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  Obama's Pennsylvania problem
NEWS DETAILS
Parent(s) Race 
ContributorScott³ 
Last EditedScott³  Oct 16, 2011 02:39pm
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CategoryOpinion
AuthorSalena Zito
MediaNewspaper - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
News DateSunday, October 16, 2011 10:00:00 PM UTC0:0
Description"Minutes stretched on awkwardly after U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis spoke to local Democrats. Yet that was less uncomfortable than one man's attempt to break the silence.

"Let's go Obama!" he shouted, clapping loudly.

No response.

It was a reaction you'd expect at a Republican rally — not from Pittsburgh unionists, elected Democrats and other party faithful gathered to support Barack Obama's jobs bill.

While the event's lackluster attendance might be attributed to poor planning (cardinal rule in politics: never book a room you can't fill), there is no excuse for Democrats' lack of applause for a Democrat president.

Obama has a Pennsylvania problem, particularly with working-class Democrats and women who supported Hillary Clinton in 2008.

He eventually won them over (along with young people and blacks), beating Republican John McCain by nearly 10 points.

Today, not so much — largely based on loss of trust.

Candidates know they can evoke strong negative feelings and still win back voters. But voters' trust is nearly impossible to recover.

"A lot of working-class and middle-class Democrats in Pennsylvania see candidates through the prism of their values," said one party strategist working to win back distrustful voters for Obama. This time, he admitted, the task "is more of a challenge."

Actually, Obama has trouble all around, according to Mark Rozell, public policy professor at George Mason University: "The liberal core is unhappy with his policies and won't turn out for him as solidly as in 2008, and ... independents and so-called Reagan Democrats are abandoning him in large numbers."

Signs of discontent are seen even among blacks.

State Sen. Tim Solobay found the lack of enthusiasm at last week's event "weird." He wondered if Democrats here see Obama as far less moderate than themselves, "plus there is this perception that no one can get along in Washington."
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