I have a hard time processing this news as anything other than further evidence of the often-thumbless nature of the Obama campaign:
As he approaches his three critical face-offs with Mitt Romney this fall, President Obama needed to find the perfect person to stand in as his Republican rival during mock debates.
He has found one.
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts will pose as Mitt Romney, campaign officials said, bringing a wealth of knowledge about Mr. Romney’s record and his reputation as a skilled debater who knows the pressure of the presidential spotlight.
Come again? If anyone's been touting John Kerry's "reputation as a skilled debater" they've been doing so on Kerry letterhead.
This feels a little like witless TV movie casting ("I know, we'll get James Brolin to play Ronald Reagan!"). If Kerry is the perfect fit, then the only criteria were follicle count, ZIP code, and bank account size. And while I say that in jest, it does seem to be part of the rationale. The Times piece, noting the superficial similarities, describes them as allowing Kerry to "... [bring] a personal background that should provide him with insights into Mr. Romney that others lack." Because he too has applied Pomade while on a gigayacht off of Saint-Tropez?
Romney, it bears remembering, turned into a rather sharp debater late in the primary season, thanks partially to the help of coach Brett O'Donnell, who was then quickly dropped by the campaign (according to the new E-book by Tom Bevan and Carl Cannon, his departure owed to the fact that Romney was unhappy with media coverage focusing on staff work instead of the campaign itself). But whether or not O'Donnell is brought back into the fold, Romney will surely bring an aggressive energy and focus to the debates that cannot be replicated by John Kerry, the only shaved tree sloth to serve in the United States Senate.
If I'm Obama, I want to spar with someone who's almost exactly the opposite of Kerry: Someone who can genuinely adopt the opposition's mindset, who isn't afraid to take the gloves off, and who will relentlessly hit me as hard or harder than Romney. If I'm Obama, I want Chuck Schumer.