So long as the unemployment rate is stuck at 9%, President Obama's reelection chances are in doubt.
Obama isn't likely to produce nearly enough jobs before the 2012 election to greatly improve his prospects. What he can do in the absence of an unexpected burst of economic growth is demonstrate that the jobless rate is a special focus.
That's no easy feat on a tour of the Asian-Pacific, which Obama wrapped up on Saturday. The trip was a blur of summits, state dinners, arrival ceremonies, bilateral meetings, speeches and news conferences — many held in gorgeous tropical settings.
How would Obama persuade voters that his week away was connected to their everyday concerns?
Through image and message.
For starters, Obama ditched a tradition dating back two decades in which leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit donned silly-looking shirts and paraded before the cameras.
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