44.2 million Americans receiving food stamps,
average monthly benefit of $132.81 and
the 2012 election will exceed $1 billion
(single election equivalent of providing monthly food stamps
for an entire year to 625,000 people)Politico
By Jennifer Epstein and
April 4, 2011
President Barack Obama launched his 2012 reelection campaign on Monday morning with a video testimonial from voters posted on his website and an email to supporters, echoing his innovative and oft-copied 2008 kickoff.
By inaugurating what could be the first $1 billion campaign in history so early, Obama has gotten the jump on a scattered GOP field reluctant to take the plunge and hits the starting line months earlier than George W. Bush did for his 2004 reelection bid.
The video – entitled “It Begins With Us” – is an effort to rekindle the grassroots fervor that propelled Obama into office and seemed to be a tacit acknowledgement that many of his supporters have been disappointed by the stuttering pace of change and the compromises Obama has made in the last two-and-half years.
The two-minute clip features a series of interviews with voters from around the country explaining why they plan to support the president. It doesn’t include Obama’s voice or any new film footage of him. But it was quickly followed by an Obama email in which the president explained the early start to the campaign.
“We’re doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you — with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends,” Obama writes, explaining why the launch is coming more than 19 months before Election Day.
“And that kind of campaign takes time to build.”
Today’s announcement puts Obama well ahead of any potential Republican opponent in making his intentions clear. The lack of a clear GOP frontrunner so late in the cycle and the unwillingness of any potential opponent to commit is seen as a mixed blessing by Obama’s political brain trust.
On one hand, Republican disunity is always a plus for a sitting Democrat. On the other hand, the lack of an opponent forces the president to have a conversation about himself with himself – denying him the chance to contrast his record with that of a living, breathing conservative foil.
The launch also comes at middling moment of the Obama presidency. The economy is rebounding but still bad; Afghanistan and Iraq are winding down but Obama has accepted an ill-defined new mission in Libya; and the polls show him in the 42-to-48 percent approval range, basically where he’s been for most of his time in the White House. Complete article, please keep reading