Here's the president's problem in a nut shell. Four years ago he ran on a platform of hope. Now he must run on his record. Need you say anything more?
One recalls all those adoring rallies as candidate Barack Obama criss-crossed the country in 2008 with his "Change You Can Believe In" manta. For a country that was all Bushed-out, it was an alluring siren call built on a foundation of things will be better.
Recall how he pledged to re-do the Washington culture with a strong emphasis on working with the other party to end the grid lock in the nation's capitol.
How'd that work out?
And there-in lies Mr. Obama's biggest campaign assignment which is to convince the electorate that it was not his fault things broke down in Washington; it was the other guys who would not cooperate.
Partisan Democrats will argue the president can legitimately make that argument, but will the voters listen? And if they do listen, will they believe him?
The president could use the health care vote as exhibit A. He tried to compromise with the Republicans but they wanted no part of the deal-making to wit there was not one GOP vote for the Obama health care blueprint even though some R's quietly confessed they wanted to vote yes but were "instructed" not to do so.
Exhibit B might be the game of political chicken over lifting the debt ceiling. In a kinder and gentler time, both parties would have mud wrestled over the issue but in the end would have concluded it was time to stop playing politics and do what was right for the country.
If Barack Obama had only been Ronald Reagan, he could have compromised with then House Democratic Speaker Tipp O'Neil and ironed out a plan.
Those days of unbridled bi-partisanship are now left to the history books as the new GOP and some more liberal Democrats do believe compromise is a four-letter word.
So the president is left to explain and when a politician has to do that, he or she is in trouble.
And that conundrum is reflected in Mr. Obama's polling numbers with independent voters who generally decide elections. They wait to hear the debate, they do a little home work on the issues other than just watching campaign TV commercials, and they don't vote the party but the candidate.
This group has gone south on the president.
In 2008 candidate Barack Obama held an impressive and commanding 56%-33% lock on independent voters over challenger John McCain. The margin was over the top regarding independent woman who flocked to Mr. O. by a whopping 65%-to 23% count. The independent men went for Mr. Obama but by a smaller margin of 11 points.
Fast forward to the latest EPIC-MRA numbers and you readily see that the President has some explaining to do to win back this voting block.
GOP contender Mitt Romney sweeps the category 45-35 and wins the female and male independent votes by 12 and 7 points, respectively.
It's a dramatic flip-flop that must cause sleepless nights in the White House war room.
The great thing for Mr. Romney is he was not part of the Congress that stiffed the President on the cooperation front, so Mr. Obama can't blame him, but somehow he has to find a way to link Mr. Romney to those recalcitrant Republicans. If voters don't buy his defense, the president will get the blame for the gridlock and it could cost him his job…which is exactly why the Republicans didn't cooperate with him in the first place.