Always keep your opponent on the defensive. Keep him off balance by responding to absurd charges. Never let him put you on the defensive. Stay on the offensive.
This is what this latest "Obama Cool" ad is all about. It's the same tactics he and George W Bush learned under the late Lee Atwater. So long as you are attacking your opponent, he doesn't have time to attack you.
1. I think of the Rove playbook almost every day and have for some time now
That is usually because something I read or see reminds me. One of the plays concerns pitting one group against another, using wedge issues to divide. Religion, race, gay and lesbian issues, abortion (which we should be calling pro-choice and declining to even utter the word), class warfare -- I am sure you familiar with all of the topics that Republicans consider wedge. What is truly amazing is how few people stop for even a moment and ask themselves why these sudden stories explode on the scene and everyone starts talking about them.
In the meantime, what exactly is going on in the background? What legislation is some politician wheeling and dealing over in the still of the night? What major news happening is being covered up?