Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and other high-powered conservatives have already launched or will soon launch ads attacking President Obama. Rove’s American Crossroads yesterday announced plans for a multi-state, four month blitz against the commander-in-chief, and Americans for Prosperity, funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch, has already started airing commercials painting Obama as corrupt and ineffectual.
The American Energy Alliance, another Koch-backed group, spent $3.1 million last to slam the president’s energy policies. Within hours, Obama’s reelection team had shelled out $1.4 million to counter the attack, painting the group as a “big oil” sympathizer, one that likes Mitt Romney because the former businessman “stood with big oil, for their tax breaks.” They’ve also hit back against Americans for Prosperity and are laying the groundwork to dismantle Rove’s American Crossroads.
“Karl Rove’s group American Crossroads, which has already raised $200 million to try to defeat President Obama, is preparing its first major attack against us,” Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, wrote last night, referring to the New York Times report on the group. “Their message, according to a report in this morning’s paper, is that Obama ‘just may not be up to the job. Let me repeat that: Karl Rove is saying that President Obama isn’t ‘up to the job.’ Does anyone really need a reminder of what happened when they were in charge?”
Messina then tried to convince supporters, and potential donors, that American Crossroads’ attacks are not just against Obama, but against them: “They’re not just attacking him. They’re making a $200 million bet that this organization and its supporters — in other words, you — don’t have it in you to fight back.”
We can expect a lot more of this backlash as the months go on: Politico reports that Obama’s campaign and their allies plan on spending as much as it takes to tarnish the groups that are fighting a proxy war for Mitt Romney. The goal: tarnish the messenger, so that the message falls flat.
Republicans seem keen to keep fighting, though. Jonathan Collegio, the spokesman for American Crossroads, used the news to slam Obama’s Wall Street ties, saying, “Barack Obama has literally taken more money from Wall Street than any politician in history… The Obama campaign’s repeated, hypocritical overtures about money in politics can’t hide [the president’s] ineffective attempts to jump-start the economy.”
Stephen DeMaura, a conservative, told the site that Obama and company’s focus on outside groups makes it harder for them to define themselves. “Every minute they waste not defining themselves or their opponents is a minute wasted from a communications perspective.” But don’t you see, DeMaura? They are defining their opponent: though it’s not official, the race has begun, and Obama’s nemesis is Romney. Romney’s friends are people like Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie. If you define one of them, you basically define them all.