With such a lackluster performance at the last debate many (myself included) thought that it was time for Barack Obama to be in the offensive. But the light at the end of the tunnel came unexpectedly fast for Obama with unemployment going down below 8% for the first time since he took office, and the fact that he raised $181 million dollars in September. A week that seemed like it was going to be dismal has turned out to be quite good for the president.
The jobs number is especially potent for Obama. When partisan pundits create conspiracy theories about bipartisan bureaucrats and their work you know the number is damning to them (no one called foul when the jobs numbers were dismal). 7.8% is the lowest since Obama took office at the start of the recession, and Obama will be sure to use this as proof that we have gone too far to turn back on his policies.
While 7.8% would usually not be anything to brag about, it is numerical proof that things have gotten better. A number to be used as a rebuttal to Romney’s question, “are you better off than you were four years ago?” Combine the jobs number with the stock indices and Barack Obama can make a strong claim that America really is better off than it was four years ago and yet at the same time is on the path to having put up enough regulation to prevent it from happening again.
The second part to the good ending for Obama is his fundraising numbers. $181 million dollars is a lot of money no matter how you look at it but the real good news for Obama is the way in which it was donated. 98% of the people that donated had donated $250 or less, which helps him frame Romney and the GOP in general as being beholden to their large donors. It also helps with the idea of Obama having strong grassroots support by the “little guy.”
All of this goes to show that the campaign is far from over. The jobs number especially highlights what we are really voting for, not an enthusiastic debater, but a president that performs. Obama’s performance as president, of course, has many critics especially on the economy. But the latest numbers give him quite a strong argument against that and his latest fundraising numbers mean he will have quite the voice.