My new piece uses a little-noticed Romney quote from the Secret Fundraiser Tape to preview the next wave of anti-Obama ads. The best-funded outside groups – Americans for Prosperity, Ending Spending, to an extent Citizens United – have pivoted from “aren’t you angry about Solyndra?” ads to ads showing former Obama voters explaining how he failed them.
It took much of a year for Bannon to find them, aided by pollsters Pat Caddell and Kendra Stewart. They held focus groups with over 1,000 participants, in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio. The best subjects made it into the movie.
“There were people who’d say ‘Gee, I don’t know anything, what do you want me to say?’ ” says Bannon. “I’d tell them, ‘This isn’t TV. I’m just going to ask questions.’ And that’s why this is striking to people. There is real fear and anxiety on display here. These people still like Obama, so their criticism is said more in sorrow than in anger. Someone who’s on the fence looks at them and thinks: ‘I hear myself up there.’ ”
My friend Elizabeth Crum points out that the Republican Jewish Committee, which has a very targeted campaign, is using the same strategy.