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Peter D. Rosenstein Headshot

Barack Obama: Stand Tall and Speak With Conviction

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Mr. President, it appears that every time you speak out forcefully and with conviction on matters of principle, the American people will support you. In the last couple of months you have seen that clearly twice. The first time was when you finally supported marriage equality and most recently, when you spoke out to protect young people who may be illegal immigrants based on no choice of their own.

People clearly want their president to be bold and to lead. I do question the slogan 'Forward'; maybe it should be changed to 'Bold and Strong Leadership' to get people to recognize what you are doing. Mr. President, the American people know you have made great headway over the last three and a half years against strong headwinds. Judging by the polls on George W. Bush, the younger people still understand that you inherited two wars and the worst economy since the Great Depression.

You have ended one war and set the economy on the path to growth. You took a bold chance and bailed out the auto industry and the nation won. That move on your part saved a million jobs and brought back manufacturing in the nation.

It does seem that every time you second guess yourself and your convictions and appear to struggle with a decision it has led to long debates and criticism even from your own supporters. Getting Osama bin Laden was a bold and courageous move. People perceive the internal debates on whether to move forward as far as you can on LGBT rights, immigration, the environment or on the budget to make you appear weaker.

We are a nation that has come to expect less and less from our leaders. This may be because they have provided us with less and less over the years. The world of politics now runs completely on polls and it often appears that our politicians lead from behind while waiting for the signal from their pollsters that it is okay to move to the head of the parade. We have seen Congress stalemated by inaction and divisiveness on nearly every issue. No wonder public approval is down to eleven percent.

People are starved for a leader who will act on the issues they care about and who has the guts to speak out even if the polls show that speaking out and taking a particular position aren't universally approved. People today often recognize the courage it takes just to speak out and are willing to reward that.

Your new mantra 'We Can't Wait' is a great one. There are issues involving the environment; a mandate sitting on your desk to end discrimination against the LGBT community in federal contracting; immigration issues; and issues around health care for women and others that you could speak out on and do something about now. While it may now be a moot point, I think abrogating theHealth and Human Services mandate from Congress under the Affordable Care Act to determine what are essential benefits may have been a mistake. It may have been better to take the bold step and explain to people why it is so important that they have coverage for a wide range of health services no matter what state they live in. Many are old enough to remember when welfare in Mississippi was a bus ticket to New York where benefits were better. We don't want that to continue to be the case whether the mandate for insurance under the Affordable Care Act is seen as constitutional or not.

Mr. President, the polls show that people like you even if they don't always agree with you. I believe what they like the most is when you are strong and bold and decisive. They clearly think you are more in-tune with their needs and their lives than Mitt Romney or the Republican Party. Mr. President, take advantage of that and spend the next few months before the election making it clear in no uncertain terms what you believe in and what you will fight for and do what you can today using all the powers of the presidency.

You will win and when you do the people will win as well.

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Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
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Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
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Holdover
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Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
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Seats won 201 234
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