And there are signs that overexposure and a legislative approach incompatible with his rhetorical strengths are hampering Obama. He reportedly has given more than two dozen speeches and statements on healthcare since the start of June, even as his approval rating has dropped from an average of over 60 percent, according to Real Clear Politics' composite of polls, to just below 53 percent. And while his first prime-time press conference in February drew 50 million viewers, his most recent one, in July, drew only half that.
At the same time, according to pollster.com, Obama's average healthcare approval rating has gone from 50 to 40 percent in favor to 50 to 40 against.
Obama had his good fastball when he spoke to Congress last week. His speech was crisp, and he pounded both the strike zone and his critics. But the debate remains in its middle innings. In order to win this game, he needs to show he can either bring his party members together or keep them in line.
That's the route not only to a victory in this debate but to a winning season for Team Obama.