Republican operatives are preparing to unleash an attack that will portray President Obama as weak on national security, according to a report at Salon. The plan is based in part on new intelligence related to the September 11 attacks in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
GOP insiders reportedly are calling the plan the "Jimmy Carter Strategy" or the "October Surprise." That is a reference to the Iranian hostage crisis that handcuffed incumbent Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election against Ronald Reagan. The insiders hope the strategy will be a game changer as Obama and Mitt Romney prepare for Wednesday night's first presidential debate.
Craig Unger, author of the just-released Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove's Secret Kingdom of Power, wrote the Salon piece. Unger does not mention Rove by name in the Salon article, but there is little doubt that Rove would be involved in such a high-level Republican plan. From Salon:
According to a highly reliable source, as Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama prepare for the first presidential debate Wednesday night, top Republican operatives are primed to unleash a new two-pronged offensive that will attack Obama as weak on national security, and will be based, in part, on new intelligence information regarding the attacks in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens on Sept. 11.
The source, who has firsthand knowledge of private, high-level conversations in the Romney camp that took place in Washington, D.C., last week, said that at various times the GOP strategists referred to their new operation as the Jimmy Carter Strategy or the October Surprise.
He added that they planned to release what they hoped would be “a bombshell” that would make Libya and Obama’s foreign policy a major issue in the campaign. “My understanding is that they have come up with evidence that the Obama administration had positive intelligence that there was going to be a terrorist attack . . . ”
Such a plan is dripping with irony, of course. The strategists likely were connected to the George W. Bush administration, which repeatedly ignored warnings about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Bushies apparently are not concerned about concepts such as irony or hypocrisy, Unger reports:
The source described the Republicans as chortling with glee that the Obama administration “definitely had intel” about the attack before it happened. “Intelligence can be graded in different ways,” he added, “and sometimes A and B don’t get connected. But [the Romney campaign] will try to paint it to look like Obama had advance knowledge of the attack and is weak on terrorism.”
He said they were jubilant about their new strategy and said they intended to portray Obama as a helpless, Jimmy Carter-like president and to equate the tragedy in Libya with President Carter’s failed attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran in 1980. “They are so excited about it,” he said. “Over and over again they talked about how it would be just like Jimmy Carter’s failed raid. They feel it is going to give them a last-minute landslide in the election.”
A "last-minute landslide in the election"? Could that really happen? Craig Unger has become an expert on the postmodern machinations of Karl Rove--and his sources say GOP insiders are trying to pull it off.