Martin O’Malley, Maryland’s very ambitious Democratic governor, stepped in it a bit on Sunday when he said that Americans aren’t better off today than they were four years ago.
It was a dream sound bite for Republicans, who seem convincedthat swing voters will ultimately turn on President Obama if they feel the same way. Not surprisingly, Obama’s team moved quicklyto provide a different answer, and O’Malley has since said that he thinks Americans are “clearly better off” now.
This illustrates the tricky spot Obama is in. He obviously can’t run the kind of feel good reelection campaign that every incumbent president dreams of, and he risks seeming like he’s trying to spin away the very real anxiety millions of Americans still feel whenever he claims his policies are working or highlights an encouraging economic statistic. But staying mute is hardly an option; doing so would concede the point and make it that much easier for Romney’s team to argue that Obama is a failed president.
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