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Transition 2012

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Economy Update: Hammering Obama on His Record

by Newsteam Staff
April 25, 2012

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 23, 2012 (Brendan McDermid/Courtesy Reuters). Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 23, 2012 (Brendan McDermid/Courtesy Reuters)

With much of the 2012 campaign about the U.S. economic recovery, some conservative analysts are finding plenty of fault with President Barack Obama’s economic record.

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said recently that GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney’s economic plans (Politico) are too much like those of former President George W. Bush and will cancel out the progress of the last three years.

“I don’t doubt we’re facing stark differences here: Return to the same policies that caused the economic crisis, and the president’s vision, which is building an economy that lasts, where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, and everybody plays by the same set of rules,” LaBolt said.

But New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica argues the president cannot keep complaining about the past if he wants to get reelected. “He may have gotten himself elected running on George W. Bush’s record. Now he has to make sure he doesn’t get unelected running on his own. Nobody wants to hear any longer about the tough times Obama inherited, just the tough times they are facing right now,” Lupica says.

James C. Capretta writes in the National Review that President Obama has abandoned touting stimulus spending, formerly a major pillar of his economic policy, because of persistently high unemployment. Capretta says the president is defining his new economic “‘plan’ (if it can be called that) mainly by saying what it isn’t: He wants it known that his approach to the economy most definitely bears no resemblance to the plan he claims his GOP adversaries favor.”

Mort Zuckerman, in U.S. News and World Report, says Obama’s economic policies have failed, and offers five things that could help the United States bounce back, including creating “financial incentives for businesses to invest in America, rather than provoking American companies to reap greater rewards by laying off U.S. workers and outsourcing.”

While Obama is running ahead of the Romney on most issues, he lags when it comes to the economy, voters’ top election concern, according to recent a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing Romney leads on having “good ideas for how to improve the economy,” with 40 percent of those polled to Obama’s 34 percent.

In the Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky argues Romney is not going to win in a race based on likability, national security, or social issues. “Romney, therefore, will (if he’s smart, that is) try to avoid every topic that is not the economy. As the weeks go on in this race, every week in which the debate is chiefly about women or immigration or Afghanistan or whatever will be a week that Obama wins,” he says.

For more on the candidates’ stances, check out CFR’s Issue Tracker on The Candidates and the Economy.

Suggested Other Reading:

Ron Fournier and Sophie Quinton of the National Journal look at the U.S. economic decline through the lens of Muncie, Indiana, dubbed “America’s Hometown” in the early 20th century.

“Government, politics, corporations, the media, organized religion, organized labor, banks, businesses, and other mainstays of a healthy society are failing,” they write. “It’s not just that the institutions are corrupt or broken; those clichés oversimplify an existential problem: With few notable exceptions, the nation’s onetime social pillars are ill-equipped for the 21st century.”

– Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor

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