Change, Part Two: Obama Announces Reelection Campaign
"There are so many things that are still on the table that need to be addressed," said one supporter in the video. "And I want them to be addressed by President Obama.
Republicans wasted no time countering Obama's message:
"Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the most prominent Republican officially in the running against Mr. Obama, released a 35-second video response today that features ominous music and images of lightening striking over the White House and houses pegged with foreclosure signs.
'To take a new direction, it's going to take a new president,' Pawlenty says at the end of the video."
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, not yet officially in the race, Tweeted about unemployment, adding to the calvalcade of internet communications.
Obama wrote in the e-mail:
"So even though I'm focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today. We've always known that lasting change wouldn't come quickly or easily. It never does."
The Natonal Journal predicted that for Obama to lose 2012, three things would have to happen: The economy will still have to be down or stagnant in swing states, there must be an absence of further international crises around which the country can rally, plus the Republicans must present a strong, charismatic alternative:
"Two of these factors—the economy and an international crisis—are basically out of the GOP’s hands (in many ways, they are out of the Obama campaign’s control as well). Republicans should only be concerned with nominating the candidate who can give them a shot at winning if the two other factors are in place. And note that I didn’t add longtime political office-holding to the qualifications. Experience is nice, but it isn’t necessary in this environment."
By most accounts, Obama is in his best shape since the early days of his presidency, despite an ugly ongoing fight about the federal budget and continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (plus intervention in Libya, Pakistan, etc.):
"The president enters the early phase of his re-election with approval ratings just over 50 percent in some polls and an economy that has seen steady job growth for more than a year. The unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in two years.
Mr. Obama is positioned to run a campaign in which he maintains that his policies prevented an economic collapse and that he made good on his promises: to enact health care reform, put new limits on banks and change the world’s view of the United States."
Above all, voters are likely to ask whether Obama brought the change he promised so fervently in 2008.