Advisers to President Barack Obama are scripting a Democratic National Convention featuring several Republicans in a prime-time appeal to independents — and planning a blistering portrayal of Mitt Romney as a heartless aristocrat who “would devastate the American middle class,” Democratic sources tell POLITICO.
According to convention planning documents, the three-night convention in Charlotte, N.C., early next month will seek to “[e]xpose Mitt Romney as someone who doesn’t understand middle class challenges” while also burnishing “the President’s image as someone whose life story is about fighting for middle class Americans and those working to get into the middle class.”
Each night of the convention will include a star turn for what planners call “real people” — for instance, an auto worker whose job was saved, a student who benefited from college loans and an entrepreneur fueled by federal research-and-development funds.
The most innovative — and harshest — element of the preliminary program is a nightly “social contrast” in which two people describe their personal experience with a hot-button issue — one person lauding the president’s actions, the other taking Romney to task. “Each paired-testimonial should have an ‘unexpected’ participant,” the documents say.
But the plans show organizers intent on steering clear of controversy as well. For the gay marriage social contrast, for instance, the documents state the participants should be “not a gay couple” — but a “parent and gay son or daughter.”
Other examples: “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Gay soldier and fellow (straight) soldier who served together in Iraq or Afghanistan (ideally the straight soldier was helped by the gay soldier, i.e., medic, in fire fight) … Planned Parenthood: Husband who talks about how a PAP smear saved his wife’s life and his spouse … Immigration: Two young people from the same family, one who was born here, the other a few years older who was not … Choice: A couple who has children, but wants to make their own decisions, not have the government do it for them (or who has confronted a difficult medical situation).”