Strickland: Democrats should paint Romney as 'elitist' in Ohio
March 5th, 2012
09:34 AM ET
11 years ago

Strickland: Democrats should paint Romney as 'elitist' in Ohio

Columbus, Ohio (CNN) - Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a co-chairman of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, called Mitt Romney an "elitist" in an interview with CNN and previewed the Democrats' populist plan of attack against him in Ohio this fall if he becomes the Republican nominee.

"I think he is an elitist, and I think he is out of touch," Strickland said in a phone interview. "If I were the president, I would talk about the Cayman Islands, I would talk about Swiss bank accounts. What could persuade a man running for president to have Swiss bank account?

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"Those things say something about who he is, and what he thinks is. I think those are hugely relevant issues," Strickland said about Romney's investments in overseas tax havens over the years. "Why would anyone who wants to be president of our country open up a Swiss bank account? I think it's a relevant issue."

Strickland, who lost his 2010 re-election bid to Republican John Kasich in one of the closest races in the country, said Democrats in Ohio should work overtime to portray Romney as a wealthy business baron who can't connect with regular people.

"He has allowed a narrative to be developed which is probably an accurate one," Strickland told CNN. "I don't want to be too hard on him, but watching his desperate attempt to communicate with people in Michigan, talking about the height of trees? That was the most inauthentic thing I have ever seen coming out of politician's mouth. It was almost sad."

He added, "I felt some sympathy with the guy. He doesn't have it in his experiential repertoire to relate to ordinary people. He comes across as almost silly at times."

Strickland said the Obama campaign also plans to hang Romney's opposition to the federal bailout of the auto industry around his neck.

"The president needs to talk about the auto rescue here, and he needs to be talking about jobs and especially brining back manufacturing, which is important to a state like Ohio," he said.

While Detroit is ground zero for the American auto industry, Ohio is a home to a large number of facilities in the manufacturing supply chain that would have been impacted by the collapse of GM and Chrysler.

After months of worrying about the president's re-election chances, Strickland said he is more confident these days thanks in large part to the negative tenor of the GOP race, particularly the recent focus on birth control.

"President Obama is a very fortunate politician these days," he said. "I feel so much better about his ability to win Ohio than I did six or nine months ago. The Republicans hadn't self destructed at that point."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Ohio • Ted Strickland
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. diridi

    not should paint, the truth of the matter is Romney is an elitist, and anti-Auto bailout, now Detroit is leading in car Manufacturing. It has created lot of jobs. like parts, seat covers, nuts, bolts, steel, plastic, etc, etc, Romney is totally detrimental to this nation. True. true, true, He sells this nation to CHINA for a dollar. Ships jobs overseas, wherever the cheapest LABOR is.....true.

    March 5, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |

    We don't need to paint Willard in any sort of light that he hasn't already done. We all know he's a 1% elitist. This is the man who sided with Kasich on Prop#2 in Ohio which got defeated. Not to mention this is the guy who said "Let Detroit go bankrupt." If we would have followed Willard's advice, that would have had a ripple effect throughout Ohio.

    March 5, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. gt

    lets see strickland was the gov. when all the jobs left ohio...yea you can tell people romney is a elisist .. while the state has knock to its knees while you were at the helm.... lol...i am sure people will listen to you....

    March 5, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. Wake up people

    While I agree, the President should focus on these facts about Robmey, I don't want him to come across too negative like the Repubs. Our President is a class act and is highly respected around the world except for here.
    OBAMA 2012!

    March 5, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    usually when Democrats try to act like Republicans with the name calling and labels it doesn't work very well. I would suggest they don't do it and let the voters figure that out on their own.

    March 5, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Nobama

    Obama will be just like Strickland, a loser in reelection campaign!!

    March 5, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Emmy Skaddittle

    he did get his jd and mba from harvard and there is the 1% thing, the man is rich

    March 5, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. diridi

    I am writing with teas, I went to some shop, found Made In USA, these are happy tears....true, Obama, please bring every job back to USA, Manufacturing, Agriculture...etc, Stop immigration for a while. Till we are working as a nation, we need no foreign cheap labor. It hurts nation. Strengthen Dollar, it is a must in ECONOMY. Cheap dollar hurts. First strengthen with Indian Currency. These guys are manipulating currency. Stop it. Obama2012.

    March 5, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    You don't need to "paint" Mitt Romney as anything. He is self documenting. Just put hold up his record for people to look at. I think a powerful TV ad could be "documentary style" ad, with very little or no audio narration, just showing clips of Romney op-eds, side by side.. No narration until the end announcing who paid for and sponsored the ad. It would make people read it. But, make a radio version of it that reads the words of Mitt Romney for listeners.

    March 5, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    No need to..he IS one and everyone with a working brain knows it. The drones don't see it only because Faux Snooze, Limpy and the rest of the GOP shills tell them so, and they believe it

    March 5, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. GonzoinHouston

    The man is a genius! "Let's paint Romney as a rich 1%-er, an elitist, and out of touch with the common people" Duh! How long did it take to figure that one out, gov? Next thing you'll figure out is that some states are more likely to vote for one party or the other. Maybe we'll call them "red" and "blue" states. Or maybe he'll issue some sage advice like "fundraising is important". Yeesh!

    March 5, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Mikey

    No paint required.

    March 5, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. Sandy

    Mikey wrote

    "No paint required."

    Exactly. Just sit back and let Mitt continue to do all the work. Just get your cameras ready to film it.

    March 5, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  14. Fla Pete

    Mr.Strickland,Pres.Obama doesn't have to toot a big horn.He just quietly does his work,hypocrital republicans are always calling him out,saying stupid remarks whatever it is that he does.So let him do what republicans can't do,his job....

    March 5, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Rmoney can paint that portrait all by himself. OK, maybe Ann helps, too.

    March 5, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. David in FL

    all of you happy delusional demosnobs are leaving out the fact that Obama has a record now. I know that kind of pain is hard to deal with, but its the reality and you better get a grip on it. By the way, how are those gas prices treating you.

    March 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. texan

    He is what he is-– an elitist. --Common, average??? Some of his best friends are Nascar owners-- I`ll wager $10,000 bucks he doesn`t know the price of a loaf of bread or gallon of milk !!!!!!

    March 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Keyword – FORMER governor.

    March 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Dixie Independent voter

    Romney could do himself a favor by ditching the faux "whiskered" jeans. $200 denims do not make one a man of the people.

    March 5, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Only problem with that idea, Gov. Strickland, is that Republicans already believe they are the elite. Multiple Cadillacs, multiple home states, Cayman Island accounts, trust funds, etc: the Righties eat that up. Morals and ethics get lost in their objectivist-dominated way of thinking: all that matters is money to them. Look at Limbaugh's "apology": no real appeals from the candidates to apologise, only threats from sponsors caused Limbaugh to release a statement on his website. Elitists getting their toadies and stooges to do the work they deem beneath them: does Romney still have illegals working on his multiple estates?

    March 5, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. SuperD

    At least Romney earned his money to his elitism. Obama is even a worse 1%. He got all his power by bamboozling a nation into voting for his vision of America with the finest "Trickle up Poverty" scheme the world has ever seen. More than likely was an affirmitive action student while attending his Ivy league school. We still don't know anything about his grades or what he wrote there., or how any of this great education he got was paid for. The true snob is the President, not Romney.

    March 5, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  22. David in FL

    The guy is successful, seriously thats your argument? I wish Obama were half as successful as he promised, you remember that right? Back when he had full democratic backing and decided to shove obamacare down everyones throat instead of work on the ecomony.

    March 5, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |