The Huffington Post's Senior Political Editor Howard Fineman appeared on "The Chris Matthews Show" on Sunday, along with the BBC's Katty Kay, NBC News' Norah O'Donnell and Time Magazine's Richard Stengel, to discuss America's declining position in the world, and what it means for President Obama in 2012.
"The trick is to be honest and inspirational at the same time," Howard said.
"50-year-old factory worker, 50-year-old man or woman in Western Pennsylvanian, Indiana, the states that are going to decide this next election.... Are they thinking 'The president's got this all figured out?'" Matthews asked.
"If you look a the statistics and the polling, and you talk to people in those places, as I do," Howard replied, "They don't think that. They're highly skeptical. And I think they're open to another message from somebody who, if he or she can find it, mixes honesty with inspiration. If you're just going to tell people, 'Look, here are the cold, hard facts,' that's not going to work."