The general election campaign is underway and the president could be in for the fight of his life. As expected, Mitt Romney won all five GOP primaries Tuesday, and his remarks sure sounded like an energetic nomination speech.
"A better America begins tonight," Romney told supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Dare I say it? Could it be? Romney sounded presidential.
To all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I've met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance -- to all of you, I have a simple message: Hold on a little longer. A better America begins tonight.
Romney's five state sweep was quite predictable (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York) but the closeness of the race already between President Obama and Mr. Romney does raise eyebrows.
Yes I concede this much.
General election contests tighten for the most part, but this fast? Consistent polls have shown this race neck and neck in just the last few days. What's even more shocking is Romney is battling an uphill fight, allegedly doing such a "good" job of "alienating women and Hispanic voters," that the November election was supposed to be "shaping up as a cakewalk for Obama." But Romney is still running close with Obama.
I ask you for a rationale for why the race is so tight?
For months after all, the Republican party was strongly divided on Romney. Remember "anybody but Romney?" Let's see. He was a flip-flopper and even called a liar, a fake conservative -- and that's from his own GOP rivals. Romney was called tone deaf, the multi-millionaire that looked down at the rest of us. The guy "who enjoyed firing incompetent people," the guy who said "he isn't worried about poor people." Hey, did I mention his wife owned two Cadillacs? However, that is all a thing of the past. (Who are we kidding here? That is until Team Obama sinks its teeth in.)
Is it the economy that is hurting Obama, which cuts both ways for the incumbent president? Almost a glass is half-full, half-empty situation. Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it the European debt crisis? There is no doubt the slow economic recovery is hurting Obama politically, and Romney has locked on an issue that resonates with the American People. Look at Romney's comments from Tuesday night:
Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth ... what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?
It's still all about the economy -- and we're not stupid.
OK, I'll ask another question. Is it the price of gasoline at the pump that is hurting Obama? The president did initially veto the Keystone pipeline "that would have brought more Canadian oil and gas to the U.S."
In polling, Obama rates far better than Congress with the public, and the same surveys show he's more likable than Romney, but yet, Obama is in the fight of his life. I ask you: why?
Is it the partisan Congress hurting Obama?
And while I'm raising these issues, it also seems like the daring raid in Pakistan by U.S. commandos that killed Osama bin Laden is completely a thing of the past. Almost like it didn't even happen on Obama's watch.
I ask you. Are there any other factors for why Obama finds himself in a neck and neck battle with Mitt Romney? We discussed this issue on RNN-TV, the "Richard French Live Show." You can take a look here. Democrats will try to paint Romney as an extreme conservative. It may work, it may not, but let this serve as a warning: don't sleep on Romney.