Barack Obama, whose popularity has been declining steadily around the globe, took another hit from one of the leading news publications in the world’s most populous democracy.
Outlook, the Indian newsmagazine, placed Obama on its next cover with the caption “The Underachiever.”
Underneath the unflattering title, Outlook goes on to say: He promised hope and change. Four years on, President Barack Obama's sheen is gone. Can his lofty rhetoric carry him home again?
This development comes just two weeks after Time magazine of the United States featured Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on its cover, dubbing him as an “underachiever” as well and suggesting that he is unfit to steer India’s economic growth.
However, the editor of Outlook denied that his publication’s cover story was a response to Time’s broadside against Singh.
Our focus is not Time magazine, our focus is Mr. Obama,” Krishna Prasad told BBC.
We are trying to do the American election in a slightly different way. We are trying to take a long, hard look at Obama and his performance in the last four years.”
Prasad added: Frankly, if you view [Obama] with an Indian eye, or a non-American eye, you will understand that just as Manmohan Singh comes across as an underachiever, Barack Obama, for all his hype and expectation, he too [comes] across as an underachiever, whether you like it or not. We are not saying that Time was wrong in calling Manmohan Singh an underachiever. I do think he is an underachiever, but I think you can make the same charge about Obama.”
Time magazine criticized Singh for the paralysis in the New Delhi government, citing “the laws that could help create growth and jobs are stuck in Parliament, sparking concerns that politicians have lost the plot in their focus on short-term populist measures that will win votes… India is stalling. To turn it around, Prime Minister Singh must emerge from his private and political gloom.
But has Singh really underachieved? During his first term, in office, Indian delivered an impressive 9.6 percent growth in GDP, while the U.S. economy remains ensnared in high unemployment and flat growth.
Indeed, the poor economic condition in the U.S. had prompted yet another attack on Obama from an Indian source – Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana, blasted the president as the “most incompetent, most liberal” chief executive since Jimmy Carter.
Jindal, who may become Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 election, said that Obama “can't run on his record. He can't run on his policies, so all he can do is attack Governor Romney. All he can do is distort his policies. All he can do is make up allegations, try to distract our attention away from his failed performance and the economy today.”
The Louisiana wunderkind added: Remember [Obama] said if he couldn't get this economy turned around in three years, it'd be a one-term proposition. Now he's broken a lot of promises. That's one promise I'd actually like him to keep… This president has never run anything before we elected him… never ran a lemonhead stand, never ran a business, never ran a state.”