The Mitt Romney campaign will leave New Hampshire with new battle scars. It pains some Republicans to see their candidates going after one of their own, but it may not help Obama either.
But the final days of New Hampshire haven’t been pretty for the former governor of Massachusetts. Mr. Romney has faced a barrage of attacks over his 20 years as a venture capitalist at Bain Capital, which included handing out lots of pink slips to workers. Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have both called Bain’s approach “looting.” The release of an unflattering movie trailer by a pro-Gingrich super PAC on Romney and Bain added to the onslaught.
Romney did himself some damage, too, with an unfortunate choice of words at a campaign appearance Monday. “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,” he said, referring to the ability to dismiss health-insurance providers. Jon Huntsman (and the Democrats) ran with the first part of that sentence – Romney likes to fire people! – forcing the ex-governor off message and into explanation mode. Another comment, about past worries he’d get a pink slip himself, also required followup.
For President Obama, Romney’s rough patch may not be the biggest of blessings either. Team Obama had hoped to drop the Bain bomb on Romney after he had secured the nomination. But that may have been too much to hope for, given Bain is such a juicy target. Romney’s business experience, after all, is central to his pitch for the presidency. And with Romney’s primary opponents anxious to salvage their candidacies, attacking the front-runner is only natural.