Obama And Romney: The Path To The Presidency

A solid analysis of the 2012 battle for the White House from my friend Jon Decker at the Hoover Insitution:

For Team Obama, the strategy for these last remaining months of campaigning remains unchanged: convince undecided voters that the administration’s policies have helped the country make progress while simultaneously painting Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch Wall Street fat cat who will return the country to the economic policies of President George W. Bush. Unlike the Obama/McCain race four years ago, in which then-Senator Obama could run a largely positive campaign on a message of “hope and change,” this campaign has been overwhelmingly negative. As a senior Obama campaign advisor told Politico in August of last year, “Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney.”

Mitt Romney’s strategy to get to 270 essentially boils down to the very effective line that Ronald Reagan used against President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential campaign: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” As a senior Romney strategist told me in mid-June, “This is an election about the state of the U.S. economy. We’re focused on issues relating to job creation and deficit reduction. We feel we’re in a strong position to make this election a referendum on the economy and how President Obama has managed it.”

Although there are stark differences in the way each side views the state of the U.S. economy, there are two key things that both campaigns readily acknowledge: President Obama is unlikely to expand the electoral map the way he did in 2008; and this campaign, unlike the Obama/McCain race, is going to be close and very competitive.

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published this page in In The News 2012-08-06 10:00:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy