GIGOT: No, he had a 59-point economic plan!
GIGOT: Remember that last Labor Day? Dorothy remembers every one of them.
HENNINGER: ... the variability in Romney's political persona, and that has become much more coherent and substantive and clear. And I agree with Dorothy, he now has the basis to go forward in a much stronger way. I think he can come back from that 35 percent unfavorable (sic).
RABINOWITZ: Happiness (ph) can take you a long way, and that's what happened.
GIGOT: The optimism. But I will tell you this. The Hispanic vote, also -- he's under 20 percent in support among Hispanics, and that's in part because of his immigration position, and he has to do something about that in the general.
Still ahead, Mitt Romney isn't the only Republican that President Obama has his sights on. Democrats think linking him to Paul Ryan and his budget plan could be a winning campaign strategy. Are they right?
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OBAMA: This congressional Republican budget is something different altogether. It is a Trojan horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Well, fresh off Monday's assault on the Supreme Court, President Obama Tuesday rolled out what is sure to be another prime target in the fall campaign, Paul Ryan's budget. The president ripped the Wisconsin Republican's plan, painting it as a series of cruel spending cuts aimed at seniors, students and the sick. The president even criticized Mitt Romney by name for embracing the budget blueprint. But will tying Romney to Ryan work for Democrats in November?
We're back with Dan Henninger and James Freeman. Also joining the panel, Wall Street journal columnist Mary Anastasia O'Grady.
Well, the old Darwin ploy, Mary. I mean, we bring out the 19th century here.
GIGOT: Is Paul Ryan the Achilles heel of -- of -- for Mitt Romney? Is that his real vulnerability?
MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, of course, this is classic Obama, this demagoguing everybody who is productive in the -- in this society. But I think, basically, what -- what -- I don't believe that Ryan is an Achilles heel. I think on the message, he has a better message to the American people.
I think this is all going to be about organizing, fund-raising, using the Web. The kinds of things that Obama excelled at in 2008, the Republicans are going to have to do that because, basically, it's a discussion between the debt and deficit and scaring grandma.
And if they don't get their message out there and somehow convince people that the Obama path means higher taxes and lower standards of living for the American people, they're not going to be able to do it. Scaring grandma is more powerful.
GIGOT: So Mary's basically saying Republicans should -- don't get lost in the weeds of whether your, you know, Down syndrome children and autistic children are going to be in the streets. Don't play on that ground with Obama. Let him make that caricature. But go fight back on debt and deficits and growth.
HENNINGER: I think, basically, they have to fight back on the condition of the economy. Look, Paul, that speech and the things that you just described, I -- not only is he going to run it on, I think it's a fairly potent strategy to run on.
GIGOT: It's aimed particularly at, I think, women...
GIGOT: ... because it plays to their financial...
HENNINGER: But here's...
GIGOT: ... fears of financial insecurity.
HENNINGER: Here's the irony, Paul. Barack Obama has presided over an economy with 8 percent unemployment, virtually little growth, bad unemployment numbers again this week, at least no job creation.
GIGOT: Mediocre, yes.
HENNINGER: We're living in age of anxiety and fear, and people are unsettled about the future. And what Obama is suggesting to them that, No matter what, I, the government, will be there to take care of you -- and I think under these conditions, that could have appeal to a lot of people if Romney doesn't give them a clear alternative.
GIGOT: This is the same linkage that a lot of Democrats were saying to -- linking Bob Dole in 1996 to Newt Gingrich. It's linking him to Congress.
But Paul Ryan isn't Newt Gingrich. First of all, people don't know who he is, most Americans still. We do. The people who cover politics do. But most people don't know who Ryan is.
FREEMAN: No, but they'll find out that he's not a -- this is not a Tea Party budget, and this is why unless Obama has an overwhelming financial advantage, which it looks like he probably won't, he's not going to be able to scare grandma because grandma's going to figure out that under the Ryan plan, her Social Security and her Medicare don't change. What he's talking about is future generations, gradual changes.
I mean, what the Tea Party would probably be upset about the Ryan plan for is it doesn't balance the budget sooner. It's a gradual process of reform.
GIGOT: It's interesting (ph). Ryan's plan's been criticized by some conservatives.
O'GRADY: But in some ways, that's a weakness because I think that he has to make this an immediate problem for people.
GIGOT: Who does, Ryan?
O'GRADY: Ryan does. I mean, I think saying, you know, Your grandchildren are going to be worse off -- I'm sorry, but I'm thinking about -- you know, most people are thinking about this year or the next five years or their retirement.
And I think he has to communicate that this -- the Obama path means higher taxes for middle class people not in 20 years, but soon, very soon. And that's something that the voters should want to avoid.