Entries in Stan Greenberg (2)


Despite Scrutiny of Democratic Strategists, Obama Sticks to Script on Stump

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- As some high-profile Democrats question the focus of his pitch for a second term, President Obama Tuesday stuck closely to his well-worn script, telling a group of 500 donors here that the economy is moving in the right direction and that his policies will accelerate the recovery.

“With grit, resilience and innovation, we’re fighting our way back,” Obama said, citing a resurgence of the U.S. manufacturing sector and creation of 4.3 million private sector jobs over the last 27 months.

“Does this make us satisfied? No,” he said, “…not when so many folks who are out there looking for work, not when so many homes are still underwater, not when so many states laying off so many teachers and first responders."

“This crisis did not happen overnight, it will be solved overnight,” he added.

The message, which Obama has been pushing for months, faces new scrutiny from Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg, among others, who insist it isn’t resonating with voters in key states.  Several recent focus groups found that voters don’t see signs of economic recovery, putting Obama at risk of seeming out of touch.

[More on the Carville/Greenberg memo HERE]

Still, Obama insisted that a recovery is well under way and argued it’s “stronger than the one following the last recession.”

“We recovered more effectively than most other advanced nations,” he said. “But the hole we have to fill is deeper. And global aftershocks are great.”

It’s an argument that would seem to be an increasingly hard sell to Americans without jobs and facing other financial pressures.

“We’ve got more work to do. We know that,” Obama conceded. “We also understand that the last thing we can do is return to the policies that got us into this mess in the first place,” he added, referring to rival Mitt Romney.

Obama spent much of his stump outlining reasons why Romney should be feared, suggesting the Republican nominee would keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond a planned 2014 withdrawal, raise taxes on the middle class, outlaw abortion, and reinstate “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

He spoke broadly about a forward-looking vision for his second term, suggesting he would advocate comprehensive immigration reform, push for greater government investment in infrastructure projects and boost access to higher education.

“If you’re willing to stick with me and fight with me,” he said, “I guarantee we will move this country forward.”

President Obama is expected to give his first public campaign policy speech on Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio, when he will seek to re-frame the economic debate between him and Romney, while speaking broadly about his plans to boost jobs and the middle class.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Carville, Greenberg to Obama: Talk More about the Next Four Years

Scott Halleran/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg have a message for the Obama campaign: Stop trying to convince voters that the last four years have been good for them, and start talking about what you are going to do in the next four years to make the economy and their lives better.

In a memo for the think-tank Democracy Corps, Carville and Greenberg write: “We will face an impossible headwind in November if we do not move to a new narrative, one that contextualizes the recovery but, more importantly, focuses on what we will do to make a better future for the middle class.”

Carville and Greenberg were both members of the 1992 Bill Clinton presidential campaign that made the phrases “war room” and “it’s the economy stupid” famous.

In focus groups of Pennsylvania and Ohio voters, the Democracy Corps found an American public that is struggling to pay for everyday items and racking up student debt. Regardless of their education or economic status, these folks haven’t seen signs of an economy recovery – and don’t expect to see one anytime soon.

“These voters are not convinced that we are headed in the right direction.  They are living in a new economy – and there is no conceivable recovery in the year ahead that will change the view of the new state of the country.”

Even so, write the authors, these voters don’t know all that much about Mitt Romney. And, what they do know about him isn’t all that positive.

“Respondents immediately volunteer that Romney is rich, out of touch, and in the pocket for Wall Street and big finance.”

Carville and Greenberg say Obama shouldn’t try and beat Romney on the “are you better off than you were four years ago” argument. Instead, they should try to beat him at the “how are you going to make things better over the next four years.”

“It is elites who are creating a conventional wisdom that an incumbent president must run on his economic performance – and therefore must convince voters that things are moving in the right direction.  They are wrong, and that will fail.  The voters are very sophisticated about the character of the economy; they know who is mainly responsible for what went wrong and they are hungry to hear the president talk about the future. ”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio