The Blog

Obama 'Pivots' for 19th Time

9:27 AM, Jul 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

According to political reporter Salena Zito, today's economic speeches by Barack Obama represent the 19th "pivot" for the president:

Chuck Todd tried to coin a phrase "this pivot to the economy," by calling it "Déjà Pivot":

“This speech, this pivot – pivot to the economy, again it’s like déjà pivot I have when it comes to the economy. But it seems like they really are signaling they are going to have a campaign approach to this fight with congress when it comes to the debt ceiling, when it comes to sequestration 2.0. All of the decisions coming to a head in the fall, they’re basically saying, hey, we’re going to travel the country.” THE WASHINGTON POST’S DAN BALZ: “Well, they learned that lesson in 2011 during the debt ceiling debacle, which was playing out at this point two years ago. When that collapsed and turned into such a mess, they pivoted away as we all know and went into campaign mode in the fall. And as you remember, he put the Jobs Act forward right after Labor Day in 2011 mostly as a campaign effort. And I think what we're going to see is very similar. But I think that the real question is what does he really have to say at this point? Is he simply trying to do it for politics? Perhaps. But that begs the question of what do you do about a sticky unemployment rate, middle class families that are struggling. There’s a lot that he has to deal with,” said Todd, previewing today's speeches.

The Republican National Committee emailed this list of Obama's previous "pivots" yesterday (which adds up to 14 times, but only goes back to January 2011, two years after Obama became president):

JANUARY 2011: “The White House Has Quickly Pivoted To Jobs After The President’s State Of The Union.” “Turning to domestic politics, the White House has quickly pivoted to jobs after the president’s State of the Union -- even if it’s being overshadowed by the situation in Egypt.” (Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg, “First Thoughts: Balancing Act,” NBC News’ First Read,1/31/11)

APRIL 2011:  “Obama’s Day: Turning Back To Jobs … President Obama Returns Today To What He Calls His Top Priority: Jobs.”“Though his presidential hours have been crowded by Libya, Japan and other foreign policy challenges, President Obama returns today to what he calls his top priority: jobs.” (David Jackson, “Obama’s Day: Turning Back To Jobs,” USA Today, 4/1/11)

AUGUST 2011: “OBAMA AND SENATE DEMS PLAN PIVOT TO JOBS” “OBAMA AND SENATE DEMS PLAN PIVOT TO JOBS: Senate Democrats hope they now have ‘checked the box’ on debt reduction and can move to an agenda focused on job creation and economic growth, through a combination of spending and tax cuts.” (Mike Allen, “DEMS PLAN PIVOT TO JOBS: Transportation, Infrastructure, Tax Breaks On Fall Agenda,” Politico’s "Playbook", 8/2/11)

AUGUST 2011: The Huffington Post Headline: “Obama’s Jobs Pivot” (Joe Peyronnin, “Obama’s Jobs Pivot,” The Huffington Post, 8/2/11)

AUGUST 2011: National Public Radio Headline: “Obama, Democrats ‘Pivot’ To Jobs But May Be Hamstrung” (Frank James, “Obama, Democrats ‘Pivot’ To Jobs But May Be Hamstrung,” National Public Radio, 8/3/11)

AUGUST 2011: Yahoo! News Headline: “Obama ‘Pivots’ To Jobs – But What Can He Do?” (Zachary Roth, “Obama ‘Pivots’ To Jobs – But What Can He Do?,” Yahoo! News’ The Lookout, 8/5/11)

SEPTEMBER 2011: Politico Headline: “President Obama Pivots To Jobs – And Dares GOP To Follow” (Glenn Thrush, “President Obama PivotsTo Jobs – And Dares GOP To Follow,” Politico, 9/8/11)

JUNE 2012: The Wall Street Journal Headline: “Obama To Revisit Economic Debate” (Carol E. Lee and Laura Meckler, “Obama To Revisit Economic Debate,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/11/12)

JULY 2012: MSNBC: “The Jobs Pivot: With The Economy Struggling, How Does President Obama Make The Case To Be Reelected?” (MSNBC’s “NewsNation,” 7/6/12)

FEBRUARY 2013: National Journal Headline: “Stung By Media’s Focus On Liberal Agenda, Obama Pivots Back To Economy” (Ron Fournier, “Stung By Media’s Focus On Liberal Agenda, Obama Pivots Back To Economy,” National Journal, 2/8/13)

  • ABC’s Rick Klein: “He’s Pivoted Enough To Have Spun Himself Around, More Than A Few Times.” “ABC’s Rick Klein: He’spivoted enough to have spun himself around, more than a few times. But President Obama’s latest turn toward jobs, in tomorrow’s State of the Union address, will be about as memorable as the other turns so long as the fiscal and budget debates that have paralyzed Washington for two years now remain unresolved.” (Michael Falcone, “The State Of The Union Is…,” ABC News’ The Note, 2/11/13)

FEBRUARY 2013: The Associated Press Headline: “Obama Will Pivot Back To Jobs In State Of The Union” (Julie Pace, “Obama Will PivotBack To Jobs In State Of The Union,” The Associated Press, 2/9/13)

APRIL 2013: The Wall Street Journal Headline: “In Mexico Visit, Obama To Pivot From Security To Economy” (Thomas Catan, “In Mexico Visit, Obama To Pivot From Security To Economy,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/30/13)

MAY 2013: ABC News Headline: “Obama Pivots To Jobs Tour At End Of Scandal Filled Week” (Arlette Saenz, “Obama Pivots To Jobs Tour At End Of Scandal Filled Week” ABC News’ The Note, 5/18/13)

JULY 2013: BuzzFeed Headline: “Obama Will Pivot Back To Attacking Republicans On The Economy In A Series Of Policy Speeches” (Evan McMorris-Santoro, “Obama Will Pivot Back To Attacking Republicans On The Economy In A Series Of Policy Speeches,” BuzzFeed, 7/21/13)

As one source said in an email, "You do that on the basketball court, you get called for traveling."

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers