“We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe,” proclaimed President Obama last Wednesday. “We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions”. When it comes to post-election oratory, few can match the 44th President. Hoarse, even broken-voiced, after months of campaigning and the final desperate push, the most powerful person on earth basked in the adoration of supporters in Chicago, as they reveled in his re-election.
As the crowd’s roar hit fever pitch, Obama’s rhetoric soared, his final sound-bite fitting snugly into TV news bulletins across the globe, precisely as was intended. “We remain more than a collection of red states and blue states,” the re-confirmed President thundered. “We are, and forever will be, the United States of America”.
With just over a week to go before the US election, it’s too close to call. President Obama is rediscovering his touch as a ladies’ man, polling well ahead among female voters just as he did when he won the White House back in 2008.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney, meanwhile, is the choice of most men – or at those who intend to vote. The outcome of this titanic struggle really is in the balance, not least in the likes of Ohio and Florida, the all-important “swing states”.
During the first few months of 2010 and 2011, America showed encouraging signs of robust economic growth. In both years, though, by the spring or early summer, hopes of the world’s biggest economy mounting a meaningful and sustainable recovery were snuffed-out.
As a result, the US managed only a paltry 1.7pc real terms GDP expansion in 2011. In recent months, once again, there have been strong indications this could be the year we finally see a proper lift-off in the States. America has put in yet another strong first quarter, with the economy, if anything, performing even better than during the first three months of 2010 and 2011.
It’s easy to criticize Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor and erstwhile runaway leader in the Republican nomination race has had a bad two weeks. First Romney learnt that, having “won” the opening Iowa caucus, he actually lost on a re-count. In the South Carolina primary, he was trounced by Newt Gingrich after a lackluster debate performance.
Romney then bungled his personal tax return, insisting he wouldn’t make it public for months, then releasing it anyway. This is bad timing for the man seeking to be the first Mormon President. The still-fluid Florida primary is this week. There’s just a month before “Super-Tuesday” – when Republicans in 10 states pick their candidate – and the Presidential election itself is only nine months away.