WASHINGTON — For Brad Woodhouse, the spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, it was when he came across a Twitter post about a CNN interview in which Mitt Romney seemed to shrug off concern for the very poor.
And Bill Burton’s moment came a week and a half ago while he was in his family room watching Mr. Romney take Newt Gingrich to task for talking about putting a colony on the moon. If someone made such a proposal to him, Mr. Romney said, “I’d say, ‘You’re fired.’ ”
Both moments were perceived by the Obama re-election campaign as another gift from Mr. Romney — now dubbed “the gift that keeps on giving” by some on the Obama team. “Just when you thought we had enough videotape about him firing people, he gives you one more,” Mr. Burton, who leads a political action committee backing the president, said before laughing.
In the rarefied world that is dedicated to getting Mr. Obama re-elected, the battle has never been viewed through the prism of how to beat Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul. It has always been about Mitt Romney.
Now as Mr. Romney appears to be cementing his position as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination — he won the Nevada primary handily on Saturday — Mr. Obama’s aides and campaign staff have intensified their focus.
“When you guys were all out there writing your Herman Cain stories, we were not following you into that sideshow,” one Obama aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We are keeping our eyes on the prize.”