President Obama's campaign says Mitt Romney's win in Florida owes more to the barrage of ads he ran than to his ability to connect with voters.
Romney has a "unique ability to push key constituencies away," deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter says in a new memo following the results of the Florida contest.
"Team Romney wants voters and the national media to believe its victory reflects its candidate's positions," Cutter writes. "In reality, it is a product of the fact that Romney and his super PAC allies carpet-bombed [Newt] Gingrich by spending five times as much money on Florida's airwaves and running more than 60 television ads for every one Gingrich and his allies aired."
Nearly all of the pro-Romney ads were focused not on himself but on the rest of a weak field of opponents, according to the assessment.
"It's difficult for Romney to claim Floridians voted for him rather than against his opponents," Cutter asserts.
Gingrich promises a drawn-out battle for the nomination, but Obama looked Tuesday as if he were itching to start running against Romney.
He made a surprise visit to a Washington auto show where he made brief comments in which he said the bailout he supported had saved the U.S. auto industry – and suggested, albeit indirectly, that Romney would have let the industry die.
Romney press secretary Andrea Saul contested Cutter's take on the outcome in Florida.
Gingrich and his supporters spent $5 million, while Romney spent about $12 million, Saul writes -- "hardly a 5-to-1 ratio."
"It's no wonder that with Gov. Romney coming off a big victory in a must-win general election state that the White House would be worried about having to face Gov. Romney and be held accountable for President Obama's failures,” Amanda Henneberg, a Romney campaign spokesperson, said this morning.