While America broke one racial barrier in electing Barack Obama in 2008, it faces a new one with the 2012 election looming. For the first time, some segments of the electorate are faced with expressing dissatisfaction with a black president‘s performance without coming off as racist. Politico reported Friday, “Privately, Republican elites worry about how to articulate a message that the first black president has been a failure without falling prey to the backlash that would come if their attacks were construed as [racism].”
Obama’s Reelection Prospects
According to Rasmussen Reports, a president’s approval rating is one of the best indicators for evaluating his reelection prospects. Obama’s approval rating is 48 percent, with 52 percent of Americans polled saying they “somewhat disapprove” of his presidential performance.
The most recent Rasmussen tracking poll shows Romney leading in the presidential race, 46 to 44 percent.
2012 Jeremiah Wright Ad Campaign
The New York Times described a proposed super-PAC-funded Republican $10 million ad campaign replaying the president’s connection with controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright. In the 2008 campaign, Wright’s sermons calling the country “the United States of White America” and labeling black citizens “oppressed” caused an uproar, causing Obama to distance himself from the pastor.
The proposed ad campaign created by End Spending Action Fund would relink Obama and Wright. The ad would portray the president as influenced by a “misguided mentor,” and conclude the “president’s formative years among left-wing intellectuals has brought our country to its knees,” the Times noted.
The new Wright ad presently seems to be destined for the trash heap. Prospective financier Joe Ricketts rejected the proposal, according to the Times, after incensed liberal investors suggested a run on his family’s brokerage company, TD Ameritrade.
Presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney said, “I repudiate the effort by that PAC to promote an ad strategy of the nature they’ve described.” He called the plan “…the wrong course for a PAC or campaign,” according to the LA Times.
The Obama campaign responded to news of the proposed ad with a statement condemning “hate-filled, divisive campaign of character assassination,” the Huffington Post said. But HuffPo also noted that the ad, if aired, may not hurt the president’s reelection prospects. Not only does the president poll well on personal attributes, the issue raised in the ad is warmed up leftovers from 2008.