Longtime strategists say that the lack of a compelling plan for the next four years is hurting the president's standing against Mitt Romney.
In a stark warning on the eve of the second presidential debate, veteran Democratic strategists Stanley B. Greenberg and James Carville write in a newly released memo that the campaign "has reached a tipping point" that could cost President Obama reelection if he does not present a more compelling vision for the next four years.
"The first debate really did disrupt the race and presents a painful real-time test of what happens when the president tries to convince people of progress and offer[s] a very modest vision of future change," the two say in a Democracy Corps memo co-written with Erica Seifert, a senior associate at Greenberg's polling firm. "Voters are not looking for continuity, but changes that help the average Joe."
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In an interview, Greenberg said that at the first debate, Mitt Romney caused many voters who are worried about the nation's direction to view him in a new light, mostly by convincing them he had aggressive plans to improve the economy -- even as Obama conveyed little about goals of his own. After the debate, Greenberg said, undecided and loosely committed voters "are looking at Romney. Before [the debate] I thought they were trying to get to Obama. But I don't think that's true anymore. I think now they are considering Romney, which is why the next debate is pretty critical."