President Obama Monday said that by this fall he will unveil an agenda for his second term, adding meat to the bones of a campaign that has been criticized as lacking substance and consumed by attacks on Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney.
Obama, who spoke at a fundraiser in New York City, suggested there would be a shift from his current strategy of relentless negative attacks.
There is going to be, though, as the summer winds down and we get into the fall, the need for voters in these swing states to know not just what they’re voting against but also what they’re voting for. And so we’ll be spending a lot of time talking about the specific agenda that I intend to pursue in the second term — which I think will make sure that this economy is going full guns.
The statement indicates that Obama will wade in with a detailed economic plan, something he has avoided so far. The fall timing suggests he will unveil it during the Democratic convention, which will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina the week of September 3.
To the extent Obama has talked policy at all, it has been to promote issues currently before Congress, like the renewal of the Bush tax cuts, and use them to attack Republicans as uncaring cronies of the rich.
But there has been little indication so far about how Obama will act to spur the economy in a second term and what he will do on banner issues like immigration.
If Obama does get specific, it will put pressure on Romney to do the same.
While not as personal in his negative advertising as Obama, who has suggested Romney may be a tax cheat, the presumptive Republican nominee has also sought so far to make the campaign more about Obama’s record as president than his own prescriptions for the economy.
Romney’s emphasis on Obama has drawn criticism even from Republicans, who question his unwillingness to embrace and tout a conservative agenda.