MIDLAND, Texas (AP) - Mitt Romney claims he's got a winner with his criticism that President Barack Obama is giving welfare recipients a free ride. Never mind that aspects of his argument against the Democrat are factually inaccurate. [...]Republican strategist Greg Mueller certainly lays out the strategy that way: "It's a huge advantage issue for Romney. [...] It cuts right through, beyond the Republican base, to independents and blue-collar Democrats." In other words, to white, working-class voters whom they want to convince Obama is stealing something from in order to redistribute it to the "welfare queens" and "young bucks." It's a strategy as old as Ronald Reagan's and Richard Nixon's mouldering remains.
[...] Numerous independent fact-checkers, including The Associated Press, have determined that Romney and his surrogates are distorting the facts. [...]
But that criticism has done little to persuade Romney and his aides to abandon the welfare issue or even tweak its assertions. [...]
It could open Romney up to criticism that he is injecting race into the campaign and seeking to boost support among white, working-class voters by charging that the nation's first black president is offering a free pass to recipients of a program stereotypically associated with poor African-Americans.
There's a reason Romney is going to stick with this strategy, no matter how many fact-checkers and news organizations all but call him a liar. He needs white voters and isn't getting enough of them. From the new NBC/WSJ poll:
Romney is underperforming with white voters. According to the survey, Romney leads Obama among this demographic group by 13 points (53%-40%), but that isn’t much different than McCain’s 12-point edge in 2008 per the exit polls (55%-43%) -- and McCain decisively lost the election. [...] If Romney is going to win in November, he needs to EXPAND those margins. And here’s why: If you assume that whites make up 74% of the electorate like they did in ’08 (and there’s a good argument to make that, because of the Latino growth, it will be less than that), then Obama winning 90%-plus of the black vote, 67% of the Latino vote, and 40% of the white vote gets him past 50%.The big issues this campaign is boiling down to are, as Markos wrote, sex and Medicare. Romney has a slight advantage with white women—eight points—that is likely to keep shrinking. Ditto Romney's core of support among older whites on Medicare. Romney's VP selection of zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan assured that granny starving is going to be front and center between now and November.
Romney's big hope, his only hope, is angry and fearful working-class whites. And he's going to do his damnedest to make them even angrier and more fearful. He's not going to let a little thing like the truth get in his way.