The Washington Post

Economy continues to send mixed signals

Ed's most recent post once again takes Obama to task for the state of the U.S. economy and his lack of an economic plan. Certainly, if the U.S. economy falters more significantly, as predicted by some of the articles Ed cites, Obama will lose. But what seems more likely is that the economy will continue to send mixed signals — some signs of hope, some of despair.

Moreover, Obama, as Chris Cillizza points out, may be the beneficiary of the uneven nature of America's admittedly inadequate recovery. In most of the swing states, unemployment has fallen and/or is lower than the national average.

Ed's view must not be shared yet by a majority of voters; otherwise, Obama wouldn't have the ratings he has today. Precarious as they might be, they do not reflect an electorate that has given up on him.  How can this be?

Some of it may be what I just cited: mixed economic signals that are enough — for now — to keep Obama up.  But some of it must be voters' doubts about Mitt Romney. I won’t bore readers again with my frequent lament that I wish Obama would press a more aggressive economic plan — one that mixes new stimulus with deficit reduction.  And then there's Romney's plan: tax cuts, less regulation, repealing the health-care law, building the Keystone pipeline. To almost quote the Nats’ Bryce Harper, "That's a clown plan, bro."

And then, there's Romney, the man. And here the secrecy about his finances, his Swiss bank accounts, his saying that he likes to fire people — all of that stuff is really hurting him. In the end, voters don't vote for plans; they vote for people who they think care about them and will advocate for them. Obama has lost a lot of his edge, but he still beats Romney on this important measure.

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