There’s a zeitgeist in the air over the last few weeks, and the polls confirm it: President Obama is flailing as he comes to grips with campaigning to keep his job. Several of his 2008 states are now in play, including Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, Virginia and North Carolina. While he flails, he sinks, and Mitt Romney has emerged from a bruising primary battle looking like he could win.
The shift in the campaign is not happening by accident. The fact is, the RNC and the Romney campaign have come into the general election swinging, and swinging with great effect. With five months to go, now is no time for either panic or cockiness, but here are five things the Romney campaign and the RNC are doing right.
1. Full spectrum rapid response. The Romney/RNC team has achieved a situational awareness that stretches from old media to new media and into social media in ways that no previous Republican campaign has achieved. On the night of the Wisconsin recall, for instance, David Axelrod tweeted the Republican victory was a “bad night in Boston,” suggesting that it would not help Romney. Bloggers picked up on the Obama adviser’s delusional tweet immediately, and the Romney social media team helped push the tweet out so that it would get noticed outside conservative channels on Twitter. Attention to that tweet helped turn a bad night for the Democrats into an embarrassing night for President Obama, who had done his best to avoid any connection to the Democratic defeat there. The Romney camp is also quick on the draw with high-quality video ads that drive its messages effectively and the RNC is in perfect message sync. It took them less than a day to use President Obama’s “the private sector is doing fine” comment to turn around an effective response. They were quick to punch back in video when the Obama campaign launched its attacks on Romney’s time at Bain Capital, and they were quick again to highlight when Obama’s surrogates rejected those Bain attacks.