Democrats’ 2012 plan: Blame the Republicans

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama will be re-elected because voters will recognize the Republican candidate represents a party that is selfishly hindering an economic recovery, that is xenophobic and racist, and also responsible for the nation’s fast-growing deficit, “two wars” and the 2008 economic meltdown, according to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.

Amid the tough economy, “the president will be victorious… when people [realize] that things could be worse, and could get worse,” added O’Malley, who previewed the Democrats’ campaign strategy for the 2012 election race during a Sept. 15 breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

GOP presidential candidates “are still sticking with the trickle-down George W. Bush model, somewhat warmed-over,” he said, before adding a few moments later that “I don’t understand their internal party dynamics.”

Malley also sought to associate Texas Governor Rick Perry with the Confederacy by repeatedly saying that Perry and several other Republican governors “seceded” from the bipartisan National Governor’s Association.

Like other Democrats, O’Malley associated Perry with the incendiary term, even though liberal-leaning groups, such as the Austin American-Statesman’s “PolitiFact” service, reject claims by Democrats that Perry endorsed Texas’ secession from the United States.

To persuade voters they should re-elect Obama during tough economic times, “we need a new narrative … [and] I don’t underestimate the amount of work we have to do to craft a new narrative,” said O’Malley, a self-described progressive who is often cited as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2016.

Currently, Obama’s national approval ratings are slightly above 40 percent, and among reliably Democratic blocs, such as Californians and Hispanics, the president’s approval is at or below 50 percent.

Still, O’Malley said, “I don’t see him bringing the [Democratic] ship down” because the voters will only make their decision very late in the process.

Obama is already creating the new narrative, O’Malley said: “The president is much further along in figuring it out.” The president’s stump speeches echo many of the charges the Maryland governor fired off.

In multiple appearances around the country, Obama charged Republicans with putting “party before country,” wrecking the economy, starting “two wars” after the 9/11 attack, disparaging Hispanics and hindering job-creation programs.

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Neil Munro