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The Insiders
Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 02/20/2012

Keep the focus on Obama’s handling of the economy

This Insider is reporting from Paris. I’ve spent a lot of time here over the years, and I love the city. But you know what is great about Paris at this stage of my life? The six hour time difference means “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” doesn’t come on until 3 p.m. and “The Chris Matthews Show” and “Meet the Press” on NBC don’t come on until 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively. Paris is so civilized. Anyway, technology and globalization means you don’t have to miss the Sunday shows while you’re traveling abroad. Life is good.

Unfortunately, tuning in from afar doesn’t make the Republican 2012 campaign look much better. Two factors could guarantee President Obama’s reelection. One is a miraculous recovery of the economy, and two is a Republican failure to talk about the economy. If voters aren’t continuously reminded of Obama’s words and policies regarding the economy, we don’t have a chance. Note to Rick Santorum: If you find yourself using the words “prenatal testing,” you are off-message. We need to get this campaign out of people’s bedrooms and wherever prenatal testing takes place, and get it back into the workplace and job site.

This Wednesday’s CNN debate is a good test. If any candidate wants to shift the debate focus to contraceptives or private/personal decisions individuals or families should make, talk about gasoline prices instead. Today’s average national price is $3.56, 93.5% higher than when President Obama took office.

The Republican nominee will not beat Obama; but Obama could lose if he is held accountable for the weak state of the American economy. We only diminish the chances of Obama losing if we distract voters from thinking about the economy.

We lose Independents if we dwell on narrow social issues. We won’t necessarily get them back if we paint ourselves into a small corner in the primaries and then think we can change the subject in the general election. Our words will come back to haunt us.

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 02/20/2012

 
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