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Obama's guerrilla war on Republicans is being waged on three fronts. At the White House, senior aides including David Plouffe oversee a master strategy and communicate most often with the President, while the growing Chicago operation focuses on rapid responses to candidate attacks on Obama. The Dems' attacks come from the second floor of the DNC headquarters, a few blocks south of the Capitol, where communications director Brad Woodhouse oversees a daily flood of biting e-mails, ads and Web videos. A sign of his instincts: his glass-walled office is plastered with a half-dozen images of kittens in fields, kittens purring for the camera, kittens pawing each other. Look closely and one of the images stands out: a Photoshopped picture of George W. Bush biting into a kitten like a cob of corn, a clear sign that this is not the workplace for the faint of heart. It is an oft repeated maxim of Obamaland's that the country is closely divided and the final count next November is likely to be so too.
The Romney campaign hasn't been disarmed by these tactics. Romney has always made Obama's performance a core part of his stump speech; lately he has panned the President's work ethic, most recently criticizing Obama for a planned 17-day vacation in Hawaii over the Christmas holidays. "Obama isn't working" has become the campaign's motto; remarks about Obama's golf game are a standard part of the Romney repertoire. (Woodhouse immediately responded with photos showing Romney on vacation in Hawaii in 2010.)
Nor is the Boston operation above a little mischief of its own. Romney's aides argue that Axelrod and his gang of troublemakers in Chicago are using some of the same lines against Romney that they used against Hillary Clinton in 2007. "I think it's the only strategy available to them," Fehrnstrom says, adding, "Their playbook needs to be freshened up a bit." The Obama team, of course, doesn't mind a bit of repetition, as long as it works.