Mitt Romney on a jet ski — the GOP candidate’s Kerry moment?

Romney would say he was born comfortable, and not as rich as he became from investing in struggling companies, and making millions whether they lived or died. But, during a slow holiday news week, the photo was featured in newspapers and websites, including the Romney-friendly Drudge Report. It was quickly compared with a September 2004 shot of Kerry windsurfing off Nantucket, tacking back and forth in the gusty air. Back then, Republicans swiftly turned the footage of the Democratic presidential nominee, which was also taken by news crews, into a deadly campaign spot that hit on two levels. It showed a candidate in an elite setting, engaged in a sport not considered a touchstone for the common man or woman. It also reminded voters of Kerry’s propensity for shifting with political winds.

More average Americans may jet ski on Lake Winnipesaukee than wind surf off Nantucket.

Still, the Romney vacation picture gives Team Obama a visual to go along with its attacks on the candidate’s business record at Bain Capital. As reported by ABC’s “The Note,” the super PAC supporting Obama has already spent $10 million in Bain-related ads that have run in five major battleground states. Polling shows they are working, with Obama pulling ahead. The basic theme is that if Romney wins, the middle class loses. Vanity Fair picks up the anti-Bain theme in an upcoming article which, according to the magazine, “delves into the murky world of offshore finance, revealing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to skirt tax laws” and raises questions about the extent of Romney’s offshore investments.

From Team Obama’s perspective, the goal is to get average voters to question Romney’s ability to feel their pain and raise uncertainty about the true focus of a Romney administration. Will it be on people like them, or super-wealthy people like Romney?

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