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Obama announces re-election bid in 

email to 13 mil supporters

WASHINGTON —
No longer the fresh voice of change, U.S. President Barack Obama embarked on a bid for re-election Monday asking a divided, anxious electorate to let him finish the job they gave him in 2008.
He’s getting an early start against a Republican field that’s still undefined, but he’s saddled with an ailing economy that isn’t working for millions of voters
Obama began with an effort to recapture his outsider’s touch of 2008, bypassing a public statement from the White House in favor of an email sent to 13 million of supporters.
He offered a kickoff video in which official Washington is ignored and even Obama himself only makes a fleeting appearance. What the campaign wanted voters to see instead were people like them speaking of real-life concerns and their faith in him, against wholesome backdrops: a church, a farm, a family in a kitchen, an American flag.
Yet this time around, Obama carries both the benefits and baggage of being the establishment candidate.
The president now owns an economy that is adding jobs but still leaving millions of people without help or work. As the incumbent, he can blow into town on Air Force One, draw unparalleled free media coverage and command all the other perks of the presidency. But he must also remobilize his coalition and reenergize it, too, including getting back the independent voters who swung Republican in last year’s midterm elections.
Obama ran once on hope. This time he will run on his record as well. That means voters will evaluate him on what he has gotten done, including laws to reshape health insurance and Wall Street behavior, and the promises he has not delivered upon, including immigration reform and closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A huge part of his challenge will be to spark the voter inspiration that often got lost in the slog of governing. His new campaign video gave a nod to the challenge. A woman named Alice from Michigan said: “We’re paying him to do a job. So we can’t say, `Hey, could you just take same time off and come and get us all energized?’ So we better figure it out.”
Obama filed his candidacy paperwork Monday, about 20 months from Election Day, so he can begin raising money in earnest for a potential campaign fund of $1 billion or more. More than a dozen Republicans are seriously considering trying to unseat him, but none has declared yet.
What comes next is a loud, undefined, unpredictable White House contest. The early party primary voting is not set to begin until next year.
Obama, as both president and candidate, is trying to keep those two roles separate.
“Even though I’m focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today,” he said in the email to backers.
The Obama campaign this time will not have the foil of George W Bush, an unpopular incumbent who helped define the mood of 2008 without being on the ballot. The White House is eager to portray the election as a choice, but the look and feel of that contrast will not become evident until a competitor emerges from a wide-open Republican field.
What the White House expects, though, is that the economy will drive the election. The race could well pivot on whether voters buy into Obama’s arguments about progress on his watch — that an economy on the brink of disaster is steadily adding jobs again, and he a vision for more — or whether voters vent their displeasure that change hasn’t happened faster.
Here, as in many cases, incumbency can cut both ways.
The nation’s unemployment rate just dropped to 8.8%, its lowest level in two years. The private sector is starting to add sizable numbers of jobs again, and such trend lines always tend to attach themselves to how a president is viewed. The more the economic situation improves, the better Obama can argue he is the right steward of the recovery.
However, perceptions of the economy have not improved over the course of Obama’s presidency, and that lag can amount to a major vulnerability.
Overall, 35% of people in an Associated Press-GfK poll say the nation is heading in the right direction. That’s the same share that said so in January 2009 before he took office.
“I think it starts with the economy. I don’t think anybody could tell you for sure how it’s going to end, especially with all the tumult around the world right now,” said Stephen Craig, a political science professor at the University of Florida.
Indeed, Obama is contending with an exploding world. The violent upheaval across the Middle East and Africa has consumed attention in 2011 and drawn the United States into a military conflict in Libya on top of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On the domestic front, Obama is grappling with a budget fight and the potential for a government shutdown.
The president must be sensitive to how and when he campaigns or risk appearing to put his political gain above the country’s.
How he responds to domestic and foreign challenges, however, will give him chances to shape public thinking in ways no other candidates have.
Obama’s path to the required 270 electoral votes could well be tougher this time. In 2008, he reached it by aggressively turning out new and infrequent voters across the country, and making a play for states that aren’t usually contested by Democrats.
The effort paved the way for victories in GOP-leaning states such as Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia. But Obama’s standing has suffered in those states since then, putting into question whether he can engineer repeat victories. He also dominated the Midwest in 2008, the home of electoral-rich states such as Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. But the region took a beating during the recession, and Obama’s poll numbers did, too, complicating his path to re-election.
On the flip side: Obama may have new support in other states because of the explosive growth of Democratic-leaning Hispanics in the Southwest and the migration of blacks to the South.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Latest 15 of 147 Total Comments Show All

  • Alphaape at 10:06 AM JST – 9th April
    One thing Obama will not have, the “Oprah” factor.
    Two things easily counter that example of cupidity: 1) Oprah doesn’t need a show to have influence, and 2) incumbency easily makes up for whatever Obama might lose by not going on the Oprah show.
    @yabits: Remember that exchange between you and I, well look what I found today:
    *(NewsCore) – Oprah Winfrey, the queen of daytime television, will not be publicly endorsing President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012, a source told Pop Eater.
    “For 2012, much has changed for Oprah,” the source told Pop Eater. “She now has her own cable channel called OWN that has been struggling to find an audience — she isn’t going to do anything to alienate them.”
    “Unlike in 2008, when a drop in ratings didn’t matter as much for the queen of TV, Oprah is now fighting every day to get people to tune into OWN,” the source added, noting that while Winfrey will likely support Obama again, she will do so more privately.
    “Helping a friend keep the most important job in the world is great, but making sure her OWN network thrives is now her priority,” the source said.*
    I guess whatever I was “smoking” as you said wsa pretty good stuff.
    Her next move will be to interview Couric on her network, followed by Hillary when she resigns. Having done that, she will gain the female voters that she lost endorsing Obama over Hillary and back Hillary if she runs.
  • yabits at 10:22 AM JST – 9th April
    HIs show still had more viewers than MSNBC had for any show.
    A nutcase like Beck could get stupid conservatives to watch him. And we all know there’s LOTS of those.
    the source told Pop Eater.
    When Oprah herself confirms it then I will believe it.
    noting that while Winfrey will likely support Obama again
    LOL!
    I guess whatever I was “smoking” as you said wsa pretty good stuff.
    The reference to smoking was not about Oprah, although it’s clear that the smoking contributes to loss of memory. What it was about was your prediction that President Obama would be facing a major challenger in the 2012 primaries.
  • Alphaape at 11:05 AM JST – 9th April
    @yabits: The act that it came from that source does provide a level of verifaction that needs to be done, but the fact is true that Oprah’s ratings have taken a nose dive. Say what you want, but the bottom line is that Oprah has invested too much in her business and her image, and will do anything to make sure that she is not labeled a joke. If that means not supporting a friend, then she will do it. Her bottom line is not so much about party loyalty, but the $$$.
    Also, I found another story related to our similar post:
    President Obama’s approval ratings among black voters plummeted last month to their lowest levels ever, while his support among Hispanics took a tumble in the same period, according to a surprising new poll released yesterday.
    Blacks continue to back him by a wide margin, with 85 percent of respondents saying they approved of him in the latest Gallup poll.
    But that number dropped a hefty 5 percentage points from last month, marking the lowest rating among that core constituency that he’s had since taking office.
    He also dropped 5 points among Hispanics, sliding from 59 percent to 54, according to the poll. That number ties his July and August 2010 lows.
    The one-two punch among two groups that helped usher him into the White House comes just after he announced the kickoff of his 2012 election campaign.
    It also seems to confirm chatter that the commander-in-chief’s sudden affinity for Al Sharpton is an attempt to shore up his African-American base.
    As I said, Obama is starting to slip among his base. And if this continues to slide, then he will have a hard time in the Dem primary. Granted it is still early, but I am sure that it is a concern for him. If this wereJan 2012, it would be a lot more serious. But right now he should be able to reverse this, provided that Hillary doesn’t take a chance and decide to run, or some other “Blue Dog” Dem sees that they have a chance.
  • zurcronium at 11:44 AM JST – 9th April
    Hillary was the only legit candidate other than Obama in 2008 and Obama out campaigned her. No republican can beat him now, that is why they are all so afraid to announce for the 2012 run. Most of the republican candidates are reality tv actors anyway. It will be entertaining however to see the retreads and the reality stars debate non-issues for months. In the end it will be embarrassing for all republicans, or for at least the ones that still a sense of shame left.
  • Leila26 at 12:37 PM JST – 9th April
    He’s for amnesty and even blacks want illegals to go home – polled at 68%. So, how’s he going to get the black vote when even they know he’s working for the UN not the US? I don’t know for sure how they will vote, but some Asians are getting fed up with Democrats.
  • Leila26 at 12:38 PM JST – 9th April
    I hope Romney runs and wins.
  • Leila26 at 12:53 PM JST – 9th April
    The cartels are coming across and they just caught some Homeland Security personnel accepting a $5 million bribe. And Obama supports illegals. What an jerk.
  • IronDome at 01:46 PM JST – 9th April
    Obama will be one-term.
    Clinton is the only democrat elected to two terms since WW2.But that was between the collapse of the Soviet empire and 9-11, and back when Americans had no access to fair and balanced news and opinion via the net, talk radio, social networks, etc.
  • zurcronium at 11:38 PM JST – 9th April
    IronDome,
    With Glen Beck getting fired from Fox Fake News this week the misinformed are going to be leaderless for a while. That is your fair and balanced network.
    Clinton won in 96 because he balanced the budget after Reagan destroyed it with tax cuts for the rich (sound familiar?), he was smarter than anyone in the republican party and last the republicans ran Dole. The republicans do not have a candidate that can win in the general election today. None. 2012 may be another landslide for Obama.
  • arrestpaul at 01:12 AM JST – 10th April
    zurcronium – With Glen Beck getting fired from Fox Fake News this week the misinformed are going to be leaderless for a while. That is your fair and balanced network.
    Speaking of “misinformation” – Beck wasn’t “fired”. Keith Olbermann was “fired” and forced off the air immeadiately. Beck’s company and FOX aren’t renewing their contract for the “Glen Beck show”. Beck will still appear on the “Glen Beck show” until the end of his contract. There is NO indication that Beck won’t have another FOX show, in a different format, at a later date and he will be appearing on other FOX shows. Unlike Olbermann who isn’t welcome at his old station.
  • yabits at 03:00 AM JST – 10th April
    Speaking of “misinformation” – Beck wasn’t “fired”.
    Sure… Beck went to Fox and begged them to take him off the air.
    Keith Olbermann was “fired” and forced off the air immeadiately
    Thus illustrating the difference between liberals and conservatives: Conservatives can’t bring themselves to admit when one of their own cross so far out of bounds that their contract has to be terminated. There always has to be this element of “plausible deniability” to cover the truth.
  • IronDome at 01:08 PM JST – 11th April
    “He’s for amnesty and even blacks want illegals to go home – polled at 68%. So, how’s he going to get the black vote when even they know he’s working for the UN not the US? I don’t know for sure how they will vote, but some Asians are getting fed up with Democrats.”
    Most American blacks are unaware that Obama’s party is ready to sell them down the river, once amnesty is granted to the 15 million illegals in the country.
  • maxtheitpro at 05:45 PM JST – 11th April
    Obomber (er President Obama) is a FLIP FLOPPER. He did NOT keep any of his main campaign promises. He brought SOCIALISM to Wall Street & BIG business. Yet they hardly pay any taxes & Joe Plumber & Sue Smith gets screwed every day. He’s a disappointment to his wife’s Afro American base.
  • maxtheitpro at 06:02 PM JST – 11th April
    Please DO NOT vote for Obama nor the GOP. The Prez fooled a lot of people ONCE…but hopefully not TWICE. Else shame on us all. And the GOP is CRAZY in a warped Christian-fundamentalist way. Forget em!
    What we TRULY need is a viable 3rd PROGRESSIVE political party. It can be done. The focus should not be on ONE person to SAVE us, but on the WHOLE party itself – it’s core values, it’s promise to FOLLOW the Constitution to the letter, to END corporate lobbying IMMEDIATELY, to NOT bail out rich banks, etc. who caused this financial crises, etc.
  • brotokyo at 06:10 PM JST – 11th April
    IronDome@
    and even blacks want illegals to go home
    Hey, thanks for the heads up on EVEN blacks and please post any info on ODD blacks as soon as you hear anything

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