Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are both on pins and needles today, no matter what either one of them says. Today is the poll that counts— today is judgment day.
My first campaign in 2006, I knew I was going to win. Yes, my head reminded me how I was going against a popular incumbent US Congressman who outspent me by more than $3 million, but we beat the odds by .6%—winning by just 1518 votes out of the more than quarter million that were cast. In 2008, I knew again that I'd win , this time I won by 15 points.
By 2010, I knew in my heart that victory would be tough. I kept looking at Nate Silver’s damn polls that showed I was one of the walking dead—a Democrat in a Republican-leaning district.
Nate was right and I lost by four points—becoming one of the 64 members of congress who sacrificed their seats in order to pass the stimulus bill, healthcare reform, and eventually the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
These past few weeks campaigning for President Obama, I've seen that the difference between perception and reality can be difficult to navigate in the final days of a presidential campaign. As the $2 billion presidential campaign ends, I’ve been making some final arguments to help cut through the clutter:
- Jobs, jobs, jobs. This was the Republican mantra of 2010, yet the new Congress did nothing but obstruct the President and promote a right-wing social agenda, which included 112 bills restricting a woman’s right to choose. Romney continues to present his economic “plan” as a new alternative, something fresh. That’s totally absurd. His policies mimic those of President George W. Bush, who buried our economy with 14 consecutive months of job losses, including a period where we were hemorrhaging over 700,000 per month. President Obama was the one who turned it around and gave us 32 months of job growth and 5.2 million new jobs.
- Remember that Mitt Romney has a public sector record. Yes, he’s made hundreds of millions of dollars, but as Governor of Massachusetts, his state was third worst in the nation in job growth. In fact, under his leadership, Massachusetts fell from 36 to 47 nationally in economic development.
- The key to sustained economic growth is manufacturing—we need to make things in America again. That’s what President Obama has done— 500,000 new manufacturing jobs in the last 4 years, the most since the 1990s, and a plan for 1 million more. Remember, every manufacturing job leads to another five indirect jobs.
- Mitt Romney can lie about Jeeps being made in China, but in the private sector, he invested heavily in companies who pioneered outsourcing, leading tens of thousands of Americans to lose their jobs here at home. For Romney to accuse the President of selling anything to China is totally laughable. I’m confident the people of Ohio will see right through the millions of false television ads. Even the Republican Governor disagrees with Romney’s assertion.
- Barack Obama has been good for business. The stock market has increased 65 percent to over 13,000 points. No American president has lost a re-election when the stock market has gained points during their first term.
No matter what happens today, I’ll never forget President Obama privately telling me at the White House, “I don’t care if I’m a one-term President. We have to tackle the most important issues in front of us, we just can’t keep kicking them down the road.”As a young congressman, I was inspired.
Barack Obama did his best to deliver for the American people – with jobs, for equality, to end our wars and keep us safe. He wasn’t perfect, but he stood for something and got things done. We’ll see tonight if he gets a chance to do even more.