Obama’s Unemployment Albatross / Romney Best as Health-care Expert / TRENDS

NOTE: See “Feelings about Mitt Romney” below the fold, at the end of this post.

Chris Wallace is one of my favorite political interviewers. He is tough and will generally stay with a line of questioning until he gets answers. Yesterday he interviewed David Plouffe, one of Obama’s senior advisers. The interview spanned a number of topics, the most important being unemployment and gasoline prices.

This video clip is over 14 minutes, but at 13 minutes, five seconds, Wallace put up a chart that shows the unemployment rate at the time three incumbent presidents lost an election “seeking another term” over the last 36 years. The implication of course being that a key reason each of these one-term-only presidents lost reelection was due to the unusually high unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate today is 8.3 percent, not including those who want to work, but who stopped looking — that the government stopped counting. Following were the unemployment rates at the time of the presidential elections:

  • Gerald Ford — 7.8%
  • Jimmy Carter — 7.5%
  • George H. W. Bush — 7.4%

The future does not look good for Mr. Obama if history is any indication!

Of course, many things factor into the ability of any incumbent president to win reelection, but the unemployment rate is a very important number and Obama knows it. You can tell by Plouffe’s demeanor and answer that the Obama Administration knows it. Top that off with high and rising gasoline prices and we have a current political climate that is worse than that of President Carter when Governor Reagan beat him with a mandate. We have seen both Gingrich and Santorum become desperate in their rhetoric; I will venture a guess that their desperation will pale in comparison to Obama’s in October and November.

Kimberly A. Strassel WSJ Op-Ed

Many editorials have emerged these past two weeks basically advising Gov. Romney to get out ahead of the opposition and provide more details to illustrate how his Massachusetts health-care plan is different from ObamaCare. In my opinion, the differences are many and very important — but I believe Gov. Romney’s lack of focus on healthcare in his speeches right now is a good strategy. He is succeeding without it and the risks associated with bringing it up are not worth it right now.

That said, Ms. Strassel makes some valid points in her Op-Ed. The first half of the piece discusses how she feels Gov. Romney’s lack of clarity in describing/defending his health-care plan against charges from Santorum and others has hurt him, but then she ends the piece by arguing Romney can turn it to his benefit (see Paul Johnson’s excellent article below to compliment this point). Strassel: (more…)