Mark Penn talks about the outlook for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and potential for new Republican candidates on Bloomberg Television’s “InBusiness with Margaret Brennan.”
The chief adviser to Hillary and Bill understands a thing or two about winning, losing, and Obama. Here he explains to GQ’s Lisa DePaulo how Obama could still end up out of a job next fall.
1. He Takes Another Big Risk—and Flops
“Obviously, he took the biggest risk of his presidency with the Osama operation. He took a huge risk and it completely paid off. He was right. But watch out now for the over-confidence that comes with success. Don’t try this again with Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban. It’s a common thing for presidents to do, particularly on the basis of a risky success. They think, “Well, that went great, let’s try something like that again.” The next risky mission could end up being a disaster that will be very difficult for his presidency to recover from. I sometimes think Bush got into Iraq because the original Afghanistan mission seemed to go so easily. It was won in two weeks, with very few troops involved. I think that led to a notion that he could have equally quick success in Iraq. Instead he wound up with something that defined the rest of his presidency. See, presidents often have two modes. One is: ‘Hunker down, we gotta be careful.’ And the other is: ‘Things are great, don’t worry about it.’ It’s when they get in that second mode that mistakes happen.”
2. He Thumps His Chest Too Much About Bin Laden
“He’s already mentioning it in speeches, and he has to stop. Never ever put the Osama mission in political terms. People are going to want him to put this in ads. Don’t. Everybody knows he did a great job! This was a different kind of thing for sure, but after impeachment was over, Joe Lockhart had this great phrase: ‘We’re in a gloat-free zone.’ The president’s gotta stay in a gloat-free zone.”
Politico: Poll: The big disconnect: D.C. elites think Obama will be reelected, but the public doubts it
By MARK PENN
November 15, 2010
The midterms not only dealt a big shock to Democrats but also sent a message to President Barack Obama. According to the new POLITICO Power and the People poll, only 26 percent of the public believes he will be reelected as president in 2012. Inside the Beltway, however, expectations are quite different, with D.C. elites saying he will have a second term by a reverse 2 to 1 margin. (49 percent say re-elected; 23 percent say not).
This difference in expectations could mislead the president if he is listening to the Beltway chatter — right here in D.C., he may just find a lot of comfort in this assessment by insiders, and that may lead to actions that don’t fully adjust for the sea change that has occurred among the general public. (See also Poll: D.C. Sees Midterms Differently)
This big difference can partially be explained by the different ways that the two groups see the economy and the world today. Seventy percent of D.C. elites admit that they have been affected less than the average citizen when it comes to the economic downturn. The elites see the tea party as purely a fad (70 percent). In contrast, those who say that the president will not be reelected see the country as headed in the wrong direction by 82 percent, see the economy as headed in the wrong direction by 81 percent and overwhelmingly want repeal of the health care law at the top of the agenda. The quarter of the public who consider Obama’s reelection probable see the economy turning around by nearly 3-to-1. They are the outliers of the electorate, suggesting that the president has a lot more work to do to get back on track for a second term.
Democratic Strategist Mark Penn appeared on Fox Business News’ Bulls and Bears to discuss what the president must do to maintain the support of the American people.
A majority of voters see the midterm election as a referendum on Barack Obama, but most have not decided whether they’ll vote against the president in 2012, according to a poll by The Hill.
Seventy percent of respondents in The Hill’s latest survey of 10 battleground districts said their feelings about President Obama will play an important role in how they vote on Nov. 2.
That tracks closely with polling conducted by The Hill in other districts across the country during the past three weeks, where 69 percent of voters said Obama would affect their choices on Election Day.
The focus on Obama was high among voters in both parties; 47 percent of Republicans in the latest poll said Obama would be a very important factor in their vote, while 46 percent of Democrats said the same thing.
Yet 54 percent of those polled said Republicans winning back control of Congress this year would have no impact on their vote in 2012. An even higher number of independents, 62 percent, said a Republican Congress would have no impact on their vote for president in 2012.
The results point to a paradox of the 2010 election: While it is clear voters worried about government spending and record deficits want to put a brake on the Obama administration, they do not appear to have given up on the president.
“The results indicate voters want to see Obama move to the center and work more with Republicans, particularly on spending”, said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the survey.
While Penn said that the 2010 election is “in many ways” a referendum on Obama, he added: “Voters didn’t see any direct correlation between who holds Congress and who they’ll vote for president.”
By MARK PENN
July 18, 2010
By far, the most alarming numbers this poll presents for President Barack Obama are the reelection figures; against a generic Republican candidate, he loses by 5 points, 37-42. In general, when an incumbent’s reelect numbers fall below 50 percent, it’s a sign of trouble to come — and Obama’s inability to break even 40 percent may be the most telling indicator to come out of these data.
Americans like Obama — despite nearly 10 percent unemployment and two ongoing wars, his 49 percent favorable rating remains much stronger than some of the low points hit by Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. But what is surprising is the 11-point gulf between his favorable (48 percent) and reelect ratings. This suggests a lot of voters are saying, “I like him personally” but not “I would vote for him again.”