Obama seeks to steady repoll bid after wobbly week
WASHINGTON PRESIDENT Barack Obama is seeking to steady his reelection bid after a wobbly week by redrawing the economic choice facing US voters and stuffing millions of dollars into his campaign war chest.
Obama was last week swamped by a torrent of bad economic news, mocked after he said the private sector was doing “fine” and forced to deny his White House was leaking intelligence on drone strikes and Iran to make him look tough.
But with his race with Mitt Romney tightening, and knowing he will likely be outspent ahead of the November 6 election, the president is making his case anew in the battleground states that will decide his fate.
On Monday, Obama gave interviews to eight local news anchors, seven of whom hailed from swing states, or media markets linked to them, arguing that he, and not Romney, can best nurture America’s hurting middle class.
“This election will offer us a clear choice in terms of whether we want to pursue a path that says the only way to grow is tax cuts for the wealthy and stripping away regulations for things like the environment,” Obama told Colorado station KKTV.
“Or are we going to take a path that says we’re going to have a balanced approach to the deficit reduction? “We’re going to make sure we are making investments in things like education that are really going to ensure our long term competitiveness.” Though national press reporters scoff at trips to Washington by starstruck local news teams, Obama reaped valuable coverage in key media markets from which many Americans get most of their news.
Local station websites were packed with photos of anchors enjoying White House tours, interviews with officials and snaps of Obama’s dog Bo, even before they broadcast short interviews with the president.
Obama targeted key states, including Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin, Nevada, Iowa and Virginia in the interviews, which he used to push a new $2 billion investment in rural small businesses.
If he can claim a majority of those states, he would assure himself of a second term, in what is shaping up as a close race, dominated by the slowing economy and sluggish jobs growth.
On Tuesday, Obama will pack in six fundraisers in Baltimore, Maryland and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania a week after it was revealed that Romney piled up $76 million in May, well outpacing the president’s $60 million-plus total.
Obama will be back on the trail of big money on Thursday, at a star-studded fundraiser in New York hosted by ‘Sex and the City’ actress Sarah Jessica Parker.
Also on Thursday, Obama will hit another battleground state, Ohio, where the recession deepened economic pain inflicted by the flight of blue collar jobs to low-wage economies abroad.
He is expected to lay out the choices in the election and to argue that he, and not Romney — a multi-millionaire former venture capitalist — understands the struggles of ordinary Americans.
Obama will also leverage the symbolic power of the presidency — and garner more positive news coverage — by attending a ceremony marking the near completion of a new building on the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.
The latest polls show the race neck-and-neck, with Romney having whittled away the president’s longstanding lead.
In a RealClearPolitics average of recent national polls, Obama led the former Massachusetts governor by 1.4 percent, though is still considered to have a narrow advantage in key state races.