In this Oct. 15, 1992 photo, President George H. W. Bush, left, talks with independent candidate Ross Perot as Democratic candidate Bill Clinton stands aside at the end of their second presidential debate in Richmond, Va.
The GDP print of 1.5% for the 2Q of 2012 is like a meteor crashing on the White House lawn. POTUS was asked repeatedly to comment on the fact, and he refused. There is a general assumption that POTUS does not need to comment on this or that of the economy. It is a sound position. Incumbents do win. POTUS holds to the theory that incumbents win more than not. The history of the presidency demonstrates that the voters who committed to a man do not want to repudiate themselves within four years. The Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush examples can be misleading. The runaway inflation of 1979-80, and the sudden, shallow jobless spike of 1991-92, are just part of the failure of Carter and Bush at the polls. Ronald Reagan's performances at the debates were theater gems; the Tehran hostage crisis combined with the failure at Desert One badly damaged the perception of Carter's competency. However the salient issue in both the Carter loss in 1980 and the Bush loss in 1992 was a third party candidate. Carter ran against Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown in the primaries; and then John Anderson pulled support from Carter in the general. Ross Perot diluted the GOP base in 1992, making Bill Clinton a plurality presidency. The obvious fact is that there is no third party to weaken the Obama vote from 2008. In sum, incumbents win. That meteor that just crashed on the White House lawn. No comment. But, it is messy. The theory that says that incumbents win also says that re-elections are referendums on the incumbent. Voters do not like messes. Voters look around for someone to clean up the mess. We will not see the 3Q GDP before the Election. This is it: 1.5% GDP annualised. Crash.