With one year to go before the election, President Barack Obama’s poll numbers are on an upswing. But this momentum alone is not enough to carry Obama to 270 Electoral Votes and another term.
We spoke with several people inside the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee for a preview of Obama’s reelection strategy.
The Obama campaign has identified Mitt Romney as its most likely challenger -- and also the most serious threat -- next year, and has already started trying to discredit him.
White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe attacked Romney for having 'no core' on Meet the Press this week, and Press Secretary Jay Carney stood by the remarks, saying Plouffe was speaking for the White House at the time.
'You need to have a true compass, and you've got to be willing to make tough calls,' Plouffe added -- taking a direct shot at Romney's flip-flopping record. 'And you get the sense with Mitt Romney that, you know, if he thought he -- it was good to say the sky was green and the grass was blue, to win an election, he'd say it.'
The Obama campaign has become Romney's worst enemy in the race for the Republican nomination with these hits -- which weakens him as a general election candidate.
From 'Pass This Bill,' to 'We Can't Wait,' blaming Congress has become a central theme of the Obama White House -- and it will remain a key component of the reelection strategy.
Congressional approval is at an all-time record low of 9 per cent -- making it the perfect target for Obama. He has already started to attack Congress for failing to act on his jobs bill, failing to compromise on cutting the deficit, and wasting its time on symbolic votes at the expense of the American people.
Obama won't get all that involved personally in criticising his rivals, leaving it to Plouffe and others to do the dirty work. And even when he does take a shot at them, it will be couched in humour, so as not to tarnish what remains of his reformer image, and to the GOP's 'campaigner-in-chief' charge.
As POLITICO's Ben Smith reports, this has been a common strategy throughout his political career -- and he's really good at keeping his nose clean.
Expect him to rely on third-party attacks from the Democratic National Committee, allied SuperPacs, and surrogates to take his shots.
Obama has embraced the Occupy Wall Street movement, believing that tapping into Americans' concerns over income inequality will boost his campaign.
'I'll tell you what, if asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher or a bus driver makes me a warrior for the middle class, I will wear that charge with honour,' he told donors in Dallas in October.
In the campaign's opinion, the Republican primary fight has drawn the sharpest contrast between Obama and the GOP.
Obama has yet to weigh in on the fight -- nor is he likely to -- until the Republicans have a nominee, when 'like a golfer reading a green' he will hit the challenger where it hurts the most.
As Republicans line up to criticise Obama's plans to pull out of Iraq and drawdown troops in Afghanistan, don't expect Democrats to let you forget that he ordered the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.
Polls show a majority of Americans back him on the Iraq withdrawal, and foreign policy remains his strongest issue in approval polls.
While next year's election won't centre on foreign policy, Obama has succeeded in insulating himself from the traditional GOP charge that he is soft on terrorism -- indeed he'll run on it.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.