President Obama officially kicked off his reelection campaign in Columbus, Ohio Saturday, hoping that throngs of young and minority voters from nearby Ohio State University would recreate the energy and excitement of his first election. Obama volunteers “worked feverishly” in the week leading up to the event, making multiple calls to residents believed to be supportive of the president.
But the crowds didn’t show up. Only 14,000 turned out to fill the 20,000 capacity arena in which Obama gave his speech. And those that were there were nowhere near as enthused as they were four years ago. The New York Times reports that the rally, “had the feeling of a concert by an aging rock star: a few supporters were wearing faded “Hope” and Obama 2008 T-shirts.”
It’s no secret why Obama’s base is so discouraged. Last week’s jobs report showed that unemployment is still over 8 percent. And the only reason it fell at all was because hundreds of thousands of Americans became so discouraged they stopped looking for work. Worse, the unemployment rate for those aged 20 to 24 is even higher, at 13.2 percent. No wonder, when Obama asked the audience, “Are you satisfied?” they thundered back, “No!”
A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll out today shows that, after almost three and a half years under Obama’s leadership, 59 percent of Americans believe the country is “off on the wrong track.” Predictably, committed Republicans (91 percent) are far more likely than committed Democrats (26 percent) to say the country is headed in the wrong direction. But an overwhelming majority “ticket splitters” (75 percent) are just as unsatisfied as the Republicans. Unless the economy turns around fast, it is hard to see these independents breaking for the incumbent.
Polls: The new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll finds Romney beating Obama 48 percent to 47 percent, but Romney leads among those who describe themselves as “extremely likely” to vote in November. A new Gallup poll of swing states shows Obama beating Romney 47 percent to 45 percent.
Obama: Vice President Joe Biden backed same-sex marriage on Meet the Press yesterday. “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights. All the civil rights, all the civil liberties.” The White House immediately walked back Biden’s statement claiming Biden’s comments were not an endorsement of gay marriage, but a reaffirmation of his belief that same-sex couples deserve equal rights.
Romney: Ron Paul supporters won 22 of the 25 national delegate slots up for election at the Nevada convention in Sparks on Saturday. Mitt Romney only won three. You can watch Romney’s latest web-ad on Obama’s economy, here.
Around the Bigs
Reuters, Socialist Hollande ousts Sarkozy as French leader: – Socialist Francois Hollande swept to victory in France’s presidential election on Sunday in a swing to the left at the heart of Europe and promised to start a pushback against German-led austerity policies.
AFP, Obama invites Hollande to White House: President Barack Obama was among the first world leaders to welcome Francois Hollande’s election as France’s first Socialist president in nearly two decades. Obama invited Hollande for bilateral talks at the White House later this month ahead of a G8 leaders meeting he will host at his Camp David retreat in May.
The Washington Post, In Greek elections, voters reject pro-bailout parties: Voters dealt a potentially ruinous blow Sunday to the bailout keeping Greece from bankruptcy, sweeping away its supporters and pushing top political leaders to say they would renegotiate the rescue package or overturn it completely.
The Wall Street Journal, Euro Drops, Bond Yields Rise, Stocks Fall: European stocks, bank shares and the euro all fell sharply early Monday while yields rose on the sovereign bonds issued by Greece, France, Italy and Spain, after weekend elections in France and Greece resulted in votes against austerity, raising questions about the euro zone’s ability to solve its sovereign-debt problems.
The Wall Street Journal, Confusion Still Reigns on ‘Volcker Rule’ Date: Law firms, bankers, analysts and members of Congress can’t agree on what the Federal Reserve’s new Volcker Rule actually does.
RedState‘s Erick Erickson urges Indiana readers to “Retire Dick Lugar” tomorrow.
The Weekly Standard‘s Stephen Hayes gives rave reviews to Marco Rubio’s Fox News Sunday performance.
Peter Berkowitz explains why colleges don’t teach The Federalist Papers.
PoliticsUSA tries to reassure liberals that Obama’s Columbus arena was more filled than the official attendance showed.
At The Huffington Post, Robert Reich says “socialism” isn’t the answer, but 70 percent tax rates are.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein interviews The New York Times’ Paul Krugman.