The Obama reelection campaign may have just kicked off officially on Saturday but former advisor Austan Goolsbee said on Sunday that slow job growth and stiff competition from Republican super PAC dollars mean the president is in for “the fight of his life.”
“There were 14,000 people at the rally for the president in Ohio. There were another 8,000 people in Virginia,” Goolsbee said on ABC’s This Week. “If all 22,000 of those people opened their wallets and gave $1,000 each, that would be less than one donation from a billionaire to the super PACs. And that's why he's in for the fight of his life.”
But funding won’t be Obama’s only challenge. Fellow panelist Gretta Van Sustren, a commentator on Fox News, said on This Week that Obama is suffering from an enthusiasm gap that has fewer supporters showing up to early rallies and could translate into lower turnout at the polls in November.
“What really helped him in '08 was the enthusiasm factor,” she said. “Usually he had lines. He didn't have that. He spoke to the nation from Afghanistan on Tuesday night. That was a big deal. And you look at the ratings on cable news, and it was just nothing. Nobody even paid any attention. No one's like even paying any attention to him.”
Polls show President Obama has been holding a steady, if at times slight, lead over Romney among registered voters. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, for example, found that Obama leads with 49 percent to Romney’s 43 percent.
However, Obama’s record on the economy has been a persistent problem. The same poll found 52 percent disapprove of his handling of the economy. The White House has spent several days trying to put a positive spin on weak job numbers released on Friday. The Labor Dept. reported that the U.S. economy picked up 115,000 jobs in April as the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent.