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Obama's incumbency vs Romney's hurdles

[ 2012-04-05 11:03]     字号 [] [] []  
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Reality smacked Mitt Romney in the face twice in a 24-hour span.

US President Barack Obama used the power of the presidency to ring the general election's opening bell, declaring this week in no uncertain terms that he and his mammoth organization are ready to take on Romney - whether the presumptive Republican nominee is ready or not.

And despite what he may say, Romney is not.

The former Massachusetts governor, who won three more primaries on Tuesday and is on track to claim his party's presidential nomination in June if not before, is facing a challenge of historic proportions. Just one Republican - Ronald Reagan - has defeated a Democratic incumbent president in the last century. And Romney faces an incumbent with five times more staff, 10 times more money, and the world's greatest bully pulpit.

Using that platform on Tuesday, the president criticized Romney by name, telling news executives at the annual meeting of The Associated Press that his likely general election opponent supported a "radical" Republican budget plan he characterized as "thinly veiled social Darwinism". He accused Republican leaders of becoming so extreme that even Reagan, one of the party's most cherished heroes, would not win a Republican primary today.

The president's critique came just one day after his campaign launched a TV ad in six general election battleground states that suggested that Romney stood with "Big Oil". And it all comes amid a Democratic effort to paint Romney as part of a Republican Party that Obama's party is casting as too conservative for the country.

Romney hit back after he won primaries in Wisconsin, Washington, DC, and Maryland on Tuesday, telling cheering supporters in Milwaukee that the president has become "a little out of touch" after "years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers telling you that you're great and you're doing a great job."

"You know, out-of-touch liberals like Barack Obama say they want a strong economy, but in everything they do, they show they don't like business very much," Romney said.

With that, the contours of the general election were set - and the attack lines unveiled.

Each candidate cast the other as too extreme for the center of the country - speaking directly to the independents who play a critical role in general elections because they determine who wins close races. The number of independent voters has swelled. That means they are a top target for both candidates in what Republican and Democratic operatives alike anticipate will be a close election for reasons that include the country's increasingly polarized nature.

As the incumbent, Obama has a built-in advantage and a huge head start. He has spent months wooing the center of the electorate even as he worked to fire up his Democratic base.

Romney has a ton of ground to make up. And, even though he's been eager to shift his campaign to focus on fundraising, building and advertising for the general election, he doesn't have the luxury of doing that in earnest just yet.

His stubborn Republican opponents, inspired by anti-Romney skepticism from the right flank of the party, aren't letting him. And that means Romney will continue - for a while at least - to be at least marginally distracted by an intra-party contest whose outcome has never really been in question.


1. Who is on track to claim the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in June?

2. How is his budget plan characterized by President Obama?

3. Where did Romney win the latest primaries?


1. Mitt Romney.

2. As "thinly veiled social Darwinism".

3. Wisconsin, Washington, DC, and Maryland.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Obama's incumbency vs Romney's hurdles

About the broadcaster:

Obama's incumbency vs Romney's hurdles

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.