Report: Obama modeling his reelection bid on … Deval Patrick’s?

Team Obama may also be insufficiently attentive to the left, which has erupted over the tax-cut deal. The Friday after the midterms, a senior administration official convened a meeting with representatives of several dozen prominent progressive organizations. When the meeting began at 9 a.m., the official announced the discussion would have to be quick as the White House needed the room by ten o’clock. “The White House is having a meeting with all its important allies, and the initial message is, ‘We couldn’t get a room for more than an hour,’ ” says one participant. “You’ve got to be shitting me.”

Left uncorrected, these failings could unravel Obama’s re-election chances. To be sure, his approval rating is respectable given the economic climate, while the Republican primary will eventually serve up a handy conservative foil. Still, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which the president staggers into 2012. The various corporate front groups—like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS—spent nearly $100 million on ads in the homestretch of the midterm elections. Campaign finance laws require these groups to devote at least half their money to a “primary purpose” that’s not overtly political. Which means that, by the end of their accounting year—presumably next September—they’ll have to spend an equivalent amount. What will they do with it? “If I were Karl Rove and I had $100 million at my disposal, I’d go up in twenty media markets for an entire year,” says the consultant. “Nothing that mentions Obama. Just pisses on the economy. … Even if unemployment does get better by a point, point and a half, no one believes it.”