The Campaign Spot

Halperin: Obama Can’t Let the Voters Focus on the Economy!

Over at Time, Mark Halperin lists eleven ways for Obama to win, and the last one in particular jumped out:

Never deviate from the core message that was set in place even before Romney secured his nomination: Obama can’t win if he can’t swing the conversation away from the economy and render Romney as an out-of-touch plutocrat, an unacceptable alternative in the Oval Office.

I continue to marvel that we have a presidential campaign unfolding in which one candidate is openly trying to keep the “conversation” away from the topic that is far and away the most important priority to most voters. Pick your pollster: Pew Research, ABC News/Washington Post, Reuters/Ipsos, Bloomberg, CBS News/New York Times — every last one of them says the top issue on voters’ minds is the economy and jobs.

This is a de facto admission that Obama cannot win over voters on these issues, and that he cannot win back their confidence and faith on this issue.

We’ve been hearing this all campaign long, but it’s pretty stunning. We can play the “what if Republicans did it?” game, and conclude that an incumbent Republican president who sought to avoid discussion of the voters’ top concern would be endlessly, and deservedly, pilloried, denounced, ridiculed, and mocked.

But here’s the simpler and perhaps more reassuring thought: If you have lost voters’ confidence on their top concern, and your entire strategy is to try to get people to stop conversing about it . . . you’re done. You’ve lost. The only way the economy could be eclipsed as voters’ top concern is some other problem coming up — God forbid, some horrific terror attack or natural disaster or something.

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