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Jack Cafferty & MSM Execute Axelrod’s “Dog Whistle” Attacks

David Axelrod needs to make voters nervous about Mitt Romney‘s private devotion to Mormonism without overtly attacking the man’s religion. So Axelrod came up with a “dog whistle” attack using Romney’s “penchant for secrecy” minus the words religion or Mormon. The MSM quickly spotted the opening, including CNN hit man Jack Cafferty.

This was just a theory April 16 when Politico’s Mike Allen headlined his Morning Joe report with Axelrod’s attack on Romney’s secrecy (video below). Allen repeated Axelrod’s examples – e.g., why did the Massachusetts governor remove his computer hard drive when he left office? Then, regular MJ guest Jon Meacham asked Allen, “‘Do you think this is a dog whistle message’ by Obama’s camp to circuitously bring up the Mormon church’s alleged secrecy?”

I wasn’t sure Meacham was on to Axelrod. But damn if I didn’t flip to CNN yesterday as Cafferty started: Mitt Romney is a Mormon. How much will it matter? … “Now, that Mitt Romney is the likely Republican nominee, he may need to begin talking about his Mormon faith.” … “a lot of Republicans think Romney should embrace his Mormonism publicly. …” I searched; more MSMers are abetting Axelrod:

The Washington Post blog entry on April 16 was just like my question: “Is Romney’s ‘secrecy’ a Mormon reference?“:

As Jon Meacham asked on “Morning Joe” Monday, “Is this code for the secrecy of the Mormon Church?”

Salon has “The ‘secrecy’ card

Democratic attacks on Romney’s lack of transparency arouse accusations of backdoor anti-Mormonism

The Washington Post has yet another post in its “On Faith” section: “How will Dems talk about Romney’s Mormonism?

By Georgetown/ On Faith

“As the Obama campaign makes the case that Romney is somehow weird, different some supporters of Romney will say that that is a dog whistle, that is a way to come near the religion issue. The Obama campaign will tell you they’re not going to touch it, they don’t poll on it, they don’t talk about it in focus groups because they know that it would blow up if they did and that got public.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: –Politico’s Mike Allen on the Obama campaign’s approach to Romney’s Mormon faith.
Read more in the Faith 2012 Quote Archives.

Hey. Is “Georgetown” code for Sally Quinn who, these days, prays a lot?

Whatever. Georgetown links to the Morning Joe video on Monday:

Back to Cafferty. His diatribe is too long to post but he sure teed it up well. Then he selected viewer responses:

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour, Mitt Romney is a Mormon. How much will it matter?

Bruce in New Jersey writes, “Mitt is a strange guy. He’s wishy-washy on his political views and he talks himself into trouble about every 10 minutes. He’s concrete on his religion, though, and yet he won’t openly discuss it. It makes no sense. Is he afraid of what America will think? It shouldn’t matter but we’d still like to see him address it or at least not dodge every question about what he believes.”

Ed in Texas writes, “Comedian Andy Borowitz nailed this with a satirical news headline that reads ‘Potential Matchup Between Black Man and Mormon Poses Dilemma for Bigots’.”

David in Virginia writes, “Being Mormon is if anything a major plus for someone who is swimming in our political shark tank. I’ve worked with a number of Mormons and have always found them to be highly honest, moral, skilled business people, hard working, pragmatic, clear-thinking, patriotic and committed to service and family values.”

Paul in Colorado writes, “Lots. Religion is the only thing Romney hasn’t flip-flopped on and I’m betting his Mormonism will be a big plus for his campaign just like Barack Obama’s race was for his. The only thing we Americans love more than our individual beliefs is showing how inclusive we can be. This is going to be interesting.”

Tom writes, “Romney’s faith doesn’t matter to thinking people, but it does matter that his own party seems to have so little faith in him.”

And Rick in Virginia writes, “I’m sorry. When I first read the question I thought it said Mitt Romney is a moron. If he’s president I believe he’ll put the middle class on the roof of his car and drive us all to Canada.” If you’d like to read more of this silliness, you’ll find it on my blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM’s Facebook page — Wolf.

BLITZER: Silliness is a good word, Jack. Thanks very, very much.

Ha, ha.

  • CathyInKs

    Romney needs to explain his Mormon religion?  How about these bigoted pundits and other libs explaining their religions and/or why they are so hateful and intolerant to anyone who is not on their “side of the fence”? 
    I’m old enough to remember when JFK ran for president and his Catholicism was a big issue.  I remember kids in my class whispering before I sat down at the lunch table, talking about JFK’s Catholicism.  Only a few of us were Roman Catholic in the small mid-western rural, Bible thumpin’ town in which I grew up. How do you explain your religious beliefs and your faith in a few sentences? The answer is you don’t.  Even I knew that back in grade school when I was Roman Catholic.  Now that I’m Mormon and a hell of a lot older, (but not necessarily wiser), the same holds true.   However what I do know is that most Americans are more tolerant, more open-minded, and just a “heck” of a lot smarter, than most of our pundits and those in the MSM and certainly more so than the average “leftie”.

  • RebelCarol

    The question that needs to be answered is:  Why did Romney take the hard drive from the government-owned computer?????? Hmmmm?  What was Romney trying to hide?  Answer that folks.

    • HoosierinDixie

      Because the British were coming.

    • Wisewoman2

      ROMNEY did not physically take the hard drive from MA state government computers.  I worked for the federal government at the US Army Corps of Engineers a part of the defense department.  When we got new computers the hard drives of the old computers were destroyed.  We could not even give them to poor schools.  There was a Standard Operating Procedure that described a number of ways this could be done.  Our Computer Tech department actually carried out the policy.  I would imagine when one leaves the government the same policy would be implemented.  Why don’t you get off that bandwagon?

      • RebelCarol

        That’s not what has been reported.  If this is indeed the case, then maybe someone in the Romney camp should make a statement to that effect.  Nothing was said about new computers.

        I can see hard drives being physically taken from DOD computers for security reasons. 

    • beachnan

       Maybe it just proves that Romney is a very smart man.

  • foxyladi14

    religion should not be an issue.

  • APO_AE_09173

    As a practicing “Mormon” I find the claims of secrecy odd. We are a very open community. We are happy to answer questions from all commers. Our missionaries are dying to talk to any warm body.

    Twice a year, in April and October, we have a publically broadcast General conference where the central leadership of the church openly lay out our membership numbers, income, and use of that income.

    Just try to get that information out of any other religious organization. We know what the church pays for the leaders and their travel. None of the leaders of our church live in lavish mansions or palaces.

    The only piece of “secrecy” would be our temples.  They are very important to us but you can read on LDS.org just about everything you want to know about them.  Ask a member 99% are happy to tell you about it.

    Please examine our faith and its foibles. It is 100% pro America. And for the most part produces really good people that give freely of themselves. The WSJ did a nice but decidely late job of reporting about the LDS efforts in the Katrina aftermath. (Article from Jan this year I think)  Judge the Mormons by their works, PLEASE!

    • Retired_from_SPOnaj

      What has been thrown at Mitt Romney about his Mormon faith so far is nothing compared to what is coming down the road.  To the faithless liberal,  LDS is a particularly attractive target because it is so easy to lie about.  Mitt Romney will be portrayed as on par with Warren Jeffs, who will be indirectly  characterized as a typical conservative Mormon Republican.

      Only truth can effectively combat what is coming:  The truth of Mr. Obama’s record as President.  Forget about his birth certificate and concentrate on his effectiveness in handling “the greatest economic challenge of our time.”  Use his own words to measure his performance.  GOP ads that have done so have proven to be devestatingly effective not only among independents, but also among Democrats, themselves. 

      • bbf

        “If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove
        you’re not a racist, you’ll have to vote for someone else in
        2012 to prove you’re not an idiot.”

         

    • CathyInKs

       That “openess” and the democracy at the meetings really impressed me before I became a member.  My first experience was a “fast and testimony meeting”.  Children, youths, men, women spontaneously got up and gave their very personal and unscripted testimonies of faith. 

  • http://twitter.com/jbjdjbjd jbjd

    BH, I looked for this clip some time ago but couldn’t find it.

    Does anyone recall the interview between George Stephanopoulos and David Axelrod in which GS asked why the Obama campaign was stoking the false meme that Hillary Clinton was somehow suggesting Barack Obama should be killed, by positing there was plenty of time to get the nomination and mentioning, for example, Robert Kennedy, who might have gotten the nod had he not been assassinated? GS charged they were contacting the press with their lurid suggestion. Axelrod said they had no involvement in spreading the story. But GS pulled out a notice – from an envelope – and said, ‘Yes you did; let me read this memo you sent to reporters!’

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1429578258 Cerry H Klaver

      I remember this.  One of the few zingers thrown at Obama team back then.  Perhaps try Uppity Woman’s blog.  She may have commented on it.  John W. Smart’s blog would be another place to ask.

  • KenoshaMarge

    The question is will people respond to “dog whistles” and other foolishness. I suspect most don’t care about Romney’s religion. Nor about his dog. Nor if his wife worked in the home or out. This flailing about shows a White House in disarray.

    Add onto that the GSA mess and Secret Service Prostitution scandal and you have a lot on their plate. Perhaps they should be tending to their knitting, you know, governing, instead of searching for the latest greatest attack hits and buzzwords.

    • foxyladi14

       right on Marge.

  • Hokma

    Earth to Axelgrease and his mainstream media posse  -  -  -  Romney was not born yesterday. He will counter and blunt every move Obama makes before the ink dries.

    If the economy was truly growing, gas prices were going down, and real job growth was there, Romney’s religion might be an issue.

    But as Romney said, Obama is in over his head. Three years and all he can run on is (1) I killed Bin Laden, (2) I saved GM, and (3) (TBD). So his entire strategy is flail around with incoherent dirty tactics which are becoming transparent.

    As much as MSNBC is saying that this will be a close election, it will not. Obama will be trounced because he is clearly incompetent.

    • HoosierinDixie

      I agree with you Hokma. They are really flailing around trying to get a message or one of those catchy slogans to rally his base and it doesn’t seem to be working out too well. 

    • foxyladi14

       Make it so!!!!!!!!!

  • hedyanne

    Why are they worried about Romneys religion when they have Harry Reid who is a morman too so they should be knocking him too….And lets not forget about Obamas religion or does he have one. I only see them going to mass on special occasions… 

    • Retired_from_SPOnaj

      Actually, Obama is banging on old Harry, as the leader of one of the houses of a do nothing Congress.

    • Retired_from_SPOnaj

      Actually, Obama is banging on old Harry, as the leader of one of the houses of a do nothing Congress.

  • samb1

    I would take a Mormon Republican for President, 
    over the Democrat  poser who ate  the dog.
    Anytime.

  • Flop_Flipper

    It is clear that the intended target of these dog whistle attacks are the ultra Conservatives, Independents and moderate Dems unhappy with Obama. Liberals don’t care one way or the other about someone’s  religion. Many are openly hostile to it.

    For what it’s worth, I believe that preemptively bringing back the Wright card is a mistake. The way to beat Obama is to use his own words and actions and to make the case that he has been untrustworthy and ineffective as a leader. That isn’t to say that the meme may not be necessary to counteract what these dog whistle attacks imply. But lowering ourselves to their standards before they let loose their attacks only allows them to paint us as radical, racist nut jobs. Because that will be the next card played, as before. I’d rather take the high ground and beat the guy fair and square on the issues. Then we have a mandate to restore our country to it’s once prosperous glory.

    • Retired_from_SPOnaj

      Flop_Flipper wrote: “The way to beat Obama is to use his own words and actions and to make the case that he has been untrustworthy and ineffective as a leader.”

      Possibly the smartest bit of advice on this topic that I have seen so far.  The RNC did a video just using Obama’s words alone and it was devastatingly effective with test audiences.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hank-DeCat/100001190387982 Hank DeCat
      • http://twitter.com/jbjdjbjd jbjd

         ’Not for nothing’ but, if you want to get word to the R hierarchy; put it on my blog. The Executive Director of the Republican Party of Texas (“RPT”) contacted a colleague yesterday to deny something she had said about them. She asked, ‘How did you know I said that?’ He replied, “…I saw the JBJD (sic) blog…” YEEHAW! (She had requested documents from the RPT and, when they didn’t arrive, she charged they had ignored her request. Turns out, they had produced the documents but then sent to the wrong address, so she never got them.)

  • Retired_from_SPOnaj

    Dog of Flanders!

  • Retired_from_SPOnaj

    “The cry ‘Havoc!’ and loose the War of Dogs. –Axelrod

  • Retired_from_SPOnaj

    Real Wag the Dog stuff, alright.

  • no_longer_a_democrat

    shhhhhhhh, Mitt Romney is polarizing!!!

    As for the whole mormon thing, I DO NOT CARE! You hear that trolls. I don’t care! At least he didn’t sit in a church for decades listening to “God Da*n America” sermons.

    • BronwynsHarbor

      I’m with you.  I don’t care.  It helps that I’ve known and worked with many Mormons for years. They’re not mysterious to me. 

      That said, I still care about Obama’s association with Jeremiah Wright because he outright LIED about the reverend who married him and Michelle, baptized both of their girls, and inspired some of the content in his autobiographies. He also used Rev. Wright to make political connections in Chicago. And more.

      • no_longer_a_democrat

        I agree. I’m more disgusted that Barry ate dog meat.  WTF?
        What other crap did this loser do that the press covered up for him?

        • TeakWoodKite

          Woof?

          • ObamaDubya2ElectricBoogaloo

             Got dog?

          • Dolly Cain

            We are highly offended.

            Signed,

            The Dogs

      • DianaLC

        Agreed here—I’ve also known personally many Mormons, even have a Mormon married to my godchild.  They don’t frighten me because I know the difference between the few outcasts that make the scandalous news headlines and the vast majority of Mormons. 

  • FLDemFem

    Well, since Romney is so good at secrecy, we can at least look forward to a president that doesn’t out the identity of covert ops troops for his own political gain. If someone tells Romney it’s classified and a secret, he will know what it means. Obama apparently doesn’t have a clue. Either that or he thinks the lives of SEAL Team 6 are worth a few votes. 

    • Popsmoke

      Secrecy can be a deadly twin edged sword…. One needs to be careful using it or should we say, abusing it either way…..

  • Popsmoke

    Romney needs to take a lesson from Huntsman…. Don’t play the Mormon card… It will come back to bite him….  Stay to the important issues that effect Americans.

    By the way, Romney has indeed flipped flopped his Mormon religion…. Just look at his pro-choice, pro-life flip flops…..

    • DianaLC

      Popsmoke, I noticed that so far the one person who liked your comment was Scottymac.  It seems I was right about our likeness to him.  The only point you make is that both parties, both sides have major problems.  Do you think we don’t know that?  What is your solution at this point?  Should we suddenly outlaw political parties, discussions of issues?

      I know what you want.  You want us to vote you for POTUS, and Scottymac can be your VP–that is unless you two then might fight over top slot.

    • Flop_Flipper

      I don’t consider changing one’s mind on an issue flip-flopping. To me it is growing as a human being and evolving. Folks that hold onto their beliefs regardless of obvious facts staring them in the face are the ones we should be concerned about.

      I used to be an extremely partisan Democrat. I sure as hell ain’t one now. Did I flip-flop on my position or did I learn to look outside the blind obedience of the error of my ways and grow to become a wiser, more open person?

      • foxyladi14

         it is part of growing and learning.

  • Propertius

    If the LDS is “fair game”, is it finally okay to ask about Jeremiah Wright?

    • FLDemFem

       Probably not. After all, Obama said that Wright wasn’t the man he thought he knew. So who knows who Obama thought was preaching all those years and taking all the money the Obamas donated to the church. We could ask him. Heh.

      • TeakWoodKite

        “Obama said that Wright wasn’t the man he thought he knew”

        Which makes him a piss poor judge of charecter, and should disqualify him for the office.

        • Propertius

           Give Barack a break – the poor dude was probably stoned at the time.

        • Dolly Cain

          Agreed. It took Obama 20 years to figure that out? Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. 

        • foxyladi14

           Yepper!!!

    • NoQuarterUSA

      BINGO.  WTG, Propertius.

      We have great dossiers on Jeremiah Wright — and Obama’s long associations with him.  We’ll need to get them up.

      • TeakWoodKite

        Oh Please? :) I smacked na Obot over the head with a NQ achive post about Obombastan’s socialist past…he didn’t respond…
        Imagine that Bronwyn…I shut the thing up…

      • Propertius

         Personally, I don’t give a damn about private religious beliefs – I care about public policy. I’m perfectly happy with Wright being off-limits, as long as the same courtesy is extended to everyone else’s beliefs (LDS, RCC, Baptists, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, Wiccans or whatever) and as long as elected officials don’t use political means to further a religious agenda.

        It’s just a testimony to how vapid the Obama campaign is and how nonexistent his accomplishments are that they have to resort to this crap.

        • Dolly Cain

          I agree.  JFK had to go through this same crap because he was a Catholic. He wisely reminded people that he was running for POTUS not Pope.

          He also reminded us that as President he would work for the American people.  He made it clear that he knew he had to answer to us.

          That’s all Romney has to do.

        • TeakWoodKite

          Agreed. There is only do…there is no try

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hank-DeCat/100001190387982 Hank DeCat

      People have no idea what Black Liberation Theology is all about — I hope this does come out. A “reverend” screaming “G-D America” the Sunday after 9-11 is only the tip of the iceberg. Romney has proven these last two weeks with Mommy-gate and Seamus-gate that he’s no McCain –he is 100% willing to “go there” against Obama.

      Think about that for a second — for the first time in his life, Obama has a record to run on & an opponent that he can’t knock out with a technicality (as in his election to the IL senate), or by leaking sealed divorce records (as in his election to the US Senate) or by using misogynistic attacks against a woman (Hillary, Palin). Based on the vetting so far, this is going to be an entertaining race.

      • BronwynsHarbor

        Hank, this is great: “Romney has proven these last two weeks with Mommy-gate and Seamus-gate that he’s no McCain –he is 100% willing to “go there” against Obama.”
        So true.

        But you do know that the pundits say Romney is doing well in the polls because he got a bounce after Santorum chilled out. I.e., they claim it’s because Mitt’s gotten some luck, not because of how he’s been campaigning.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hank-DeCat/100001190387982 Hank DeCat

           I didn’t know that specifically but it figures. Of course the pundits are going to have to try to spin everything & anything in favor of The Once — that’s their raison d’etre. On the one hand, it is silly to predict a November election in April — literally, anything can happen. On the other hand, if they want to ignore all historical evidence that an incumbent POTUS at this point has always been ahead in the polls, let them stay in denial as far as I’m concerned & keep underestimating Romney (or overestimating Obama, whatever the case may be). It will just make the job of getting Obama out easier.

          Realistically, this race isn’t a cakewalk for either candidate, but it does help that Romney seems determined to win (as opposed to McCain who seemed content just to be nominated). I do like that Romney seems to be taking a page from Obama’s playbook — let the surrogates make the attacks & have the candidate stay above the fray “refusing to engage” in those attacks. Lately Romney has been saying “you can like Obama, but you can’t afford Obama.” A genius appeal to those who have been taught (in 2008) that if you don’t “like” Obama, you are a racist (as Bill Clinton). Romney is  dismissing the whole “likability” factor that Obama thinks he has going for him (I personally think that is exaggerated by the fawning media) as not a qualification to be POTUS. People hear that & can say “Yes, I like Obama (i.e., I’m not a racist) but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with his policies/vote for him.”

    • FormerLiberal9

       Jeremiah Wright went under the bus the last election. I personally hope he stays there.

      • HoosierinDixie

        Too late. He popped back up about a week or so ago to give a speech. The story didn’t get much play in the press but I expect he will try again soon.

        • Flop_Flipper

          Wright and Farrakhan are really the same guy even though they claim to be separate entities. One uses Islam to hate, the other Christianity. They hate therefore they are.