March 14th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
2 years ago

Blitzer: Echoes of 1992

The economy once again may be the dominant campaign theme.
The economy once again may be the dominant campaign theme.

(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


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Hillary's only campaign motto seems to be IT'S ALL ABOUT ME, STUPID!

    She is so egomaniacal and ruthless. She just another George Bush.

    March 14, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Kenneth

    Since a McCain Presidency would be a Bush's third term, here is what Obama and Clinton should ask the American people: Are you better off today than you were 8 years ago?

    March 14, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. Mike

    Cut the IRAQ war money and then we will have some to do good for America!!

    STAND FOR CHANGE

    or

    FALL FOR THE SAME!!!

    March 14, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. Sam

    It is the economy, and it is the Republicans who destroyed the economy.

    March 14, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Len

    The DNC is teaching a great civic lesson here. Break the rules and as punishment you can choose the next KING.

    What a joke.

    March 14, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. VOTER FOR TRUTH AND DIGNITY IN AMERICA

    It is a sad situation that our country is in. It hurts to see One Man,
    make so many good peoples lives in America go bad. How much
    Damage Can a Pres. do? Wonder, if Kerry would have won the
    ill-gotton election, how different things would be?
    Wolf, the American's had been lied to. We crave the truth?
    Hillary lies and seems to represent the Republican Party.
    She says one thing and means another. Wonder why the
    good American people can not elect another Pres. that tells lies.

    We can't elect another liar for President!
    OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT OR NOTHING.
    From a retired Professional /wwoman of 63.

    March 14, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. aware

    Right Wolf! “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    That leaves only one candidate, Hillary Clinton, prepared to be president in 08. :)

    The one act Obama Drama is over!

    Barack's friend, pastor and mentor for 20 years, Wright, has brought Barack's chickens home to roost with his divisive bigotry and hate rhetoric. :(

    Just words?

    March 14, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. RealityKing

    7 years of economic expansion and it's the economy? Stupid!!

    March 14, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. mb

    Hillary has such experience it would be a shame to have anyone else as president. She is such a hard worker and so determined to do well. Obama seems a nice enough person but can't begin to compete with Hillary. Maybe in 8 or so years he should try again. I don't think he should even be offered the VP position; he's just not ready... if anything happened to Hillary, we'd be stuck with Obama- someone who will have to learn as he goes.Obama's big talk with no dues paid is not a fitting background to run for the Presidency of the USA. Additionally, the Democratic Party will have to be scrutinized much more carefully by me and others because of their allowing someone like Obama to come so close to getting their nomination- don't they screen their nominees more closely than that.

    March 14, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. wolf

    Good Job for pointing that out wolf.

    March 14, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. joe m.

    this strategy will only work if the party is able to get itself on track to choosing a candidate that can and unify the party.

    March 14, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. tomdavie

    Wolf.

    Great article. How about doing one on how irresponisble it is for Barack and Michelle Obama to bring their DAUGHTERS to listen to this pastor for years?

    March 14, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. bill

    So the Clinton administration turned around a Bush Sr. failed economy. We certainly wouldn't want THAT again. Let's vote for an unknown! Yes that is sarcasm.

    March 14, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. OBAMA 08

    THANKS TO MCCAIN AND HILLARY FOR THE WAR THAT IS DEVALUING OUR $ TO RESEMBLE THE PESO.

    March 14, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Fernandez

    Did Barack and Hillary write a check to the IRS since they did not deserve the tax breaks

    March 14, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. sasha kando

    Of course it's about the economy! And we are not stupid about this! Vote for McCain and we will be dragged into the bottom ever deeper. He has voted to enrich the more affluent, rob the poor and the poorer and increase our deficit even more by using trillions and trillions to further the cause of the Iraq war. Now, where on earth do people use their resources to finance an unjust war, that benefits no one, and allow his own country and its citizens to languish in poverty and many to die a slow death? This is what is on the map if McCain becomes our next president.

    March 14, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Dave

    Don't get ahead of yourself Wolf. The Dems still have to pick a candidate.

    There is also an 800 lb gorilla in the room that wasn't present in 1992. It is called the Iraq war. The economy is key, but so is the situation in the Middle East.

    March 14, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. Belle

    The economy was always the number 1 issue Wolf....but the House of Cards did not start falling until the end of last year. Mr. Bush still is not willing to admit we are in a recession....but we all know we are.

    Fact is, Mr. Obama is an unknown. This is the first campaign he has fought a good fight in....and part of that is because of the "great" press he has been receiving all along, combined with his great oratory skills.
    (He lost his first congressional campaign; Challenged the nominating petitions in he second campaign, and ran unopposed for the US State Senate) But Senator Clinton has aptly pointed out there will be a huge "MESS" for the next President to clean up.

    At least Clinton will have a Mr. Laddie that will know how to balance a budget, and help turn the economy around!

    March 14, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Hakeemsdad, Florida

    And your motto seems to be Go Hillary!

    It seems you are favoring Hillary since you can tell that from your comment when you talk about the remaining candidates. Remember that is your personal choice but you shouldn't mislead the public just because you like Hillary better. Be fair to both candidate during your programs.

    March 14, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. JM

    Say it with me, McCain... "Read my lips. No new taxes."

    Bush Sr. promised the same thing and had to eat his words. I think after Bush and son, the Republicans have lost all credibility as the "fiscally responsible party".

    March 14, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Alonzo Demetrius, FL, USA

    Well, Wolf, maybe you don't mind paying higher taxes because you are in the higher income bracket. Unfortunately for many/many Americans, the new lowered definition of higher income bracket which will include folks like me who are blue collar/senior and have worked hard all our lives to have a few extra dollars, we will see it now go to the government to spend on earmarks if a dem is elected. Not good!

    March 14, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. HAWK,TEXAS

    TO LET THE BUSH TAX CUTS EXPIRE SO THE SUPER WEALTHY WILL HAVE TO PAY AT LEAST SOME TAXES IS NOT A TAX INCREASE. IT IS JUST PUTTING THE TAXES BACK WHERE THEY WERE BEFORE BUSH RUINED THE ECONOMY WITH CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY AND GAVE OIL COMPANYS HUGE TAX BREAKS AND STARTED A WAR.

    March 14, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Darth Vadik, CA

    Hey I know what we need:

    TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS

    GO McCINSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 14, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Lewis

    Wolf, it may have been the economy (stupid), but 1992 was decided when Perot came in and sapped HW's votes from the right-leaning moderates.

    March 14, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Eric Jack

    All Accounts are true Wolf... and regardless of whom ever is President , they won't be able to fix them over night!! And these problems will continue in 2009... will it even matter who answers the call at 3:00am? That call won't be because of some foreign threat, but the threats here at HOME!

    March 14, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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