Today in Ohio, Mitt Romney showed that he is an entirely renewed, re-energized candidate in the aftermath of his selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate. For the first time this week, Romney has shown fire in the belly. First, he took on a heckler at an event in Wisconsin. Today, he went further, directly attacking President Obama on his horribly vile and polarizing campaign – a campaign in which Obama or his surrogates have attacked Romney as a traitor, a felon, a murderer, a racist, and a sexist.
Here’s what Romney said:
Over the last four years, this President has pushed Republicans and Democrats as far apart as they can go. And now he and his allies are pushing us all even further apart by dividing us into groups. He demonizes some. He panders to others. His campaign strategy is to smash America apart and then cobble together 51 percent of the pieces.
If an American president wins that way, we all lose.
But he won’t win that way. America is one Nation under God. American history has been a story of the many becoming one – uniting to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness. Everywhere I go in America there are monuments that list those who have given their lives. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the United States of America. So, Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.
This is a passionate Mitt Romney – a sort of Mitt Romney nobody knew existed. This is a Mitt Romney who speaks of a unifying vision, and a vision of a unified America. This is a Mitt Romney who can win.
This is the spearpoint of the Romney counterassault. For weeks, Romney supporters have wondered whether Romney’s campaign was waiting too long to fight back against the Obama team’s slurs and misdirections. Apparently, Romney’s team just didn’t think the time was right. Financially, they were probably right – Romney was spent out after the primaries (he had to drop $85 million), and campaign finance law prevents Romney from spending his newly-raised money until after the convention. For that reason, Obama has outspent Romney in Florida $17 million to $2 million as of July 6; $22 million to $6.5 million in Ohio as of that date; and $11 million to $3 million in Virginia. Yet Romney remained competitive.
After August 27, the war chest opens. The Romney campaign has hundreds of millions of dollars ready to deploy; at the end of July, Romney had $170 million cash on hand. And that doesn’t include Super PAC spending.
The announcement of Ryan’s candidacy is therefore incredibly well-timed. It primes the pump for August fundraising, and it generates publicity that allows Romney to remain competitive through the conventions.
The race is close in key swing states as of this writing. But with a reinvigorated Romney – an angry Romney, but a Romney who finally sees that a campaign of vision can overcome a campaign of polarization – and a campaign that hasn’t yet kicked into second gear, Romney is poised for a breakout.