Obama 2012 diagnosis: Stage Two Death Rattle | The Daily Caller As a veteran of numerous national, state and local campaigns, I can tell you that each race and each campaign has its own life cycle. The 2012 presidential contest is no exception. As polls tighten, and especially since Mitt Romneys decisive performance in the first debate, Team Obama and the president himself are showing signs of what I term a campaigns death rattle. GOP contender Rick Santorum withdrew from this years Republican primary within three days of my declaration that his campaign was in the final stages of death rattle. The phenomenon has three distinct stages. In Stage One Death Rattle, the candidate veers sharply off-message, seemingly desperate to change the subject. Santorum, for instance, unsuccessfully tried to capitalize on Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstroms ill-advised Etch-a-Sketch comment. Santorum began showing up at rallies with a pink Etch-a-Sketch to accentuate the point and worked lame references to it into his stump speech. It became gimmicky and unbecoming a presidential candidate. Obamas Stage One came shortly after the first debate with Romney, with childish comments about Big Bird and other Muppets running for the border, gimmicky terms like Romnesia and other memes unbecoming his office. These sorts of antics rarely work. . . . . . . .