Obama came to Denver to escape the politics of Washington, which was smothering his message in partisanship and 24/7 political commentary.
His first three weeks accomplished his policy mission – push the largest spending/tax bill in history in record time – but lost the public opinion competition due to distractions from failed cabinet appointments and Republicans’ well-coordinated talking points about pork in the stimulus bill.
Obama used his personal popularity to reframe the discussion in Florida, Indiana and Colorado where the economy and jobs are the not just an issue, but a personal crises (see Pew and Gallup polls). The stimulus was pork in Washington, but bacon to be brought home in Colorado.
In an impressive cameo appearance at the Colorado School Board Association annual legislative meeting, newly sworn Senator Michael Bennet said things will get worse before they improve. The tone of most Democrats on the economy is very negative. No doubt making some contribution to an 800 point drop in DOW since Obama’s inauguration. It’s clear that the 2010 campaign will be framed by the success of the stimulus plan (See PowerPoint slides from my presentation)