By Dave Andrusko
Interesting juxtaposition. Responding to Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes,” pro-abortion President Barack Obama said in an interview aired yesterday that “It doesn’t really matter who the [Republican] nominee is going to be. The core philosophy that they’re expressing is the same.” And for good measure he added, “And the American people are going to have a good choice and it’s going to be a good debate.”
That came two days after a CBS survey found that “Less than one year out from Election Day 2012, voters remain overwhelmingly pessimistic about the economy, and their concerns are taking a toll on President Obama’s re-election chances. Just 41 percent of Americans think Mr. Obama has performed his job well enough to be elected to a second term, whereas 54 percent don’t think so.” And, oh by the way, the President’s approval ratings are in the low to mid-40s.
From the White House’s perspective, there was plenty of other bad news (good for them that the poll came out on a Friday night). For example, one key ingredient in a re-election campaign is that the public knows what you would do with a second term. But more than two times as many people (66%) say they don’t have a clear idea of Obama’s second-term goals as say they do (32%). Making that even worse 69% of Independents say they don’t have a clear idea of those second-term goals.
In addition, from the very first months of his campaign, Obama positioned himself as above politics. In the CBS News poll, respondents were asked if they say Obama as a uniter 38%) or a divider (47%).
In between the release of the poll and the appearance on 60 Minutes, the Republican presidential candidates had a vigorous debate in Drake, Iowa, less than a month before the first caucuses. As befits his new lofty position as leader of the pack, pro-life former Speaker Newt Gingrich came under heavy fire from his pro-life competitors.
Most analysts agreed Gingrich gave at least as good as he got. He remains ahead in Iowa, behind pro-life former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, and comfortably ahead in South Carolina and Florida.
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