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U.S. Democrats in
Combat Mode But Face Unemployment Headwind (Le Figaro, France)
delegates left on Friday boosted by the battle appeal of their champion Barack
Obama, the unemployment figures were hardly encouraging. ... This bleak return
to the economic realities of the moment was immediately seized upon by the
Republicans. ... But the Democrats at least reached some key objectives this
week in Charlotte."
By Laure Mandeville
Translated By Jill Naeem
September 10, 2012
- Le Figaro - Original Article (French)
From our special correspondent in Charlotte:
As delegates left on Friday boosted by the battle appeal of
their champion Barack Obama, the economic figures [that came the next morning]
were hardly encouraging. Unemployment still stands above 8 percent, and the
country created only 96,000 jobs in August, below analysts' expectations of
This bleak return to the economic realities of the moment
was immediately seized upon by the Republicans. “This report is a result of
Obama’s failed policies” proclaimed Paul Ryan, Republican candidate for vice
president. “The president has no idea what to do. His plan is for four more
years of what we've had for the past four” Romney said.
But the Democrats at least reached some key objectives
this week in Charlotte: to defend Obama’s record while trying to demonize the
proposals of his opponent; mobilizing activists for the final 60-day sprint;
reconnecting the party base with a president accused of being too centrist and
too naïve in his attempts at bipartisan negotiations with Republicans, who are
more eager to see him fall than find compromise.
On Thursday night, during his acceptance speech for the
presidency, Barack Obama distanced himself from the status of messiah transcending
partisan boundaries - which he had adopted in Denver four years earlier. The
darker and more realistic tone at Charlotte was deliberate. Recognizing with
humility his “failures” and promising “a difficult path,” Barack Obama invited
voters to trust him again, announcing a plan of action to restore middle class
access to the labor market through a massive investment in education and the
manufacturing sector and by reducing energy dependence.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
Obama presented himself as the defender of ordinary
people and of an America of “shared opportunity.” Democrats believe in free
enterprise … but also in “something called citizenship … the idea that this
country works when we accept certain obligations toward each other,” stressed
the president, defending the need for a role by the state and calling for
support by invoking Roosevelt. Essentially, from Obama to
Biden and through the majority of views expressed by convention speakers, the
prevailing and unhesitating battle cry in Charlotte drew a line between “us and
them” - even if Bill Clinton’s plea, above the fray, was intended to rally Democratic
centrists. Like the Republicans in Tampa who invoked Reagan, the Democrats
appeared to gamble that pulling the troops together a priority above all others.
The Man Who Defeated
It is true that in these times of extreme polarization,
the number of undecided voters appears lower than before, which makes
mobilizing the base at least as important as the battle over the few
independents (between 5 and 10 percent of the total). In Charlotte, the Democrats
clearly targeted women, minorities, and retirees seeking welfare and veterans. The
inclusion of foreign policy in the debate was significant - in contrast to
Tampa. Usually on the defensive on this subject, the Democrats clearly see
Obama, who defeated bin Laden, as having the advantage over Romney, who is
regarded as a blundering novice.
Worldmeets.US on Facebook
But following the back-to-back scheduling of two
conventions, observers stressed that it is difficult to measure their impact. The
general feeling is that the race will be tight to the end. According to a
Gallup poll released Thursday, Obama and Romney are neck and neck, with Obama
just one point ahead, 46 percent compared to 45 percent for his opponent. Both
face challenges. Still popular, Obama is battling a struggling economy. Less
known, and with little charisma, Romney has a resume in his favor, showing he
was a businessman and a competent governor, but will hardly serve to erase the
image of a man, painted by the Democrats, as cut off from the people who has
sold out to Wall Street.
“I wouldn’t be able to say who will win,” admitted John
Zogby, director of an influential pollster. He noted
that, “everything can be called into question by bad numbers, a possible
Israeli strike on Iran or a relapse of the European crisis.” Kate Baldwyn, a
former CNN host, concluded yesterday
that the three scheduled debates between the two candidates would be
“particularly crucial” this year.
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