Is Obama's re-election bid really in trouble?

Forget the noisy declarations about lousy economic news sinking Obama’s re-election. The president is still on track for a second term 

Robert Shrum

This was Anthony Weiner’s week, although not in the way the perennially frenetic congressman had long coveted. But Weiner’s moment will pass, just as he soon will, even as the juvenilia of his tweeted private parts and pecs linger uncomfortably in memory and irrepressibly among the late night comics. This wasn’t tragedy, but farce: Not someone great brought down by a Shakespearean flaw, but an avatar of ambition and opportunism undone by cyberspace perversion. The cable celebrity became the internet incarnation of the dirty middle-aged man in a raincoat desperate to expose himself. Weiner apparently was determined to prove that nomenclature is destiny.

But long after the tabloids turn elsewhere, the puns have faded, and the next scandal has titillated and finished, what will endure after this remarkable week is the emergence of a consensus that Barack Obama could lose next year. Until now, and even among many Republicans who uttered it only behind closed doors, there was a sense that, amid a gradually strengthening if not yet popularly perceived recovery, against a weak Republican field most notable for those who opted not to run in 2012, the president was pretty much on course for re-election. Then, while Weiner was being forced from belligerent lying to Breitbarted confession, three other stories recast the prevailing outlook on the presidential campaign.

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Robert Shrum has been a senior adviser to the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, the campaign of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and the British Labour Party. In addition to being the chief strategist for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign, Shrum has advised thirty winning U.S. Senate campaigns; eight winning campaigns for governor; mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major cities; and the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. Shrum's writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New Republic, Slate, and other publications. The author of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner (Simon and Schuster), he is currently a Senior Fellow at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.