"The danger for him is using the Jimmy Carter malaise rhetoric, particularly for Mr. Obama, who was elected because people thought he was the solution. There's only so much negativity they will tolerate from him before they will feel betrayed," Mr. Luntz said.
Brad Blakeman, a senior aide to Mr. Bush from 2001 to 2004, said the new president's language is immature.
"It's not presidential. An American leader needs to be hopeful and optimistic - and truthful. Everything he says is parsed; everything he says is searched for deep meaning. When he goes to 'DefCon 5' on the economy and says that we're on the brink of catastrophe, it's absolutely insane."