The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Views from Abroad: Australia on the Two-Man Race

by Toni Johnson
June 1, 2012

Sydney Harbor, October 2008. (Tim Wimborne/Courtsey Reuters) Sydney Harbor, October 2008. (Tim Wimborne/Courtsey Reuters)

In this week’s Views, we head to Australia, where ABC’s John Barron discusses what is now a two-man presidential race between Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and the GOP’s Mitt Romney, who this week finally garnered enough delegates to clinch the nomination.

Barron notes that Obama is seeking to do what so far only one Democrat–Bill Clinton–has done since World War II: win a second term as president. It was, he notes, “an achievement denied four other Democrats through war, assassination and economic decline.” Summing up Obama’s first term and his campaign’s prospects for a second, Barron writes:

His handling of foreign affairs, including the decision to proceed with the Navy Seal raid which killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, see him win high marks from voters. But the president faces stiff economic headwinds, including the prospect of another eurozone crisis. Incumbency is also a significant advantage, and Obama has proven to be an excellent campaigner and formidable fundraiser, with high ‘likeability’ ratings even when is job performance numbers have lagged. Instead of ‘hope’ and ‘change,’ this time the key word for Obama is ‘forward.’ The campaign of 2012 is shaping up to be a grittier, less inspirational, more negative contest than 2008. If Obama can’t campaign on a resurgent economy, he will have to resort to a fear campaign of the alternative under Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Now off to India, where the Hindustan Times gives their on take on Romney, offering up a background piece that explains the candidate’s positions on a number of issues, including the economy and foreign policy:

He has founded his campaign so far on a message that his experience as a businessman means he will be able to create jobs, unlike U.S. President Barack Obama. Romney is the co-founder of the private equity firm Bain Capital. When audience members heckled him for pledging not to raise taxes even on the wealthy at the Iowa State Fair, Romney responded by saying, “corporations are people.” Romney’s greatest challenge in the nomination race is his ability to cast himself as a true conservative. One sticking point is a healthcare law that Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts, which provided near universal healthcare in the state. Republican critics have dubbed the program “Romneycare,” equating it with Obama’s healthcare reform.

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