(Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
In a Thursday speech, President Barack Obama will argue that he needs four more years to undo the damage done under his predecessor, President George W. Bush.
The Obama campaign's new tactic will be to convince voters that they would be worse off with his Republican rival, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, as president because Romney would be similar to Bush, according to an analysis by Andy Sullivan and Caren Bohan for Reuters. Sullivan and Bohan spoke with some Obama campaign insiders for the report.
With the economy in poor shape, many Democrats are coming to the conclusion that they need to contrast Obama's achievements with the state of the economy when he took office in 2009.
Just a month before Obama won election, the nation saw a financial collapse accompanied by a swift decline in home prices. A Monday report by the Federal Reserve quantified the economic devastation of that recession: American's median net worth fell to its lowest levels since 1992.
Obama's new message is reflected by Jonathan Bernstein in a Tuesday article for The Washington Post. The 2012 election is really an election between Obama and George W. Bush, he writes.
Since Obama entered the White House during the deepest part of the recession, Bernstein reasons, the 2012 election will come down to whether voters believe Obama should be held responsible for the economy's current deprivation.
"That's why so many of the campaign messages you're going to hear this year come down to the argument about whether Barack Obama should be rewarded or punished for the current state of the economy, which boils down, in large part, to that Obama vs. Bush question," Bernstein wrote.
In a preview of what's to come, Obama has tied Romney's policies to those of George W. Bush in recent speeches.
"When I hear Governor Romney say his 25 years in the private sector gives him a special understanding of how the economy works, my question is, why are you running with the same bad ideas that brought our economy to the brink of disaster," Obama said.
The setting for Thursday's speech is intended to reinforce Obama's message. Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland is known for its retraining programs which help laid-off workers find new careers in biotechnology, wind power and advanced automotive manufacturing.
Obama will likely use the setting to contrast his proposals for more spending for education and job training with Republican proposals to reduce spending in these areas.
"It's a very successful institution that's a good forum for the president's message. It's likely to appeal to voters whose support he needs," John Green, professor of political science at University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, told Reuters.