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

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise to The Christian Science Monitor and The New York Daily News on President Obama's announcement that he was seeking reelection.

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.”

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