Republican gubernatorial candidates are falling over themselves to attack President Obama, eager to turn their local elections into national referendums, Politico reports. Would-be Georgia governor John Oxendine, for example, has started a website called “YouCanStopObama.com,” which focuses on Obama’s health reform efforts, while Michigan gubernatorial hopeful Pete Hoekstra has slammed Obama’s attempts to move Guantanamo inmates to US jails, and said he should be held responsible for the failed Christmas terror attack.
The strategy flies in the face of the local focus that helped Republicans win in New Jersey and Virginia this year, but calling out Obama often brings exposure for candidates in crowded primary fields. “It would be a mistake not to contrast their ideology vis-à-vis the president,” one GOP ad man tells Politico. “It will benefit Republicans in every race where that nationalized dynamic is in place.” But a Democratic Governors Association rep says the approach just won't work: "Any time you see a gubernatorial candidate talking about federal issues instead of state issues, you know two things right away: 1) the candidate is listening to DC consultants instead of the voters and 2) the candidate has no shot of winning."