Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Parties Do Some Convention Spin on Sunday Talk Shows


WASHINGTON - It would probably be safe to say, based on the reviews of the Republican convention offered Sunday by some of President Obama's top advisers, that the gloves are official off as Democrats look forward to their own turn on the convention stage in Charlotte.

“I don't think we've ever seen a presidential campaign â€" ever - that's built on a foundation of absolute lies,” David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser, said of the Romney campaign, “and I think ultimately they're going to pay a price for it.” He was speaking Sunday on ABC's “This Week.”

Mr. Plouffe accused the Romney team of lying about Obama administration cuts to Medicare (aides to the president say cuts would come from savings and not affect benefits for the elderly), lying about a change in welfare policy that Mr. Romney's backers say would end a work requirement (the administration flatly denies this), and distorting the president's “You didn't build that” comment (he was arguing that government-financed infrastructure supports every company). Most independent fact-checkers support the Democrats' interpretations on these issues.

Mr. Plouffe also called it a “huge omission” for Mitt Romney to have failed to mention the war in Afghanistan, or those fighting in it, in his 37-minute acceptance speech Thursday in Tampa, Fla. He called that “an amazing thing for someone who wants to be, 66 days from now, elected as our commander in chief.”

It apparently was the first time in decades that a presidential candidate, in a convention speech, had failed to mention an ongoing war.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to Mr. Romney, was asked about that on CNN's “State of the Union.” He noted that Mr. Romney had addressed the war, and his support for the military, a day earlier in a major speech to an American Legion group in Indianapolis.

“Governor Romney's convention speech was an opportunity for him to introduce himself to millions of voters,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said, adding that “he accomplished what he set out to do, which was to talk about his better vision for America,” to critique the Obama presidency and to provide a fuller personal portrait of himself.

“We thought that speech was a home run,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said.

The president's advisers, not surprisingly, did not share that view.

David Axelrod, Mr. Obama's senior campaign strategist, said he did not see the Republicans getting any real bounce from their storm-shortened convention.

Several opinion surveys showed at least a small upward movement; Nate Silver, the polling analyst whose work appears on T he New York Times's site, Nate Silver, said that the convention produced a “modest” bounce in the polls.

Mr. Axelrod, brushing off the Tampa convention as full of “snarky attacks and bromides for the base,” added, “I think the race is exactly where it was before they walked in, and now it's our turn.” While the polls may be close, he added on “Fox News Sunday,” “I'd much rather be us than them.”

But Mr. Fehrnstrom suggested that voters will continue to keep a firm focus on one thing: the lagging economy.

“I think the biggest news next week will not be the three nights of the Democrats' convention, but will be on Friday, when we hear again about the monthly jobs report.”

He added, “We're all hoping for good news, but the odds are high that unemployment will remain above 8 percent.”

For those not inclined to fast-forward to Friday, another senior Obama adviser, Robert Gibbs, offered a preview of the Democrats' conven tion in Charlotte.

He said that Mr. Obama would not duck uncomfortable realities but would “acknowledge that we live in incredibly tough economic times” and would talk not just about himself and Mr. Romney but “about the 300 million people that live in America.”

Mr. Gibbs added, “He's going to focus on how we move this country forward, laying out plans for strengthening the security of the middle class, investing in research and innovation, paying down our debt responsibly, and honoring those who serve overseas.”