President Obama and his Democratic allies love to tweak Mitt Romney with unflattering quotations from his rivals in the primaries.
Now Mr. Romney has returned the favor.
An ad running in seven battleground states attacks the president for lying about Mr. Romney’s record, and uses a clip of Hillary Rodham Clinton from the 2008 Democratic presidential primary race to drive home the point.
“That’s Barack Obama. He also attacked Hillary Clinton with vicious lies,” the narrator says. The ad then shows a 2008 clip of Mrs. Clinton complaining about the negative ads Mr. Obama ran against her.
“He continues to spend millions of dollars perpetuating falsehoods,” Mrs. Clinton said. “So shame on you, Barack Obama.”
According to Kantar Media, which tracks ad spending, the ad is running in the Dayton, Ohio, area — where Mrs. Clinton trounced Mr. Obama in the state’s 2008 primary.
It’s a classic version of an old political technique: using criticisms from members of a candidate’s own party. In the case of Mrs. Clinton — now Mr. Obama’s secretary of state — it could be particularly effective.
And the ad is part of a broader effort by Mr. Romney’s campaign to try to undermine the edge that the president has in likability. Aides to Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, are eager to suggest that Mr. Obama’s campaign is ruthless and that the candidate will say anything to get elected.
Will it work?
The Romney campaign is hoping to capitalize on the fact that Mrs. Clinton is popular with women and swing voters — two groups that Mr. Romney will need to win the White House in the fall.
But Mr. Obama has the ultimate defense if the ad starts gaining traction. Having made Mrs. Clinton a member of his cabinet — and her agreeing to join — makes it harder to argue that she still holds a grudge.
And despite her role in a traditionally nonpartisan job, she might be moved to respond to the ad in a way that could undermine its effectiveness.
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