The most impressive thing about Obama adviser David Plouffe’s appearance on Meet The Press was that he was able to define and destroy Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney in 30 seconds.
Here is the video from NBC News:
Transcript from Meet The Press:
MR. GREGORY: Let’s talk about what’s happening on the Republican side. Look at the Iowa polling, it gives you a snapshot of where this race is right now. And it is Herman Cain who’s on top at 23 percent, Mitt Romney at 22 percent. Who is the Republican most likely to challenge President Obama?
MR. PLOUFFE: I don’t think we have any idea. Now, the World Series just ended Friday night, but to use a baseball term, I mean, we, we maybe are in the first inning of this. So this is going to have a lot of twists and turns. And in Iowa, which, you know, we know a little something about, you know, what matters is, can you identify your supporters, can you get them to the caucus? And so there’s–the next 60 days is obviously going to be a fascinating period in politics. But the key thing is, David, no matter who we run against, they’re offering the same economic policies that led to the great recession, that led to destruction of middle-class security in incomes. And that’s going to be the fundamental question in front of us.
MR. GREGORY: Is Herman Cain for real as a candidate?
MR. PLOUFFE: You know, I really am not an expert in Republican primary politics. He, he seems to have tapped into something. What I find interesting is that Mitt Romney continues to have 75, 80 percent of his party looking somewhere else. And so it’ll be interesting to see if he can turn that around.
MR. GREGORY: Will he be a diminished candidate if he’s the nominee?
MR. PLOUFFE: Well, here’s–we’ll see what happens in the primary. I’d make, I’d make two points about him. One is he has no core. And, you know, every day almost it seems to be we find another issue. You know, he was supportive of doing things like a cap and trade agreement, now he doesn’t think that, you know, climate change is real. He was to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights issues, now he wants to amend the Constitution to prevent gay marriage. He was an extremely pro-choice governor, now he believes that life begins at conception and would ban Roe v. Wade. So you, you look at–issue after issue after issue, he’s moved all over the place. And I can tell you one thing, working a few steps down from the president, what you need in that office is conviction, you need to have a true compass, and you’ve got to be willing to make tough calls. And you get the sense with Mitt Romney that, you know, if he thought he–it was good to say the sky was green and the grass was blue to win an election, he’d say it.
Republicans may get excited when they see Mitt Romney running close to Barack Obama in potential 2012 head to head match ups, but what Plouffe was able to quickly and effortlessly do on Meet The Press today highlighted why Romney is far from the ideal candidate to take on Obama. If John McCain was riding the Straight Talk Express, Mitt Romney is helming the Double Talk Express. Romney’s penchant of telling any audience what they want to hear is his Achilles heel. It makes Romney look like what he is, a professional candidate who will say or do anything to get elected.
Romney has been able to hang close to Obama because he hasn’t been campaigned against. His fellow Republican candidates have not really gone after him in a big way yet, and if they did, it would be nothing compared to what the Obama campaign has in store for him. The flip-flopper accusation is hard enough for a candidate to shake without having the documented record of it that Romney does.
The Obama campaign has already started to define Romney as a coreless candidate whose words can’t be trusted. Romney is a political shape shifter with no personality, but what should be most troubling to Republicans is the relative ease with which Plouffe dispatched the frontrunner.
The biggest problem with Mitt Romney is that he appears to lack toughness. Most successful Democratic and Republican presidential candidates share a certain unshakable tough-as-nails core on the campaign trail. Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush had it. Barack Obama has it. Mitt Romney doesn’t.
Romney is the Republican John Kerry, and if Team Obama can dismantle him this easily in 2011, imagine what they will do to him in the fall of 2012.