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NYT: In One Corner, a Champion of Government. In the Other, Its Foe.

Author: John Harwood
May 22, 2012


John Harwood of the New York Times compares the current presidential candidates' different ideas of government and how they reflect the divergent ideologies and core constituencies of the two parties.

WASHINGTON — The currency of political persuasion is emotion — and the way President Obama and Mitt Romney are spending it crystallizes their starkly contrasting appeals.

An Obama campaign video shows the president's national political director, Katherine Archuleta, tearfully crediting Mr. Obama with having saved her daughter's life. She portrays the president as a hero of government whose health care law assures her daughter, a cancer survivor, insurance coverage forever.

A video by a political committee backing Mr. Romney follows a nearly identical tack: evocative music and a tearful description of Mr. Romney as "the man who helped save my daughter." But the testimonial, from a former partner at Bain Capital, depicts Mr. Romney as a hero of business who once shut down his firm to aid search efforts until the partner's missing teenager was found.

Those competing stories are rooted in more than the biographies of the Democratic incumbent, a former professor and community organizer, and his Republican challenger, a onetime financial industry titan. They also reflect the divergent ideologies and core constituencies of the two parties.

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