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The Primary is finally over, the War begins

by Zach Green on April 11, 2012

in Barack Obama,Mitt Romney

It’s over! Rick Santorum dropped out of the GOP primaries to avoid a bruising defeat in his home-state of Pennsylvania that would cast serious doubts on his more serious 2016 candidacy. We will welcome him back in three years as a “major contender for the GOP front-runner,” and the “true social conservative” facing the fiscal conservative Chris Christie.

For now, Mitt Romney only needs about 40% of the remaining delegates to reach the magic 1,144 giving him the nomination, which he is likely to do in May. He was polling at 40% against his three opponents before Santorum dropped out, so Romney doesn’t need a single Santorum vote. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich will not get to see the GOP Convention in Tampa as presidential candidates.

Ron Paul continues to refuse to attack the man he has always known will be his party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, and this Sunday Newt Gingrich fell in line, conceding Romney would clinch the nomination while ignoring the elephant in the room: his continued indecision to be a candidate. All this means the right-wing assault on Mitt Romney is finally over. Let the etch-a-sketching begin. As a Romney aide helpfully said today, “Voters will now look at Mitt differently and through a different prism. We can use this new beginning as an opportunity to reintroduce the campaign and the candidate.”

While half the population already knew the general had started, the other half just found out. The Obama campaign wasted no time, letting its long-fought war with Mitt Romney into the open. @BarackObama has tweeted about Romney 42 times in 2012 alone, so that is nothing new. Today was unique for the volume, intensity, and excitement around their Twitter exchanges. For a long time on @2012twit we have claimed Twitter will be the battleground of the 2012 election. After today, I think there can be little doubt. See the exchanges below, then tweet me your thoughts.

Obama’s campaign began by retweeting their Truth Team account through @BarackObama. This morning, the Romney campaign set up a conference call with reporters to rebut Obama for his “War on Women” assault. Unfortunately, when asked what Romney thought of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to file legal suits based on discrimination, his campaign staffers went silent. Eventually, they said #WellGetBackToYouOnThat.

Obama’s campaign sent a second shot over the bow, awkwardly quoting Obama’s supposed response to hearing of the first tweet in the past-tense, although the event had just happened minutes before.

The Romney campaign loves riffing off @BarackObama’s tweets, and couldn’t resist the bait. They tweeted out the factoid they have been harping on for a week, which assumes overall loss of jobs from the day Obama took office. Obama’s advisor Stephanie Cutter offered her rebuttal on Twitter, “Since Romney wants to talk abt women, women gained 1.2 (million) jobs in last 25 months.” Throughout this election we will see the Romney campaign lump Obama’s entire term into one figure, while Obama’s campaign focuses on growth since the summer of 2009.

Perhaps realizing this feud is about to break open, @BarackObama tweeted a full barrage of attacks on Romney by linking to an external image. This is far less effective than making charges in the text of a tweet itself.

Here’s a fun one, because of the Romney’s campaign insistence on using facts. It turns out their particular fact has been widely criticized and judged by Politifact to be Mostly False. The reason again has to do with Romney’s insistence on single statistics that sum up Obama’s term even though he came into office in the middle of the recession. Blaming Obama for the 2008 Financial Crisis naturally takes some conflation of correlation and causality, and the mistaken belief Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. While Romney can claim the recovery is weaker under Obama than it would be otherwise, since that isn’t verifiably true or false, Mitt often runs into trouble when he tries to pin blame on the 2008 crisis and resulting job loss in the early months of 2009 on Obama.

Now Obama is getting dirty. How long do you think they’ve been waiting to send that one?

Again, the Romney campaign loves riffing on Obama’s language, and it is a very effective technique. Of course, as the incumbent, it may not suit @BarackObama to do the same. Then again, they seem to have no fear of calling Romney out personally at this point. It only gets better from here. Still think 2012 won’t be a bloody fight?

Take a minute to watch the video above, because you will be seeing it all again. Consider it a flashback episode, or the best clips and outtakes of the primary. Obama’s campaign is going to work hard to keep Romney to his claim of “severe conservatism” in the general election.

Remember, 207 days left.

Talk about rapid response. Minutes after Romney’s campaign couldn’t answer whether he would repeal the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Obama’s campaign came out with a letter from her attacking Romney. Hours later, they had a video. Watch above.

Let’s take a moment to reflect upon the horrible choice of Truth Team as their name, invoking creepy propaganda imagery straight out of 1984.

At this point the Obama campaign is wasting useful ammunition. 207 days left, remember? How much longer can they keep at this?

And again, back to the war on women. This is going to be much large in 2012 than most anticipated. Obama leads women over Romney by 18% while Romney leads with men by 7%. This gender bias is typical for each party, though the gap is far wider than normal.

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