“Don’t Double Down On Failure”

Barack Obama is touring Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states he carried in 2008 but now is in danger of losing, touting his economic message. Which, of course, was hard enough already and got even harder with today’s bleak jobs report. Obama’s announced theme is “Betting on America,” which seems odd at best. The Romney campaign, nimble as usual, has countered with “Don’t Double Down on Failure,” and is dogging Obama with reminders of his administration’s futility as he goes from place to place. Thus, when Obama talked about the national debt in a speech in Maumee, Ohio, the Romney campaign sent out a lengthy fact sheet that included this classic from Joe Biden, delivered–where else?–in Maumee, Ohio in September 2008:

BIDEN: They have driven up the national debt to 8 trillion dollars. Ladies and gentlemen, who are these guys? Where do they come from? What do they … what possible right do they have to say to anybody, particularly to us, that they know how to manage our money and manage the economy?

Apt questions, now that the debt stands at $16 trillion.

Romney himself is elsewhere, but surrogates Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal are criss-crossing Ohio and Pennsylvania by bus, delivering his message. Yesterday I participated in a phone call with Pawlenty and Jindal, who I believe were on their bus, along with other conservative media types. They didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but the impression I took away from the event was how exceptionally able both Pawlenty and Jindal are. If Mitt Romney can be anywhere near as articulate, credible, likable and relentlessly on message as Pawlenty and Jindal, November’s election won’t be close.

The other impression that had to strike those on the call was that either Pawlenty or Jindal would be an excellent choice for Vice-President. Either one would make Joe Biden look, not just like a crazy uncle in the attic, but like a crazy, really stupid uncle in the attic. For that matter, either Pawlenty or Jindal would make a terrific presidential candidate. But that die, of course, is already cast.

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