Rachel Maddow on Obama’s big challenge tonight


President Obama is going into the 2012 general election’s first debate with a strong advantage on most issues, says msnbc’s Rachel Maddow, but he still has some challenges ahead of him. Less than an hour before the debate Wednesday, she argued that the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Obama to be vulnerable on issues related to the economy.

The president, she pointed out, has a massive, nineteen point advantage on Romney when it comes to who voters trust to look out for the middle class. But Romney leads by three when voters are asked about who’d better handle the economy in general.

“There’s this huge disconnect between Mr. Obama’s best number with voters and one of his worst numbers,” she said. “Which is that, President Obama has so far not been able to persuade people to connect these two ideas, right? He has not been able to persuade people that doing right by the middle class, where he does great, actually is the way you fix the economy.”

Making that case in the debate, Maddow said, “is Mr. Obama’s real challenge: To turn the advantage he has with the middle class into a broad appreciation that what is good for the middle class is also what the economy needs full stop.”

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama

Rachel Maddow on Obama's big challenge tonight