(CNN) - “It’s the economy, stupid!”
That was the motto of Bill Clinton’s successful campaign back in 1992 when he challenged the incumbent President, George H. W. Bush. Campaign strategists in his war room in Little Rock, including James Carville, Paul Begala and George Stephanopolous, focused in like laser beams on the economy. They sought to drive the point home that President Bush was simply out of touch with average Americans. That strategy clearly paid off.
Now, the Democrats will try to do the same thing to John McCain. They will make the point that the Republican candidate will merely continue the basic economic strategy of President Bush. Despite McCain’s opposition to the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, they will stress that he will follow the Bush status quo.
Those Bush tax cuts are supposed to expire in 2010, but McCain now vows to make those tax cuts permanent. He says to do otherwise would see an increase in taxes – this at a time when the nation fears recession. He has pledged not to increase taxes.
But Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and their supporters will say those Bush tax cuts are geared to help the wealthy. They will argue that the wealthy don’t need more help. They are promising to help the poor and middle class.
By all accounts, the economy has emerged as issue number one in this campaign season. And the economic issues are wide-ranging. In other words, get ready for an even more intense debate on taxes, budget deficits, pork barrel spending, interest rates, free trade, illegal immigration, health care, energy costs, and the exploding national debt. The economic ramifications are enormous.
- Wolf Blitzer