The Washington Post

The president’s favorability falters

A quick read of the “new” Obama blueprint for the future that the president’s campaign released Tuesday, suggesting this was his bold vision for the future, is little more than silly, stale platitudes.  I guess the campaign thought that it would get plenty of coverage from announcing the plan and that very few voters would bother to look at it closely.

Even the most cursory review reveals the plan to be just a bunch of glossy, flattering photos of President Obama, assertions that all is well and reiterations that Obama is for helping everybody.  To me, this is another example of the Obama campaign having nothing to say. 

All along, its whole strategy has been to vilify Mitt Romney. As I said earlier today, the villain that Obama invested millions of dollars and months of speeches in creating was shattered by Romney’s performance at the debates. 

I never understood the so-called “likability” that the president was credited with possessing or the disconnect that Romney was supposed to have with average Americans. 

Finally, Romney is being given some credit where credit is due. His likability and his empathy are both beginning to shine. The RealClearPolitics average showed Sunday — for the first time — that Romney’s favorability spread was greater than Obama’s by two full points. Earlier this week, Romney’s favorability ratings climbed above 50 percent; the first time that he has been ahead of Obama in this political indicator.   

And a revealing fact inside today’s Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll shows another way that Romney is beating Obama on economic issues, one that is important:  Romney is viewed as “more empathetic with ongoing economic woes” among independents, leading Obama 49 percent to 45 percent.

With Obama unable to make voters afraid of Romney, his campaign is on a slippery slope, surrounded by banana peels.  Things should get worse before they get better. The president needs something to change the momentum and trajectory of this race. Silly, useless pamphlets won’t do it, and name-calling Romney won’t do it. The president’s campaign has got to be thinking seriously about something bold to underscore to voters they won’t be electing the same old politician they believe Obama has become.

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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