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Right Turn
Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 09/10/2012

Friday question answered

What was the most significant event last week? Plenty of commenters chose Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. JonathanHakim wrote: “[Bill] Clinton’s speech seems to be what stuck with the most people. We’ve had [43] job reports and two more to go — this one isn’t going to stick in anyone’s minds.”Same2u agrees: “Bill Clinton’s speech — and presence.” Andyjw concurs: “I vote for Bill Clinton’s speech. Unfortunately receiving his message requires an attention span greater than 30 seconds.”

Others think the convention doesn’t matter much. Sold2u argues:

The jobs number. And Romney hit it out of the park when he noted that while 96k jobs were created, 4 times as many people quit looking for work. That is a damning statistic, and will be a new angle to attack the obama economic record as people compare obama’s job creation record to the number of people who exited the labor force.
Meanwhile the Democrats were celebrating Sandra Fluke and debating whether to put “God” in the platform.

Haunches agrees: “The jobs numbers are the most important. The conventions are entertaining but do not mean very much anymore. All of us can turn on the TV or click on a website and know who these candidates and parties are and what they stand for. The jobs numbers, on the other hand, are a much more permanent and relevant piece of information in a campaign. Everything else is yip-yap.” Mickeykovars adds: “The jobs report, of course, but only if people appreciate how bad it really is. Obama asks us to think of any positive number of jobs created as progress, regardless of the number of underemployed and out of the workforce. If enough people buy that, he will win. We will lose.”

I found it remarkable that in almost 300 responses not a single one chose President Obama’s convention speech. It remains to be seen whether Clinton’s popularity will gloss over the president’s fraying persona. No matter how popular Clinton might be, his name won’t be on the ballot in November, so his speech will not ultimately affect the election, I think. From my vantage point the economic data (unemployment above 8 percent, a 30-year low in labor participation, record poverty and a new high in the number of food-stamp beneficiaries) are what is critical. I don't think Mitt Romney could beat Bill Clinton, but President Obama? That’s very likely if the economy continues spiraling downward.

By  |  11:45 AM ET, 09/10/2012

 
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