Monday, 14 March 2011

Obama Advisers Reveal Concern Over 2012 Reelection Campaign

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According to an appeal by Obama’s top aides to his potential 2012 campaign donors, the President's reelection effort will be significantly more difficult than was his 2008 campaign. The appeal indicates that the President is in a weaker position now than he was in 2008, and details the potential vulnerabilities of his likely presidential opponents in order to garner much-needed support.

Fox News reports:

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.

The centerpiece of their pitch to donors is a 10-page slide show, which features the slogan "Change that Matters" and offers an early glimpse into the thinking of the president’s re-election team. Jim Messina, a former White House official who will become Mr. Obama’s campaign manager next month, has been presenting the "strategy briefing" around the country in recent weeks.

The slide show has so far been presented to donors in Texas, New York, California, and Massachusetts.

Messina, assisted by Rufus Gifford, has already made a number of stops in Florida to meet with some 2008 donors in order to establish stronger ties and emphasize that while the President has somewhat recovered from the 2010 midterm “shellacking,” he still continues to face difficulties in the 2012 reelection campaign.

In particular, the slide show points to states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Republicans have gained support and Obama has lost approval since 2008. According to the presentation, there is “significant work to do [in Michigan and Pennsylvania] to increase support among key demographics,” most notably among Hispanic and African-American voters.

Of all the potential GOP presidential contenders, Messina has strangely targeted Jon Huntsman, Jr., President Obama’s outgoing Ambassador to China, and son of charitable entrepreneur and close friend of Fox News host Glenn Beck, Jon Huntsman, Sr. The Wall Street Journal reports that “the focus on Mr. Huntsman suggests Democrats see a threat in the former Utah governor, considered a moderate among potential GOP candidates.”

Messina has said of Huntsman that it is easy to “show the hypocrisies” of his candidacy, as he has enjoyed ties to the administration. Messina also observed that Huntsman’s support for a healthcare overhaul in Utah will be a point of contention for Republican supporters, and may prove to be a difficult one for Huntsman to overcome, as was seen with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. While Governor of Utah, Huntsman signed health insurance exchange legislation similar to that found in Massachusetts.

In response to the allegations, Huntsman spokesman John Weaver compared Romney’s legislation to Huntsman’s, and declared that Huntsman’s was “a market-based” health reform plan. Weaver added that the focus on Huntsman indicates that the White House feels threatened by the potential candidate: “You can tell when someone’s concerned about someone when they keep talking about them.”

In addition to Huntsman, the slide show targets Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and Representative Michele Bachmann. The presentation alleges that the President is currently maintaining a lead against all of these potential contenders.

Sean Spicer, communications director at the Republican National Committee, contends that the slide show’s assertions reveal the plight of the President’s campaign: "So the president’s big case is: I’m up by a few points among people with a lot less name recognition at a time when the public is not fully engaged in the race? That’s not a real compelling argument."

Photo of Jon Huntsman: AP Images


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