The Big Questions: By Mark Halperin

Illustration by Wes Duvall for TIME

Why did some Democrats recoil when David Plouffe said Mitt Romney had "no core"?

Plouffe, who ran Obama's 2008 effort and is now a top White House aide, used the disparaging phrase--an unusually harsh, frontal attack so early in the campaign--on Meet the Press. There is widespread bipartisan concurrence among the political class that Romney will face Obama next year--and that Romney is willing to say just about anything to get elected. But Plouffe's personal attack sounded off-key to some party operatives, when the winning message is about jobs and the economy, not personality.

Would Romney go personal against Obama?


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