Barack Obama's Economic Speech Flops

The president's speech was too long and didn't say anything new.

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Its been another rough week for the president, on the heels of his "private sector is doing fine" fiasco last week. This week it was still more Hollywood fundraisers (last night's were at the New York home of Sarah Jessica Parker, and then at the Plaza), yet he's trailing Romney in the money department; this week's polls show Democrats have put blue-state Wisconsin in play with their failed recall vote; unemployment and consumer prices remain stubbornly high; and polls showing Americans believe that our nation remains on the "wrong track," and who disapprove of the president's handling of the economy, are stuck like a stalled car in a ditch.

Then to top it all off, the president gave a major economic speech in Cleveland, Ohio. We speechwriters have a term for speeches like this: flop. There are only two things you need to know about that speech. First, it was 54 minutes long. No leader outside of a banana republic should give a speech lasting 54 minutes. Even Fidel Castro doesn't do that anymore. What was Obama thinking?

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Here's what Alexis Simendinger, White House correspondent for Real Clear Politics reported:

A lengthy explicator even on routine days, Obama stapled together sections of economic speeches he’s delivered since last year, before he was certain Romney would be his challenger. If his campaign team planned to test the receptiveness of focus-group audiences to various passages, the 54 minutes of windy rhetoric made some sense.

[ See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

But this wasn't a focus group meeting. It was an official speech by the president to voters. Which brings us to the second point, which is that his speech contained no new proposals, no explanation for the last three years other than to blame Republicans for the economy, no powerful arguments for why he should be re-elected, no plan for moving forward. It was undisciplined and meandering and boring. Contrast that with Mitt Romney's speech in Ohio: 15 minutes long, with a three point plan for the economy (energy independence, repeal Obamacare, cut the deficit.)

It's as if President Obama exists now inside the bubble with rich Hollywood types, spending all his time at fancy fundraisers with movie stars. The people who used to keep him a little more in touch with reality—Rahm Emanuel, Robert Gibbs, Bill Daley—are all gone. No wonder Democrats like Bill Clinton, Ed Rendell, and Cory Booker are unhappy. They see what the voters see, which is an increasingly isolated candidate who doesn't understand what to do next.  Maybe Romney should offer him a ride on his six-state bus tour starting today.