Two days before their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Democrats are gearing up to present the election as a choice between President Obama’s vision for the future and a return to Bush era policies of the last decade.
Democrats made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows to preview their re-election pitch to Americans, emphasizing that it would be a choice between going forward — their campaign slogan — and letting Mitt Romney double down on the policies of President George W. Bush that caused the economic downturn.
“What you’re going to hear this week in Charlotte is a president who is going to present a clear agenda for the future that talks about how we build a sound economy and lift the middle class in this country,” Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said on “Fox News Sunday.” But Republicans’ ideas, he continued, “are derivative of what we did in the last decade, that brought our economy to its knees.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among numerous Obama surrogates who laid out the same argument. “[Romney’s] basically laid out the policy for Groundhog Day, which is we’re going to go back to the very things that led to a recession,” Emanuel told David Gregory on “Meet the Press,” referencing the 1993 film in which the main character wakes up every morning on the same day. “All Romney has to offer, David, is actually to go back to the very policies that got us into the rut we were in when the president was sworn in office.”
Though President Obama was chided by Republicans this week for blaming his predecessor and failing to take responsibility, Democrats will continue to place much of the blame for the economic downturn on the Bush administration.
“Voters understand it took us years and years of tremendously bad decisions, by running up huge debts and providing huge tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires that didn’t create jobs,” Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And they understand it’s going to take us while to get out of that mess. And I think that’s essentially what the choice is and I think that’s what the choice is that you’ll see presented in Charlotte.”
The Romney campaign is already trying to distance Romney from the Bush. The former president was barely mentioned at the GOP convention in Tampa, where Republicans paid tentative tribute to his character but avoided mentioning his policies.
On the trail after the convention, Romney sought to set himself apart from Bush and his spending policies.
“We’re going to finally have to do something that Republicans have spoken about for a long time, and for a while we didn’t do it,” Romney told a crowd in Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturday. “When we had the lead we let people down. We need to make sure we don’t lead them down this time — I will cut the deficit and get us on track to a balanced budget.”
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.