The phrase has been bandied about for several months. The first time I saw it in print was four months ago, when David Axelrod used it in a joking way.
Increasingly, though, the 10-word pitch -- "Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive" -- is taking hold as a line the White House is completely serious about. Here's Vice President Biden, addressing a Communications Workers of America conference a few days ago, reading prepared remarks:
"The best way I've heard this expressed what's clear, in shorthand, is 'Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,'" Biden said. "Now, some will say, 'Biden's playing on the success on bin Laden.' It's more than that. It's a metaphor; it's a metaphor for a lot more."
The Obama re-election team certainly hopes so. Democrats have traditionally struggled to craft compelling "elevator pitches" when it comes to their policies, records, and visions. But Biden's 10-word pitch, a blunt instrument as political rhetoric goes, at least has the benefit of summarizing the points Obama for America hopes to stress: the president and his administration turned the economy around at home, and has scored high-profile national security successes abroad.
It's seems likely the Democratic campaign will face considerable pushback if officials keep using this pitch out loud -- the politicization of the bin Laden strike may prove tricky -- but the fact that the likely Republican nominee opposed the policy that got the al Qaeda leader, and was inclined to "let Detroit go bankrupt," the health of GM and demise of bin Laden at a minimum sets up the contrast the White House wants to see.