Jonathan Martin: Mitt Romney's George W. Bush Problem

Roundup: Media's Take

Jonathan Martin is a senior political reporter at POLITICO, where he covers national politics.

It’s a matter of when, not if, President Barack Obama turns to Mitt Romney at the first face-off here Wednesday night and repeats some variation of the same line the president and his campaign have used all year: Mitt, electing you would mean a return to the same policies that got us into this financial mess in the first place.
The attack is Obama’s carefully tested way of saying that Romney would represent a third term for George W. Bush and the 43rd president’s hands-off approach to taxes, spending and regulation that, in the incumbent’s words, “led to the crisis.”
If not as directly, Obama is attempting to put a Bush mask on Romney in exactly the same fashion as he did with devastating success to John McCain four years ago. It’s not as blunt as FDR still running against Hooverism four years into the New Deal, but the bloody-shirt waving has served to remind voters of the recent Republican unpleasantness — and left conservatives confounded that their nominee not only hasn’t rebutted the charge but also isn’t attempting to turn the tables and run against both recent presidents...

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