Interesting to hear Axelrod echoing Gingrich on the 25% for Romney as an Iowa Caucus "win.: There's a continued Democratic defining of expectations to Mitt as a way to show how little his own party supports him, as DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told Talking Points Memo:
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's clear you think that's going to be a vulnerability for Governor Romney. But coming out of Iowa, coming out of the debate last night, going into this primary here in New Hampshire, are you more convinced than ever that he's going to be the nominee?
AXELROD: Well, I don't know what the answer is to that. I mean, it's clear there are a majority of Republicans who are resistant to him. He only got a quarter of the vote in Iowa. This is essentially his home state. He has one of his homes here, and he was the governor of the neighboring state. So we'll see how this process goes.
But his fundamental problem is one of trust. I don't think conservatives trust him and I don't think moderates trust him. And you saw last night him shifting on a whole range of positions from abortion to China to taxes.
“He’s coming off what at some point probably wont even be defined as a win in Iowa where fewer voters came out for him than came out in 2008.” She added that anything less than 50% in New Hampshire should be interpreted as a sign of weakness given his close ties to the state.She also had a memorable line regarding his "job creator" claim that I'm sure the DNC hopes becomes a new meme for Romney:
“Mitt Romney, I think, is more of a job cremator than a job creator,” Schultz said. She added: “He was a corporate buyout specialist at Bain Capital. He dismantled companies. He cut jobs. He forced companies into bankruptcy and he outsourced jobs and sent jobs overseas. That’s not a record to write home about, that’s not a record to be proud of, and it’s something voters need to know.”Axelrod essentially said the same thing, but in a way that chips away at Romney's trustworthiness:
STEPHANOPOULOS: He also started to take some fire last night on his tenure at Bain Capital. And something you, Democrats, the Democratic National Committee, have really been hitting hard all through this campaign so far. He's not backing down at all. You saw him last night, Governor Romney saying his team at Bain Capital is responsible for creating 100,000 jobs. Do you have any qualm with that number?
AXELROD: Absolutely. Not me, forget about me -- every independent fact checker who's looked at it, including the Associated Press last night, after the debate, said he can't back up that number, and his campaign has conceded --
STEPHANOPOULOS: He says that net-net--
AXELROD: I know he says it's a net-net number, and he said I'm a numbers guy. The problem is that neither he nor his campaign can furnish any evidence to support that.
But let's talk about Bain and let's talk about what it was and what he did. His partner said in The L.A. Times, our job was not to create jobs, our job was to create wealth for our partners. And here's what they did. They closed down more than 1,000 plant stores and offices. They outsourced tens of thousands of jobs, and they took 12 companies to bankruptcy. And on those bankruptcies, he and his partners made hundreds of millions of dollars. He says this is the real economy, this is the model for the country. I don't think those are the values that people want to animate our economy. He's not a job creator, he's a corporate raider. Those aren't the values that we want to lead our economy.
Party support. Expectations. Trustworthiness. Values.
This serves the purpose of fighting back against Romney's constant attacks on Obama without dragging the President into the mud too early.
And if he really is the inevitable nominee, nice to soften him up early before his self-definition has taken root in the media -- or with the American people.