Matt Miller - The Archives

Game Change: The (wonky) sequel
The Washington Post, March 14, 2012

(A hotel suite. David Axelrod and President Obama sit on sofas. Plates with cold french fries and half-eaten sandwiches litter the coffee table between them. A knock is heard at the door. A Secret Service agent opens it. David Plouffe enters.)

Obama: You have the new numbers?

Plouffe: Right here.

Obama: How bad is it?

Plouffe: Bad. We're down four points nationally. Three in Ohio. Four in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Three in Colorado.

Axelrod: What about Florida?

Plouffe: Down three.

Axelrod: The damn Rubio thing worked.

Obama: Alright, what are our options? We're five weeks out. (The president rises, paces, lights a cigarette).

Plouffe: It's the unemployment. With 8.2 percent, people just don't buy that things are improving enough. Especially when the new jobs don't pay well.

Axelrod: People need to see you fighting for good jobs, Mr. President. Not just any jobs. Middle-class jobs.

Obama: It's not like Romney has any ideas.

Axelrod: He doesn't need any. He's the change this time.

Plouffe: Mr. President, we need something bold. Something sexy. An idea that can frame the debate in the home stretch. Something that draws a stark contrast between our values and the Republicans'. That can mobilize our base but also appeal to independents.

Axelrod: If we don't shake things up, this thing is over.

Obama: I get it, I get it. (Takes a pensive drag, exhales.) How nice for Obama. First black president. Staved off a depression. Then the people sent him home. We need a game changer, guys.

(The three men stare into space, thinking.)

Axelrod: There may be one thing .