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"Hello, and welcome to Capitol Gains, the show you watch when you want real analysis.  With us today is our dean of political studies, Peter G.  Welcome back to the show."

Good to be here.  Although, this isn't my usual day.  Why did you bring me in?

"Well, we asked you to come in...."

...press ganged me....

"...because of the whole thing about Bain Capital.  Obama ran a series of attack ads targeting Romney for his work with Bain, and they are backfiring.  We're hoping you can explain why."

Oh, yes.  THAT little debacle.  Anyone who says Obama has a lock on winning 2012 is crazy.

"The Bain Backlash is that bad?"

You have to remember what the 2008 election was like.  While the D's were duking it out, McCain was the R's nominee.  McCain was making clear that he was going to tighten federal handouts to corporations and make mergers and acquisitions tougher.

"Sez who?"

Says the company filings with the FTC.  While McCain was the frontrunner, lobbying for handouts and mergers shot through the roof.  And it went back to normal levels when Obama became the frontrunner.

"Because they thought they wouldn't be able to get it done as easily with McCain as President."

Bingo.

"Which also underscores your belief that the R's sacrificed McCain's campaign to get Obama elected."

Look at the auto bailouts and bank bailouts.  Plenty of R's supported those, not just D's.  The R's are just as beholden to corporate benefactors as the D's are.  McCain would never have allowed the bailouts.  Obama would.  So, in order to keep at the public trough, the R's cut a deal to get a candidate friendly to their own interests in the White House.

"So what does that have to do with Bain Capital?"

Obama had a lot of support from idealists who bought into his Hope and Change campaigns.  But the election was still close.  What put Obama over the top was the support of business.  The Wall Street types.  The so-called 1%.  If you look at Obama's stump speeches after he became the unofficial nominee for the D's, he started softening on bashing Big Business.  The D's had to present themselves as Wall Street's friend to get their support, and they did.  The result is the bailouts.

"So you're saying the Bain Capital attack ads paint Obama as not Wall Street friendly."

That's exactly right.  Big Business is under attack from the Occupy movement (who are just wasting their time, they are doing it completely wrong) and from Obama's own policies.

"What policies?  There've been bailouts for the bailouts.  GM paid off its first bailout with a second bailout that the press didn't cover.  And the administration has been trying to squash lawsuits against the banks for wrongful foreclosure."

Obamacare.

"...ooooooooh.  Forgot about that."

The businesses haven't.  And neither have the unemployed.  The increase in fees for health care has forced some out of business and forced some people to the unemployment line.  I personally know three people who lost their jobs because health care became too expensive for the company.  Obamacare is also a beaurocratic nightmare, the only industry benefitting from it is the health care industry.  There is a backlash that needs to be addressed if Obamacare stays on the books.  Obama is counting on improved economic numbers to satisfy the unemployed.  Big Business, however, needs to know Obama is on their side.  And the Bain Capital ads show he isn't.

"Which makes Romney much more likely to get their support."

Right.  Romney's one of their own.  He understands bidness.  So Obama has to show he's more their buddy than their connected insider.  That's a pretty tall order, and attack ads like the Bain Capital ones don't help.  Obama is getting desperate.  Despite his attempts to connect with the same core voters that got him in in 2008, he's not doing it.  People resent him for not fixing everything.  Unlike 2008, there is no one just saying he's awesome and everyone buying it, he has to actually produce evidence that he's a good President.  And the last four years don't help.  Obama is actually weak this election.

"Prove it."

Gladly.  North Carolina and Wisconsin, for starters.  Those are usually solidly D.  In fact, no R since Ronald Reagan has carried Wisconsin.  But NC's ban on gay marriage shows a leaning towards Romney ideology, and Obama's support in Wisconsin has been eroding.  Wisconsin is big about labor unions, and they are pissed that the Democratic Primary is being held in North Carolina, where labor laws are pretty weak.  Wisconsin is part of a block of states where the poll numbers are too close to call for one candidate or the other.

"How big is this block?"

Huge.  The states are Wisconsin, New Mexico, Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Virginia, Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire.

"Wait...Nevada?  With the heavy Mormon population?  And that's not already in Romney's pocket?"

A-yup.  As you can see, that's a pretty sizable chunk of electoral votes still in play, and most of them used to be Democratic locks.  With the last four years as a measuring stick, all Obama can do is play up the ideological angle.  Remember, he didn't support gay marriage until Veep Harry Reid opened his mouth and forced Obama to do something.

"That sounds like...insurrection."

No comment.  The general public is drifting towards marriage equality, but that support is not turning up in the polls yet.  NC passed its ban on gay marriage 60-40.  Obama needs to sell himself on things where there isn't a past record to undermine him.  That's why he's clinging to social issues.

"No one has any guessing how the election is going to go yet.  Including you, right?"

Right.

"Any way we can get a hint of what may be coming?"

Yes.  Look to Wisconsin.  The election itself is five months away.  Wisconsin is having a recall election in less than two weeks.  The last two recall elections around the US, the incumbent lost.  Governor Scott Walker is hanging by a thread, his core constituency trying to hold off the D's and their allies in the labor unions.  Don't just look to whether or not Walker stays in office, look at the margin.  Remember, there were several small elections before 2010 that portended how the midterm elections would go and people ignored them at their peril.  This is an unpopular leader.  This could tell a lot about voter sentiment once the numbers get crunched.

"You suggest some popcorn?"

Lots of it.  It's going to be a really big shoe....

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