Today’s word is contrast. As in vote for me, not that bum over there.
Of course, neither President Obama nor his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, will put it quite that crudely. But as the party faithful gather for their national conventions, starting with the Republicans next week in Tampa, Fla., the strategies of the two sides amount to the same thing: staking their candidate against the alternative.
Here’s Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod: “Any convention, ultimately, is a platform to talk about your candidate, in this case the president. Who he is, what values animate him, where he’s leading. Certainly that’s going to be a major part of what we do.”
But, Axelrod went on in a pre-convention interview, “Because we do believe this is such an important choice, we need to make clear what that choice is.… We’ll be talking about the president, his values, his record and vision, but we’re also going to be talking about the other side, because people need to understand what the choice is.”