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Rybak embraces DNC's anti-Romney messaging

Mayor R.T. Rybak
Mayor R.T. Rybak

“Could I make one other quick point here?” Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak said. “When I hear Mitt Romney talk about his finances, it reminds me of an old Madonna song, ‘Like a Virgin,’ and it’s just as believable.”

“I’m used to having my biggest hobby be campaigning,” Rybak said. “Now I’m just doing it at a higher level.”

“Instead of having to throw my shoe at the television when the president didn’t get the credit I thought he deserved, now I get to go and speak for him,” Rybak said from Washington’s Capital Hilton last week, when he was in town for a Conference of Mayors meeting. “I’m tired of hearing a bunch of baloney from people who don’t recognize what this president has done against incredible odds.”

Since mid-December, Rybak has held press events with Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire, giving the Democratic rebuttal to the developments in the Republican presidential nomination contest. He has become a frequent face on cable news and has even made appearances on international television.

“The fact that the administration and the DNC has faith in him to hold a high-level position, people will take his views and understand that he’s an informed and intelligent and talented spokesperson who will know his facts,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said. “That’s what you have to rely upon in politics, people who are trustworthy.”

“At some level they all seemed sort of viable at the time but that all had some challenges,” he said. “Every time there was a little bubble, people would talk about [attacking them], but we knew from the beginning that Mitt Romney was far and away the most likely.”

It’s not unusual for the sitting president’s party to key in on just one of its challengers the way the Democrats have, according to Larry Jacobs, the director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Politics and Governance. But the Democrats have gone negative on Romney quicker than normal, he said.

“The parties are not dumb,” he said. “They look ahead at what candidates are going to emerge and start to tattoo them.”

But Jacobs said the Democrats can’t take too much credit for Romney’s sudden precarious standing in the Republican field — conservative voters are far less likely to heed the Democratic attacks on one of their candidates, but they’ll pay attention to the extra scrutiny Romney has received from fellow Republicans like Newt Gingrich.

But Democrats are quick to take any credit they can. Buckley said it was anti-Romney messaging from the DNC that held him under 40 percent in the New Hampshire primaries, a state where Romney’s support runs deep.

In the end, though, after the Republicans have their candidate, Democrats are going to win or lose the general election based largely on how people perceive the success of President Obama. The focus is on Romney and the Republicans right now, but Rybak knows Obama’s time in the hot seat is coming.

“It’s no secret that I believe we have a president that is doing a great job,” he said. “We are dramatically better off than we were four years ago and we’re going to be much better off than if we go back to the past.” 

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Comments (7)

I like Rybak, but I'm a little concerned to see him aligning himself so much with the national Democratic party. As the popular mayor of a medium-sized, progressive city, he has a lot of leeway to take unusual positions on policy or try creative solutions to problems. By tying himself to the party line, I'm afraid he will limit his options, and in particular get caught up in the corporate nature of the national party.

"In the end, though, after the Republicans have their candidate, Democrats are going to win or lose the general election based largely on how people perceive the success of President Obama."

Bingo. This election is going to be about Obama, as much as the democrats and their friends in the media would like to make it about his opponent.

Notice how none of the talking points are in praise of Obama's alleged accomplishments.

Oh, and don't bother spending any more time attacking Romney. Jus sayin. heh

It's ben obvious for years that the mayors office has only been a stepping stone, hence the slap dash and sloppy run of the city in all things practical, with an emphasis on those "cheries" that play so well, like the bike lane debacle, or the stadium issue, both generally unimprotant topics elevated to prominence. Add the appearances at the politically correct funerals and you have a washington bound pol, as worthless as every other for we simple citizens.

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one clarification to the article, Mayor rybak is ___ONE___ of FIVE dnc vice chairs.
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http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/polinaut/ar...

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is it a good strategy to go this negative so early in the campaign ?
the republicans seem to be doing a pretty good job of embarassing each other.

Wasn't this Norm Coleman's old role with the GOP when he was Senator? I don't think it helped him much.

Tax and spend, tax and spend, is the only thing you demoncrats know. If you want to live in a third world country in which our socialist demoncrats insist on doing keep voting for them.

"If you want to live in a third world country in which our socialist demoncrats insist on doing keep voting for them. "

"Third world" socialist democracies:
- Finland
- Germany
- Sweden
- France

"First world" limited-government paragons of freedom
- Turkmenistan
- Armenia
- Cambodia
- Chad