DUP alters attack strategy on Park

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DUP alters attack strategy on Park

After a single day of the official presidential campaign, Moon Jae-in, candidate of the opposition Democratic United Party, has changed his attack strategy against conservative rival Park Geun-hye and is now accusing her of sharing responsibility for the shortcomings of the current Lee Myung-bak administration.

On the first day of campaigning, Moon attacked Park for the sins of her father, autocrat Park Chung Hee. The Saenuri candidate attacked Moon for the failures of the Roh Moo-hyun administration, in which he was chief of staff of the Blue House.

Moon’s campaign decided it would have more to lose by reminding the public about Park’s tie with her father while she attacked him over Roh.

“In a battle between the recent past and the distant past, the people have fresher memories about what happened recently,” a key Moon campaigner said. “And that is more unfavorable to us.”

Park Kwang-on, a spokesman for the Moon campaign, issued statements yesterday calling Park a governing partner of Lee.

“I said yesterday that the election is taking place in 2012, not 2007,” Park said. “I want to stress once again that it is not a match between Park Chung Hee and Roh Moo-hyun. It is a battle between the new power that will deliver a judgment on the Lee administration and the old power.

“When Lee’s close associates and families went to prison for corruption, Park was the most powerful leader in the ruling party,” he continued. “What did she do about it?”

Other senior officials of the Moon campaign tried to redefine the Dec. 19 race by holding press briefings one after another.

“It is an election through which the voters will decide whether they want another Saenuri president or change,” Representative Hong Young-pyo, a senior campaign manager of the Moon campaign, said. “Park cooperated with the failed administration or did nothing to stop it.”

Hong said she should be held partly responsible for the Lee government’s tax cuts for the rich, its four major rivers restoration project and human rights and press freedom infringements.

Representative Lee In-young, a co-head of the election committee, gave a briefing to journalists to criticize Park and the ruling party for having failed to adopt measures to help the working class.

Woo Sang-ho, chief public affairs officer of the Moon campaign, did not deny yesterday that the campaign is working to redefine its strategy after the first day of official campaigning Tuesday.

“I won’t say it was a mistake, but it is true that our messages on the first day had some problems,” Woo said.

“The first week of the campaign is a positioning battle,” said another campaign official. “And we cannot lose the lead in this battle.”

The key Moon campaigner said the new angle of attack will exploit the public’s distrust with business-as-usual politics.

The source said the campaign didn’t want Moon to carry all the political baggage of the Roh government, which was the cause of the DUP’s crushing defeat in the 2007 election. Moon was the closest associate of Roh and served as his presidential chief of staff. Moon also started blaming Park for the shortcomings of the Lee government. “The Roh government’s performance was 70 out 100 points at its worst, but the Lee government’s performance is zero,” Moon said yesterday in Daejeon. “Park is jointly responsible for the failed Lee government.”

Moon said the Lee government gave a 100 trillion won ($92 billion) tax cut to the rich and that increased the fiscal deficit by 111 trillion won and Park should take joint blame.

It remains to be seen if the new strategy will work. Throughout Lee’s term, Park and her loyalists gave the president and his faction a wide berth and sharply disagreed over major issues such as the Sejong City development. The personal bond between Lee and Park is perceived as being very weak.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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