Are Osama and Gaddafi Obama’s national security trump cards for the campaign?




HuffPost Hill:

OBAMA CAMPAIGN DEVISING WAYS TO ARTFULLY POINT AT DEAD GUYS AND SAY, ‘HEY, LOOK AT THOSE DEAD GUYS!’ – Muammar Gaddafi is dead: The world no longer has a leader who can show us what Michael Jackson might have looked like at 90. Now the White House must find a way to not take credit for Col. Mashedpotatoface’s demise while, you know, taking credit for it. Sam Stein: “Obama advisers and those who serve as consultants to his re-election team have considered how to effectively highlight the president’s foreign policy successes in the context of a campaign. The general consensus seems to be that his track record can be leveraged in two ways. First and most basically, it can be used to nullify attacks from Republicans. When, for example, Mitt Romney ripped into Obama’s stewardship of foreign affairs during a high-profile speech several weeks ago, campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt responded in not-so-subtle-fashion…’It is a character issue,’ explained Anita Dunn, former Communications Director for the Obama White House and an adviser to the re-election campaign, ‘it is a presidential attribute issue, and it is a leadership issue.’ As Dunn argues, the killing of bin Laden and the death of Gaddafi provide effective, thematic counterpoints both to Democrats who question Obama’s resolve and Republicans who question his results.”

More from Sam Stein at HuffPo:

“If it weren’t for the economy, this would all be a powerful boost to the president’s reelection,” said Bob Shrum, the longtime Democratic adviser who wrote Kerry’s memorable 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, in which the Senator said he was “reporting for duty.”

“[Obama] put to rest the idea that Democrats are weak on national security,” he added. “But to quote Al Gore, elections are not a reward for past performance … I don’t think in any event [Obama] would be able to say, ‘Vote for me because I’ve done this.’ But people would get a sense of his strength of character and all the rest of it which I think will help a lot.”

Indeed, it’s a bad bit of political fortune that the president has made such strides in his foreign policy agenda at a time when few voters seem to actually be paying attention. But during a time of deep unemployment and concerns about the country’s fiscal trajectory, there is little room to focus on much else.

“It is impressive what he has done on national security — even bin Laden alone — but also deft in the way he has handled the Arab Spring, Libya, getting out of Iraq was a big deal,” said Jim Gerstein, a Democratic pollster and strategist who has done extensive work on national security and foreign policy polling. “Politically, [the timing] is unfortunate. You just can’t understate how hard it is economically for people right now.”

I think both are right. This helps to inoculate Obama against GOP attacks on national security, but at the same time the number one concern Americans have is the economy. And if the Republicans keep voting against economic proposals the people like, like they did last night, Obama and the Dems in Congress can turn this around.


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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