Rahm Emanuel summed up this message when he was asked about Obama’s second term plans on ABC’s This Week.
After a decade of war, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, the most important thing that we have to do now is bring American troops home and battle for America’s future economically and strength in America at home. That’s the most important point to be made, and that battle means doing what has been done from President Clinton to President Obama, investing in the education and training of our workforce, investing in our roads and bridges to make we have the 21st century economy built on the 21st century foundation not a 20th century foundation – it moves too slow. And then third, investing in our research and development so we can stay competitive in all the new products, all the new technology and the fundamental research. And then having certainty around our regulatory reform, and making sure we have tax fairness where the middle class aren’t taking the brunt of the tax system, but actually have a tax system helping them send their kids to college. The most important thing right now for a second term is to do what has worked in the past: investing in America. If you go to the policies — here’s the thing, there’s a contrast here and we already have the facts. Mitt Romney wants to basically do George Bush’s policies – and a little more of that. Barack Obama has built policies based on the same premises that President Bill Clinton had investing in America and strengthening its people and its economic bedrock research and development.
The Obama campaign’s economic message is made even more powerful by the fact that President Clinton himself is out on the campaign trail telling voters the exact same thing. While George W. Bush remains so toxic that he can’t even be acknowledged by Romney, Obama is using Clinton to drive his economic message home in swing states like Ohio and Iowa.
In fact, the birth of Romnesia can be traced back to Romney’s belief that the last Republican president was Ronald Reagan. One of the telltale signs of suffering from Romnesia is inability to remember George W. Bush, or his eight years in office.
Fortunately for President Obama, polling data shows that plenty of Americans remember what George W. Bush and his party did to the economy. As recently as last month, a CNN poll found that 57% of registered voters still blame George W. Bush and the Republican Party for the condition of the economy.
Obama is blaming Bush for the economy because it is true, and a solid majority of Americans are doing the exact same thing.
Linking Romney to Bush and Obama to Clinton is a powerful perception that the Romney campaign can only pray that voters don’t take to the polls with them.
If Obama wins reelection, don’t be surprised if it was the economic contest between two former presidents that aren’t even on the ballot that tipped the swing state scales toward the incumbent president.