His vision is a marked departure from the Bush years and has seen some real success, but it needs to be about more than just winning in 2012.
President Obama speaks to troops at Fort Bragg in North Carolina / AP
If you asked President Barack Obama whether he sees foreign policy as a strength in his reelection bid, judging by his emphasis on the subject in last week's State of the Union Address, Obama might well answer the same way he did to questions about whether he is an appeaser: "Ask Osama bin Laden."
The Obama team's celebration of his role in killing bin Laden is just one in a series of foreign policy sales points, including his efforts to complete the withdrawal from Iraq, to fight a productive drone war on al Qaeda's leadership, to "wind down the war in Afghanistan," and to dispatch Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, that will likely be discussed on the road to November.
While there has been much speculation in the media about whether this foreign policy case will matter much in November -- Tom Ricks says no, Chris Cillizza agrees, David Ignatius says maybe, and Richard Fontaine says they might -- all evidence suggests the Obama team believes it will be an advantage.
Though Obama only talked about foreign policy for six minutes in the last Tuesday's State of the Union (nine percent of the speech, a decrease from previous years), the decision to bookend the speech with foreign policy and military matters set its tone. The speech also made an effective case to voters: In pollster Stan Greenberg's focus group, voters scored Obama highest on the two mentions of bin Laden, "both of which pushed the average dial rating close to 90." And in what could be a significant phenomenon in November, should it hold, "independents consistently rated [the foreign policy] section higher than even Democrats did."