Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann have slammed surging former House Speaker Gingrich in recent web videos and television ads. However, the Democratic National Committee appears to view Romney - considered by observers to be among the more palatable among primary candidates to general election voters - as the bigger threat.
An onslaught of more than 20 produced videos disseminated on YouTube by the DNC since October have Romney in their crosshairs, portraying the former Massachusetts governor as a flip-flopping career politician who's out of touch with the average American.
In that time period, the DNC's Rapid Response channel on YouTube - home to the majority of the party's attack videos - has featured just one anti-Gingrich video.
Recent Democratic Party videos paint Romney as "out of touch" and "extreme on immigration," and poke fun at how long he has been in politics. A humorous December 8 video incorporates a Twitter hashtag in the hopes of generating buzz. The "#YoungerThanMittsPoliticalCareer" video presents a parade of things that have been around longer than Romney's life in politics, including "Tickle Me Elmo," teen drama "Dawson's Creek," and Google. The attempt at creating a Twitter meme fell flat, though. A search today for the Mitt-mocking hashtag on Twitter turns up just three tweets.
The DNC's video attack on Gingrich, entitled, "The Original Tea Partier" and posted on December 10 - has attracted far more views than any of the channel's anti-Romney videos in recent months: more than 57,000. Only one video attacking Romney that has been posted to the DemRapidResponse channel in the past few months that comes close is a video calling Romney “Absolutely wrong for women.” It has around 47,000 views.
In December, the DNC has posted 10 produced videos targeting Romney. That steady web video drumbeat is indicative of the Democrats' 2012 strategy, which at this stage appears aimed at attacking Romney almost exclusively. It suggests that the Democrats not only still believe Romney will win the GOP nomination; he's potentially the greatest threat to a second Obama term among all the other Republican hopefuls if he makes it to the general election.
An ABC poll reported today shows an Obama-Romney general election is neck-and-neck among registered voters.
The DNC's rapid response team's video strategy also reflects that of the broader party organization, which has posted a handful of television ads opposing Romney to the main Democratic Party channel on YouTube.
Even Priorities USA Action, the big Obama-backing Super PAC, is pushing an anti-Romney message online. The group's homepage highlights a video portraying Romney as a tea partier who aligns with corporate interests and has the best chance of beating Obama in the general election.
Meanwhile, the President's official reelection campaign organization, Obama For America (OFA), is focused squarely on reminding base supporters why they voted for him in the first place. Since the 2012 campaign launched, OFA has interspersed strategy updates and recruitment-oriented videos with glossy web clips covering specific issues and aimed at key voting blocs with titles like, "How Wall Street reform is working for you," "President Obama repeals 'Don't Ask Don't Tell,'" "Ending the War in Iraq: A Promise Kept," and most recently, "Faces of Change: Emily's Health Care Story."
Online ad messaging from OFA is intended to generate campaign signups for fundraising and volunteering. Even the first TV ad from OFA focused on building the supporter contact list.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
March 19, 2014