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Obama Needs to Settle on a Message

Today, BuzzFeed reports the unsurprising news that the Obama campaign has lost its notorious confidence after a rough couple of weeks. The reasons are what you’d expect: Joe Biden’s gay marriage slipup, the botched Bain attacks, and the public rebukes from fellow Democrats. But toward the end of the article, Doug Schoen points out the source of the confidence problem – the Obama campaign is heading into the summer and still hasn’t settled on a definite vision for a second term:

Critics inside the party and out, however, warn that Obama has a deeper problem: He hasn’t clearly communicated a simple rationale for a second term.

“They have no clear message or overarching theme other than class warfare and attack politics,” pollster Doug Schoen told BuzzFeed. “They don’t have a vision for the second term. No clear sense as to what the administration is offering for a second term. There is widespread dissatisfaction with both parties and both candidates in primary results [Tuesday] — and no clear idea how Obama is going to unite the county and lead us forward.”

Others have noticed as well. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Obama seems to be focusing more on small-scale objectives, rather than a grand reelection vision. But it also seemed like he was planning to weave these objectives into a larger populist, class warfare message, which he’d been laying the groundwork on since last fall. If that was the plan, it may have to be recalibrated after Democrats publicly balked at Obama’s attacks on Bain Capital this week.

The Romney campaign also seems to have picked up Obama’s vulnerability in this area. His “Day One” ads that outline the steps he’d take on his first day in the White House provide a strong contrast to Obama. What would Obama’s second term look like? At this point, the American people have no idea, and Obama doesn’t seem to either.



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