by Xinhua writer Sun Hao
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Now it is the turn for U.S. President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats. After Republicans tried "reinventing" their presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the party convention, Obama will his own big moment to present what he called "a new path" with no vague messages during upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
However, this time around, Obama would have difficulty re- igniting voters' enthusiasm with a "forward" agenda as he did four years ago chanting "hope" and "change".
VISION WITH NEW IDEAS?
Obama will pay a visit to the storm-damaged state of Louisiana on Monday, where Romney took a detour last Friday right after accepting his party's nomination on Thursday night. With official business sandwiched between campaign events, the president has immersed himself in a four-day campaign tour "Road to Charlotte" starting from last Saturday, as a warming up for the upcoming convention. The campaign tour included visits to Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia, all of which are swing states that will play a "pivotal role" in a close election, in the words of Obama's campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
During these stops, Obama repeatedly touted his success in cutting taxes, expanding health care, delivering education assistance and bringing U.S. troops back from decade-long wars.
He also seized the opportunity rebutting the "It's Obama's fault" argument that had been frequently used by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his fellow party members during their party convention in Tampa, Florida last week. However, the big moment of Obama's acceptance speech this coming Thursday night in Charlotte will remain the focus.
"Now, on Thursday night, I'm going to offer you what I believe is a better path forward -- a path that will grow this economy and create more jobs and strengthen the middle class. And the good news is you get to choose the path we take," said Obama at a campaign rally at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
He slammed the Republicans for spending "less time talking about what plans they had to actually meet these challenges and solve these problems."
The Obama campaign also dismissed Romney as presenting "not a single idea". "Their pool is like an empty pool with no water and dead leaves and trees in it," said campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Sunday.
Asked by reporters whether Obama meant to deliver any new ideas during the convention, Psaki replied, "The President has been running on his forward-looking agenda for the entire time he's been campaigning. He's been talking about his forward-looking agenda for the last three and a half years."
2008 GLAMOUR HARD TO REPEAT
"Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama?" Romney threw the question to voters when he formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination last Thursday night.
It's a question that the Obama rhetoric has so far failed to rebut.
A latest Pew poll found that about four in ten Americans are interested in following what happens at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, down from 59 percent four years ago when Obama became the party's presidential nominee for the first time.
Right now the incumbent president and the challenger are deadlocked in nationwide voter support. However, a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Obama has to do more to thrill the base during the Democratic National Convention from Tuesday to Thursday in North Carolina. The poll found that the enthusiasm gap between the two rivals has been narrowed significantly after the presidential race geared up to the general election. Currently, 48 percent of Obama supporters are "very enthusiastic" about his candidacy, while 42 percent of Romney backers feel that way about the Republican campaign. In July, Obama led by a 13 points and even by 25 points in May.
Although both sides agreed that economy remains a top issue in this year's election campaign, the poll had even worse news for Obama, who continued to get more negative reviews for the handling of the economy. The only good news is that ratings have not dwindled further.
Romney beat Obama by seven points among registered voters on economy, but Obama still won over him in likeability by a double- digit lead, as well as on social issues.
"To put context in, I agree that Obama is running more against the economy than against Romney. Although his likeability is greater than Romney, but the issue of running economy is hurting him significantly," said James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University.
He told Xinhua that while there is very little Obama can do in terms of changing economy immediately, "he needs to assure American people that they need to stay in the course with him and it would have been worse if he had not done what he did with the stimulus package."
Since Romney's policies are still quite vague, Thurber said the strategy of Obama campaign strategy has been "what are you exactly going to do to turn the economy around?"
As for the upcoming Democratic convention, Thurber believed it would basically be advertisement time for the Obama and Vice President Joe Biden ticket.
"I don't expect anything as exciting as in 2008," said Thurber, "2008 was a phenomenal election, and a phenomenal convention with a very moving speech by the president. I guess it's hard for him to get back to that level again."