Economy Of Beltway Bubble Vs. Real America

The morning sunrise warms the sky over the White House, Friday, Feb. 15, 2008, in Washington.
AP Photo/Ron Edmonds
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

The exit polls showed that the No. 1 issue on the minds of primary voters Tuesday was the economy. We were in Ohio the last couple of days, and we heard it loud and clear from a number of people.

Folks are concerned for their jobs, they're worried sick about dropping home values, they're worried about debt…and health care…and gas prices.

We dropped by league night at a bowling alley near downtown Columbus. We spoke with one man who had seen 85 of his coworkers laid off the week before. Somehow he survived the cuts, but told us how incredible it is that the folks in Washington don't seem to get it.

He mentioned how surprised President Bush was when a reporter asked him about the prospects of $4-a-gallon gasoline. How can that be, he wondered.

Yes, there is a disconnect between the Beltway and real America. The presidential candidate who best understands that could very well end up in the White House.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.