With the midterm elections just six months away, President Obama and the Democrats are pining for the days of Mitt Romney.

Obama wants the 2014 campaign to be about the economy, and is doing everything he can to portray the GOP as out-of-step with middle-class concerns on issues from the minimum wage to taxes.

What’s missing is Romney, the former GOP presidential nominee whose background as a venture capitalist made him a rich target for populist attacks.

The Obama campaign cast Romney as an elitist businessman and pounced on small biographical details, like the construction of a car elevator in his home garage, to feed the narrative that he was a heartless plutocrat. Romney’s missteps on the campaign trail, such as the surreptitiously taped remark about the “47 percent,” made the caricature harder to shake.

While Democrats have sought to recapture their success in 2014 by vilifying the conservative donors Charles and David Koch, they concede the populist arrows were easier to land against the former Massachusetts governor.

“You always want to be able to personify the opposition, and Romney was the perfect way to do that. In fact, he couldn’t have been more perfect,” said one former senior White House official. “He was the gift that kept on giving with all of his out-of-touch statements, his homes. Who can forget the car elevator? There isn’t a perfect figure anymore, and that will tougher for us.”

Republicans decried the attacks on Romney as unfair, and are hoping to get their revenge by handing Democrats another “shellacking” in November.

Kirsten Kukowski, a press secretary at the Republican National Committee, said Democrats have “relied on fake narratives instead of substance for far too long,” and “it’s catching up to them.”

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