2. Message discipline. All the rapid response in the world doesn’t do much good if the message is all over the place or if your campaign is easily knocked off key, but so far the RNC and the Romney campaign have ruthlessly stuck to hammering Obama on the economy. Everything the campaign is saying can be tied in some way back to its slogan/lode star, “Obama isn’t working.” Wednesday’s info graphic contrasting what Romney would do differently from what Obama has said he would do is a case in point. The six points on the chart highlight some of the president’s least popular policy choices, the XL Pipeline and ObamaCare, and also highlight some more subtle storylines regarding Obama’s weaknesses, such as his lack of any serious approach to China. It paints a picture of Romney as understanding the many problems of Obama, and knowing what to do about the fact that overall and in whichever issue you choose to examine, Obama just isn’t working. The Romney campaign has also not allowed the Obama campaign’s “distraction of the week” to knock them off message or force them into the weeds. They have remained focused on the job of defeating Barack Obama by highlighting his failures.
Remember former RNC chairman Michael Steele’s near daily counterproductive gaffes and mistakes? We have heard nothing similar from current chairman Reince Priebus. He has the RNC’s message internalized and in perfect step with the Romney campaign. By contrast, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz found herself publicly criticizing President Obama recently over an issue that will hurt the president in Florida, a swing state.
3. Playing effective offense. When David Axelrod staged an event in Boston to try to embarrass Mitt Romney, Romney one-upped Axelrod by staging an event at Solyndra in California on the same day. But that wasn’t the end of the story. The Romney camp kept the details of their event so close to the vest that it caught the media unawares, creating surprise that led to strong positive coverage. Meanwhile on the other side of the country, Axelrod’s more conventional event was well publicized, which ended up backfiring on him when Romney supporters turned up to disrupt him. Axelrod is a gifted behind-the-scenes strategist but he has no flair for dealing with hecklers. He ended up handing his own campaign yet another embarrassing moment, forever memorialized on YouTube. Axelrod’s event also highlighted Obama’s growing problem with surrogates who fail to stay on message. Boston was a debacle for Obama, while Solyndra was a victory for Romney.