PR pros and political strategists were divided on whether Obama advanced his message by claiming the mantle of Roosevelt in a time of pessimism and low approval ratings.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama chose Osawatomie, Kan., to emphasize that “the ideas that President Roosevelt put forward about the need for Americans of all kinds to get a fair shot and a fair shake are very much at issue today.”
Osawatomie is where Roosevelt called for progressive actions such as a minimum wage for women and an eight-hour workday. Obama employed the comparison to drive the message that his agenda is in keeping with policies that date back to Roosevelt.
“Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there’s been a certain crowd in Washington for the last few decades who respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune,” Obama said. “‘The market will take care of everything,’ they tell us. If only we cut more regulations and cut more taxes—especially for the wealthy—our economy will grow stronger.'”
Confusion—or smart messaging?
Some saw confusion in the White House messaging.