Politico: Watch the Obama reelect numbers, says Mark Penn

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.

View the full results from Penn Schoen Berland’s poll, the first of six in Politico’s “Power and the People” poll series

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.”

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The New York Times: Mark Penn answers “How Can Obama Rebound?”

How Can Obama Rebound?

Though BP managed to stop the spread of oil from its broken well last week, President Obama has been able to do little to stop the drop in his public approval ratings, which now, according to a new ABC News-Washington Post poll, hover just above 40 percent. Add these numbers to the comment by Robert Gibbs, the president’s press secretary, that Democrats could lose control of the House in the November elections, and it equals trouble for the president in 2012. So what does Mr. Obama need to do to shore up his base, woo back independent voters and win a second term? The Op-Ed editors asked political experts to suggest a few plans of attack.

Middle Man
By MARK PENN, adviser and pollster to the 1996 Clinton campaign and chief executive of Burson-Marsteller

The most important thing President Obama can do, as Bill Clinton did during his first term, is retake ownership of the center — the voters who elected him but now feel he has moved too far to the left. That means making a real down payment on the deficit, revamping the health care act to address the cost issue, opening up new markets overseas and creating jobs by promoting innovation through spending on basic research.

Rather than cut the space program, he should double its size. He should make sure that every American with a broadband connection has access to online education. He should offer research grants and tax incentives to promote investment in our coal, natural gas and biofuel resources, as well as wind and solar energy.

Voters will re-elect President Obama only if they believe that America is on the move, creating and building things. Homeownership is still a vital part of the American dream and must remain a goal of his administration, despite the housing crisis. And he should work with both parties to come to a reasonable compromise on immigration reform, one that would create a clearer path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and effectively control the borders.

After the midterms, President Obama will likely face the same decision that President Clinton faced in 1994 — to stay the course on the left or return to the center. His choice could be the difference between a one-term presidency and four more years governing with the coalition that elected him.

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Politico: Don’t let midterms take us back, says Mark Penn

Politico

By MARK PENN
July 6, 2010

The country is likely to go into the midterms divided and dissatisfied — conditions unlikely to produce good news for the Obama administration.

But just how bad the news could be remains uncertain. Successfully reducing and deflecting the damage could make a huge difference in the political landscape — and the administration’s future.

Many key variables are set: Unemployment is stuck at more than 9 percent, most Americans have a negative view of the health care bill, the deficit continues to skyrocket and the war in Afghanistan is not going well. Independent movements, like the tea parties, are spreading like wildfire, and the president’s approval ratings can’t seem to break 50 percent.

All in all, it could take a political Houdini to get out of this mess.

The administration’s plan, so far, seems to be to blame Wall Street for the economic mess, the health insurance industry for rising health care costs and BP for the oil spill and its protracted damage. President Barack Obama has blamed Republicans for the gridlock and a divided country.

But it is going to take a lot more than the blame game to cut electoral losses to acceptable levels. Democrats could lose 25 seats in the House and four Senate seats and still call it a midterm victory. But the fear is real that unless there are strategy changes, Democrats could lose a lot more.

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Statement about Mark Penn from President Bill Clinton

“Mark did a fine job for me in 1995 and 1996, during the government shutdown and my re-election campaign.

He also helped the Democrats win House seats in 1998, when we were badly outspent and pundits predicted losses of 25 to 35 seats. The last time the President’s party won House seats in the sixth year of his presidency was 1822.

He was a great help to Hillary in 2000 and 2006.

In 2008, his polling was accurate and advice was helpful even though the campaign didn’t prevail. As President Kennedy said, victory has a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan.

I remain grateful for his hard work and loyalty.”

–President Bill Clinton, April 15, 2009

Politico: Clintonism lives

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published August 25, 2008

For eight years, President Bill Clinton prepared America for the 21st century, restoring optimism and activism to the presidency, redefining America’s role in the world, funneling more money to the poor and underserved while balancing the budget and creating the foundation for the one of the greatest economic expansions since the Industrial Age.

And yet as Barack Obama formally accepts the Democratic nomination, having defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton, people regularly ask whether is Clintonism dead.

No, not by a long shot.

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