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Is questioning the president’s 'Americanness' an effective attack strategy?




Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney  listens as former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu endorses him for President outside the Statehouse October 24, 2011 in Concord, New Hampshire. Romney also filed the paperwork necessary to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot.
Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney listens as former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu endorses him for President outside the Statehouse October 24, 2011 in Concord, New Hampshire. Romney also filed the paperwork necessary to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot.
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

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As Mitt Romney tries to shift the national conversation away from his personal wealth and details over his time at Bain Capital, his campaign often turns to former New Hampshire governor John Sununu. But yesterday Sununu’s firebrand rhetoric caused a stir when he said he wished President Obama would “learn how to be an American.”

He almost immediately tried to walk back the comments, saying he referred to Obama’s policies in spurring American business growth. And while it might not have been the message Sununu intended, the light reproach from the campaign suggests that Mitt Romney’s team is walking a fine line between critiquing the President’s policy prescriptions for America and questioning his American-ness.

WEIGH IN:

Is this an effective political strategy? And if you’re a member of the GOP or undecided, does this form of campaigning resonate? Or does it turn you off?

Guest:

Michael Dukakis, former Democratic presidential nominee, former governor of Massachusetts

George Lakoff, Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at UC Berkeley; he is the author of “Don’t Think of an Elephant!”