Huffpost Politics

Mitt Romney Shielded By Long Primary, GOP Strategist Says

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The conventional wisdom says that the longer the Republican primary drags on, the worse it is for the Republican Party because it gives the nominee -- likely to be Mitt Romney -- less and less time to prepare for the onslaught of attacks sure to come from President Obama's re-election campaign.

But Juleanna Glover, a prominent Republican political operative who served as a spokeswoman for former Vice President Dick Cheney, took the opposite point of view on Tuesday.

Glover's basic point, made during an appearance on MSNBC, was that attacks on Romney from Rick Santorum are less damaging for him than attacks from the Obama campaign. But her explanation, as follows, for why that's the case pulls back the curtain a bit about how politics at the highest level is played:

"I'm probably a little counterintuitive on this. I think the longer it plays out the better it is for the eventual nominee because of the fact that once we do have a nominee that's only going to be a punching bag day after day for this White House. The White House will look to drive up our nominee's negatives every single day.

"Of course we'll have the same opportunity to do that with him but on the other hand we've been doing that, quite frankly, every single day for almost three and a half years now. So it just seems to me that the longer this plays out it could indeed play into our hands rather than having a nominee with negatives in the 50s perhaps going into our convention ...

"I'd much rather see Santorum out there beating up Romney because Santorum doesn't have the money to spend on focus groups to hone a message that's truly going to be as effective as Obama will have. Every single day the Obama administration and the campaign will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars figuring out what key phrases are going to work best to make Romney into the most unappealing candidate possible.

"So you have Santorum out there throwing blind punches really not knowing what's gong to work and what's not, whereas once Romney or our nominee is the central focus for Obama administration, those messages are going to be very carefully crafted and one can bet that they're going to be crafted to be maximally effective, and that's just not happening right now."

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