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MILLER: Obama’s last-ditch effort

‘Hope and change’ becomes ‘more of the same’

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 24, 2012

President Obama has come up with another plan outlining what he'd do if he wins a second term. With less than two weeks to go until the election, he unveiled his latest "plan for jobs and middle-class security" at an event in Florida on Tuesday. Not surprisingly, he doesn't have much new to say.

Every one of the glossy brochure's 18 pages contains a photograph of Mr. Obama that takes up about half the page. The rest of the document promises, for example, to save Social Security and Medicare from going bankrupt without offering specifics on how he's going to do that. He proposes a third stimulus spending bill worth one-half the amount we spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. If this sounds familiar, it's because someone on Mr. Obama's campaign must have spent hours cutting and pasting from the first-term agenda.

Nonetheless, the president is going all-out to sell this as something new. On Wednesday, he hit Iowa, Denver, Los Angeles and Las Vegas for the first half of what he called a "48-hour fly-around campaign marathon extravaganza." He'll sleep on Air Force One, then on Thursday hit up Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Chicago (to early vote). "I want you to share it with your friends, share it with your neighbors, share it with your co-workers," said Mr. Obama at his first stop in Davenport, Iowa. "There are still people out there who may be trying to make up their minds." He added, "I want everybody out there to compare my plan to Gov. Romney's, to have the information you need. See which plan is better for you and for America's future."

Mitt Romney's campaign was quite eager to do that comparison. "Another four years of President Obama's policies will mean lower incomes, higher taxes and more debt," said spokesman Ryan Williams. "A glossy brochure full of the same policies that haven't worked over the last four years is no substitute for a real agenda that will help grow the middle class and restore America's strength."

So far, it appears voters aren't falling for the slick slogans and gimmicks. The Republican National Committee's political director, Rick Wiley, released a memo Wednesday showing Republicans are turning out in greater numbers for early voting and with absentee ballots than their share of voter registration would suggest. In Florida, that advantage is 6 points; in Ohio, 9 points; and it's nearly 12 points in Pennsylvania. Conversely, Democratic enthusiasm is dwindling as the party's share of early voting and absentee ballot requests is down 6 percent this cycle compared to 2008, while Republicans are up 2 percentage points. That's a net gain of 8 percent for the GOP.

This isn't a surprising result considering the candidate who promised "hope and change" four years ago has become the politician of hopelessness and status quo. With a debt of $16.2 trillion, unemployment in the 8 percent range and barely measurable economic growth, Americans want change. Once again, coming up with an agenda that amounts to more of the same isn't a winning proposition.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

 

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