It is, Team Clinton told us, â€śthe economy, stupid.â€ť John Swinney would never echo those precise words.
Heâ€™s too ineffably polite to call anyone stupid. And, in any case, it isnâ€™t good politics to be so blunt when your majority is non-existent.
However, it would appear that Mr Swinney agrees with the underlying sentiment.
Today SNP Ministers published their economic strategy.
There they sat in Glasgow University: Alex Salmond (economist), John Swinney (financial accountant) and Jim Mather (millionaire businessman.) A triumvirate of fiscal reassurance.
Everything is to be subjugated to the need to improve Scotlandâ€™s growth rate. Improve health? Certainly, best way to get people back to work. Improve skills? Yes, but make sure theyâ€™re marketable.
There are two targets: match UK growth by 2011 and match small European economies like Denmark and Ireland by 2017.
There was a flurry of excitement when Mr Salmond forecast that Scotland would have the powers of a full economy by that latter date. So is that: â€śindependence â€“ keen by 2017â€ť?
Not quite. It is possible to interpret his comments as meaning that Scotland might achieve extra fiscal powers, short of independence. In any case, do we expect the FM to play down the prospect of independence?
Today was mostly about what can be done within devolution. Opposition critics, perfectly understandably, want to talk about what wonâ€™t be done. There wonâ€™t be 1000 shiny new police officers. There wonâ€™t be class sizes of 18 in the early years of school any time soon.
Mr Salmond and Mr Swinney say theyâ€™ll do the very best with the relatively tight settlement from the Treasury. They invite the public to judge them on that â€“ and, explicitly, on that target of matching UK growth by the next Holyrood election.