As a veteran of numerous national, state and local campaigns, I can tell you that each race and each campaign has its own life cycle. The 2012 presidential contest is no exception. As polls tighten, and especially since Mitt Romney’s decisive performance in the first debate, Team Obama and the president himself are showing signs of what I term a campaign’s “death rattle.”
GOP contender Rick Santorum withdrew from this year’s Republican primary within three days of my declaration that his campaign was in the final stages of “death rattle.” The phenomenon has three distinct stages.
In Stage One Death Rattle, the candidate veers sharply off-message, seemingly desperate to change the subject. Santorum, for instance, unsuccessfully tried to capitalize on Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s ill-advised “Etch-a-Sketch” comment. Santorum began showing up at rallies with a pink Etch-a-Sketch to accentuate the point and worked lame references to it into his stump speech. It became gimmicky and unbecoming a presidential candidate. Obama’s Stage One came shortly after the first debate with Romney, with childish comments about Big Bird and other Muppets running for the border, gimmicky terms like “Romnesia” and other memes unbecoming his office. These sorts of antics rarely work.
In Stage Two Death Rattle, where I see the Obama campaign today, the campaign staff becomes increasingly frustrated, and the candidate finds it difficult not to lash out through actions or words. One symptom is public profanity. Santorum’s Stage Two moment came in an argument with New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny over something Santorum had said in a speech. The former Pennsylvania senator was confrontational and suggested that Zeleny’s request for clarification and anything he might write about the issue were “bullshit.” Likewise, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Obama referred to Romney as a “bullshitter.” By most accounts, Obama harbors a deeply personal animosity toward Romney but had successfully managed it in their encounters and with the press. That changed with the Rolling Stone interview.
Read more at The Daily Caller