Negative Campaigning Works

NY Times

Even Obama is going negative. He’ll tell the truth about Mitt Romney in a race to see if the public like the truth about Mitt. The truth about Obama isn’t that good, but at least he isn’t Mitt.

As President Obama pushes Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns, a television commercial from his campaign bluntly says, “Makes you wonder if some years he’s paid any taxes at all.” In another spot, Mr. Obama’s campaign stops short of calling the Republican a tax cheat, but stirs suspicion by declaring, “Romney’s used every trick in the book.”

With 100 days remaining before Election Day, there is an air of apprehension around the Obama campaign headquarters here. Yet there are few regrets about the tone of the race, only a conviction that the circumstances — a frail economy, intense Republican opposition and a well-financed negative campaign from Mr. Romney and his allies — left Mr. Obama no option but to fight back even if it sullies his image as a candidate of hope and change.

“Is it a different kind of race than 2008? Of course,” said David Axelrod, a senior campaign strategist. “If we were passive in the face of this onslaught we are facing, our folks would be unhappy. There are few on our side who are counseling us to sit idly by.”

Mr. Romney and his allies are giving as good as they get, lacerating Mr. Obama as hapless in promoting job creation, feckless with allies like Israel and determined to expand government until the United States resembles Sweden.

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