In the Rust Belt, a Ripple of Optimism

Susan Milligan is visiting six Election 2012 battleground states to talk with 50-plus voters for a report that will be published in the September issue of the AARP Bulletin. She posted this from Youngstown, Ohio. When I last visited Youngstown, Ohio, four years ago, the city whose steel mills “built the tanks and bombs that won this country’s wars,” as Bruce Springsteen put it, had the feel of an industrial ghost town. So economically damaged was Youngstown from the decline …

The End Is Near . . . Again

If you’re running President Obama’s re-election campaign and you want to test how certain themes will play in Peoria, what to do? Turn to your pollsters? Convene focus groups? Test your message before a friendly audience? All of the above, probably. But if you’re smart, you won’t have your candidate do the on-the-ground testing. You’ll have a surrogate do it. That way, you can smooth out any rough edges – either in how the message is delivered or how it …