The Mitt Romney campaign needs to follow the excellent advice of Jonah Goldberg in countering Obama's claim that compared to Bush he has raised spending very little. In The Corner:
Obama wants to cast Romney as a return to Bush. It's nearly the only argument he knows how to make. Romney, in my opinion, should turn the tables on Obama and make Obama defend his continuation of Bush's spending binge (If Romney wanted to be really cruel, he could make the case Obama has continued many of Bush's counter-terror policies as well). Romney has the luxury of being the outsider. He can criticize both parties' records over the last decade.
This is nothing short of brilliant political jujitsu that leaves Obama flat on his back. My, and most others' response was to argue the numbers and assumptions. There is an intellectual case to be made, of course, against the Marketwatch piece that tortured the data. That bizarre claim that Obama is not a big spender was immediately embraced by the president himself. But an intellectual response that requires focus and analytical thinking reaches only a small share of the electorate, while Obama's confident claim reaches nearly everyone now paying attention. Instead of confronting the claim, Zen Master Jonah counsels using the opponent's momentum against him.
Jonah notes that Mitt must be respectful in his treatment of President Bush, something that should be no challenge for Mitt. It is about policies, not personalities in Mitt's campaign/
Identifying Obama's policies with Bush's spending and anti-terror policies puts Obama in a box. Either he claims he is different than Bush, and invalidates his recent claim not to be a big spender, or else he ends up in the position of defending President Bush and invalidating his change claims. It will help with independents, and maybe discourage some Obama supporters from actually getting off their butts and voting.