2012 campaign

Obama Campaign Co-Opts Romney's GOP Rivals


Obama Campaign Co-Opts Romney's GOP Rivals

Illustration by 731 Lexington, Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Newt Gingrich is finally, after much delay—really, this time—ending his quest for the Republican nomination. Truth be told, he hasn’t been a factor in the race for a while. Although he was technically still campaigning until today, his heart clearly was no longer in it. He wasn’t launching the kind of cutting personal attacks on Mitt Romney and his business career that inflicted such damage back in February, when Newt briefly sat atop the Republican field.

But although Gingrich himself will leave the trail, those attacks will very much still play a role in the presidential campaign, as a new video from Obama’s reelection team makes clear. Like that freaky Tupac hologram at Coachella, the old, mean Newt has been digitally reanimated (not in 3D, thankfully) to repeat all the awful things he said about the presumptive Republican nominee:

“As a man who wants to run for president of the United States, who can’t be honest with the American people,” Gingrich says in the video, “why should we expect him to level about anything if he’s president?”

And: “You’d certainly have to say that Bain, at times, engaged in behavior where they looted a company, leaving behind 1,700 unemployed people.”

And: “There was a pattern, in some companies, a handful of them, of leaving them with enormous debt and then, within a year or two or three, having them go broke.”

Also: “I don’t know of any American president who’s had a Swiss bank account.”

Ads like this one are probably the least surprising thing in politics. Everyone knew they were coming. Even so, they illustrate why the Republican primary was so damaging to Romney. Republicans will be able to run all sorts of ads juxtaposing promises Obama made during his last campaign with unfulfilled results. But they won’t cut quite as deeply because the attacks won’t be coming from prominent members of his own party, and they won’t echo and amplify the attacks being made by his opponent.

Green_190
Green is senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaGreen.

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