The Washington Post

The president is intimidated by Romney

This week is a vital week for the Obama campaign. Can President Obama reverse the slide that started in the Denver debate or did Mitt Romney inflict permanent political damage on him? George Will has contributed two observations in the past week that deserve repeating as the president tries to reverse course.

His Oct. 2 column in The Post lists just a few of the problems the United States faces, all of which Obama has either been unable to address or which have, arguably, been made worse by his policies. A quick review of these facts, combined with the reality that the economy has only been propped up by Obama’s spending more than a trillion dollars a year of borrowed money, shows why the president really does not have much to say.

The lack of affirmative messages or even good explanations was made clear by David Axelrod's comments on CBS's "Face the Nation" yesterday. Axelrod said Obama was "taken aback" by Romney's performance in the debate.  In other words, the president was intimidated. It is a shocking admission to say that when the president's assertions are challenged, he cannot make the case for his own reelection.

Next, in his Oct. 5 column, Will hits the nail on the head by describing the condescending perspective of Obama and the left, stating that, "Liberals who celebrate tolerance of other views always seem amazed that there are other views."  The president was confronted face-to-face with a clear rebuttal of his own view of his presidency, and he crumbled.

The president's performance on the stump, and Axelrod's admission yesterday, confirm that the president is sticking to a campaign of distractions and self-delusion. It appears the Obama campaign is comfortable with the president staying behind his podium and relying on his teleprompter.  Whether that formula can be effective in the campaign going forward will be more clear by the end of the week.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.


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