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Presidential Priorities

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

President Obama’s whereabouts reveal what he values, and doesn’t. To wit:

In the week preceding the violent attacks on our embassies on 9/11/12, according to the Washington Post, President Obama could not find time in his busy schedule for a face-to-face intelligence briefing.

Likewise, in the critical moments before the attack, President Obama was literally asleep at the wheel. News reports indicated President Obama knew about the impending attack on our Libyan consulate ninety minutes before it happened. His response? He went to bed.

More broadly, in the past month, the president’s busy schedule – so full of fundraising and celebrity hobnobbing: an appearance on “The David Letterman Show,” celebrity fundraising with Jay Z – apparently afforded no time for a meeting with the leader of “one of our closest allies” in the Middle East, Israel. This despite President Obama remarks to the UN about the gravity of the unresolved Iranian nuclear crisis, remarks which apparently substituted, as words so often do for President Obama, for active engagement.

More recently, in the last week alone, President Obama had no time for our allies in New York, but he did have time to appear on “The View” and to speak to the Clinton Global Initiative. Presumably he owed President Clinton that much after Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. What he owed The View’s audience was anyone’s guess. Apparently too busy to change the tone in Washington, President Obama prefers to hear himself speak elsewhere.

While the president hobnobs, Americans continue to suffer. The number 8 puts everything in perspective. For the umpteenth month, unemployment hovers over 8%, household incomes are down 8.2% percent (so far) under President Obama, yet in the hopes of serving eight years, the president made time to attend a fundraiser in New York featuring a tower of Armand de Brignac champagne bottles that cost a whopping $800 each. And Mitt Romney is accused of being out of touch.

Beyond the present suffering, future misery beckons unless the president acts. The nation’s largest tax hike – over $500 billion/year not including the $1 trillion in Obamacare costs – is set to kick in on January 1, 2013 when the Bush tax cuts expire (again). Unless the tax cuts are made permanent, taxes are going up on personal income (35% to 39.6%), payroll (up 9%), dividends (15% to 43.4%), capital gains (15% to 23.8%), and death (35% to 55%). President Obama’s response? Demonize Mitt Romney, which all agree will do nothing to prevent the aforementioned tax hikes.

Listening to Mitt Romney, it’s apparent what he values. Even before America learned about the murder of the American ambassador in Libya, Romney rightly condemned the apology-first policy of the American embassy in Cairo. Further, in the face of withering press criticism, he bravely and rightly reiterated his critique of the administration’s botched response after we learned the tragic news of the Al-Qaeda orchestrated murder of Chris Stevens and his former Navy SEAL bodyguards. Perhaps President Obama only cares about Navy SEALs when they advance a campaign talking point.

Domestically, Romney is equally on point and more relevant than the president. Campaigning in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio, Romney is speaking substantively and compellingly about fixing our stagnated economy, growing jobs, boosting America’s domestic energy supply, and restoring a sense of confidence about the country’s future.

Thus despite the tremendous political advantages normally associated with Oval Office incumbency, misplaced priorities and self-inflicted wounds cast grave doubts on the President’s electoral fortunes. Gallup and Rasmussen polls, which show the race in a dead heat, portend a fight-to-the finish race, circa 2000.

Many unknowns will determine the election’s outcome, but the contestants’ priorities reveal everything Americans need to know. Barack Obama offers more celebrity-studded schmoozing masquerading as governing, while Mitt Romney offers the maturity of a proven leader who understands that speaking alone accomplishes nothing. To borrow from Abraham Lincoln, a president who spoke sparingly while saving our Union, when the horse you’re on leads you astray midstream, you get a new horse.

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