Obama swaps Hawaii for re-election heat

2012-01-03 22:31

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now

Washington - US President Barack Obama returned to Washington Tuesday after his Hawaiian vacation, facing a buzz saw of Republican campaign attacks as his re-election bid enters an intense new phase.

Air Force One landed just outside Washington after an eight-hour flight from Honolulu.

Obama left behind the idyllic beaches, sumptuous restaurants and golf courses of his native state on Monday, just before voters in chilly Iowa cast a first judgment on his potential Republican challenger in November's election.

Throwing himself into the political fray, Obama plans to press home his narrative that a greed-laced economic system backed by Republicans is stacked against most Americans and deprives them of a "fair shot", officials said.

He will also run hard against an unpopular Congress and bypass the Washington echo chamber by making his case directly to voters in a vigorous travel schedule.

Obama will make his most significant foray yet into the campaign by addressing Iowa Democrats via streaming video on Tuesday night, while caucusing Republicans cast votes for their presidential nominee.

The president is already in the crosshairs of fierce Republican attacks on his economic record, especially from Mitt Romney, the favorite to win the party nomination.

"This has been a failed presidency," Romney said in Iowa on Sunday, seeking to frame the election as a referendum on Obama's inability to deliver a return to economic boom times.

Republicans want to drag Obama into the mire of the election debate to soften him up before November's polls, comparing his 2008 message of hope with America's current economic gloom.

Obama's prospects of winning the second term that all presidents crave are darkened by high unemployment and a fragile economic recovery.

Despite a recent bounce and a year-end political win over Republicans in a row over extending a payroll tax cut, Obama's approval ratings are in dangerous territory below 50%.

Obama knows that he cannot afford for the election to be the referendum on him that Romney is proposing.

So he is offering Americans a new vision, posing as a warrior for the middle class, a case he will make in his first domestic trip of 2012 on Wednesday in swing state Ohio.

"You are the ones who make me hopeful about 2012," Obama told Americans in his weekly address on Saturday.

"We've got some difficult debates and tough fights to come. As I've said before, we are at a make or break moment for the middle class."

Dan Shea, a political science professor at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, argued that Obama was hostage to economic conditions.

"If you are an incumbent, the voters are going to be looking backwards with a retrospective assessment," Shea said.

"If they do that, [Obama] knows he is in trouble, so he is turning this into a question of his vision or a Republican vision," he said.

"For that to have any credibility, there has to be some momentum in the economy."

Style points

The White House has been cheered by signs the recovery is picking up. Unemployment has dipped to 8.6% and data suggests improving consumer sentiment.

But any slowdown could doom Obama, and his campaign team will look anxiously across the Atlantic at Europe's euro debt crisis which threatens to spill over into the US economy, but which Washington has little capacity to influence.

Obama's first test will come over his demand that lawmakers extend a payroll tax cut to cover all of 2012.

In a tense standoff, House Republicans agreed under pressure from Obama just before Christmas to extend the tax break for only two months at the 4.2% rather than 6.2% rate.

The issue will likely form a key plank of Obama's State of the Union address on January 24, one of his final chances to promote his policies with a public megaphone before he locks horns with his Republican rival.

Aides say Obama will be liberated in 2012 and not as dependent on obstructive Republicans to make his case.

"A yearlong extension is essentially the last must-do item of business on the president's congressional agenda," said White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest.

Obama will twin the payroll tax push with new regular initiatives on the economy labelled "We Can't Wait," designed to bypass Republican blocking tactics in Congress, aides said.

"One of the biggest problems that the president has with his base is the perception that he is ineffective due to a perceived lack of spirit to fight," said Kareem Creighton, a professor at the University of North Carolina.

"[The payroll debate] marks the first time that he has tried [to fight] and stuck with it, which has won him points on substance and on style with the Democratic base and at least some independents."

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  us elections 2012
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.60

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.