Any question that the Obama campaign will ignore the surging Newt Gingrich to continue their attacks on Mitt Romney was answered in full today when Obama senior strategist David Axelrod compared the former House Speaker to the ass end of a monkey.
At a press briefing with reporters on the state of the Obama campaign, Axelrod talked about the chaotic Republican primary that's now led by Gingrich. For months, it's been clear that team Obama anticipated facing Romney in the fall, but Axelrod said it's possible that Gingrich could hang on and win the GOP nomination against all expectations.
(Note, this is not the monkey quote. We're getting there. Be patient.)
"Now Newt is back. Last week you all left him for dead at the checkout counter at Tiffany's and now he's back like a lion in winter," Axelrod said at the Washington briefing Tuesday. "That's L-I-O-N by the way, I don't want to stir up any trouble here."
In certain ways [Gingrich] fits the role for this, because as we pointed out earlier in the week he is the original tea partier. You know, he brought that kind of politics to Congress in the early 90s, he led three government shut downs in order to try and roll back environmental protection, roll back the Department of Education and education programs, he wanted to cut Medicare, he wanted to give more tax cuts to the wealthy.
These are all things that could potentially help Gingrich. But everyone knows Gingrich has a long and complicated past that could come back to bite him among Republican primary voters at any moment. And that's where the monkey butt comes in.
"So the question is, can he sustain this over time?," Axelrod said.
I told my colleagues yesterday a bit of homespun wisdom I got from an alderman in Chicago some years ago when one of his colleagues wanted to run for higher office and he was really dubious. He said, 'just remember the higher a monkey climbs on a pole, the more you can see his butt.' So, you know, the Speaker is very high on the pole right now and we'll see how people like the view.
If that's not engaging Gingrich with both barrels, we don't know what is.