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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats say RNC hasn't focused on Romney's record so they will



Members of the media packed into the small storefront that houses the Democratic Party's counter-messaging operation during the Republican National Convention.

photo24.jpgCall it the Paul Ryan effect. Thursday morning's press conference in the "war room" attracted a crowd of media who wanted Democratic leaders to weigh in on the Republican vice presidential candidate’s speech from Wednesday night. Obama for America deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter got straight to the point.

“Paul Ryan lied,” Cutter said to begin the press conference, “repeatedly, knowingly and brazenly.” She pointed out various portions of the speech she felt were erroneous, including his characterization of the closing of a Wisconsin auto plant and proposed Medicare cuts. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin also weighed in on Ryan's speech, saying he was a likable guy with too many missteps both during his speech and in Congress.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz focused on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as did John Barrett, the former mayor of Massachusetts town North Adams. "Mitt Romney was bad for the middle class people and families of my state and my community, and he will be bad for the middle class of America."

The "war room" operation has paid off, resulting in dozens of news articles and blog posts. In addition, Wasserman Schultz has conducted many broadcast interviews.

Vice President Joe Biden was supposed to arrive in Tampa on Monday to assist in countering the RNC message, but he cancelled his plans because of Hurricane Isaac. Biden didn’t want to tie up local law enforcement who needed to focus on the storm instead of worrying about security for a high-profile official, the campaign said.

Cutter said Democrats are accomplishing their RNC goals.

“We’ve been here all week to make sure that Mitt Romney’s record is being discussed,” she said. “It’s one thing we haven’t heard all week. That Mitt Romney’s policies are being discussed; that’s another thing you haven’t heard all week. In fact you’ve heard very little about Mitt Romney and he’s at the top of the ticket.”

[Last modified: Thursday, August 30, 2012 5:12pm]


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