Economy grows larger as political issue

2008 presidential candidates, clockwise from upper left, Democrats Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards; Republicans Mitt Romney, John McCain and Mike Huckabee.

TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: There was obvious concern at the White House today as President Bush huddled with the Fed chief, his Treasury secretary and other top economic advisors.

Bush insisted financial markets and economy are on solid ground, but he might yet offer an economic stimulus package later this month. The president spoke of "new signs...that require diligence."

You can read that not just from an economic perspective, but a political one. We asked Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer how these growing recession fears might affect the looming presidential election.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: If there's a recession, will the populists become more popular?

Democrat John Edwards and Republican Mike Huckabee paint themselves as one of us. So, Jordan Lieberman of Campaigns and Elections magazine says they might pick up traction.

Jordan Lieberman: Two Americas and the lost middle class -absolutely that message resonates across America.

Lieberman says some Democrats will customize that message.

Lieberman: You're going to see certainly Barak Obama talk about the mortgage crisis and recession and how families are struggling.

And remember "it's the economy, stupid?"from Bill Clinton's campaign. Hillary Clinton is likely to take a page from her husband's playbook.

Huckabee is the only populist Republican so far, although some critics say that his national sales tax proposal would hurt the poor.

American University Political Science Professor James Thurber expects Mitt Romney to keep highlighting his management experience.

James Thurber: He sort of looks like a CEO. This hurts him with the common man when he goes out and says I'm going to help you get your jobs back.

Republicans John McCain and Rudy Giuliani may avoid the "R" word, but Harvard economist Robert Lawrence says whoever wins won't really steer the economy.

Robert Lawrence: Getting out of a recession depends far more on what the fed reserve does with interest rates than anything the government can do in the short term -- no matter who'd in charge.

Still, no candidate is going to be stupid enough to ignore the economy.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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