The following by Reuters news service appeared in numerous publications, including the June 6, 2012, edition of The Columbus (Ind.) Republic. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.
June 7, 2012
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The festering economic crisis in Europe could help determine the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, but don't expect President Barack Obama or his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, to spend much time talking about it.
The November 6 election is widely expected to turn on the state of the U.S. economy, and the impact of Europe's slow-motion meltdown has begun hitting Wall Street, manufacturers and other businesses. U.S. households have lost $1 trillion in wealth since March as the euro zone crisis has pushed stock markets down, according to JP Morgan.
Any number of scenarios, from a Greek exit from the euro currency to a run on Spanish banks, could spark a financial crisis that would recall the dark days of 2008.
Ideally, elections provide an opportunity for candidates to tell voters how they would handle such a potential calamity. But Obama and Romney have barely mentioned the euro zone crisis since a slew of disappointing economic indicators pushed Europe's woes to the fore last week. . .
If Obama himself were to link Romney's policies with those in Europe, he could alienate European leaders at a time when he is working with them to contain the crisis.
"As president, he really can't be directly criticizing his colleagues in Europe," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. "He must treat them diplomatically." . . .
Romney and his fellow Republicans also must deflect Democratic claims that they are cheering signs that the economy is stalling.
"Although they do believe continued struggles of the American economy" benefits them, Jillson said, "it doesn't mean they're clapping."
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