Hillary Clinton is struggling with enthusiasm among some of the key voting blocs that helped elect Barack Obama.
In response, Obama took to the campaign trail to fire up his voters.
But his remarks may have contained a major error which could backfire in a major way.
Enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton has lagged largely with black voters.
In 2012, blacks turned out at a record rate and made the difference in battleground states like Ohio in re-electing Barack Obama.
But Hillary is trailing in Ohio and other key states, so Obama recently gave a speech targeted to black voters, imploring them to vote.
While speaking at the Congressional Black Foundation Dinner, an angry Obama made what some view as a big tactical mistake.
Politico reports on his remarks:
“Declaring he would consider it “a personal insult, an insult to my legacy” if black turnout falters for Hillary Clinton, Obama did what he got reamed for doing almost exactly two years ago, in the heat of midterm elections where disdain for him was the defining force:
Yes, he said, he is pretty much on the ballot in November.
“My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot,” Obama said, his voice rising to a shout as he went well beyond what sources familiar with the speech say was a tamer version of the riff in the prepared remarks. “Tolerance is on the ballot.
Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. Ending mass incarceration, that’s on the ballot right now.
Hope and change was his campaign slogan eight years ago. This year, Obama said, Trump presents a nightmarish vision of change that he urged the country to reject…
…Using the museum’s opening to launch into a consideration of the arc of African-American progress, he said people who say their vote doesn’t count are an insult to the people who were beaten and killed registering voters during the Civil Rights Era. People who don’t stand up for their community, he said, shame the memories of the slaves who suffered extra lashes for learning how to read.
The job of everyone in the audience, Obama said, and everyone who cared, was to vote, and to get more voters registered — not just to stop Trump, but to stop anyone who stands with him, and anyone who has backed voter ID laws targeted at suppressing black voters while pretending to chase a problem of mass voter fraud for which there is no evidence.”
While Obama’s rhetoric was designed to inspire his voters, it may end up having the opposite effect.
During the 2014 midterms, Obama declared his policies were on the ballot.
This too was done to fire up Democrat voters who turned out for Obama in 2008 and 2012, but were not likely to turnout for other Democrats in the midterms.
Many said it was a mistake.
Included in that group was David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist for his 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
The Washington Times reports:
“I would not have put that line in there,” Mr. Axelrod said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It was a mistake.”
GOP attack ads featuring a clip of Mr. Obama’s speech last week at Northwestern University are already airing in Kansas, Kentucky and New Hampshire, The Hill reported.
“Now, I am not on the ballot this fall,” Mr. Obama said Thursday. “Michelle is pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot — every single one of them.”
Mr. Axelrod said he understood the message Mr. Obama was trying to convey, but he opened the door to more criticism from the right.
“It was obvious when you saw the speech that that was not the way the clip was going” to be circulated, Mr. Axelrod said.”
Obama’s remarks started showing up in Republican campaign commercials, and some pundits believe it helped inspire GOP voters to turn out and hand control of the Senate back to Republicans.
Will a similar dynamic play out in the Presidential election?
Let us know what you think in the comment section.