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Obama 'Draperizing' Romney: Why The President's Campaign Wants To Put The Candidate In The Past

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The Obama camp seems bent on associating Romney with an earlier time.
The Obama camp seems bent on associating Romney with an earlier time.

The Obama campaign is consistently painting Mitt Romney as a man more suited to living in a "Mad Men" world than in today's reality, Politico reports.

The general hope is that by associating him with a retro, passé society, the campaign can make the point that Romney's policy and personal beliefs aren't compatible with modern American culture.

Obama's chief campaign adviser, David Axelrod remarked on CBS' "Good Morning" that Romney "must watch 'Mad Men' and think it's the evening news," and that his views on healthcare come from an era when "bosses could dictate on women's health."

The Romney camp immediately tried to play what Politico calls the "Draperization" of Romney to its advantage. One top Romney aide fired a tweet at Axelrod characterizing the "Mad Men" world as a time "when unemployment was lower, and the economy was expanding." Axelrod quickly hit back with a different description of the '60s: "No, when Russia was our greatest foe, bosses could dictate on women's health & Etch-a-Sketch was a toy, not a political strategy."

Congressman Paul Ryan, one of Romney's closest allies, didn't help the case when he noted that Romney is "a kind of throwback to the '50s."

It's worth noting that the association is not really with Don Draper, Jon Hamm's character on the show, but with the broader society in which Draper lives. Draper is a popular figure known for -- above else -- being suave and never saying the wrong thing. In other words, Draper would never go to economically depressed Detroit and casually mention the multiple Cadillacs his wife drives.

On Today's "Morning Joe," MSNBC's Donny Deutsch said he wasn't impressed with Politico's piece, telling the website's Mike Allen that the comparison doesn't "hold water" and won't pass the public's "B.S. detector."

Of course, the writers of "Mad Men" haven't exactly shied away from Romney and his family. In an episode from the current season, Henry Francis (a character who is a staffer for a New York politician) referred to Mitt Romney's father George as a "clown."

George Romney was the governor of Michigan in 1966, when the show is set. Though the remark was widely understood as a dig at the elder Romney -- and, by extension, his son -- a closer examination reveals the writers of the show may have been accurately depicting the politics of the time. Francis worked for New York Mayor John Lindsay, a politician who was against the Romney-Rockefeller side of the Republican party.

Still, the folks behind "Mad Men" knew that few people would dig into the archives to find that out. One person who took the "clown" reference at face value was Mitt Romney's son Tagg, who tweeted his reaction: "Seriously, lib media mocking my dead grandpa?"

For more on the Draper effect, including how a democratic strategist's attack on Ann Romney plays into the dynamic, head over to Politico.

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