President Obama's reelection campaign isn't running against the specter of former President George W. Bush, said a top voice for the president's 2012 team.
Robert Gibbs, the former White House press secretary-turned-campaign surrogate, accused the field of Republican presidential candidates of reviving the policies that caused the current economic difficulties. But that doesn't mean the Obama campaign is running against Bush, Gibbs maintained.
"You're going to have a choice between going forward or going backward to a lot of the problems that got us into this mess," Gibbs said, referencing a top tier of GOP candidates that includes Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele BachmannMichele BachmannTrump says 2016 is the GOP's last chance to win Bachmann: Clinton will prosecute churches and nonprofits The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Minn.). "I think there's going to be a very clear choice in this election in 2012."
For that matter, Perry, the candidate who is arguably more liable to be measured against Bush than any other because of their Texas roots and shared mannerisms, has also taken strides to distance himself from the former Republican president.
"They’re not all carbon copies in Texas," he said on Fox News. "I tell people that one of the quick ways you can tell the difference is he is a Yale graduate and I’m a Texas A&M graduate."
Democrats faced allegations of running against Bush in their 2010 campaign against congressional Republicans, when they similarly argued that electing the GOP would mean a return to Bush-era policies.
Gibbs also sought to slap the front-runners for the Republican nomination with "pledging allegiance to the Tea Party," picking up on a Democratic narrative rolled out in recent days to cast the party's standard-bearers as beholden to its activist base.
Gibbs also took a couple pointed jabs at Perry, the most recent entrant into the race, for his past statements flirting with Texas seceding from the United States.
"I think that the statements that Perry made are remarkable in the sense that, just two years ago, the governor of Texas openly talking about leading Texas out of the United States of America," Gibbs said. "I think it's a remarkable turnaround and I think, any day now, I think Rick Perry will probably ask to see the president's birth certificate."