Obama adviser warns of uphill re-election battle

Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:15pm EDT

Related Topics

* Obama strategist Axelrod: "I believe we're going to win"

* Axelrod says Republican are looking "back to the future"

By Ros Krasny

MANCHESTER, N.H., Sept 27 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama faces a "titanic" struggle to win re-election in 2012 given the persistently high U.S. unemployment and bitter partisan battles in Washington, his senior campaign advisor said on Tuesday.

Strategist David Axelrod also warned of a new "Gilded Age" in the United States in which special interests can use massive campaign donations to "buy" politicians.

"We have the wind in our face because the American people have the wind in their faces. This is going to be a titanic struggle," Axelrod said, referring to Obama's bid to win re-election in November 2012 against the eventual Republican White House nominee.

Obama's job approval ratings in New Hampshire and elsewhere in the country have slumped this year, bruised by a weak economy and high unemployment.

New Hampshire, a small northeastern state, is due to hold its presidential primary election in February, a key milestone on the road to the election in which Obama is seeking a second four-year term as president. (For a factbox on key dates in the 2012 campaign, click on [ID:nN1E7780IF])

"No doubt there is some strong headwinds facing us, but we're on the right side of the fight and I believe we're going to win that fight," Axelrod said at a "Politics and Eggs" event at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

"And the more I watch the Republicans, the more I believe that," he added.

He said the Republican candidates seeking their party's nomination to face Obama next year are "clinging closely to the Tea Party line" -- referring to the conservative U.S. political movement -- and offering "back to the future bromides" that led to the U.S. economic downturn of recent years.

Obama, a Democrat, plans to remain focused on "the embattled middle class and the sense that in America if you work hard you can get ahead," Axelrod said. (For a factbox on key players in Obama's re-election campaign, click on [ID:nN1E77O14W])

Obama has been battling with congressional Republicans over their demand for deep federal spending cuts and his contention that the richest Americans should pay higher taxes.

Axelrod checked off various ways in which the United States could "mortgage its future" with deep spending cuts.

"If you cut education by 25 percent, as has been proposed, you are mortgaging the future. ... If you cut research funds by 70 percent, as has been proposed, you are mortgaging the future," he said.

Axelrod said the electoral landscape in 2012 could be shaped by so-called Super PACS (political action committees) -- fundraising organizations that can pour money into U.S. elections -- creating a "menacing kind of war game."

Super PACS were made possible by a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that lifted many spending and contribution limits for political donors, including corporations and labor unions.

"I've been concerned about money and politics for a long time. ... The risk is to return to a sort of Gilded Age where special interests can buy a congressman or even a president. It's not healthy," he said.

Obama's team will have the resources to combat an anticipated barrage of Super PAC spending in 2012, Axelrod said. "They may not be equal resources to what is arrayed against us, but they will be adequate."

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Will Dunham)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
minuteman wrote:
Axlerod tells of a “Titanic Struggle” for the 2012 election. He is right because the struggle is whether the US is going to repudiate the Socialist Ideology of Obamanism or whether we are going to stay the course our Founding Fathers created for us. Never in US history has our system of free markets and individual freedoms been attacked and regulated like this administration. We were told Obamacare would reduce medical costs, today, statistics show quite the opposite so what we have is a government that believes it is alright to lie; steal; cheat and extort the American people to submit to a government that has no credibility. Yes sir, a momumental fight is approaching. Live Free or Die!

Sep 27, 2011 6:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
minuteman wrote:
Axlerod tells of a “Titanic Struggle” for the 2012 election. He is right because the struggle is whether the US is going to repudiate the Socialist Ideology of Obamanism or whether we are going to stay the course our Founding Fathers created for us. Never in US history has our system of free markets and individual freedoms been attacked and regulated like this administration. We were told Obamacare would reduce medical costs, today, statistics show quite the opposite so what we have is a government that believes it is alright to lie; steal; cheat and extort the American people to submit to a government that has no credibility. Yes sir, a momumental fight is approaching. Live Free or Die!

Sep 27, 2011 6:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
skifiSSS555 wrote:
Obama is a great politician, but a crumby leader….don’t fall for the hype and speeches again America…We really need more than a career politician who gives good speeches right now.

Sep 27, 2011 11:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Retirement Road Map