Mr. Obama's troubles in the Rocky Mountains are indicative of the very steep climb that lies ahead for him over the next 14 months. The president has returned to the one job he's exceptional at – campaigning; but now he can't simply speak about hope, he has to defend his ineffectual economic record.

Gauging the mood and opinion in Colorado is interesting, especially since it's the state where President Obama chose to sign his massive $787 billion stimulus bill into law back in 2009. But the reality is that his effort to spur economic growth through redistribution has been ineffectual – and the people of Colorado know that.

The simplest solution for President Obama is to put forth policies that encourage greater market freedom – keeping taxes low, cutting the corporate tax rate, reforming entitlements, and expanding educational freedom. Doing so would introduce some much-needed certainty into the marketplace, and that's the surest way of predicting voter behavior in 2012.