The re-election campaign for President Barack Obama this week released a new TV ad featuring former President Bill Clinton. In the ad, Clinton endorses President Obama’s economic vision, comparing it to his own in the 90s.
The ad begins with President Clinton framing the election in terms of job-creation. “This election, to me, is about which candidate is more likely to return us to full employment,” said Clinton. “This is a clear choice. The Republican plan is to cut more taxes on upper-income people and go back to deregulation – that’s what got us in trouble in the first place.”
This short speech is followed by fast cuts showing working-class Americans and President Obama interacting with them in a friendly manner. Clinton speaks over these images and strongly associates Obama’s economic plan with the one he had in the 90s.
The choice to focus on job creation is an interesting and potentially risky one for President Obama. While the economy has recovered slightly over Obama’s first term, in absolute terms it still has a long way to go before it could be called “good.” This type of economy generally favors the challenger in presidential elections. However, as University of Colorado political scientists Michael Berry and Kenneth Bickers point out, job creation, historically speaking, is an issue that can swing votes for Democrats. Their election prediction, which yesterday pegged Mitt Romney as a clear winner, was based on state economies. It took both unemployment figures and changes in real per capita income into account.