During his second appearance this year on NBC’s Meet the Press, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed joined the chorus calling for the resignation of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York) and said that President Obama needs to do more to show the American public that he empathizes with their economic pain.
In a roundtable discussion, Reed said that the focus on Weiner and his salacious electronic relationships with women is a distraction for the Democratic Party and taking away from the momentum it has gained from the House Republicans’ controversial plan to reform Medicare.
“It's very bad for Democrats. I believe that the congressman should resign so we can move on,” Reed said. “Paul Ryan has really given the Democrats a great deal of momentum. They had a good win in New York. And now who’s talking about that at all? So I think that we need to move on. I think he’s been a great public servant, but we have—the stakes are just too high. We need to be talking about jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s not happening right now. We’re having a conversation about the congressman.”
As popular as the president continues to be, he could easily lose his bid for re-election next year if the economy doesn’t make significant gains. In recent polls, voters have expressed a lack of confidence in his ability to fix the nation’s economic woes, making him vulnerable to a Republican alternative, such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Reed said that Obama needs to up the ante on how he communicates with the American public about his efforts to decrease unemployment and that he truly cares about what they’re going through.
“The area that I believe that the president really needs to grow, and I think he is growing, is the level of empathy,” said Reed. “The fact of the matter is, this is tough, it's going to be a tough campaign, but he’s got to get out there and he’s got to constantly let folks know that he genuinely cares about how much they’re hurting. And he’s got to lay out in a concrete fashion every single thing that he's done.”
Reed is viewed as an emerging leader who could play a pivotal role in helping Obama win Georgia next year.
“The Obama White House is clearly paying attention to him and what he says. If the Obama campaign is going to make a serious run at Georgia, as it says it is, Kasim Reed is going to be important to those discussions,” Kennesaw State University political scientist Kerwin Swint told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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