In the late 1990s, House Speaker John Boehner, then chairman of the House GOP Conference, shared a political maxim: "Never attack your opponent when he's in the process of committing suicide."
It made a lot of sense as a political strategy, but it clearly won't be the guiding principle in the 2012 presidential campaign.
After Republicans committed multiple rhetorical blunders on women's health issues recently, President Obama took the offensive before several hundred politically active women on Friday, tearing into Republican governors in Virginia and Pennsylvania for legislation requiring ultrasound procedures before an abortion.
"For folks who claim to believe in freedom from government interference, it doesn't seem to bother them when it comes to a woman's health,” he said.
It's not as though Obama needed to reassure women he's on their side. Multiple polls show him with a strong lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in that demographic. A Quinnipiac poll last week gave the president a whopping 10-point advantage.
"Women's issues are more than a matter of policy," Obama told the audience. "They're economic issues that impact all of us."
What he did not say, but is nonetheless true, is that they are also a very potent political weapon this season. Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
Demographics Favor Obama Over Romney in November Election
[The Daily Beast, 4/29/12] Those demographics that came out to supprot Obama in force in 2008 -- young voters and minorities -- are growing four years later, and white working-class voters are on the decline, potentially hurting Romney's chances.
Pres. Obama, Bill Clinton, 600 others Expected at the McAuliffes Today
[McLean Patch, 4/29/12] This is the first time Obama and Clinton will appear together at a joint fundraiser this year, where premium tickets cost $1,000-$2,500 and up to $25,000 to dine specifically with the two presidents.
The 2012 Election Is Bush-Kerry in Reverse
[New York Magazine, 4/28/12] Just like in 2004, both candidates have flip-flopped over issues ranging from negative campaigning to big donors to the use of air force one.
S.C. Republicans Step in Line Behind Romney
[McClatchy, 4/28/12] South Carolina was the only primary state aside from Georgia that Gingrich won, indicating the difficulties Romney may have there this fall. Despite the state's vocal tea party population, however, Republicans there seem to be warming to a Romney nomination.
Romney Campaign Aide Claims Auto Bailout Was Romney's Idea
[The Hill, 4/28/12] On Saturday, in a seeming walk-back of a 2008 op-ed penned by Romney titled "Let Detroit go bankrupt," Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said the auto bailout was "exactly what Mitt Romney told them to do."
Obama, Romney Tweak Strategies for Tight Race This Fall
[Reuters, 4/29/12] Over the past week, Romney has taken on a more forward-looking tone, offering his vision for governing if he wins in November, while Obama has started framing Romney as a far-right candidate, indicating campaigning angles they're likely to take throughout the rest of the general race.
Romney Aides: We'll Reach Young Voters Through Substance, Not Gimmicks
[National Journal, 4/28/12] Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom indicated on Saturday that Romney wasn't impressed with Obama's "slow jamming the news" skit on Jimmy Fallon's show, asserting that "this election is not going to be about who's cooler," but rather, who would be better for the economy.