It’s game on, with Obama as Romney’s rival

April 11, 2012

By Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times

The general election campaign unofficially kicked off Tuesday with Mitt Romney continuing to sharpen his criticism of President Obama, saying a second term for the incumbent would be dangerous because he is not being upfront about the policies he plans to pursue.

The Romney line of attack echoes that of Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, who has warned his group’s supporters that the president is trying to lull them into complacency and then would use a second term to “destroy the Second Amendment.”

Republican concerns about a second term were exacerbated by an exchange Mr. Obama had last month when he told Russian PresidentDmitry Medvedev — in a conversation caught on an open microphone — that he will “have more flexibility” after the 2012 election to work on issues such as missile defense.

On Tuesday, Mr. Romney, now the likely Republican presidential nominee in the wake of challenger Rick Santorum’s decision to suspend his campaign, pounced on Mr. Obama’s unguarded moment.

“He is clearly trying to hide from us what he intends to do,” Mr. Romneysaid at a town-hall meeting in Delaware. “You don’t say that to the head of Russia without making it very clear to anyone listening that you have plans after your re-election that are different from those that you’re willing to tell the American people. So, he’s going to hide, and its my job to seek — and our job to seek. It is going to be a hide-and-seek campaign.”

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said the criticism works because the Medvedev episode is symbolic of Mr. Obama’s modus operandi.

“This plays right into what people already know about him: He says one thing to get elected and does something else once he gets elected,” Mr. Norquist said. “He told him, ‘I’m going to tell you now that I will do something different than what I will tell the American people.’ What do you think is said when they step into a dark room?”

Keith Appell, a GOP strategist, said Mr. Romney stands to gain by making an issue of Mr. Obama’s “inconsistencies.”

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