Let me finish tonight with this. President Obama faces a hard test in the weeks ahead. He's up against the growing perception that Republicans have the upper hand that this battle between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney is not about the Republican nomination but about the American presidency. Whoever comes out of this fight will be the country's next leader.
Others have been in the position Obama is now being assigned. They have been dismissed as losers long before the election, viewed as irrelevant with many months still to serve in the office to which they were elected.
David Axelrod made a number of points today aimed at reminding people, moreover, that the president still enjoys advantages other incumbents have not.
The most vital, the most hopeful is the overwhelming support of Democrats. Four out of five back him now when everything seems to breaking against him. Over 80 percent are with him even as he's been worked into the corner of the ring.
Democrats who have in the past been fairly accused of "shooting their wounded," are sticking with this guy. So the question is how will the president use this support, this diehard backing of his party? Will he rest on it or use it as a springboard to come roaring back into the center ring of this country's political debate?
Will he challenge Republicans who say it's time to cut government spending?
Will he grab the country's attention with the charge that by doing exactly what Perry and Romney are now saying we should do – will bring this country into a full depression, giving us the economy that led to the first one in the 1930s?
Will he give the country a history lesson many of us grew up with: that the worst thing a government can do at a time when people aren't buying and business isn't investing is to do what they are doing: cut back on spending, tighten up, avoid borrowing. In other words, contribute to the same pattern of deflation and depression that is now scaring you, the same pattern of retrenchment that is pressing the economy down.
It's time for the president to make this fight. He's out there talking about bridges and roads that need fixing. He needs to go further and say that the enemies of putting people to work, the enemies of such spending are forcing this country into some worse than tough times; they are attempting to slow the economy so that it stalls altogether.
This is danger against which the president needs to warn the country. He needs to place the responsibility for this peril on those who prefer it – prefer anything – to another four years of Barack Obama.