Photo: AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
President Barack Obama is headed to Ohio today to try to reverse his campaign’s recent backslide by delivering the first major economic speech of his re-election bid.Although the President is unlikely to unveil any new policies or ideas for job creation and economic growth, the speech could reset the narrative for his entire 2012 campaign. Obama is expected to make the case that he is not responsible for the bad economy, and that he needs more time to undo the damage done by his Republican predecessor and obstructionist Republicans in Congress. Romney, he will argue, will simply revert back to the same policies that hurt the economy in the first place.
The speech comes at a crucial moment for Democrats. After a grim jobs report and last week’s “the private sector is doing fine” gaffe, it has become increasingly clear that Obama’s original economic message—”look at how much progress we have made”—just isn’t working.
Leading Democratic strategists highlighted this messaging failure in two separate memos this week, arguing that Obama needed to reframe his campaign narrative—fast—or risk losing to Mitt Romney in November. Based on focus groups with independent voters in key swing states, the research found that people don’t believe the economy is getting better—and telling them that it has won’t change their minds.
The extent to which Obama will address these criticisms today is still unclear. But both Democrats and Republicans will be watching very closely to determine the President’s next move.
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