Barack Obama has often blamed the nation's economic crisis on George W. Bush.
Now all but ignoring Bush, Obama is criticizing a Republican most voters have never heard of: House Minority Leader John Boehner (pictured).
The risk for Obama and fellow Democrats is that millions of Americans will scratch their heads when they hear Boehner's name (pronounced BAY'-nur). Democratic strategists, however, say the White House has few choices.
Former Boehner spokesman Kevin Madden said Obama and his allies "are trying to create and poison a public profile in 50 days."
Madden predicts the effort will fail. Voters care much less about personalities than jobs, taxes and spending, he said, and many will see Obama's criticisms of Boehner as unseemly.
Ed Gillespie, who was a Bush White House adviser, agreed. "Obama is making himself smaller and Boehner bigger," he said.
The shift in focus from Bush to Boehner has been dramatic.
In a speech last week in Ohio, Obama cited Boehner eight times by name, and twice as "the Republican House leader." He did not directly mention Bush or Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP leader.
Obama portrayed Boehner, 60, as the embodiment of unwise Republican ideas, past and future.
Trying to shift blame from Bush to Boehner certainly seems to be a desperate gamble.