Obama seeks reshaped image for 2012 run
By Susan Page, USA TODAY
Updated 10h 42m ago |
WASHINGTON —The Obama Brand in 2008 was pretty simple: Hope and change.
Then things got complicated.
The jobless rate on Friday ticked above 9% again. The housing market nationwide continues to fall. Gas prices are straining family's summertime budgets. President Obama's signature health care law to expand insurance coverage doesn't command majority support more than a year after it was signed into law. Washington negotiations on reducing the budget deficit are as polarized as ever.
Now, preparing for next year's re-election campaign, Obama is moving to refurbish a political brand that has been defined for the worst by his Republican opponents, dented by the realities of governing and battered by a faltering economy. He is going on the road to Americans' workplaces to argue he's made tough decisions that will pay off over time.
Even so, good news that has boosted the president's standing in USA TODAY/Gallup Polls — the military operation that killed Osama bin Laden and the controversial GOP plan to overhaul Medicare — haven't been enough to offset the impact of bad news about the economy.
Surveys taken before and after the demise of the al-Qaeda leader show a spike in approval of Obama's handling of terrorism and some increase in views of him as a strong leader. More than 6 in 10 say he has "the personality and leadership qualities a president should have."
But his approval rating on handling the issue Americans care about most, the economy, has dipped to a dismal 37%. Asked whether the president deserves re-election, those surveyed by 51%-47% say he does not.