Romney's dog whistle: Obama's not one of us
Mitt Romney loves America.
Not just the land but the word. It dominates his speeches, appearing in some form 50 times in an address to veterans Tuesday in Nevada. Romney's campaign slogan is Believe in America. On the stump, he sings America the Beautiful.
But amid the rallying call to a weary nation, Romney has been drawing a parallel portrait of President Barack Obama as someone who does not share, understand or believe in core American values. In speech after speech, Romney seems to be blowing a dog whistle: He is not one of us.
The subtle effort seeks to define Obama as out of touch and to raise doubts among voters who fear the country is on the decline. If voters believe Obama shares different values, then it's easier to believe he is leading the country to ruin.
In broad ways, it is a classic campaign strategy, and Obama is working his own "I'm more like you" angle along class lines. Romney's strategy, however, must contend with the tripwires of race and religion that still surround Obama nearly four years after he became America's first black president.
Romney is proceeding carefully but his persistent and effusive patriotism has raised questions whether he and his allies are playing to — or at least benefitting from — discredited notions about Obama.
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