It's only Tuesday, but it has already been a terrible, horrible,
no-good, very bad week for the Obama campaign. Saddled with increasingly
bad economic data, the campaign has been doggedly trying to change the
subject to anything other than jobs and deficits. We've been treated to a
mythical GOP "war on women", a "debate" on birth control, a "road to
Damascus" moment on gay marriage, an "expose" of Romney "bullying" in
high school, and the burning question of who is a better pet owner.
Unfortunately for Obama and his allies in the media, none of it is
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Yesterday's CBS/NYT poll makes it very clear that voters care about only one thing: The Economy.
The only other issues that registers in the double-digits? Government
spending and deficits--not exactly a winning issue for Obama.
Not only do voters not care about the social issues Obama and the media
are fixated on, there are signs that focus is backfiring. The biggest
shift in voter sentiment in the CBS poll was among women, who, in just
one month, shifted their support from Obama to Romney. In April, Obama
had led Romney by six points among women. Today, women prefer Romney by
More troubling for the White House is that 67% of registered voters
believe his "conversion" on gay marriage, which sent coastal hearts
aflutter, was based solely on politics, rather than any personal
conviction. This is damning for a politicians whose meteoric rise was
based largely on his being "above" politics. It is an Exocet missile to
his entire political narrative.
Of course, the Obama campaign today is whining about the "methodology"
of the CBS poll, as all politicians do when faced with bad polling data.
The CBS poll, though, is largely in line with several other polls using
different methodologies, so I wouldn't take the whining too seriously.
All that said, it's what the Obama campaign tried to do proactively yesterday that convinces me they are in full panic.
Yesterday, the Obama campaign tried to attack Romney's business
experience with an ad focusing on steelworkers who lost their job when
their company, GST Steel, went bankrupt. GST Steel was controlled by
Romney's former firm, Bain Capital.
The story of GST Steel has already been told at least twice; by Ted
Kennedy in 1994 and Newt Gingrich in this year's primary. Every time, it
has been pointed out that the bankruptcy occurred two years AFTER
Romney left Bain Capital. So, as hits go, its pretty weak stuff.
It was the opening salvo in what is expected to be a sustained attack on
Romney's experience in private equity. So, what did Obama do after he
launched this attack on private equity? He, of course, jetted to New
York for a fundraiser with private equity traders. Natch!
The fundraiser had obviously been planned for a long time. There is no
way a well-coordinated campaign decides to make the private equity
industry as issue on the very same day they are tapping it for money.
The hypocrisy is a bridge too far, even for a compliant media. The Bain
hit on Romney was clearly a rush job.
Obama's other big high-profile event yesterday was a commencement
address at Barnard College, a women's college. It is clear the campaign
planned to continue its "war on women" fantasy into this week. But for
Obama's attack on Bain, no one would have noticed, or reported on, his
fundraiser with private equity "vampires."
Remember that at the end of last week, when the news was supposed to be
about gay marriage and Romney "bullying" a possibly gay student in high
school, Rasmussen showed Romney handily beating Obama in a general
election match-up. Romney had not only withstood the full barrage of the
Democrat-Media complex, he improved his standing with likely voters.
That's when the panic set in.
Yesterday's Bain hit was a rushed retread of an already discredited
attack. The Obama campaign tried to push it with a hastily arranged
media conference call scheduled for 10:45 am EDT, late into the news
cycle. If this were a well-planned hit, the call would have been much
earlier or one or two media outlets would have been fed information for
Yes, it is only May and polls are just polls. It will be a long campaign
through the Fall, with many twist and turns. But, the events of the
past 24 hours suggest that Obama is already losing control of the