GOP Likely to Use Market Turmoil as Ammo for 2012

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Republican candidates are gearing up to square off at a presidential debate Thursday night in Iowa.

Many analysts believe that with the economy in a slowdown and markets whipsawing daily the GOP has a good shot at unseating President Obama in 2012.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 600 points Monday then up more than 400 on Tuesday. But those brief gains and more were wiped out on Wednesday after the Dow closed down 519 points

"It is not a full blown panic yet, but it could there," UBS trader Art Cashin said. "They are not throwing things out the window quite yet but they are not far from it if this keeps up."

The wild ride is the latest in a string of bad economic news that's made it a terrible summer for the president.

A new poll found his approval rating has sunk to 41 percent. Seventy-three percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track - and nearly half say "the worst is yet to come."

Meanwhile, high unemployment and a bad housing market have caused many Americans to curtail their spending.

For instance, Americans are cancelling or foregoing cable and satellite television subscriptions in record numbers.

Republicans have already begun blaming the president for the rocky week on Wall Street.

"It's another wake-up call to a president who seems just so out of touch and inept and really doesn't have a plan to fix the economy," presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty charged. "I do."

"We've got to cut taxes," he said. "We've got to lighten up on the regulations. We've got to do things to encourage job growth in this country, not have it suffocated by overreaching, burdensome government."

While Obama will no doubt be the main target during Thursday's debate, candidates like Pawlenty, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and former Utah Gov. John Huntsman are preparing to use the debate to present an alternative to front runner Mitt Romney.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will not be participating since he has not yet declared whether he's in the race.

On Saturday, Republicans in Iowa crown their unofficial front-runner to challenge Obama in 2012. Considering the latest GOP straw poll, no one is certain who will come out on top.

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