The Campaign Spot

Dismantling the Case Obama Will Take Today

Obama campaign sources tell ABC News what to expect from the president’s speech in Ohio later today:

President Obama will use a speech in Ohio today effectively to hit a reset button on his re-election campaign, following a stretch of bad economic news and messaging missteps that have shaken Democrats’ confidence and caused some allies to sound the alarm.

Obama and his advisers seem quite pleased with this “reset button” metaphor. It’s obviously completely different from, say, an Etch-a-Sketch.

Of course, when it comes to relations with Russia or Americans’ perception of the president, there is no such thing as a reset button. The past is prologue; everything today is established by what happened yesterday. Unless they’ve invented one of those memory-erasers from Men in Black, you can’t “reset” what a country thinks. You can only attempt to push it in a new direction.

At a community college outside Cleveland, Obama will seek to frame the economic debate with presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, casting the November election as a stark choice rather than a referendum on his record.

Because if it’s a referendum, he loses. This is a de facto concession that Obama’s record, by itself, is not sufficient to warrant another four years.

He will also warn that a President Romney would doom the middle class.

Does the Obama campaign know how the middle class is doing right now? Two decades of gains washed away. Obama’s been on the job four years. He’s taken his best crack at it, and we’ve seen the results. There is no reason to think another four years of the same policies would generate dramatically different results.

“Gov. Romney and his allies in Congress believe that if you simply take away regulations

All regulations! Every last one of them! Notice how “regulations” are just this abstract good, with no sense of whether, say, holding up the Keystone XL Pipeline is a good regulation . . .

and cut taxes by trillions of dollars, the market will solve all our problems on its own,” said a campaign official describing the arc of Obama’s speech. “The President believes the economy grows not from the top down, but from the middle class up, and he has an economic plan to do that.”

See above: He already enacted $787 billion worth of his plan, along with TARP (which he supported), Fed policies . . . None of these have built up the middle class as he promised.

It’s a case that Obama has been pushing for weeks in smaller campaign appearances with donors and grassroots volunteers. But he’s now under pressure to articulate it more convincingly and broadly, as polls show a tightening race headed into the summer with many swing voters still making up their minds about the Republican nominee.

“You’ve got to be able to say, ‘we’ve saved you from the abyss and we’re moving incrementally forward,’” said a strategist affiliated with the Obama campaign.

The new Obama 2012 slogan: “Incrementally FORWARD!” Also, “Tiny little bits of HOPE on the molecular level” and “Barely perceptible CHANGE.”

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, conceded, “That’s just a tough message but it happens to be the environment you’re in.”

“You’ve also got to take this period to help educate the American public as to who is this guy; let’s fill in the blanks,” the strategist said.

Translation: Trash the opposition, promise the world to your base, and hope to win a low-turnout election.

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