Republican strategist Karl Rove thinks Mitt Romney needs to toughen up and start fighting back against the President Barack Obama‘s “stream of smears” against the Republican candidate’s personal wealth and business record.
In a Wall Street Journal editorial today, Rove beseeches the Romney campaign to go on offence with an effective message that reminds voters that the Democrats’ negative campaign strategy merely aims to distract voters from the Obama administration’s dismal economic record.
While the Obama campaign’s attacks have not moved the national polls, Rove writes, Romney’s weak and seemingly unprepared response has discouraged conservative activists, raising concerns that the former Massachusetts governor doesn’t have the backbone to go up against the Obama machine.
Here’s the relevant excerpt (emphasis mine):
Still, they have had an effect. The Romney campaign’s response—which included whiny demands that the president apologise for his attacks—has unsettled GOP activists, causing them to wonder how prepared Mr. Romney and his team are for the mudfest they’ve entered. The attacks have drawn attention to the Obama campaign’s demands that Mr. Romney release more years of tax returns. And they’ve allowed Mr. Obama to avoid talking about the continually bad economic news—the lousy June jobs numbers, last Friday’s drop in consumer confidence, Tuesday’s drop in retail sales and more.
The danger for Mr. Romney is that if these charges go unrefuted, they could discourage swing voters from going for him this fall when they decide whom to support. Therefore, Mr. Romney should challenge Mr. Obama directly—as he did effectively on Tuesday and Wednesday—but in a way that makes the Republican bigger and more presidential than the incumbent.
This is his opportunity to remind voters—in a tone of disappointment and regret, not anger and malice—that Mr. Obama’s negative attacks will not put anyone back to work, reduce our growing national debt, or get America moving in the right direction. The attacks are more than just “misleading, unfair and untrue.” They are proof Mr. Obama isn’t up to the job and no longer worthy of the nation’s confidence.
But Rove isn’t waiting for Romney to act — his American Crossroads SuperPAC announced today that it is launching a new ad that “defends Romney and hits Obama’s failed record.”
The SuperPAC has purchased $9.3 million in airtime to run the ad in nine key swing states, according to a press release.
Watch the ad below:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.