Visual source: Newseum
Ross Douthat at The New York Times:
As grim as the Obama era has been, Americans still have a distinctly negative reading on what the last period of Republican economic stewardship delivered: rising health care costs, wage stagnation, a real estate bubble and then of course the financial crash itself.David Lightman and Lesley Clark at McClatchy:
Against this backdrop, it may not be quite enough for Mitt Romney to explain how the incumbent has failed. He needs to explain why, so soon after the Bush era, the country should trust his party to put things right again.
Mitt Romney has vowed that on Day One of his presidency, things would be dramatically different. History and the ways of Washington suggest that by Day Two, he'd find he couldn't move as fast as he promised.Andres Oppenheimer at The Stabroek News:
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee's latest guarantee was featured in a new television ad Friday, the third in a campaign pledging a new direction for the country immediately on Inauguration Day 2013, if Romney is sworn in that day to replace a defeated President Obama. It's not that easy. [...]
First, he's probably not going to have a lot of top staff in place. Cabinet secretaries and key trade and economic officials will need Senate confirmation. The campaign maintains it can take some action without all staff in place, such as designating a country as a currency manipulator.
Second, regulations and laws often can't be eradicated overnight. Repealing the 2010 health-care law, for instance, would require an act of Congress.
Asked whether Romney will ignore the immigration issue, Romney campaign spokesman Alberto Martinez told me that “Hispanics do not vote based solely on the issue of immigration. Poll after poll indicates that jobs and the economy will be the most important issue for Hispanic voters come November.” Martinez added, “Like all Americans, Hispanics will cast their vote for president based on their perception of who is best suited to turning the economy around and creating jobs, which is why we’re confident that Governor Romney will attract considerable support.”Alexander Bolton at The Hill runs down 10 potential gamechangers in the presidential race:
[...] My opinion: If elections were decided by purely rational reasons and could be predicted with cold calculations on what issues matter the most to voters, Romney could indeed win this election. Polls show that Hispanic voters care more about the economy, jobs and education, than about immigration.
But elections are most often decided by emotional factors, and the fact is that Romney has alienated many Hispanics with a dehumanizing rhetoric against “illegals” that to many of us comes across as Latino-bashing.
Most Latinos don’t buy Romney’s claim that he is a strong supporter of “legal” immigration and only opposes “illegal” immigration, because that’s a deceiving argument. Under the current system, it’s very hard for foreigners to become legal US residents, and Romney has opposed comprehensive immigration reform that would increase the number of resident visas to match the needs of the US labour market.
The biggest obvious risk to Obama’s re-election is a financial crisis in Europe that could drag down the U.S. economy with it.Maureen Dowd at The New York Times is disappointed in President Obama:
A popular backlash in Greece, Spain and France against German-led austerity programs has cast doubt on European leaders’ ability to avert a financial chain reaction that could send world stock markets plummeting and paralyze U.S. banks. [...]
The U.S. economy has already borne the effect of reduced trade with Europe and domestic banks have had time to insulate themselves from an overseas financial collapse but a panic could send domestic markets reeling and hurt consumer confidence.
The president who started off with such dazzle now seems incapable of stimulating either the economy or the voters. His campaign is offering Obama 2012 car magnets for a donation of $10; cat collars reading “I Meow for Michelle” for $12; an Obama grill spatula for $40, and discounted hoodies and T-shirts. How the mighty have fallen.The AP:
Once glowing, his press is now burning. “To a very real degree, 2008’s candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012’s candidate of fear,” John Heilemann wrote in New York magazine, noting that because Obama feels he can’t run on his record, his campaign will resort to nuking Romney. [...]
As president, Obama has never felt the need to explain or sell his signature pieces of legislation — the stimulus and health care bills — or stanch the flow of false information from the other side. [...] The president had lofty dreams of playing the great convener and conciliator. But at a fund-raiser in Minneapolis, he admitted he’s just another combatant in a capital full of Hatfields and McCoys. No compromises, just nihilism.
Nothing upsets a president's re-election groove like ugly economic numbers.
A spring slowdown in hiring and a rise in the unemployment rate are weighing on President Barack Obama, while enhancing Republican challenger Mitt Romney's argument that the incumbent is in over his head.