4:28 pm Oct. 23, 2012
Howard Wolfson, the Democratic operative-turned-deputy mayor-turned-independent operative, said it wasn't surprising to see President Obama and Mitt Romney abandon a discussion of foreign policy for their preferred domestic talking points last night.
"These are two guys who managed to turn a question about gun control into a discussion about the importance of two-parent families, so they're going to talk about what they want to talk about," Wolfson said on MSNBC's "Now With Alex Wagner" today.
Wolfson, who was a top campaign aide to Hillary Clinton in 2008, is currently on leave from his job as a deputy mayor to help manage some last-minute political spending by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is supporting pro-gun control candidates and was similarly critical of the candidates' non-responses to a question about assault weapons at last week's debate.
Wolfson avoided the kind of stinging criticism his boss aimed at both candidates in the New York Times this weekend, though he did have some critiques.
"You have heard some criticism that perhaps he hasn't offered enough a vision for the second term," Wolfson said, when asked about the new 20-page briefing books that the Obama campaign is putting out to detail the second-term agenda. "There probably are lots of undecided voters who would like to know what the president will do in a second term. As Bill Clinton says, elections are always about the future. So it probably makes sense to do this. I don't know if two weeks is the right time to do it."
As for Romney, Wolfson said his campaign didn't want to articulate any foreign policy differences because they'd rather spend the next two weeks talking about the economy, and also that he's constantly transforming himself, possibly to great effect.
"We were promised an etch-a-sketch moment, we're getting several of them, we're getting one a day," Wolfson said. "It's come much later than a lot of us thought it was going to. But it's come. And you see President Obama doing everything he can to try to keep Romney in that box that was he in for the longest period of time. It's not clear how effective that is."