Why President Obama Should Keep Mentioning President Bush

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Frenemies. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama can't mention the difficulties he inherited from his predecessor without being mocked by conservatives for leaning on a pathetic, responsibility-shirking "blame Bush" strategy. But Obama may have a good reason for name-dropping the nation's previous Decider, according to a new CNN poll:

When asked in the survey whether they are better or worse off than they were four years ago, Americans are split, 44% to 43%. But when asked whether they are better or worse off than they were four years ago "when Bush was president," a small gap opens — 47% say they are better off compared to 41% who say they are worse off.

That's a five point difference — small, yes, but this race could be decided by far less — from simply reminding some people that Bush, the guy whose time in office they did not enjoy very much, was the president immediately prior to Obama. People are very busy, they can't remember everything on their own.