Obama prepares for battle as Republicans rally around Romney

With Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich now out of the race, President Obama finally has the chance to outwardly focus all his attention towards (all but confirmed) Republican nominee Mitt Romney. The first blows of what is sure to become a bitter battle for the presidency have, unsurprisingly, not been weak digs but full on attacks.

President Obama will be determined not to be caught sleeping on the job as he prepares for the elections in November. ©Pete Souza; Image credit: Pete Souza

A couple of days ago the Obama campaign posted a video ad praising the incumbent’s handling of the bin Laden affair last year. The video, which featured former Democratic President Bill Clinton, went so far as to suggest that, had Mitt Romney been President at the time of the raid which saw bin Laden killed, he would not have had the strength of authority and decision making to go through with the act. This prompted a furious response from 2008’s Republican nominee John McCain, who claimed that the ad poured “Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad”.

This controversial marker in the sand from the Obama campaign makes clear a key part of their strategy ahead of November’s elections, promoting Obama as a dedicated, strong candidate who has made the tough decisions in his first term in office.

Supporting this view will be recent polls that suggest Americans are more enamored with the President’s handling of the economy now than ever before. More than 60% of Americans now think that the economy has either stabilised or started to improve under the leadership of the Obama administration. This will be a blow to Romney as the success of his campaign will largely depend upon how voters rate his credentials to handle the economy compared to those of Obama. Expect the Obama team to place strong emphasis on how the President has made the big calls which have ultimately helped the American economy, despite frequent opposition from a Republican controlled Congress.

Another key aspect of the Obama campaign will be his determination to win over young voters. Obama set his stall out by declaring that he would do all he could to help students in the United States, the White House confirming on Friday that the President would veto any GOP measure to pass through Congress that would extend lower interest rates on student loans.

With Romney staffers also seemingly confident that he will capture the youth vote, the campaign for young voters could turn out to be one of the most intriguing battlegrounds of the Presidential race, alongside attempts by Romney to try and improve his electability amongst women.

What is for certain is that Obama is far more popular now than he was a couple of years ago, and his campaign for re-election is sure to promote him as a candidate with a strong track record in office. Of course the President will steer clear of controversy as much as possible over the next few months, but he will also not be afraid to go on the offensive against Romney and the Republicans if his campaign sees it as the best way for him to assert his strength as a candidate.

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