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Romney Campaign Compares Obama to Carter

Romney Campaign Compares Obama to Carter

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - October 31, 2011


A day after White House senior adviser David Plouffe said Mitt Romney "has no core," the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign fired off a memo Monday morning comparing some of Obama's statements to former President Jimmy Carter's famous "Malaise" speech. The campaign charges that Obama "sounds discouraged about America."

The Romney release cites three examples from the last two months. In a speech last week at a fundraiser in San Francisco, the president said Americans have "lost our ambition, our imagination." In late September, he said that the country had "gotten a little soft." And at a DNC event in September, he said that Americans' "faith" that life would be better for their kids had been "shaken."

The Romney campaign compares these speeches to Carter’s 1979 "Crisis of Confidence" address in which he said, “Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy.” The speech, conceived to address the nation's energy crisis, was Carter’s attempt to encourage a dispirited America, but it was widely perceived as putting the onus for the country’s problems on the public instead of on government.

“After three years of failed economic policies from this Administration, it is clear that the problem isn’t the American people -- it’s President Obama,” said Gail Gitcho, Romney’s communications director, in a statement released with the memo. “After three years of high unemployment and economic stagnation, it is time to send a conservative businessman to the White House and get our economy moving again.”

The Obama campaign fired back, calling the comparison a “false attack.” Obama for America called out Romney for a 2008 op-ed in which he said auto manufacturers should not be bailed out and for recently suggesting that to solve the housing crisis, the administration should let the foreclosure process "run its course and hit the bottom."

“While the President is fighting for an economy that’s built to last where we outeducate and outinnovate the rest of the world, Mitt Romney has been busy telling Americans what he believes our nation can’t do," Obama for America Press Secretary Ben LaBolt said in a statement.

Democrats have focused more of their attention on Romney than any other Republican presidential candidate, painting him as a flip-flopper. "He has no core. . . . What you need in that office is conviction,” Plouffe, who ran Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, told NBC's David Gregory on "Meet the Press" Sunday. “You need to have a true compass, and you have got to be willing to make tough calls. You get the sense with Mitt Romney that if he thought it was good to say the sky was green and the grass was blue to win an election, he'd say it.”

The Romney campaign circulated another part of the NBC interview in which Gregory asked Plouffe whether Obama is “in a funk,” saying that the president has sounded “pretty downcast.” Plouffe dismissed the notion and said the Obama “was highly energized.” 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at chueyburns@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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