President Barack Obama made a big push to reframe his struggling campaign this afternoon, delivering a major economic speech that cast the 2012 election as a choice between two “fundamentally different visions” for the American economy.Speaking to a crowd of about 1,500 people at a community college in Ohio, the President tried to level with the American public, presenting what he billed as the “no spin” version of the central 2012 election debate.
While Obama did not present any new ideas for economic growth, or even any radically different economic message, his speech did lay out the framework for his campaign’s re-election message going forward.
Here’s the gist:
- The GOP’s obsession with cutting taxes on the wealthy is what ruined the economy — not me.
- Republicans in Congress would rather let the economy get worse than raise taxes on the wealthy.
- Mitt Romney and his “allies in Congress” want to end the role of the federal government as you know it — I’m your best shot if you want clean water, Social Security, healthcare, and any money for your education/business/research.
- Even if it’s not working as fast as you want it to, I’m the only one with a plan to get us out of this mess.
This paragraph, from the White House transcript of the speech, lays out that argument:
Governor Romney and the Republicans who run Congress believe that if you simply take away regulations and cut taxes by trillions of dollars, the market will solve all of our problems on its own. If you agree with that, you should vote for them. And I promise you they will take us in that direction. I believe we need a plan for better education and training and for energy independence, and for new research and innovation; for rebuilding our infrastructure; for a tax code that creates jobs in America and pays down our debt in a way that’s balanced. I have that plan. They don’t. And if you agree with me — if you believe this economy grows best when everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules — then I ask you to stand with me for a second term as President.
In the end, however, it is unlikely that Obama’s remarks will do much to change the 2012 debate. There is no indication that Romney will respond by trying to clarify his economic plan, and Republicans are already dismissing the remarks as more pretty words from a President who can’t deliver.
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