At White House political meetings, strategists worry most about facing Mitt Romney in next year’s presidential election and most of the planning is going into ways to blunt the former Massachusetts governor’s march to the GOP nomination.
“We had hoped Rick Perry could derail the Romney express,” says one White House insider, who asked not to be identified. “So much for that plan.”
“Cain will fade,” says political strategist Allen Schumer. ” He can’t stand the glare of national scrutiny.”
So the Obama political machine continues to concentrate on Romney. Some hope Perry will hurt Romney in a long and protracted primary season. Others are urging Obama to abandon his drift to the left and want him to return to the political center to blunt Romney’s moderate appeal to voters.
Still, polls show Obama in trouble with a number of key constituencies, including independents, moderates, Hispanics and even blacks.
“Obama’s one consistency has been his ability to alienate key areas of his base,” says GOP political consultant Gerald Banks. “That is his biggest problem.”
Unless Romney self-destructs, White House insiders see him as the GOP nominee and that’s the scenario Obama’s team did not want to face.
“If Romney is the Republican nominee, it’s a nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue,” says one worried White House strategist. “It is not what we need to give the president a second term.”