- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 24, 2012

President Obama officially has begun his 2012 campaign, telling special-interest groups what the government will do for them if he is elected to a second term.

But the question many people are asking are: What else is he running on besides government handouts? What is his second-term agenda? What is he planning to do if he wins? Well, he doesn’t say.

There is no hint of a grand plan for dealing with the mountain of unfinished problems he has left behind in the nation’s capital as he piles up frequent-flyer miles in hot pursuit of his singular goal: becoming a two-term president.

His campaign rhetoric thus far gives us no clue that he intends to address the big problems that still need to be fixed. He knows what they are because polls tell us what America’s primary concerns are: a lackluster, slow-growth, subpar economy and far too few jobs; a monster $1.2 trillion budget deficit, the fourth of his big-spending presidency; and a $16 trillion debt by the end of this year.

But Mr. Obama isn’t talking about a mediocre economy that appears to be slowing down - again.

He isn’t talking about jobs or bemoaning the fact that many college grads - who this week he promised an extension of low-interest student loans - can’t find work that will allow them to pay back the government.

As for the loan extension Mr. Obama is pushing on the campaign trail, it’s interesting to note that in 2007, then-Sen. Obama missed two pivotal Senate votes on the bill that created the program.

He is embracing it now because he needs the support of younger voters to save his presidency, but he did not vote for the original bill or its final passage, and didn’t bother to sign on as a co-sponsor, according to a report in Tuesday’s Politico.

This week he was speaking at universities in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa to champion extending the loan program. Maybe a student will ask him: Why he didn’t take the time to vote for it in the first place? But let’s not trifle over small matters. He was too busy running for president in 2007 to be bothered with student loans and doing his job as a senator for which he was paid $174,000 a year. Let’s move on to other matters.

How about more than $5.3 trillion in four consecutive budget deficits? What deficits? The national debt? What debt? No one cares about those issues, do they?

But when the Gallup Poll asked voters, “What would you say worries you most about the national economy at this time?” the secod most frequent response (after jobs/unemployment) was the national debt and the federal budget deficit.

Mr. Obama is dead silent on both issues, despite millions of worried Americans, who fear we are plunging into a black hole of European-style debt that will engulf our economy.

Also missing from his stump speech is any mention of $4-plus gas prices that are cleaning out consumer wallets and crushing struggling small businesses - or what he intends to do about it. He could have begun by approving the Keystone XL pipeline that would have pumped enough oil down to the Gulf Coast to drive down oil and gas prices.

Mr. Obama, who put the environmental lobby ahead of jobs, household budgets and businesses, killed the deal that would have created 20,000 jobs - 13,000 in construction and 7,000 in manufacturing.

The Washington Post’s economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson called his decision “an act of national insanity.” But that’s yesterday’s news, and you won’t hear the president mentioning it in his campaign speeches any time soon.

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