One rule of politics is to always go where you are welcome. This means the calendar and your message prioritize the issues on which you are credible and have an advantage. President Obama is personally admired, so he does well on light, non-news television. Look for him to do the late-night shows, "The View"-type formats and dozens, if not hundreds, of less-challenging local news interviews. The president should stay away from the likes of Chris Wallace, Neil Cavuto, Wolf Blitzer, Larry Kudlow or anything on CNBC, etc.
Pointed inquiry and any recitation of his record or recounting of the country’s economic circumstance are enemies to Obama. Obviously, any discussion of the economy or even domestic policy accomplishments or plans needs to be avoided. This won't be easy for a president running for reelection, but the president and his team don't have a choice. Even today, Gallup reminds us that Americans continue to give Obama low marks on the economy. These are the lowest numbers for any president, including George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, who both lost reelection.
Issue sets where the president is welcome are terrorism and education. Hence, the president will have fall plans to show off his credibility in the war on terror and issues associated with education.
Education is easy; the president will show up at a lot of public schools and universities and make a lot of promises to pick up the tuition tab.
National security and terrorism are more challenging. Those issues don't drive as many votes, and world events are often out of a president’s control. That said, look for the president and others to gently, and not so gently, remind us of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden. The Obama campaign has to have some positive messages, but there is a limited set of messages on which the president is credible, and there are limited places where his voice is welcome.
The negative blast that he has launched against Mitt Romney has been effective, and it will continue; particularly directed at elder voters. But look for the president to show up at friendly forums where he can count on light questions about Michelle and the kids and take a lot of pictures with police, firefighters and soldiers. As he avoids the economy and domestic priorities at all costs, Romney’s challenge is to keep the election focused on the economy.
My kids and I made it from Santa Monica, Calif., to Aspen, Colo., yesterday. Aspen in the summer is perfect. The rest of the year, there is snow on the ground. Why would anyone come here then? Anyway, we are staying in our rich friends’ house. They have the best house in Aspen, and that is saying something. My friends are so rich they are Democrats. But, bad news for Obama, they have gone wobbly. If Obama is losing the supreme high-end, mega-rich, high-tech, beautiful people, Aspen home-(that they rarely go to) owning crowd, he is in trouble. I will conduct more sophisticated observations of this segment of the electorate over the next couple of days and will be reporting.