Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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August 20, 2012

Ryan pick puts presidential race in focus

(Continued)

Democrats are already praising Ryan in backhanded fashion, describing him as a serious, dedicated leader. The strategy is to create the public impression that Ryan is a force to be reckoned with, not only as a means of sounding the alarm to the Democratic base, but also to indicate that Romney must be linked to Ryan’s views.

One would hope that Romney and his team thought all of this out before picking Ryan. This suggests they are indeed preparing for a tough, economy-oriented campaign, where they will make the case to the American people that harsh decisions have to be made regarding federal spending and the budget.

And that Romney is the candidate who can lead the way.

But will that work? Are voters prepared to embrace a candidacy that comes with a large dose of bitter medicine — even when at least some of it is increasingly necessary?

Historically, successful presidential campaigns focus on positive messages and the likability of the candidate. This approach certainly put Barack Obama in office in 2008.

Is the situation in America sufficiently dire that voters are prepared to focus on issues rather than style? And if so, do they believe Romney has the answers? This year’s presidential campaign is coming down to these few key questions.

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Mitchel Olszak is a columnist for the New Castle (Pa.) News.

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