Is Mitt Romney Using Jimmy Carter as a Weapon Against Obama?

hcsp.jpgFor President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney is an obvious throwback to another era — a stiff Father Knows Best-type who straps the dog to the station wagon and marries his high-school sweetheart.

Carter is not just a former president, he’s a potent metaphor and political weapon. | AP Photo

But Romney is pursuing his own strategy to puncture Obama’s next-generation cool and paint the president as a retread, comparing him to Jimmy Carter and his fuzzy-headed liberal thinking. To the presumptive GOP presidential candidate, Carter is not just a former president, he’s a potent metaphor and political weapon.
“When you mention Jimmy Carter, that lightens up certain regions of the mind and brings to mind ineptness and incompetence,” said Peter Wehrer, who worked in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations. “That’s going to be one of the things that Romney is going to try and tie to Obama.”
Romney has mentioned Carter periodically on the campaign trail: Twice this month, he has made unflattering references to the 39th president. When asked on the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden whether he would have green-lighted the mission, Romney told reporters on a New Hampshire rope line that “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order” to kill bin Laden.
Two days later at a rally in northern Virginia, he explicitly referred to the Carter era as better for businesspeople than the Obama years have been.
“What the president has done, and I think unknowingly, never having spent any time in the private sector himself … was one item after another make it harder and harder for small business to thrive and to grow and to start up,” Romney said.
“It was the most anti-small business administration I’ve seen probably since Carter. Who would’ve guessed we’d look back at the Carter years as the good ol’ days, you know? And you just go through the president’s agenda over … the last several years and ask yourself, did this help small business or did it hurt small business?”