Meet Mitt Romney’s new best friends: ex-Obama voters.
These ordinary, plainspoken people can make a better case for the Republican nominee than some of the prominent speakers on stage at the convention—and maybe even Romney himself. The campaign calls them “switchers,” and three of them are showcased in a video released by the Romney campaign. Obama-turned-Romney supporters are also starring in multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns broadcast by the Republican Jewish Coalition and Americans for Prosperity.
One of the most prominent switchers—former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama—was a prime-time headliner on the convention stage on Tuesday.
What accounts for the newfound popularity of these switchers? Polls find widespread dissatisfaction with the president’s leadership on the economy, but they also show a reservoir of goodwill toward him. Many Obama voters in 2008 were casting ballots for the first time and proud to be making history by electing the first African-American president. Hard-edged attack ads are not necessarily going to work with them.
“There are times you want a soft sell and times when you need a two-by-four. This is a soft-sell message,” said Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “We’re trying to appeal to the folks in the middle, and we didn’t think that browbeating them was the effective way to do that.”