With the election quickly closing in, Obama made clear his priorities for a potential second term last week in a 20 page mailer and television ads being distributed in critical swing states. With the release of this last-minute agenda, the Obama campaign is responding to criticism from the right that he has failed to lay out a comprehensive plan should he win the election.
The lengthy booklet details the president’s policies and agenda in five different policy areas. In some, such as healthcare, he outlines what has already been accomplished while in others, he specifies what he does not plan to do, such as privatize Social Security.
The principal goals that the booklet outlines parallel the staples of his 2008 campaign, including improving education, manufacturing, energy production, taxing the wealthy more to reduce the deficit, and ending the war in Afghanistan. Approximately 3.5 million copies have been printed and distributed throughout the key swing states.
In addition to the book, the Obama campaign has also released a 60-second television ad similarly laying out the his goals for a second term. The ad begins with the improvements made in the past four years, such as adding five million jobs into the economy and bringing home soldiers. Afterwards, the president explains the same priorities released in the booklet.
The agenda Obama has released in these efforts has made evident the key difference in his election strategy this year versus in 2008: a much more limited agenda.
At a campaign stop in Florida this weekend, Romney criticized the president’s plan as inadequate and called Obama’s reelection effort "the incredible shrinking campaign."
He said, "They keep on talking about smaller and smaller things."
Obama's limited agenda may be due to the fact that he has already accomplished much of his goals.
"This guy did so much in his first term that still needs to be regulated out and adjudicated," Paul Glastris, editor in chief of The Washington Monthly, said to NPR. "If all he does in the next four years is dealing with what he did in the first four, that will be a hell of a good eight years."
Still, some voters are calling for more details. "Sometimes you've got to spell it out for people," Anna Oshea, a nurse from Delray Beach, said to the Wall Street Journal. "A few more examples might change people's minds. Some people really want to hear it more laid out."