Is the Obama Campaign Admitting a Strategic Error?

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THE STUMP DECEMBER 14, 2011

Is the Obama Campaign Admitting a Strategic Error?

With the caveat that I've only been loosely following the political news these last six months, and have been completely out of it these last two weeks, this quote from Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, at a briefing for reporters struck me as interesting [h/t Mike Allen]: 

"[F]or this same group of people that you're talking about [independents], what they do like about this president is that he's no longer waiting for Congress to act. He's looking at his own executive power to figure out where he can move things forward. … [W]e've seen that have a great impact with precisely this group of people, on key issues that they care about.” 

Now obviously the White House and the re-election operation have been on a version of this theme for much of the fall--hence the whole “we can’t wait” campaign. Still, this quote seems to go a bit further, suggesting that one of Obama's real mistakes the previous two-and-a-half years was spending too much time waiting for Congress to act. I wonder if they’re actually trying to concede this to voters who believe he's been too passive, or if the wording was just incidental. 

Also, it's an interesting departure in the Obama political operation's specific reading of independents. The reading used to be that independents want Obama to engage with the other side. Now the reading is that they want Obama to kick some ass, or at least take unilateral action. I think that's the proper reading. But, still, hard to deny that it's different. (Of course, one can argue that the independents themselves have changed, which is plausible...)

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posted in: the stump, politics, congress, mike allen, stephanie cutter

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