Washington (CNN) – Despite President Obama getting a bump in his approval ratings, Republican strategists said Thursday not to expect any major impact on the Republican presidential field after the Osama bin Laden mission.
The advisers conceded the bin Laden operation bolstered the President's image but questioned the long-term impact of that.
It "burnishes his credentials," consultant Scott Reed told CNN. Reed was working with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour until he decided not to run.
Traditionally, he said, Democrats are often seen as indecisive regarding national security decision making. "Obama's bold moves over the weekend changed that."
However, Reed and other GOP operatives said the focus of the political dialogue will quickly shift back to the state of the economy - unemployment, gas prices and the like. In fact April's unemployment rate is released on Friday.
"It will all pivot back to the pocketbook" within 10 days, Reed predicted.
"With the economy the way it is...it [the death of bin Laden] doesn't change the state of the economy," consultant Kim Alfano said in an interview. Whether bin Laden's death could impact the election she said it is "wonderful for our psyche. It doesn't do anything to change how they will vote."
Alfano stressed she was speaking to CNN on her own behalf and not for Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who is considering launching a bid for the Republican nomination and has said he will make a decision within weeks. She is Daniels' media consultant.
During a Washington speech on Wednesday, Daniels praised the bin Laden mission.
"This was a very significant achievement–tremendously powerful from a symbolic standpoint. Operationally...I assume of some importance too, wouldn't know. But with everyone else I assume it is just one really important moment in, in what will be a continuing conflict, a continuing responsibility of the government. But well done, well handled. Let's just hope it presages more such successes."
Consultants said they don't see this week's events changing the Republican field. "It doesn't really change the lineup," Reed said. "People who are still deciding it will come down to family."
Many of the GOP contenders who have formed exploratory committees are moving ahead and are expected to formally launch their campaigns in the near future.
Several of them, including Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, congratulated the President after the announcement of bin Laden's death. Others, such as Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, thanked the military forces for their effort but did not mention the President.
After several missed self-imposed deadlines blamed on complications as he untangles his business relationships, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has been exploring a bid, is expected to formally launch his campaign by the time Georgia Republicans meet next Friday.
"Newt will go to the Georgia GOP convention as a candidate for President," spokesman Rick Tyler told CNN. When asked if the bin Laden mission will have any impact on the Republican race, he said "We share as do most Americans the satisfaction in the killing of Osama bin Laden, unfortunately for President Obama, his policies and utterances are at odds with maintaining the extraordinary capability of our intelligence that enabled us to find bin Laden and Seal Team Six that successfully eliminated him."
There are some positive signs for Republicans hoping to replace the President.
Polls taken after other national security triumphs of past Presidents show their rating spikes pretty quickly receding.
Also the surveys this week show Mr. Obama's handling of the economy dropping. A CNN/Opinion Research poll found 56% of respondents disapproving while 42 percent approving.
"I think that the country is still emerging from the worst recession since the Great Depression. I think that gas prices have weighed heavily on Americans as they try to make ends meet. And it's entirely understandable why that sentiment is out there because people are struggling. And people, in the case of how they're dealing with these high gas prices, are suffering," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Wednesday. "We are fully aware of that. And that's why this President, I think you will see, will continue his focus on growing the economy, creating jobs, on working with Congress to pass legislation that does that."
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