The President enters his convention in a dead heat with Mitt Romney. His numbers are significantly below the 50% mark and his favorability has taken a hit in the wake of the Republican convention. The primary issues he faces is a stagnant economy and his signature accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, is unpopular.
Needless to say, Barack Obama needs to accomplish major things during the convention.
Explain what and why he did what he did over the past four years.
The American public is not happy with the Obama administration’s performance over the past four years. His job ratings on the economy linger in the 40% range. He needs to explain to the public why he chose to focus on the auto bailout, stimulus, and healthcare reform. His argument here is that these initiatives were key to strengthening the economic foundation of the country. Whether or not he can win this argument is another matter, but he must at least attempt to make the argument. Voters want to know why he did not perform better (certainly a fair expectation) and he needs to explain, without pointing fingers, why he chose the path he took.
Explain why the next four years will be better.
The President needs to outline exactly how he intends to fix the economy and why his approach in the second term will work when it failed in the first term. The temptation will be to make excuses. Some of the excuses may be valid, but the public is generally not interested in hearing excuses. They gave him one chance, now he needs to convince them that he deserves a second chance. They understand he inherited a rough economy, and they also understand that they were promised a new era of American politics. It is imperative that the President provides a vision for the next four years. Yes, he needs to rev up the hope machine one more time. While voters will certainly watch the Republican challenger to see if he is qualified, they will ultimately make their choice on which candidate will make sure they are better off fours years from now.