If someone in the distant future who never experienced the past 4 years of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and first term and simply compared news stories of his presidential campaign in August 2012 as opposed to August stories from his presidential run in 2008, it would make that person wonder how Mr. Obama could squander so much political capital, with the help of a loving media, in such a short period of time. Check out these headlines from the months of August 2008 and August 2012 and see for yourself.
August 17 2008 - AP: Obama raises $51M; McCain $27M
The presidential campaign of Barack Obama says that the Democratic candidate raised more than $51 million in July. Obama’s campaign began August with $65.8 million on hand, according to a statement the campaign issued Saturday in Chicago.
On Friday, the campaign of Republican candidate John McCain said the presumed GOP nominee had raised $27 million in July. That was McCain’s biggest monthly haul since clinching the nomination.
McCain reported having $21 million available to spend. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe says that 65,000 new donors contributed to the Obama campaign and that more than 2 million now have given Obama money for his presidential bid. McCain’s campaign says it has logged 600,000 donors.
August 6, 2012 - AP: For July, Romney again tops Obama in fundraising
For the third straight month, President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party significantly trailed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican Party in fundraising. Romney’s campaign on Monday reported a July haul of more than $101 million with the Republican National Committee, compared to the $75 million that Obama’s campaign said it had brought in with the Democratic National Committee.
Romney also raised more cash than Obama in May and June. The July fundraising reports came as Obama was set to raise at least $2.5 million at a pair of events in Connecticut, with a Hollywood touch. One fundraiser was scheduled at the home of film mogul Harvey Weinstein. The hosts include actresses Anne Hathaway, Joanne Woodward and writer Aaron Sorkin.
Romney’s level of fundraising has prompted Obama, known for his prodigious fundraising, to redouble his efforts.
August 21, 2008 - USA Today: Clinton to have own floor whips at convention
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s delegates will have their own organizers on the floor of the Democratic National Convention, an unusual move at a convention that is being billed as unified.Clinton’s supporters will have about 40 organizers, or whips, said Clinton campaign spokeswoman Kathleen Strand. Whips traditionally enforce discipline among a candidate’s supporters, making sure they vote according to plan.
These whips, however, will not encourage delegates to vote for Clinton over the presumptive nominee, Barack Obama, Strand said. They also weren’t instructed to intervene if Clinton delegates start an anti-Obama protest, she said.
“We have been and are working closely with the Obama campaign to make sure we have an exciting and unified convention,” Strand said. “Our delegate whips, along with the Obama delegate whips, are a part of a team that will be on the floor of the convention to make sure delegates have everything they need, whether that’s answering questions or passing out signs during Hillary’s speech. The whips are a traditional part of every convention’s floor operations.”
Strand said the Obama campaign thought the whips would be a good idea to provide friendly faces for the many Clinton delegates who will be at the convention.
Some Clinton supporters are still sore over the outcome of a tough primary battle that lasted into June. Obama emerged victorious and Clinton has endorsed him. Since then, the campaigns have worked at presenting a united front against Republican John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee.
August 16, 2012 - National Review: Klein: White House Woos Hillary
As the Biden-Clinton chatter swirls, best-selling author Edward Klein says the White House has “put out feelers” to the Clinton camp about the veep spot.
Here’s the transcript from CNBC’s The Kudlow Report:
KLEIN: Larry, just before we went on the air tonight, I checked with my sources in the Clinton camp and I took notes because I want to be careful. And here is what they told me: Up until just a couple of weeks ago, the White House was putting out feelers to see if Hillary would accept the vice-presidential nod and replace Joe Biden. Bill Clinton was, I’m told, urging his wife to accept the number-two slot. He saw this as a great launching pad for her for running in 2016. But, then, Hillary had lunch in the White House a couple of weeks ago with Valerie Jarrett, Michelle’s best friend, senior adviser to both the first lady and the president. And she told Valerie Jarrett that she would not accept the vice-president spot.
August 23, 2008 - AP - Analysis: Biden pick shows lack of confidence
…The picks say something profound about Obama: For all his self-confidence, the 47-year-old Illinois senator worried that he couldn’t beat Republican John McCain without help from a seasoned politician willing to attack. The Biden selection is the next logistical step in an Obama campaign that has become more negative _ a strategic decision that may be necessary but threatens to run counter to his image.
Democratic strategists, fretting over polls that showed McCain erasing Obama’s lead this summer, welcomed the move. They, too, worried that Obama needed a more conventional _ read: tougher _ approach to McCain.
“You’ve got to hand it to the candidate and the campaign. They have a great sense of timing and tone and appropriateness. Six months ago, people said he wasn’t tough enough on Hillary Clinton _ he was being too passive _ but he got it right at the right time,” said Democratic strategist Jim Jordan. “He’ll get it right again.”
Indeed, Obama has begun to aggressively counter McCain’s criticism with negative television ads and sharp retorts from the campaign trail.
A senior Obama adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said his boss has expressed impatience with what he calls a “reverence” inside his campaign for his message of change and new politics. In other words, Obama is willing _ even eager _ to risk what got him this far if it gets him to the White House.
Biden brings a lot to the table. An expert on national security, the Delaware senator voted in 2002 to authorize military intervention in Iraq but has since become a vocal critic of the conflict. He won praise for a plan for peace in Iraq that would divide the country along ethnic lines.
Chief sponsor of a sweeping anti-crime bill that passed in 1994, Biden could help inoculate Obama from GOP criticism that he’s soft on crime _ a charge his campaign fears will drive a wedge between white voters and the first black candidate with a serious shot at the White House.
So the question is whether Biden’s depth counters Obama’s inexperience _ or highlights it?
After all, Biden is anything but a change agent, having been in office longer than half of all Americans have been alive. Longer than McCain. And he talks too much.
On the same day he announced his second bid for the presidency, Biden found himself explaining why he had described Obama as “clean.”
And there’s the 2007 ABC interview in which Biden said he would stand by an earlier statement that Obama was not ready to serve as president. It seems Obama is worried that some voters are starting to agree.
August 17, 2012 - Washington Post - Is Joe Biden a liability for Obama?
Almost every recent poll has shown Biden’s numbers at a low point, with more voters viewing him unfavorably than viewing him in a positive light — though in most cases, it’s only by a few points.
Biden’s favorable rating, which was well into the 50s when he and Obama won the 2008 election and took office in 2009, has fallen to around 40 percent in most polls. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll recently pegged his favorable rating at 35 percent (37 percent negative), while a Fox News poll showed the split at 41 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.
Also, swing state polls conducted recently by Purple Strategies showed Biden has an even more negative image in the four states tested — Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia. In the four combined, his favorable rating was 41 percent and his unfavorable rating was 48 percent.
This isn’t exactly pariah territory. Those numbers, in fact, look a lot like the numbers we’ve been seeing for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. And they’re about where Dick Cheney’s were when he was on a successful reelection ticket in 2004. Indeed, given that much of Biden’s job on the campaign trail is to draw contrasts with Romney, it’s not surprising that his numbers aren’t good (vice presidents are generally used as “attack dogs”).
August 24, 2008 - AP - McCain ‘doesn’t get it,’ Demo says of economy
Former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat making her second run for the U.S. Senate, said Saturday that Republican John McCain “doesn’t get it” when it comes to fixing the economy and helping struggling families.
“His economic plan is four more years of George Bush’s economic plan,” Shaheen said in the Democrats’ weekly radio address. “Four more years of record spending, record deficits, record giveaways to the special interests and a reckless disregard for the middle class.”
August 16, 2012 - Gallup - Americans Continue to Give Obama Low Marks on the Economy
Obama’s ratings on the economy are significantly worse than all three prior successful presidential incumbents at this same point in their first term, according to the available Gallup trends.
His 36% approval rating on the economy is well below George W. Bush’s rating in August 2004 (46%), Bill Clinton’s in August 1996 (54%), and Ronald Reagan’s in July 1984 (50%). Still, in terms of comparisons to presidents who lost, Obama’s economic rating is substantially better than that of George H.W. Bush in July 1992 (18%). Gallup did not measure Americans’ approval of Jimmy Carter on the economy in 1980.
Obama’s single worst rating of the seven issues measured in the current poll is for the federal budget deficit. However it is unclear how problematic this will be for him. His 30% approval rating on the deficit falls about halfway between Clinton’s in August 1996 (43%) and Reagan’s in July 1984 (23%).
Gallup initiated the “creating jobs” approval rating in 2009, and thus has no readings on it for previous presidents. However, on the similar item of “unemployment,” Reagan earned a 48% approval rating in 1984, higher than Obama’s 37% for creating jobs.
August 8, 2008 - Post Tribune - The race card is being played, but not by Obama
Barack Obama stands accused of introducing race into this election. Why, before Obama quipped that the McCain campaign had nothing to offer but fear of “the other” — and then implied that he was the other because he “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills” — I bet no one had given race a thought.
Certainly not Billy Shaheen, the former co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire campaign, who suggested that Republicans would ask whether Obama had ever sold drugs.
Not Bill Clinton, who condescendingly likened Obama to Jesse Jackson and then described the reaction to that comment as a “mugging.” Clinton is still reeling from the episode. During a recent interview with ABC News, Clinton insisted: “I am not a racist. I’ve never made a racist comment, and I didn’t attack (Obama) personally.”
Not Hillary Clinton, who — in a tacky remark condemned by one of her supporters, Rep. Charlie Rangel — questioned the strength of Obama’s support among “hard-working … white Americans.”
August 14, 2012 - Fox News - Biden to Southern audience: Romney financial plan would ‘put y’all back in chains’
Vice President Biden drew a tough retort from Mitt Romney’s campaign Tuesday after telling a Virginia audience that the Republican presidential candidate’s plan to lift financial regulation would “put y’all back in chains.”Romney’s campaign responded by claiming the rhetoric marked a “new low” in the 2012 race.
Biden made the remarks during a stop in Danville, Va. He took a swipe at Romney’s plan to ease financial regulations, by recycling a Romney bank analogy and creating an analogy of his own.
“He said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules,” Biden said. “Unchain Wall Street! They’re gonna put y’all back in chains.
“The remark’s context is unclear. Some conservative blogs claimed Biden had just made a reference to slavery. Danville, aside from being the last capital of the Confederacy, is racially split — the city is nearly half black and half white. The crowd at Tuesday’s event reflected that makeup.Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul fired back at Biden after the event, without accusing Biden of any racial reference.
“After weeks of slanderous and baseless accusations leveled against Governor Romney, the Obama campaign has reached a new low,” she said. “The comments made by the vice president of the United States are not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama campaign will say and do anything to win this election. President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden’s comments.”