The Campaign Spot

Team Obama Realizes 2012 Will Be Harder Than 2008

The Wall Street Journal informs us:

President Barack Obama’s advisors are telling potential donors that he is in a weaker position heading into the 2012 election than he was in 2008 and are detailing potential vulnerabilities of likely opponents, according to people who have seen their presentation.

Is this surprising? The Obama of 2008 ran on promises. The Obama of 2012 will have to run on a record, and a record that is significantly less appealing than the gauzy hope-and-change vision of his promises. It was one thing to be the blank slate and to be simultaneously be the preferred candidate of Markos Moulitsas and Colin Powell, of Barbara Streisand and Warren Buffett. But the slate is not so blank, and after taking a leap of faith during the tumult of the 2008 financial meltdown, a significant number of independents are recoiling from their decision…

The donor meetings and the recent hiring of several senior campaign staff members are among the early moves Obama aides have made before the official launch of the president’s re-election effort, which Democratic officials say will come shortly after April 1.

April Fool’s Day. Insert your own joke here.

Part of Mr. Messina’s presentation is to caution donors that while Mr. Obama has recovered after the trouncing his party took in the 2010 elections and is well-positioned for 2012, he will face a tough re-election fight that will require substantial donor support, according to people familiar with the presentation. The slide show cites Michigan and Pennsylvania as places where Mr. Obama’s standing has dropped since 2008 while GOP support has gone up. Using bureaucratic short hand for President of the United States, the slides warn: “POTUS maintains clear but narrowed support” and note there is “significant work to do to increase support among key demographics.”

Either of those states would be fantastic for the GOP to win, but neither are necessary. In fact, if Obama loses either of those, his reelection bid is all but finished. It’s interesting that the slide show doesn’t mention keeping any of his surprising wins from 2008 – Indiana, North Carolina, or Virginia – and that they’re not focused on traditional swing states Ohio or Florida.

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