Nestled in the Obama campaign's most recent ad is a subtle yet noteworthy jab at the Tea Party movement. As I noted below, Obama's ad seeks to highlight the fledgling comeback of the U.S. economy, but in doing so, the president once again attacks the Tea Party.
The ad begins with a look at the "economic meltdown" of 2008, with the U.S. economy "spiraling down" -- all "before this president took the oath." Then as images from Tea Party rallies are displayed on the screen, the narrator notes, "Some said our best days were behind us."
"But not him," the narrator says. "[Obama] believed in us, fought for us. And today our auto industry is back, firing on all cylinders. Our greatest enemy brought to justice by our greatest heroes. Our troops are home from Iraq. Instead of losing jobs, we're creating them - over 4.2 million so far. We're not there yet. It's still too hard for too many, but we're coming back because America's greatness comes from a middle class. Because you don't quit, and neither does he."
I'm predicting this political bait & switch will become a cornerstone of Obama's re-election efforts: attack the Tea Party, not Romney. The Tea Party will be a lightning rod for Obama to target and he'll use all the negative interpretations of the Tea Party he can to try and convince voters that their choice is between President Obama or the Tea Party.
What impact might this strategy have on the November election? According to the latest Rasmussen survey, 44% of likely voters hold at least a somewhat favorable view of Tea Party activists, while 49% share an unfavorable opinion of them.
It seems that if Obama were looking for a group that was actually anti-American, he'd highlight the Occupy Wall Street protests, but 32% of Obama's base of likely Democratic voters have favorable opinions of the OWS movement. While Romney should stick to criticizing the president on policy issues, he could also pull the same sort of bait & switch in his own ads, tying President Obama's class warfare rhetoric to the violent vigilantes of Occupy Wall Street.