Watch the new Obama campaign ad touting his record that’s set to air in nine swing states, and you’ll notice something interesting: At least 15 seconds of the 60-second spot — one fourth of it — are devoting to dramatizing events that took place before he took office.
That 15 seconds paints a very lurid picture of the magnitude of the economic mess Obama inherited. It’s another reminder that the election will turn on whether Americans take the long view of this presidency — or whether Mitt Romney can succeed in getting Americans to develop mass amnesia about the depth of the crisis in 2008 and 2009, and to vote solely out of impatience with the pace of the recovery:
Note the chart showing 26 straight months of job creation. This graphic will be central to the Obama campaign’s hopes of rebutting Romney’s ongoing claim that the “net” job loss on Obama’s watch shows he failed. Or, as David Axelrod told ABC News, the memory of where the country has been is central to the case for what Obama has accomplished.
Also: The spot again touts the killing of Bin Laden, with a nod to the “heroes” who did the actual killing, a sign Obama will continue making it central to his case for reelection despite charges of politicization.
* Joe Biden has evolved. Why not Obama? On Meet the Press yesterday, Joe Biden said that he is “absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights...I don’t see much of a distinction — beyond that.”
As Jonathan Capehart puts it: “If Biden can freely say that he’s comfortable with same-sex marriage, nothing should stop Obama from doing the same.”
And yet this required a walk-back. An Obama aide told MSNBC: “the vice president was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue.”
It’s unclear what Biden was saying he is “absolutely comfortable” with, but the lack of clarity here is exactly the point. As good as Obama’s gay rights record has been, this Biden episode confirms again that ever since Obama declared he is “evolving,” his position has been untenable.
What’s more, as Jamelle Bouie notes, it’s unclear coming out for gay marriage is all that politically risky in the first place.
* Support for gay marriage is inevitable: Steve Kornacki makes a good point: Biden will simply have to evolve on gay marriage if he is going to keep pace with other Dems running for president in 2016, underscoring yet again that this is the last time a Dem president or candidate will not fully embrace gay marriage.
* Obama campaign set to attack Romney’s aura of competence: As I’ve noted before, it could be dangerous for Obama if Romney clears a basic competence threshold — if voters accept that Romney’s turnaround-whiz background has given him the tools to turn a whole country around — and according to Mark Halperin, Obama’s campaign advisers see undermining this aura of competence as job one:
Their research suggests Romney has exactly one rhetorical path to victory, as a can-do businessman able to fix what’s broken. Chicago intends to focus as much of its formidable firepower as necessary to dismantle Romney on that front, and prevent the election from becoming a referendum on the President’s economic tenure.
* Obama re-elect reality check of the day: Relatedly, the new USA Today poll of a dozen battleground states finds Obama leading Romney by 47-45, a statistical tie, and as Christian Heinze notes, this is an absolutely key finding:
Among those surveyed, 60% say a President Romney would do a good or very good job handling the economy over the next four years; 52% say that of Obama.
This explains why the Obama campaign is so intent on undermining Romney’s aura of competence, and why it could be so dangerous for Obama if voters accept Romney’s “turnaround” premise.
* The “grumpy voter” effect could doom Obama: An interesting point from Michael Cooper: Economic data suggest that the recovery is well underway in the nine core swing states that could decide the election. But Moody’s Analytics tells Cooper that the “grumpy voter” effect could still doom Obama, if continued economic suffering leads voters to discount the improvements.
All this, again, goes to the points above about Obama’s need for voters to take the long view.
* Labor gears up for general election: Workers’ Voice, the AFL-CIO super PAC, is going up with $500,000 worth of online ads hitting Mitt Romney as an “outsourcer,” “vulture capitalist,” and “candidate for the one percent.” The ads — which are right here — will run on Twitter, Facebook, and search displays, and are targeted towards union and nonunion working households nationally and in key swing states.
The challenge is to persuade swing voters that hitting Romney as the candidate of the one percent is about more than his personal wealth; it’s about his policies and priorities — a case that will be central to the effort to limit Dem losses among blue collar whites.
* Elizabeth Warren’s challenge: Karen Tumulty has a good overview: Warren needs to prevent Scott Brown from picking off one fifth of Massachusetts Dems and winning independents by double digits, and key to this effort will be the huge bloc of voters who didn’t come out for the 2010 special election but will come out this presidential year.
* And Paul Ryan denounces “Julia” as “creepy”: The GOP budget chairman is now claiming that the Obama “Julia” tool is “creepy” and proves that he thinks women should be dependent on “big government.”
That’s nice. But can anyone get Big Government Scourge Ryan to tell us in any meaningful detail what government programs he would actually cut to reduce the deficit?