(CBS News) President Obama and Mitt Romney are going to be locked in a tight race for the White House for months as they each try to convince voters of their ability to rebuild the struggling economy, a top Republican strategist said Thursday.
"This is going to be a tight race for a long time. What you do have happening now is an attempt by the Obama guys to take the economy out of Romney's biography so he can't go after the president's biggest weakness. Romney guys are fighting back and that is going to be the struggle all summer long," Mike Murphy said in an interview on "CBS This Morning."
Romney and Mr. Obama are trading leads in polls released this week, Murphy noted, adding that the differing levels of support for the two men are often within the margin of error.
"Bottom line is, it's close everywhere. It's the third inning, the thing isn't baked yet. But no doubt this summer is a key period where the Obama guys are going to try to wreck Romney on the economy. And Romney just can't let them do that," Murphy said, referring to recent attacks from Mr. Obama and his supporters on Romney's record running Bain Capital, the private equity firm.
Murphy said Romney should push back against the attacks and note that when Bain investments did well, other investors including pension funds also profited.
"He can't let them totally be demonized and it can't look totally like he was making money only for himself," Murphy said of Romney.
Murphy noted that the back and forth may be overshadowed by events beyond the control of either men.
"Ultimately, the bigger issue might be in Europe. Because you know, for all the fighting we got in domestic politics, if the European economy hits a real problem, it will come here. That's bad news for the president," Murphy said.