During Bill Clinton’s first run for the presidency in 1992, a wall at his headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas bore the legend ‘The economy, stupid!’. It was campaign manager James Carville’s daily reminder that arguments about the economy would win or lose the White House.
With the US limping from one bout of quantitative easing to another amid weak house prices, high unemployment and lacklustre confidence, the central question in the current campaign will be how to get the economy heading in the right direction again.
Looming over 2012 is the spectre of the nation’s public finances. We’re all too familiar with the woes of countries in the euro area as they struggle to manage debt burdens that look simply unsustainable. Those of us in the UK know that our government’s principal focus is on getting to grips with the deficit and debt.