President Obama has frequently struggled to win over senior citizens, and the upcoming election is no exception. According to the latest New York Times poll, only 38% approve of his job performance. That’s down from 44% in the first week of February. Much of this dismay has to do with health care reform: seniors have for months held unfavorable views of the Affordable Care Act; though there’s a slight uptick to 44% support of the law, according to the Kaiser Foundation, a hefty 42% still wag a finger at it. Obama’s presumptive rival Mitt Romney, meanwhile, consistently does well with those 65 and older, the only group to overwhelmingly support John McCain in 2008.
As the primary shifts into a general election — Obama actually called Romney out by name during his aforementioned speech today — team Obama is clearly trying to rally seniors for their cause. Reuters reports that Vice President Joe Biden told seniors in Florida this week that Paul Ryan’s budget plan will doom their grandchildren’s futures. And right wing websites Breitbart and Drudge are currently playing up news that Michelle Obama told a few dozen kids at a San Francisco fundraiser yesterday that they need to convince their grandparents that the president has their back.
“I can’t tell you in the last election how many grandparents I ran into who said, I wasn’t going to vote for Barack Obama until my grandson talked to me, until my great-grandson talked to me, and talked about the future he wanted for this country,” said the first lady.
“You can get out there with your parents. You guys can knock on doors. I had one young lady who brought me a petition — she’s already working. You can convince wrong people. Sometimes we don’t listen to ourselves, but we will listen to our children.”
This is just like Sarah Silverman’s effort in 2008, only it’s at all seniors, not just Jewish grandparents living in Florida. And more seniors probably know who Michelle Obama is than Silverman. I wonder, though, if Drudge and conservative company would be drawing attention to Mrs. Obama’s remarks if she were a Republican. Did they raise any eyebrows when libertarian author Tom Woods started Operation Grandma to enlist seniors for Ron Paul’s campaign?