ByÂ Peter Grier, Christian Science Monitor
Is Joe Biden the GOPâ€™s new secret weapon?
Then it cuts to Biden speaking Tuesday at a campaign appearance in Charlotte, N.C. â€œThe middle class … has been buriedâ€ he shouts to the crowd. Then comes a white screen, and a simple phrase, â€œWe couldnâ€™t have said it better ourselves.â€
Top Romney surrogate Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was even more cutting atÂ an appearanceÂ Wednesday in Colorado. He repeated Bidenâ€™s statement to a roomful of Republicans, then said, â€œHeâ€™s the best thing weâ€™ve got going, guys. Because in a moment of clarity, in a brief moment of clarity, he told us what we already knew.â€
Will this work? Well, Bidenâ€™s sentence certainly fits into the Romney campaignâ€™s original strategy for the race. That was to hammer home the jobless numbers and tie them to President Obamaâ€™s stewardship of the economy.
Thereâ€™s a presidential candidate debate Wednesday night in Denver â€“ just in case you hadnâ€™t heard â€“ and itâ€™s supposed to focus on economic issues. Weâ€™re pretty sure that some variation of â€œmiddle classâ€ and â€œburiedâ€ will work its way into a pre-plannedÂ Romney zinger.
The problem for Romney is that his economic message alone hasnâ€™t been carrying him toward victory. Lagging a few stubborn percentage points behind Obama in the polls, the former Massachusetts governor has had to broaden his approach, hitting the administration on its policies toward the Middle East and other foreign issues as he attempts to portray himself as a more forceful choice for the Oval Office.
Plus, voters in general donâ€™t necessarily see the wealthy Romney as the best candidate to look out for the middle classâ€™s interests. In a recent Washington Post/ABC NewsÂ surveyÂ 66 percent of respondents said that Obama does more to favor the middle class than the wealthy. Only 35 percent made the same judgment about Romney.
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