Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thoughts on the Election

I have a couple of thoughts on the 2012 Presidential Election to get off my chest.

1. President Obama made perhaps the biggest gaffe of the campaign so far when he said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that." He said that at a speech in Roanoke - a speech where the President did not use his teleprompter. This is significant. Mitt Romney had to go through numerous unscripted, no-teleprompter debates to get his nomination. The President did not and hasn't done debate style speaking for years now. How is the President going to hold up in debates with Romney? Will he make even bigger gaffes than he did in Roanoke? His supporters say he is a great orator but I have not seen any evidence for that claim - especially in situations where he does not have access to a working teleprompter. The debates will be huge this election and my guess is that at this point Romney is better equipped for off-the-cuff speaking than the President (but will the President's ego allow him to recognize this?).

2. The "you didn't build that" comment is bound to hurt the President in his fund-raising efforts. The President  claims he's falling behind Romney but I'm guessing the message of "give me that money that I say you didn't earn so I can be re-elected and redistribute more of your wealth in the next four years" won't resonate with the people he wants to be donating. It may resonate with the true-believers but they are already maxed out in their contributions. This may hurt the President much worse than anyone seems to be saying.

3. Romney has the momentum. In Virginia Romney is now tied with the President. Obama was ahead 50-42 in March. Then Obama was ahead 47-42 in June. Now the two candidates are tied. Would anyone be surprised if Romney pulled ahead in August? This is despite the Obama Campaign's onslaught of negative advertising against Romney. Virginia is not a unique case. Michigan is now in play and Obama's lead has been shrinking in many other states.

4. I think Mitt Romney should not fall trap to doing just negative ads. I think an ad that spells out his resume would be very successful. Just 30 seconds of pointing out he was a great success in business helping launch companies like Staples, the Sports Authority and Bright Horizons. Point out he was a great success turning the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from a financial and public relations disaster into a profitable venture that the country was proud of. Point out that as Governor of Massachusetts he kept the unemployment rate under 5% while changing the State from having a deficit to having a surplus for the rainy-day fund. Don't run away from the accomplishments the way President Obama is running away from the Stimulus and Obamacare. Run the resume ad into the ground. make it at least 50% of the ad buy in every battle-ground state.