Even Democratic Delegates Don’t Know Obama’s Plans for the Economy

A half-dozen Democratic delegates said in interviews that they are not satisfied with political attacks against Republican nominee Mitt Romney and instead want to hear President Obama’s plans, this Thursday at the Democratic National Convention, on getting the economy producing more jobs and putting more money in people’s wallets.

“Romney says he will create 12 million new jobs. We need something like that. We need to hear what [Obama] is going to do,” said Maf Misbah Uddin, a member of the New York delegation and a union official. “We need something to be hopeful about.”

Uddin said the President’s biggest mistake was concentrating solely on health insurance reform instead of focusing on the economy for the first two years of his presidency, a sentiment echoed by other Democrats. He also said Obama should work on nothing but job creation in his second term. “He maybe did not have enough focus on that the first time,” Uddin said.

The youngest member of the New York delegation, Kevin Elkins, 22, said that Republicans have mostly blocked jobs legislation the president sent to Capitol Hill on items such as infrastructure spending and hiring cops and teachers, but if Obama wins, he will still likely face a GOP House and maybe even a Republican Senate. “Republicans have blocked him, but now he needs to lay out what he is going to do about it and where he is going to take the economy.”

Marie Lopez Rogers, the mayor of Avondale, Ariz., and a DNC delegate, said the party faithful are dispirited: “The economy has been less than we expected, and spirits are down. We need him to lift up our spirits back up and tell us what he is going to do differently.”

Unemployment is now higher than the 7.8 percent rate when Obama took office and economic growth, after speeding up a bit last year, is now close to stalling out again.

On Sunday, White House senior adviser David Plouffe said of the issue: “We were this close to a Great Depression.” When asked by host George Stephanopoulos on whether the American people are better off, Plouffe said, “We’ve clearly improved, George. We’ve made a lot of progress from the depths of the recession. … We’ve got to continue to recover.”

Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter had declared on Monday that Americans are “absolutely” better off than four years ago. At a union rally in Detroit, Vice President Joe Biden said that the nation is better off. “You want to know whether we’re better off?” Biden said in his Labor Day speech. “I got a little bumper sticker for you. Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!”

“Of course the White House is out of touch with the 23 million struggling for work and middle-class Americans who are seeing gas, heating and grocery bills rise while their job security is threatened,” RNC spokesman Tim Miller said when asked about Cutter’s comments. “Obama now has to make a fundamental judgment about his record — does he believe Americans are better off — while those struggling in the Obama economy have already rendered a clear verdict: No.”

It’s not clear what, if any, new initiatives the president realistically can propose. He is unlikely to have a Congress any more friendly to an additional stimulus or any other kind of increased spending. When asked what new details they would like to hear from the president, delegates mostly said Obama should take a stronger hand with Congress and push through proposals he has already made.

“We want to hear more of the details of how he plans to move us forward,” said Karen Garcia, an Arkansas delegate. “Growth has just been so small, we want to see some big steps.”



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