The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

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

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Midday Update: Economy Still Driving Election

by Newsteam Staff
July 17, 2012

Photo of the Day: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 17, 2012. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters)


President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney escalated their continuing campaign trail battle over the economy, the free market, and integrity Monday, each attempting to portray the other as part of the nation’s problem rather than its solution (NYT).

At a town hall meeting in Cincinnati, President Obama took aim at Romney’s corporate tax proposals, saying they would create jobs overseas rather than at home. Meanwhile, the Romney campaign accused the president of using government resources to reward donors at the expense of the middle class.

Obama and Romney are battling for suburban, upper-middle-class voters (WSJ), a constituency both need to win and one the president drew strong support from in 2008 but could be turning off with his tax rhetoric this year.

“While opinions are hardly uniform, some local voters who backed Mr. Obama four years ago now agree with Mr. Romney when he says the president is ‘attacking success,’ according to interviews in Arapahoe County, Colo.,” one of three swing-state bellwether counties the Wall Street Journal is tracking this election cycle, writes the Journal‘s Colleen McCain Nelson. “Even as the president seems to have made strides with middle-class and working-class voters with his populist campaign message, the interviews suggest he risks alienating voters a notch higher on the income scale.”

CFR President Richard N. Haass tells the Washington Post foreign policy is having very little impact on this year’s presidential race, edged out by the major economic concerns of voters.

“If the past is a guide, there will be at least one presidential debate devoted to foreign policy, but that won’t be on the forefront of most voters’ minds,” Haass told the Post‘s Allen McDuffee. “The most likely way events in the world will influence the election is through the effects of the ongoing euro-zone crisis. Aside from that, it would really require some inherently unpredictable developments, such as a crisis involving Iran, say, triggered by an Israeli preventive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor

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