Obama hasn’t had the sunniest of weeks on the policy or campaign front. Jobs numbers are falling and he said some poorly chosen words at a campaign event last week. But while Obama’s economic legacy is being crafted at a mile a minute, his foreign-policy legacy is being chiseled into the marble more slowly, as his supporters, detractors, and observers try to work out whether his administration's achievements thus far are works of greatness or unsalvageable breaches of civil liberties. And, as George Packer noted today: “If Obama loses—a possibility that’s become the wisdom of the week—I think he’ll be remembered most for his foreign-policy achievements. And if he wins, the same will be true, except that he’ll have a chance of being a great foreign-policy President.”
All in all, this is a strange set of affairs for a president who ran in 2008 mainly on his ambitious domestic-policy agenda—and who’s fate in November rests almost solely on the state of the economy over the upcoming months. So what to do with the drone strikes, kill list, and other national security stories simmering under the economic news of the day? They aren’t going to win the president a jump in the polls in the same way any fragment of financial news would. But in the long run, Packer is right about their role in his legacy, especially since Obama’s narrative on the national stage starts with his loud disavowal for the war in Iraq he helped conclude.
So They Say
"The other side feels that it's enough for them to just sit back and say, 'Things aren't as good as they should be and it's Obama's fault,'" the president continued. "And you can pretty much put their campaign on, on a tweet and have some characters to spare."
—President Obama, railing into Mitt Romney's campaign, while inadvertently railing into Twitter too.
Daily Meme: What's Next for the Obama Campaign?
- Dana Milbank: "It has been a Junius Horribilis for President Obama ... Could it get any worse?"
- The Wall Street Journal: President Barack Obama will use a campaign policy speech Thursday to contrast his preferred approach for the country's economic future with ideas proposed by his likely Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, people familiar with the speech said.
- Michael Tomasky: "The fact is that the Obama campaign is in a hole right now, and until they figure out how to tell a story that makes Romney answer some questions, it's going to get deeper."
- Hot Air: Finally! The candidate will address the issue that most voters put at the top of their priority list, rather than gay marriage and Romney's prep-school antics.
- Mark Penn: "I think that the president needs a new economic plan."
- Democracy Corps: "It is elites who are creating a conventional wisdom that an incumbent president must run on his economic performance - and therefore must convince voters that things are moving in the right direction. They are wrong, and that will fail."
- ABC News: Obama shouldn't try and beat Romney on the 'are you better off than you were four years ago' argument. Instead, they should try to beat him at the 'how are you going to make things better over the next four years.'"
- Ed Kilgore : The most important three words Team Obama needs to hear are: compare, compare, compare. That's not just smart politics, but an accurate reflection of the big choices voters will actually be making in November.
What We're Writing
- Monica Potts profiles a family living in one of the country's poorest counties in rural Kentucky.
- Paul Waldman laments the fact that only 16 percent of voters truly matter in this year's presidential election..
What We're Reading
- Reid Cherlin imagines how Biden-ful Joe Biden's Sidwell commencement address today must have been.
- Jon Chait says the "doing fine" gaffe helps establish Romney as the candidate running on the status quo.
- John Cassidy says the economic argument has yet to be won by either presidential candidate.
- McKay Coppins catches up with a conservative relic from the 2008 election cycle.
- Jonathan Cohn looks at Mitt Romney's unfortunate tendency to lie on the trail.
- Moly Ball reports that "crazy" Michele Bachmann is back.
- The curious history of Romney's use of the word "sport."
Poll of the Day
Mitt Romney now leads Obama in swing state North Carolina 48 percent to 46, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling. Romney's favorability ratings have also skyrocketed from 29 percent in April to 41 percent now.
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