A new poll shows most Americans have never heard of Obama's "doing fine" comment, despite an avalanche of coverage and ads.
The end of a busy week in politics seems like as good a time as any for a brief reality check. If you're reading this post, you're probably way out of the mainstream of the national political discussion. (Of coure, if you're writing this post, you're even farther out.)
Much of the daily churn of political journalism is devoted to frantic coverage of gaffes, both the traditional kind (someone says something that's wrong or false or offensive) and the Kinsley variety (someone accidentally tells the truth). Those are fun for political junkies and reporters, but there's plenty of evidence that they don't really filter down to voters. Take, for example, Barack Obama's ill-considered comment that the private sector was "doing fine" (I explained at the time what he was trying to say and why he wasn't totally wrong). The comment fed a couple of days of frantic coverage, and the Romney campaign eagerly jumped on it, releasing an ad spoofing a 2008 Obama attack on John McCain for saying that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong." A super PAC supporting Romney bashed the remark as part of a $7 million ad buy. For Latino voters, it was repackaged as "¿Van Bien?"