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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Obama Spikes The bin Laden Football Too Early In Campaign

By Susan Duclos

I am not critical in any way, shape or form over Obama's use of the death of bin Laden in his reelection campaign.

Any candidate up for reelection will use anything that happens under their tenure that gave them a "bounce" in ratings at the time of the original event. It is expected in politics and there is not a thing wrong with it.

With that said, those making the point that Obama once claimed he didn't want to "trot out this stuff as trophies" and he didn't want to "spike the football," are all just as valid politicking as is Obama's use of the one thing that has happened in his time at the White House that gave him a bounce, short lived as it was.

Additionally, those pointing out Obama's own words in 2008 against Hillary Clinton, when he said "It’s ironic that she would borrow the President’s tactics in her own campaign and invoke bin Laden to score political points," is fair game as well.

Using a politicians own words and public statements is considered fair game and it should be. In politics there is nothing that makes a more powerful argument against a candidate than showing their own previous arguments, which when applied at a later date, attacks their very own actions.

What I question is Obama's timing and who in his reelection campaign decided that at the start of the general campaigning when the fight is more or less between two clear options, is when the bin Laden football should be bounced.

Before bin Laden was killed, Obama had a 47 percent job approval rating in a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Immediately after bin Laden's death, that rose to 56 percent. The bounce lasted one short month before his approval rating dropped right back to 47 percent and has been swindling since.

Not including the post-9/11 response, the average presidential approval rating  bounces up 13 percent for an average of 22 weeks. (See history on presidential bumps  after major events)

Due to the stalling economy,  a rise in gas prices, unemployment stubbornly remaining over 8 percent and a host of other issues, Obama's approval ratings after bin Laden's death only jumped 9 points and only lasted 4 weeks. Both those numbers fell short of historical averages.

This makes the timing of playing the bin Laden card a serious call on Obama's judgement. The initial bounce wasn't large,and lasted only a month so even if he garners a small rise from it now, it will be gone by next week. He should have waited until closer to election because by November, the electorate will be sick and tired of hearing the name bin Laden.

It is perhaps understandable that Barack Obama finds himself limited on subject matter at this time, when polling shows that Mitt Romney is trusted more than Obama on seven out of eight key issues among Independents and those same Independents are giving Obama very low approval ratings.

If Obama was only trying to play to his liberal base, he could tout his health care law's passage, his stimulus plan, his rejection of Keystone, in other words his liberal agenda,  but since it is a general election, he finds he cannot "spike" those particular balls because the people he needs to win reelection, Independents, are not thrilled with any of those decisions, laws or his political agenda as the majority of Americans already say Obama is too liberal.

Below are just a few issues Obama is looking at:

• Recent GDP growth figures being below estimates
• Unemployment still above 8 percent with those "not in the workforce" at an all-time high
• Hispanic unemployment is at 10.3 percent (Source- April 6, 2012- news release)
• Black unemployment is at 14 percent (Source- April 6, 2012- news release)
• U6, total unemployed is at 14.5 (Source- economic news release)
• Gas prices still over $3.50 per gallon
• Obama's Keystone decision which only far left liberals agree with and other Democrats are standing with Republicans in favor of it
• Obamacare's future being in the hands of the Supreme Court with the majority of voters, including those that support the law, believing the individual mandate is unconstitutional
• The very public Supreme Court arguments where Obama is pitted against Arizona on their immigration law when the majority of Americans favor Arizona over Obama
• The Solyndra, Fast and Furious and GAO scandals.

Looking at the partial list above, can anyone really blame Obama for spiking the bin Laden football?

It is all he has left.