David Axelrod

How has Obama changed in the last four years? To find out, Franklin Foer talks to three Obama-ologists: Barney Frank, Ron Suskind, and David Maraniss

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Superstitions say Romney will win the election. The Obama campaign responds with some superstitions of its own.

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Mitt Romney weighed in yesterday with another riff on my book that bears a bit of scrutiny. Here’s what he said:  A book that was written in a way that’s apparently pro-President Obama, was written by a guy named Noam Scheiber and in this book he says that there was a discussion about the fact that Obamacare would slow down the economic recovery in this country and they knew that before they passed it.  But they concluded that we would all forget how long the recovery took once it had happened, so they decided to go ahead.

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It was overshadowed by the return of the jury in the John Edwards case, but the Obama campaign opened a whole new front of attack against Mitt Romney on Thursday: going after his record as governor of Massachusetts. Romney has of late been starting to invoke his gubernatorial record, after running mainly on his years in business during the Republican primaries, so it makes sense for Team Obama to try to undermine his claims of success on Beacon Hill as it is trying to undermine his record at Bain Capital.

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If you read enough coverage like today’s Politico piece on how much conservative groups plan to spend in 2012, you quickly realize the Obama campaign faces a deep psychological problem in addition to a financial one. The Politico headline is that outside groups will spend $1 billion on top of the billion or so Mitt Romney and the RNC will have at their disposal.

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Since Lanhee Chen joined the Romney campaign in March last year, his public pronouncements have been liberally seasoned with snark. Tweeting about Newt Gingrich during the first Florida debate, he wrote, “Thanks for explaining why you were forced to resign in disgrace, Mr. Speaker.” In April, he tweeted: “[David Axelrod] says Obama to be judged on his record.

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In further evidence that this city knows what to do with molehills (suggested Trenton-style motto: “what Washington makes, the world re-tweets”), much has already been said and written about Newark superman (and mayor) Cory Booker’s unhelpful criticism of Team Obama’s attacks on Bain Capital, the private equity firm that made Mitt Romney a quarter-billionaire and taught him “how jobs come and how they go.” For those who missed it, Booker declared on Meet The Press: “I have to just say from a very personal level I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” he said.

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Well, that didn’t take long. You had to figure it would just be a matter of time before Team Romney alleged anti-Mormon bias by its opponents or the press, and bingo, today we had two separate instances of the charge being raised. And in both instances, it was groundless. There will surely be moments in months ahead when the accusation is merited.

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Obama’s Worst Year

Shortly after four o’clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 13, 2011, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner walked down the hallway near his office toward a large conference room facing the building’s interior. He was accompanied by a retinue of counselors and aides. When they arrived in the room—known around Treasury simply as “the large”—four people were seated at a long walnut table on the side near the door.

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Ever since last fall, when Obama began honing the more confrontational style he displayed in the State of the Union speech, his advisers have insisted that populism has always been part of the president's political persona, not something he only groped for after two-and-a-half years of Republican intransigence. As David Axelrod told Politico, “The viability of the middle class, and the opportunity to get ahead, has been a central cause of Obama’s life.”  It’s not that statements like this are untrue. It’s that they’re incomplete.

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