Rousseff goes negative as Silva leads Brazil presidential race
By Anthony Boadle and Jeferson Ribeiro
BRASILIA, Sept 5 (Reuters) - With polls showing Marina Silva well-positioned to win Brazil's election next month, President Dilma Rousseff's campaign team has taken off the gloves and is painting her rival as a dangerous wild card backed by an out-of-touch financial elite.
Rousseff's campaign managers hope to reverse Silva's dramatic rise in polls by portraying the environmentalist as an obstacle to Brazil's development and a threat to the social gains made under 12 years of leftist Workers' Party rule.
They are taking aim at Silva's weakest flank, her lack of support among the most powerful political parties in Congress, calling her a recipe for unstable government.
And the strategy may be working. Two polls this week showed Silva's surge had leveled out though she remains ahead in a likely runoff, while Rousseff gained some ground and lowered her high rejection numbers.
An icon of Brazil's anti-establishment movement, Silva has captured the support of voters who are fed up with corruption and traditional politicians. She vows to clean up politics and eschews the often murky alliances between the scores of parties in Brazil's political system.
A TV ad run by Rousseff's party this week compared Silva to two former presidents who tried to govern alone and failed. Janio Quadros resigned in 1961 after only seven months and Fernando Collor quit in 1992 before he was impeached on corruption charges.
"Dreams are fine, but elections are when you need to get down to earth and return to reality," the ad says.
Ironically, Collor is now a Rousseff ally. Continuación...