Monday, June 8, 2009

Top Obama targeter analyzes 2012 field

Ken Strasma -- Barack Obama's national targeting director in the 2008 campaign -- takes a peak (and a poke) at potential 2012 foes in an i/view with 538's Tom Schaller.

Assuming things are fine (if not dandy), Strasma says he worries most about Newt Gingrich. That's a tough sell. Of the listed candidates, Newt's the most explosive and seems perfectly suited for an ideological clash of the titans. That clash, of course, would be provoked by bad things happening at home and abroad.

But again, if things are fine (if not dandy), nominating Newt seems like lighting yourself on fire if your office is on the chilly side.

Which Republican of the potential field of names presently under discussion-Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour-do you think would present the biggest obstacle to Obama in 2012?

I would love to see Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee if only for the entertainment value. In terms of who I think would be the strongest opponent, that depends on what type of environment we’re facing. If the economy is still in dire straits, and voters blame Obama, than I would worry about facing Romney. He is an inoffensive, reasonable-appearing candidate, especially compared to some of the other candidates competing for the support of the right-wing of the Republican Party.

However, I expect that the economy will begin to recover, and that Obama will continue to be a popular and successful president. In that case, the Republicans will not win by nominating an inoffensive candidate like Romney. In those circumstances, Newt Gingrich is the candidate who worries me the most. Gingrich has new and unusual ideas. While those ideas are usually dead wrong, and often quite scary, he is something different. You don’t defeat a popular incumbent with a conventional politician, so an unusual choice like Gingrich would be what would worry me the most.

[Hat tip: Ben Smith]


baboonking said...

newt has the ideas but whats he like on the campaign trail? his bomb throwing (and retractions) will need to be controlled.

newt vs romney... the flip-flopper leads for now.

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