Never mind Rick Santorum. The Romney campaign says its victory in Michigan upended a multi-front Democratic crusade against the former governor, much to the chagrin of President Obama’s top re-election team.
Team Romney makes the claim in a new Web video that calls Tuesday night a “frustrating” one for Obama headquarters in Chicago.
“Now that Mitt Romney has won in Michigan and Arizona, the Obama Campaign will bring its ‘Kill Romney’ strategy to the next level,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement.
(The alleged strategy to which she refers was described by an unnamed Democratic strategist to Politico last year.)
The video notes that Democrats have spent significant cash on counterprogramming in Michigan during the primary campaign, much of it directed at Romney for his opposition of the 2009 auto bailout.
The Obama campaign has spent more than $543,000 in the state on TV advertising, while pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action has spent more than $198,000, sources familiar with the media buys told ABC News.
Democrats also orchestrated protests outside Romney events in the past few weeks, and some participated in crossover voting for Santorum to try to sway the GOP primary outcome, although Democratic Party and Obama campaign officials insist they did not encourage the behavior.
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Democratic U.S. Sen. Carl Levin – prominent Obama surrogates in Michigan – said, contrary to the Romney portrayal, Democrats’ messaging in Michigan has laid the groundwork for the general election campaign.
“The biggest winner last night in the Michigan Republican primary was President Obama,” Levin said. “I thought, given the amount of money [Romney] spent there, given the fact that his family name is still familiar there, his dad was governor, he would have won by a larger amount.
“His win didn’t surprise me, didn’t disappoint me,” he added, referring to the Romney camp’s claims. “But I think the comments he made during the campaign are very disappointing to the people of Michigan.”
Granholm said the Obama campaign’s activities, organized in tandem with the GOP primary, “oiled the machinery” for the next eight months, building energy on the Democratic side.
“I think Romney should be disappointed by the margin of his victory when it should have been a slam dunk, it should have been a margin like he saw in 2008,” she said. “Instead, he ended up spending a huge amount of money, a huge amount of resources and a huge amount of his personal capital in a state that should have been easy for him.”