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Mitt Romney Weaknesses Play Into Democrats’ National Narrative

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo
A Wisconsin Democratic Party Web video takes on GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde, a wealthy businessman whose vulnerabilities closely mirror Mitt Romney’s.

The Obama attacks on Romney’s finances and business practices appear to have met with some, though not overwhelming, success. The president’s slight lead in polls has not increased much since the onslaught of his attacks against Bain Capital, Romney’s former company, and the Republican’s refusal to release additional tax returns. But at the same time, polls also have shown that voters increasingly view Romney as out of touch with ordinary Americans­ — an image he has battled throughout his presidential campaign.

The results at the Congressional level are equally difficult to measure and will likely vary from race to race.

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh said he believes the attacks will backfire and instead play into the GOP message that Democrats are punishing financial achievement.

“Senate Democrats know that they can’t run on their failed economic record, so they’re resorting to class warfare,” Walsh said. “This dovetails with the same attacks Democrats are making against small-business owners across the country.”

Regardless of the message’s success thus far, the issue promises to remain prominent late into this election season. Television ads criticizing Romney’s foreign investments continue to flood the airwaves, and a recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ad campaign uses a spot titled “The Millionaires” to target Members who have supported certain tax cuts.

“We will be pointing out in races all across the country when Republican [Members] are voting to enrich themselves, whether it’s to pass more tax breaks for millionaires like themselves or to protect tax breaks [for other wealthy individuals],” DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said.

But while many Congressional races have distinct similarities with the national race, strategists said they believe each race has its own nuances. Many campaigns, they said, have subtleties that do not align exactly with national messaging.

“Each of them has the same vulnerabilities that Romney does, but they also have [additional] vulnerabilities,” Canter said of many GOP Senate candidates. “Even though those hurt them, I think the reality is that their vulnerabilities are actually much worse.”

Altschuler is one candidate whose vulnerabilities surpass those of Romney in some ways. He operated a company with the sole purpose of outsourcing jobs. Romney only has ties to firms that employed the method.

Rep. Tim Bishop’s (D) campaign has already indicated that it plans to make the issue a top priority in the fight for the seat.

“The outsourcing issue with us is different from the outsourcing that you’ll see elsewhere,” Bishop spokesperson Bobby Pierce said. But “whenever they start about Romney outsourcing in the news, that’s good for us.”

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