Democrats pounced on Mitt Romney’s first campaign ad attacking Obama with glee. They had parsed the ad and discovered that one of the damaging Obama quotations (““If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we’re going to lose.”) had been repeated mockingly by Obama, coming originally from a McCain aide.
They had nailed Romney beautifully, the left-wing comentariat thought happily. Another ham-fisted Republican mistake was exposed, and ridiculed, and totaled up in their credit column. They’d won.
But, whoops! as the next couple of days passed, frustrated Obama staffers found that nobody really cared all that much about the fine details of that particular line’s original source and context. It applied very aptly to the incumbent president’s situation. The ad worked and did real damage.
And, in the end, Romney strategists got to sit back and smile contentedly, shaking their heads, and remarking with feigned astonishment to Politico about the Obama camp’s “overreaction to ‘a small buy on one station in New Hampshire.’ ”