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Dems Back Off 'Recovery' Stance        04/18 06:59

   Election-year memo to Democratic candidates: Don't talk about the economic 
recovery. It's a political loser.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Election-year memo to Democratic candidates: Don't talk 
about the economic recovery. It's a political loser.

   So say Democratic strategists in a blunt declaration that such talk skips 
over "how much trouble people are in, and doesn't convince them that 
policymakers really understand or are even focusing on the problems they 
continue to face."

   In addition, Stan Greenberg, James Carville and others wrote that in 
head-to-head polling tests the mere mention of the word "recovery" is trumped 
by a Republican assertion that the Obama administration has had six years to 
get the economy moving and its policies haven't worked.

   Coincidentally or not, Democrats have largely shelved the "R'' word.

   President Barack Obama's only utterance of it in recent weeks was on April 
8, and it was in the context of accusing Republicans of blocking progress on 
issues that "would help with the economic recovery and help us grow faster."

   Additionally, at a news conference on March 26 where they announced a 
campaign-season agenda, neither Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., nor 
most of the other five lawmakers present uttered the word "recovery."

   The strategic advice comes at a time Democrats are working to maximize 
turnout, particularly among women, for the fall elections, when they face a 
determined challenge from Republicans vying to add control of the Senate to 
their seemingly secure House majority.

   Simultaneously, Democrats are struggling to respond effectively to 
persistent Republican attacks on the nation's health care law.

   Turnout in midterm elections is customarily lower than in a presidential 
campaign. This year numerous polls indicate that Democrats, particularly women, 
are less motivated to go to the polls than Republicans who are eager to 
demonstrate opposition to "Obamacare," or the Affordable Care Act.

   In their memo for Democracy Corps and the Women's Voices Women Vote Action 
Fund, the authors propose that to boost turnout among their target groups 
Democrats should back an economic agenda that "puts working women first," and 
says that incomes are soaring only for CEOs and the top 1 percent of the 

   "As a start, Democrats should bury any mention of the recovery. That message 
was tested ... and it lost to the Republican message championed by Karl Rove," 
they wrote.

   By traditional measurements, an economic recovery has been underway since 
partway through Obama's first year in office.

   The economy was shrinking when he was sworn in but turned positive in the 
third quarter of 2009. It has been growing since, although barely so at times. 
Unemployment, measured at 7.8 percent when Obama took office in January 2009, 
rose to 10 percent in October of that year until it began declining. It now 
stands at 6.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

   At the same time, though, many of the jobs that have been created are 
lower-paying than the ones that preceded them. Long-term unemployment is at 
historically high levels, another factor that does little or nothing to 
reassure hard-pressed men and women that any recovery is helping their own 

   Page Gardner of Women's Voices, listed as a co-author of the memo, said in 
an interview that for unmarried women and other key parts of the Democratic 
coalition, "a message about the benefits of a recovery doesn't really reflect 
their lives currently. The power of the women's economic agenda and talking 
about equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave, and messages that go to their 
ability to make it themselves and help their families make it is very powerful, 
and that's what they want to hear."


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