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Obama's reelection bid: Can he recapture the magic? Does he need to?


The following are from the April 4, 2011, edition of The Christian Science Monitor and the April 5, 2011, edition of The New York Daily News. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for these stories.

The New York Daily News online logo

President Obama looking strong

By Thomas M. Defrank

WASHINGTON - Nineteen months is a millennium in politics, but today's smart money says Barack Obama will be tough to beat in 2012 - if the economy continues to mend.

Obama's luster has dimmed since his historic 2008 victory. The honeymoon ended with the polarizing health care bill, and his approval ratings are middling at best.

Like any candidate, Obama is hardly a shoo-in. The war in Afghanistan remains unpopular, particularly with his base. Economic recovery is real - but sluggish. The Libyan campaign is a reminder events have a way of unexpectedly popping up that can alter the political balance.

Still, it's amazing how many Republican mandarins privately brood about their chances of unseating Obama only five months after voters decisively repudiated him in the November midterms. . .

"It's advantage Obama," said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. "Unless the economy gets worse and the Republicans put up a stronger person, he's in pretty good shape."

Read the full story.

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April 5, 2011

By Linda Feldmann
Staff Writer

The Christian Science Monitor online logoFour years ago, Barack Obama was the upstart freshman senator, off on a long-shot quest to become the most powerful man in the world.

Now he’s President Obama, The Man, the insider, the politician with the machine looking for four more years. Can he recapture the magic of his historic election 2-1/2 years ago? Does he need to?

The short answer, analysts say, is no and no. It’s well nigh impossible to capture lightning in a bottle twice, but that doesn’t matter. As the sitting president of the United States, Mr. Obama goes into his reelection bid – announced Monday morning via e-mail and Web video – with all the advantages and disadvantages of an incumbent.

“This is a very standard case of: ‘My agenda is not yet complete. In a second term, I’ll be able to do more great things,’ ” says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Instead of taking the field by storm, as he did in 2007, “this is more grind it out,” Mr. Jillson continues. “He’s already president of the United States. People already have formed opinions. It’s not hope and change anymore. It’s, can Obama’s program continue slowly to create economic recovery and get the country back on its feet and restore confidence.”

Read the full story.

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