What does NATO summit mean for Obama campaign?
Published: Monday, May 21, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
President Obama helped bring the NATO summit to his hometown Chicago, a significant event near the end of his first term in office. The question that many are asking is if it will impact his electoral prospects when voters go to the polls this November.
“I think he has had greater accomplishments that will speak much more than NATO,” said Matt Swiderski, 21, a senior political science student at DePaul.
Obama's campaign has showcased what it considers to be the accomplishments of his presidency, including ousting Muammar Gaddafi from power in Libya, supporting gay marriage, finding Osama Bin Laden and ending the war in Iraq.
But NATO may still be a significant bullet point on Obama’s resume, especially if it results in productive planning to withdraw NATO troops from Afghanistan.
“It would be pretty major to end a war that many nations are involved in,” said Cody Cummins-Prentice, who has lived in Chicago for the past four years and currently works downtown for an Internet marketing company.
At a press conference at the summit, a reporter asked the president what he thought of Newark Mayor Corey Booker's comment calling Obama’s attack of Romney's former employer, Bain Capital, as “nauseating.”
The advertisement alleged that Romney's company, Bain Capital's acquisition of a steel mill in Kansas led to job layoffs.
Obama said the campaign was not creating a “distraction” and that it reflects the reality of the economic recession.
“Mr. Romney is responsible for the proposals he is putting forward for how he says he is going to fix the economy,” Obama said, “and if the main basis for him suggesting he can do a better job is his track record as the head of a private equity firm, then both the upsides and the downsides are worth examining.”
Romney released a short statement prior to Obama's recent remarks, saying that “President Obama confirmed today that he will continue his attacks on the free-enterprise system.”
Still, other issues will influence the 2012 presidential elections.
“Obama is also running for re-election under the shadow of inadequacies that will “speak louder than NATO,” Swiderski said. In particular, he mentioned Obama’s health care plan, which Swiderski says is flawed since people should not be “forced to have health care.”
“The number one thing is that people are self interested, so it is always about the economy,” said Swiderski. “He came into the presidency with a very bad stagnated economy, so overall I think he has done a decent job.”
Self-interest is also one of the reasons some people are supportive of Obama bringing NATO to Chicago. This is because it gives people a chance to be heard.
“I’m glad it’s here. It’s close to where I live,” said Matt Niendorf, who was protesting the war in Afghanistan Sunday in Grant Park. “It’s close to a lot of people who are concerned about the issues, so I think it’s a great place.”
And it did give thousands of people a chance to make their opinions heard this weekend, with protestors showing up from all over the country to march through the city. And there were also other advantages of having NATO in Chicago.
“Obviously with Obama, his political roots are in Chicago and to bring it to the city and bring in commerce and helping the economy is a good thing,” said Cummins-Prentice. “There was not too much violence and no one has been put in too much danger, so I think he is entitled to it because his political roots are here.”
However, not everyone feels this way. Some people, like Wes Bremer from Nobelsville, Ind. who was also protesting at Grant Park Sunday, believe NATO summits should not be held in big cities like Chicago. He feels as if it is disruptive to all the people living there, forcing many businesses to close for a long weekend or make their employees work from home.
Regardless of the outcome of the NATO summit and subsequent protests on Obama’s re-election campaign, there’s no doubt it will carry a lot of weight in the upcoming election.