The Boss Can't Save Obama's Job

Who's going to win? Mitt Romney--the man with the plan.

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Former President Bill Clinton greets singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen at a campaign event for President Barack Obama Thursday in Parma, Ohio.

I love Bruce Springsteen's music and saw him in concert for the first time in Washington last month when he played at Nationals Stadium. He puts his heart and soul into the music and that's why people love him. I was disappointed to hear that he was campaigning with former President Bill Clinton for Obama in Ohio, but not surprised. Bruce did it in the last presidential election and decided to stay out of it this time until he saw the writing on the wall. But, being the Boss doesn't mean he's going to win over voters. It's really a giant pep rally that may or may not motivate independent voters to the polls. If was a voter, I would go and watch Bruce play without question but voting for president would be an entirely different matter. While Bruce's music and  Clinton's strong rhetoric may "feel the pain" of voters in today's economy, that doesn't translate into votes.

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

Indeed, voters in swing states are swamped with ads from every group under the sun, Democratic and Republican, about who to vote for or oppose in this election. Some ads are effective, but many voters are tuning out to all the noise. So what is the tipping point for voters to support a candidate? Who will win the day? The man with the plan. The one who provides a positive, concise vision for voters over the next four years.  

The first Gallup presidential tracking poll that comes one full day after Tuesday's debate shows Mitt Romney now up seven points for a 52-45 lead against President Barack Obama. Why? Romney is the only candidate showing a pathway forward. In the debates, he emphasized his five-point plan to get American back on track time and again.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

Obama's campaign strategy has been to try to debunk the Romney plan and cast him as wealthy and out of touch. Countless attack ads have been launched touching on themes from the "47 percent" to Bain Capital. The president has lowered himself to talking about "Big Bird" and "binders full of women" without offering a path forward. Catapults of mud were launched at Romney from Obama and his legions to see what would stick. Yet, these attacks haven't stopped Romney's momentum. Instead, it looks like the Democratic campaign is desperately thrashing about looking for something, anything to halt Obama's slide.  

The CNN post-debate poll had Obama beating Romney on who won the debate by 46-39 percent. And while the media was largely focused on the heated exchanges over Libya and the overall theatrics of the event, Romney held Obama's feet to the fire on his failed record. Time and again, Romney ticked off his five-point plan to save the country. Time and again, Obama tried to shoot holes in it.

The results should be alarming to the Obama campaign. In the CNN post debate poll, Romney swept Obama on who best would handle economy, 58-40 percent; who best would handle taxes, 59-36 percent, who best would handle healthcare, 49-46 percent; and who best would handle the deficit, 59-36 percent.

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Who Won the Second Debate Between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama?]

And in Ohio today, Clinton did Obama no favors when he said, "Governor Romney's argument is 'we're not fixed, so fire him and put me in.' It is true, we're not fixed. When President Obama looked into the eyes of that man who said in the debate, 'I had so much hope four years ago and I don't now,' I thought he was going to cry because he knows that it's not fixed."

So let's keep Bruce Springsteen playing his great songs and Bill Clinton giving lofty speeches. Voters in swing states will really be paying attention to the candidates' ideas and Mitt Romney is presently cornering the market in that regard. Providing solutions to America's problems is the sweetest music of all to the voter's ears. 

  • Read Susan Milligan: GOP Blames Ref for Romney Debate Blunder.
  • Read Kenneth Weisbrode: Why Swing Voters Remain Undecided.
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