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Fineman & Wolffe's Advice For Obama: Paint GOP As "Embracing Bush"

Columnists say blaming Republicans for economic woes is game plan for Obama's reelection campaign.

Howard Fineman And Richard Wolffe on what the Democrats, more specifically the Obama team, will have to do to shape the President's poor approval rating and shift blame of economic woes squarely on the Republicans.

Fineman: Democrats tell me Obama will have to paint GOP as "too scary of an alternative" to him:

"From having talked to Democrats, both in the Obama camp and outside of it. I think it is clear that one thing the president has to do politically -- aside from whatever he says in his jobs speech -- is begin to make the case that the Republicans are just not the alternative.

"That they in fact represent what is wrong with life in Washington, D.C. more than he does.

"And in the piece I published in the Huffington Post today, having talked to a top Obama adviser. He said that the White House, not Obama personally, The White House is going to go after the Republican Congress for everything from the Paul Ryan plan, to Cut, Cap, And Balance, to the effort to rollback Wall Street reform. And they're going to say that the Republican presidential candidates that we're going to watch on MSNBC tomorrow night are racing to embrace the Tea Party.

"And indeed, Rick Perry is very popular in the Tea Party. But, the Tea Party is anathema and toxic to independent voters. So the White House is going to go after independent voters by pointing to the Tea Party and try to turn out the Democratic base by painting a scary picture of the Republicans in Congress," Fineman said on M

Richard Wolffe: General election will get "a lot uglier and aggressive."

"Look back where [then-Senator Barack Obama] was at in 2007. These head-to-head numbers really don't mean a lot, the ones we're all talking about in Washington. At this point in 2007, [Obama] was losing to Rudy Giuliani in a nominal matchup.

"So, the poll numbers will change. The economy is surely going to change in a year, whether you think it's going up or down. But there is no question that the contest, the head-to-head debate, the fight between these two sides is going to get a lot uglier and aggressive."

Fineman: People would have liked to see Obama succeed:

What does Fineman mean here (emphasis mine) when he says, in the past tense, that people "would have liked" Obama? Is Fineman assuming the President will only be serving one term?

"I don't question it. I think people would like, would have liked to have seen him succeed. The danger that he faces right now is that many people seem to be concluding that he can't succeed. That is what that long-range problem number is that you read earlier on. So, I think that's a problem for him. The other silver lining for him, the other positive news for him is, obviously, in the dismal numbers for Congress. Half of which is run by Republicans. And the fact that the Republicans don't seem to have much traction at all. I will say this: This poll, however premature it may be is going to affect the atmosphere in this room here (Reagan Library) tomorrow night (GOP Debate on NBC), Lawrence. Because I think it will embolden the Republicans to be even harsher, tougher on the President than they otherwise would be. They'll go after him more tomorrow night then they otherwise would have."

Wolffe's advice: Paint current GOP presidential crop as "embracing" Bush policies

"If the Democrats, if the White House can get its act together and portray this group of Republican candidates as embracing the Bush philosophy or the Bush policies, even to a more extreme degree, then there is a route out of this. This, this mess that they're in because these elections, as Obama's aides keep pointing out, are a choice. They are a choice between two candidates and this choice will be much more narrowly fought than it was in 2008.

"Remember President Bush only won with a two-and-a-half-percent margin of victory and that was considered a big win in 2004."

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