the economy takes a hit from the Eurozone crisis, worse than that. But if he faces, say, Newt Gingrich, well, suddenly things will look rather brighter. So they are intervening in the Republican primary. The Obama folks are taking a calculated risk here. Romney will try to turn this to his advantage. He will claim that Obama is scared of him, and he'll be right. But he also knows that they are hitting him where it hurts, in the eyes of GOP voters.
- If Romney is nominated (and despite the rise of Newt and the continuing lack of enthusiasm for The Mitt, that remains the most likely scenario) the Obama campaign want to ensure that he is indelibly branded with the flip-flop label from the moment his general election campaign begins.