Obama pushed to recast economic message

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pa., on June 12, 2012. Ahead of what's billed as a major speech in Cleveland, democratic strategists want the president to change his message to acknowledge slow growth.

David Brancaccio: Today President Obama travels to Cleveland to deliver what's being a called major a speech on the economy. The president's been under pressure from Democrats to shake up his economic talking points, which they worry are falling flat with voters.

Marketplace's David Gura reports.


David Gura: Strategists are dusting off their old playbooks, giving President Obama tips on how to tailor his economic message. One camp wants more of this:

Phil Hartman, as Bill Clinton: I feel your pain.

That line defined Bill Clinton's '92 campaign, and it gave comedians like Phil Hartman fodder for years. Democratic strategist Kelly Bingel is in another camp.

Kelly Bingel: I think he should be focused more on optimism. I mean, I think we need a little of "Morning in America." 

"Morning in America" ad: It's morning again, in America. 

Like it’s '84 again.

"Morning in America" ad: And under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is....

Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg says that, right now, President Obama's message is too diffuse, too focused on metrics -- like jobs numbers and the unemployment rate.

Anna Greenberg: We don't have kind of one narrative about the economy being articulated by either the campaign or the administration.

And while a slogan could help, Greenberg says what President Obama needs to do -- today, and right up until Election Day, is connect better with middle-class voters.

I'm David Gura for Marketplace.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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