Republicans get in front of Obama message strategy

NY Times Caucus Blog:
There was a time when a challenger like Mitt Romney could afford to sit back and wait to see whether a new message from an incumbent president would take hold.
Not any more.
The Twitter-fueled news cycle has been compressed to the point that political campaigns and their supporters are forced to respond in nearly real-time. And Mr. Romney’s campaign is no exception.
What happened on Thursday was a good example.
Mr. Obama’s unveiled his latest attempt to undermine Mr. Romney’s support among women by inventing a fictional character dubbed “Julia.” His campaign posted an interactive timeline on its Web site showing how her life would be affected with either man in the White House.
Within hours, the Republican response machine was up and churning on Mr. Romney’s behalf — determined not to let “Julia” become an effective tool for Mr. Obama’s campaign.
An e-mail from the Republican National Committee urged conservatives to use the Twitter hashtag #Julia to mock the timeline. And mock they did. Throughout the day, Twitter was filled with sarcastic messages that described “Julia” as a ward of the government.
The quick, crowdsourced response may or may not work. But it’s evidence of a growing belief in the Republican campaign and among its allies that they can’t wait long before hitting back against any attempt to set a narrative.
Just days after Mr. Obama’s campaign started airing a new television commercial with the theme “Forward,” a “super PAC” designed to help elect Mr. Romney began airing one called “Backwards.”
The new ad, by American Crossroads, asks: “Under President Obama, is America moving forward or backward?” Of course, the ad answers the question in the negative: “The only thing moving forward under Barack Obama? Our national debt, up $5 trillion.”
Oh, it is working.  It is so good it has become hard to ignore.  On the day the Julia narrative began, I noticed a story by David Hirsanyi and immediately put this post up.  Obama had walked into a buzz saw of criticism of his push for female dependency.  It is a theme that they will have to deal with as long as they keep the narrative up.  What we are seeing is a much more responsive GOP team and some very creative people like Jim Treacher who managed to change the subject from dogs on the roof of the car to the guy who eats dogs.   Like the response to Rosen's insult to stay at home moms, the piece went viral on Twitter and changed the media narrative.  All of a sudden the dog stories were silly.  Mission accomplished.

I think Romney is also more willing to challenge Obama on things large and small.  It will be a very different campaign this year and this President is probably going to see his campaign subjected to ridicule from time to time.


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