For months, Democratic strategists have implored the Obama campaign to roll out a robust second-term agenda. Team Obama has declined, opting instead to pursue a puzzling "stay the course" message. Following the second debate, Republicans began turning up the heat on the same issue. Enter Marco Rubio:
Now that Obama has squandered his best opportunities to introduce a significant positive vision to a vast audience (the obvious settings would have been his nominating convention or any of the three debates), his campaign has finally realized that maybe an agenda would be useful after all. Thus, they've introduced a new ad, which purports to outline the president's "new" "plan." Scour this spot for something -- anything -- fresh, and you'll come up empty. In fact, as Mary Katharine Ham points out, its most striking image is the YouTube screen-shot, in which the president looks spent:
Ugh, do I really have to do this?
MKH's line is hilarious: "Fired up, ready to mope!" In conjunction with this TV spot, Chicago is distributing a glossy brochure to the press. Even CNN's Jessica Yellin (a thinly-disguised Obama supporter) is left asking "where's the beef?"
"I wouldn't put it that way because he put this out before; he’s just never put it out in a booklet like this. We heard these same details at the democratic convention. We’ve heard them from his mouth on the campaign stump for days and months and weeks and so my point is there is not anything significantly new in here. It’s just all compiled in a nice booklet now..."
With Romney surging (even overtaking Obama on the important measure of personal favorability), liberals are beginning to wring their hands. And along with that hand-wringing come dirty tricks nasty attacks. Case in point, NBC News offshoot "The Grio" is peddling a totally false story about Mitt Romney trying to rig voting machines in Ohio:
In fact, with the incredibly close race comes a growing fear that Republicans are trying to steal the election with a dirty tactics to intimidate voters and manipulate the electoral process. Democrats argue the push for voter ID laws, shortened early voting time frames or the spreading of rumors that voters will be chastised on Election Day, are all moves to disenfranchise without legitimate justification. Now, the integrity of electronic voting machines is back in the spotlight. Reports are circulating there are “dubious links” between the voting machines in some counties [Hamilton and William] in Ohio and Governor Romney.
How empty are these scare-tactics? So empty that even Think Progress won't stoop to this level of hackery. Yet. The next two weeks could get very ugly -- brace yourselves.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography