By Emily Senger - Friday, March 22, 2013 - 0 Comments
A joint plan from former Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to…
A joint plan from former Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to topple frontrunner Mitt Romney through a “unity ticket” failed because the pair couldn’t agree on who would get to be president.
This new report on the Republican dream team that never was comes from national correspondent Joshua Green at Bloomberg Businessweek. Green quotes Gingrich supporter Bob Walker, who says: “We were close. Everybody thought there was an opportunity.”
The master plan reportedly flopped right before the Michigan primary, at a time when Romney was struggling for the win and his hold on the lead looked iffy. Alas, Gingrich and Santorum couldn’t agree on their plan to consolidate conservative support and Romney went on to win Michigan and, eventually, the presidential nomination before being defeated by President Barack Obama.
Gingrich, the candidate seen as having less overall support, was the one to ultimately pull the plug, Santorum tells Green in an interview: “I was disappointed when Speaker Gingrich ultimately decided against this idea, because it could have changed the outcome of the primary. And more importantly, it could have changed the outcome of the general election.”
Maybe Gingrich and Santroum can sort out their differences in time for the 2016 presidential election. But, if they’re going to make a run for it, they’d better get it sorted early. It looks like Hillary Clinton could be a strong adversary.
By Emily Senger - Friday, November 16, 2012 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
The chairman of the Maine Republican Party is backtracking after comments he made alleging…
The chairman of the Maine Republican Party is backtracking after comments he made alleging voter fraud by mysterious black voters in the state during the presidential election.
Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster released an apology late Thursday, reports the Portland Press Herald.
“It was my intention to talk not about race, but about perceived voting irregularities,” Webster said in a written statement. “However, my comments were made without proof of wrongdoing and they had the unintended consequence of casting aspersions on an entire group of Americans. For that, I am truly sorry.”
Webster originally came under fire for comments he made to a local television station, while he was trying to explain what he saw as voting irregularities in the state.
“In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on election day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in town knows anyone who’s black,” he said in the interview. “How did it happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.”
Here’s a clip from the original comments Webster is apologizing for:
The full, 20-minute interview is available from Portland television station WCSH 6.
After Webster’s comments, a spokesperson for the Maine secretary of state told Politico that she wasn’t aware of any complaints about the voter fraud Webster alleged.
Maine Democratic Party Chair Ben Grant also called the comments “racist” and said they were unfounded.
On Thursday, before his eventual apology, Webster dug himself deeper into a hole when he tried to clarify his earlier point. In an interview with Talking Points Memo reporter Ryan J. Reilly Webster said: “There’s nothing about me that would be discriminatory. I know black people. I play basketball every Sunday with a black guy. He’s a great friend of mine. Nobody would ever accuse me of suggesting anything.”
By Emily Senger - Friday, November 9, 2012 at 8:33 AM - 0 Comments
President Barack Obama, who is know for being stoic and even a little aloof…
President Barack Obama, who is know for being stoic and even a little aloof at times, let his emotions show while thanking supporters on the morning he was re-elected.
In a video shot Wednesday morning and released by Obama’s campaign team Thursday, Obama address his cheering staff in Chicago. He wipes away tears as he tells his young volunteers how proud he is of them.
“Even before last night’s results, I felt that the work I had done running for office had come full circle because what you guys have done means that the work that I am doing is important,” Obama says, his voice becoming emotional. “And I’m really proud of that. I’m really proud of all of you.”
By Emily Senger - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 11:31 AM - 0 Comments
In a post-election mistake, a draft of website designed in case Republican presidential candidate…
In a post-election mistake, a draft of website designed in case Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romeny won on Tuesday night went live for a few moments, reports the Huffington Post.
The site for “President Elect” Mitt Romney was designed by Solution Stream Creative, which told the Huffington Post it had been hired about 10 days before the election.
“I’m excited about our prospects as a nation. My priority is putting people back to work in America,” read the website.
Traffic slowed the site to a crawl and it was eventually pulled down shortly after it was discovered Wednesday, but not before multiple bloggers were able to grab screenshots of the webpage that will never be.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 11:25 PM - 0 Comments
Thomas Mulcair’s statement on the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama.
On behalf of Canada’s New Democrats I extend heartfelt congratulations to Barack Obama, for his re-election as President of the United States of America.
President Obama knows that a nation can achieve more when its citizens work together to lift each other up. He also recognizes that sustainable development is crucial to ensuring a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.
These are values that New Democrats are proud to share.
Our countries are true neighbours and our peoples are true friends. I look forward to working more closely with the President to build a fairer, greener and more prosperous World for all.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 9:10 AM - 0 Comments
The final polling numbers are in and statistician Nate Silver predicts that there is…
The final polling numbers are in and statistician Nate Silver predicts that there is a pretty substantial chance of President Barack Obama winning a second term.
Shortly after appearing on the Colbert Report Monday night, Silver tweeted: “A few more polls to add. But Obama at 91% to win Electoral College based on today’s data so far.”
In his final post at New York Times blog FiveThirtyEight Monday morning, Silver gives Obama a 91.6 per cent chance of winning. Silver writes: “Among 12 national polls published on Monday, Mr. Obama led by an average of 1.6 percentage points. Perhaps more important is the trend in the surveys. On average, Mr. Obama gained 1.5 percentage points from the prior edition of the same polls, improving his standing in nine of the surveys while losing ground in just one.”
But, Silver said on Twitter Monday morning, it will still be close. “IMPORTANT: That we have Obama as a ~90% favorite does NOT mean we’re predicting a landslide. We expect a close election.”
Predicting such a whopping victory for the president has lead to much controversy, and even personal attacks, as pundits question how useful Silver’s polling methods are and what will happen to Silver’s reputation, should his predictions be wrong.
By Jaime Weinman - Monday, November 5, 2012 at 4:13 PM - 0 Comments
Jamie Weinman on the gap between trusting your gut and stats
My colleague Colby Cosh got a lot of favourable notice for this piece about Nate Silver. Well, to paraphrase Patty and Selma from The Simpsons, I believe the best way to write a post is to leech off the popularity of another post. But also, I had something I wanted to say about Silver. Or more about perceptions of Silver.
Arguing about Silver has suddenly become a big thing in the last few weeks. He’s been taking criticism from at least three different directions. First, there are the people who don’t so much have a beef with the man himself as with the idea of him as an oracle. Silver does not claim to be an all-knowing prognosticator. But there are people out there who see him as such. I know a few people who have told me the U.S. presidential race can’t be close because Silver gives Obama a 75 per cent chance of winning, or who simply refer to Silver alone to tell them what’s going to happen. Silver has never set himself up as a prophet, and he can’t be blamed for his adherents, but I do think that the way he expresses his findings is very vulnerable to misinterpretation. It’s true that Silver isn’t literally saying that Romney has almost no chance of winning; he’s talking about probabilities. But they do lend themselves to those talking points, even if that’s not his fault.
The second anti-Silver faction consists of Republicans and conservatives who detect a bias in his work. You can see one such argument here. To some extent, this may be misdirected: the polls themselves, particularly the swing state polls, have tended to show Obama in the lead. But there is an argument that any system with a subjective element — and while Silver has stayed true to his system, it includes subjective decisions about how things are weighted — has an element of bias in it.
From a Republican point of view, Silver may have stood in the way of developing a media narrative of Romney momentum after Denver; as the national polls started shifting toward Romney (many of them have since shifted back again) Silver continued to say that Obama was the favourite based on swing-state polling. I don’t know how harmful that actually was to the Romney campaign, but perceptions of momentum are quite important to some of the people who run campaigns.
Finally, there are the pundits and reporters, many of whom see Silver as an annoyance at best and an enemy at worst. Here’s the article that mentions some of the anti-Silver sentiment brewing among pundits; one of the people from Politico also mocked people who think Silver has some kind of “secret sauce,” when he’s actually just “averaging public polls.” Though, I don’t think he, as opposed to some of his fans, have claimed he has any “secret sauce.”. As many people have already noted, this is developing a lot like arguments over baseball statistics: who has the better perception of the game, the guy who goes out and talks to the players and has inside knowledge of what goes on, or the guy who sits at home with the statistics and plugs them in?
It’s not as simple as that in election forecasting, because analyzing baseball statistics is about analyzing things that have happened, while polling is about things that haven’t happened yet. With predicting the future, it is probably true that inside knowledge can help you see things the stats don’t — just as someone who knows about a baseball star’s drinking or drug problem will do a better job than the sabermetrician of foreseeing his upcoming decline. An example from 2010: Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun, who predicted Harry Reid would be re-elected at a time when Silver gave Reid’s opponent “a better than three-in-four chance,” thanks to polls that were turning in her favour. Ralston didn’t have a lot of evidence to give us, but he did have his reputation as a clued-in, plugged-in observer of Nevada politics, and what he observed was that Reid’s political operation was as strong as ever, and that his opponent wasn’t being carried along as strongly as she should have been by that year’s Republican wave. This is the sort of thing you can probably see that the polls can’t – if you’re intimately familiar with the political workings of a particular area or state.
But most people who forecast elections, of course, have no such familiarity. Even people who live in a state, while their local perspective is almost always more insightful (for example, a local can tell you not only what ads are on television, but what they’re saying on local news and the weirdly political world of sports radio), are going to have limited knowledge of what’s going on. Other people just tell you that someone must be winning, no matter what the polls say, because he had huge turnout at some rally, or the locals seem to be getting really excited about him. And then there’s the most problematic of all these little subgenres: talking to interested parties and asking them if they think they’re winning. Of course they think they’re winning, and can give you all kinds of reasons why. But why on earth would that be more useful to us than looking at an average of the polls?
It always seems counterintuitive and wrong that a guy staying at home with the numbers, never setting foot in a state, could have more insight into the situation than someone who does shoe-leather reporting on the ground. And in one sense that’s true: the number-crunchers would be nothing without the people in the field doing the polls. But in terms of the actual process of figuring out who’s likely to win, this is probably one of those situations Bill James described in response to criticisms of the sabermetric method: told that sabermetricians can’t see the forest for the trees, he pointed out that the trees aren’t in a good position to tell us how tall they are. To go and report on baseball up close, you find out a lot of things, but you still need hard cold statistics to put the season into perspective for you and find out stuff like, well, who’s ahead in the standings. If you ignore the stats and just “trust your gut,” you get something like this piece from Peggy Noonan, a full-blown pundit in good standing, where she argues that the polls don’t matter because she’s hearing a lot of people have signs in their yards:
There is no denying the Republicans have the passion now, the enthusiasm. The Democrats do not. Independents are breaking for Romney. And there’s the thing about the yard signs. In Florida a few weeks ago I saw Romney signs, not Obama ones. From Ohio I hear the same. From tony Northwest Washington, D.C., I hear the same.
Is it possible this whole thing is playing out before our eyes and we’re not really noticing because we’re too busy looking at data on paper instead of what’s in front of us? Maybe that’s the real distortion of the polls this year: They left us discounting the world around us.
This is the kind of predicting that, even if it turns out to be right, is completely useless. It’s useless because it’s not based on anything; it tells us nothing except that humans will pick out the signs and portents that tell them what they want to hear. With Ralston’s prediction about Harry Reid, we could at least look back on it after the election was over and learn something about the way politics works in Nevada. But most gut-feeling punditry, I think, is closer to the Noonan quote: someone is going to win because I feel it in my bones, or a particular candidate has the “momentum.”
This is why I think now is right time to argue about whether Silver’s method makes sense, rather than after the election. There are many reasons why he might wind up calling the election wrong (along with a lot of other poll aggregators, pundits, and so on). There are also flukey reasons why he might be right. It doesn’t exactly matter a lot, since the actual election renders all advance polling completely irrelevant. The question is, though, before the election, when predictions are all we have to go on, which predictions are useful? Which methods shed some light on the state of the race at a particular time? Which posts seem like they might have something useful to tell us about where the polls stood, even if things change?
I think there are some ways in which the Silver method makes the race more confusing, creating the impression that races are less volatile than they really are, and under-stating the chances of surprises like the Harry Reid/Sharron Angle race. And I think it’s important to take the polls in conjunction with some bigger-picture reporting. But that’s not the choice we usually have: the choice we have is between poll aggregation and analysis, and pundits reporting “SHOCK POLL: OBAMA LOSING [name of state]” or telling us how David Axelrod thinks things are going. With a choice like that, no wonder people turn to Nate Silver.
By Emily Senger - Monday, November 5, 2012 at 3:41 PM - 0 Comments
After remaining relatively silent during the U.S. presidential election campaign, former vice-presidential Republican candidate…
After remaining relatively silent during the U.S. presidential election campaign, former vice-presidential Republican candidate Sarah Palin is urging voters to choose Mitt Romney.
In a post on her Facebook page, Palin lists off 11 paragraphs of all the reasons voters should not re-elect President Barack Obama for a second term.
Then, eventually, she writes: “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have offered a credible alternative to Barack Obama’s failed policies… Governor Romney deserves a chance to lead. President Obama had his chance. He’s failed, and we can’t afford to go backwards.”
Palin hasn’t shown much public support for Romney during this campaign, even as former Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has travelled the country, drumming up support for Romney.
She did, however, say that she would vote for Newt Gingrich during the Republican primaries.
By Emily Senger - Friday, November 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM - 0 Comments
President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romeny made a lot of stops during…
President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romeny made a lot of stops during the 2012 election campaign and this becomes quickly apparent in an animated map of all the stops created by statistician Jerzy Wieczorek.
Using data from the Washington Post’s interactive map of presidential campaign stops, Wieczorek explains that he was able to plot 450 different events.
Though, says Wieczorek on his blog Civil Statistician, the data set didn’t include information about whether the candidates went home between stops, so it’s possible there could be even more travelling involved than is reflected on the map.
Despite the frantic pace of travel (made all the more frantic because the graphic is set to Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’) poor North Dakota didn’t get a single visit.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 9:10 AM - 0 Comments
Deal? Blogger risks his reputation
FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver is so confident that President Barack Obama will be re-elected that he bet $1,000 on it.
In a Tweet to MNSBC host Joe Scarborough Sliver said:
“.@JoeNBC: If you think it’s a toss-up, let’s bet. If Obama wins, you donate $1,000 to the American Red Cross. If Romney wins, I do. Deal?”
The wager, which Scarborough has yet to publicly respond to, comes after a back-and-forth, which began when Scarborough criticized Silver’s math model, which says that Obama has much better odds of winning than Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
On his show, Morning Joe, Scarborough called Silver an ideologue and a joke saying:
“Nate Silver says this is a 73.6 per cent chance that the president’s going to win. Nobody in that campaign thinks they have a 73.6% — they think they have a 50.1 per cent chance of winning. Both sides understand that it is close and it could go either way. Anybody that thinks that this race is anything but a tossup right now is such an ideologue — they should be kept away from typewriters, computers, laptops and microphones for the next 10 days, because they’re jokes.”
This, and other criticism saying that Silver is putting his reputation at risk by predicting an Obama victory, had Silver on the defensive all week.
Silver remains confident in his numbers, though. On Thursday, he gave Obama a 79 per cent chance of winning on Nov. 6., an eight-point improvement over his estimation on Oct. 24.
By Emily Senger - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 8:55 AM - 0 Comments
Candidates watch their steps on a road to the White House that’s strewn with debris
As Americans enter Day 2 of cleanup after the devastating Hurricane Sandy, both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be back to campaigning, but they will likely take on a less combative tone, at least for now.
Both men kept a low profile on Monday and Tuesday, with Obama returning to the White House to monitor the storm and Romney spending Tuesday aiding in reliefs efforts in Ohio, and dodging questions about previous comments he made about funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
On Wednesday, Obama will tour the damaged New Jersey coast, foregoing battleground states in favour of enforcing his role as the incumbent in a state where he is already expected to win easily.
Romney will be back to the battleground state of Florida on Wednesday, with three stops planned.
But, notes The Associated Press, Obama’s decision to enforce his role as president, instead of campaiging in the few states that will likely decide the election, puts Romney in a tough spot. “The former Massachusetts governor must show respect for the superstorm’s casualties all along the Eastern Seaboard. But Romney can ill afford to waste a minute of campaign time, with the contest virtually deadlocked in several key states and the election six days away.”
An ad featuring Democratic campaign manager Jim Messina, released Wednesday morning, also takes on a gentler tone, with Messina speaking about Sandy before he even gets down to the important businesses of getting Democratic voters out to vote in the most important states.
According to polls released Wednesday, which were conducted before Sandy made landfall, both candidates need to use every moment left to continue campaigning in a race that appears tied leading up to the Nov. 6 vote.
The latest poll conducted for Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times between Oct. 23-28 shows that Obama still has a five-point lead in the key battleground state of Ohio. Meanwhile, the president’s lead in Florida has shrunk to just one point and his lead in Virginia is just two points, reports CBS News.
Another poll, released by the PEW Research Centre, shows a race too close to call. That poll shows that Romney’s lead has diminished, bringing the candidates to a tie among likely voters.
By Emily Senger - Monday, October 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
In the hours before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall, both President Barack Obama and Republican…
In the hours before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall, both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have altered their campaign plans, and comments Romney made about disaster relief in 2011 are back in the news.
The Atlantic is drawing attention to Romney’s remarks during a Republican presidential primary debate, where he suggested that the federal government should hand services covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency over to individual states, or even privatize the services provided by the agency.
“Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction,” Romney told CNN’s John King during the presidential primary debate on June 13, 2011.
Here’s the clip:
By Sunday night, Republicans were already making efforts to “clarify” this earlier statement, reports the Huffington Post.
In Virginia, the Romney campaign team got some favourable press when it donated one of its Romney-Ryan campaign buses to offer disaster relief during the storm.
“Bring donations to VA Victory offices. Romney bus will deliver them to those affected by #Sandy,” said Virginia communications director Curt Cashour on Twitter. He also tweeted this photo:
Meanwhile, both Obama and Romney have suspended email fundraising campaigns to the states affected by the storm, reports the Washington Post.
Obama has also cancelled planned visits to Florida, Virginia and Ohio, where he was to appear with Bill Clinton. Instead, Obama will go back to the White House where he can better monitor the storm, said a statement released by the president’s press secretary.
The president arrived at Andrews Air Force Base Monday morning.
While all these campaign changes might seem like an overreaction at first, consider this Wall Street Journal image of Sandy next to an image of Hurricane Irene, which was responsible for more than $15-billion in damage in 2011. As the photo shows, Sandy is both wider and stronger than Hurricane Irene and this Category 1 hurricane is expected to bring some of the worst flooding seen in 70 years, said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy.
By Colby Cosh - Monday, October 29, 2012 at 11:05 AM - 0 Comments
Over the weekend, the estimable David Akin was talking U.S. politics with Ipsos’s Darrell Bricker on Twitter when he noticed an unfamiliar verbal oddity in a Reuters report on the polling firm’s recent survey of early voters.
Obama leads Romney 54 per cent to 39 per cent among voters who already have cast ballots, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling data compiled in recent weeks. The sample size of early voters is 960 people, with a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Huh, what’s this “credibility interval” business? Sounds like a different name for the good old margin of error! But why would we need a different name for that? This question, it turns out, is the pop-top on a can of worms.
The polling business has a problem: when most households had a single land-line telephone, it was relatively easy to sample the population cheaply and well—to estimate quantities like voter intentions in a clean, mathematically uncomplicated way, as one might draw different-coloured balls from a single urn to estimate the amounts of each colour amongst the balls on the inside. That happy state of affairs has, of course, been reduced to chaos by the cell phone.
The cell phone, increasingly, does not just divide the population into two hypothetical urns—which is basically how pollsters originally went about solving the problem. Its overall effect (including the demise of the telephone directory) has affected the math of polling in several ways, all of them constantly intensifying; declining response rates to public surveys (“Get lost, pal, you’re eating up my minutes”) are the most obvious example. Put simply, individual members of the public are no longer necessarily accessible for polite questioning by means of a single randomizable number that everybody pretty much has one of. The problem of sampling from the urn has thus become infinitely more complicated. Pollsters can no longer assume that the balls are more or less evenly distributed inside the urn, and it is getting harder and harder to reach into the urn and rummage around.
So how are they handling this obstacle? Their job, at least when it comes to pre-election polling, is becoming a lot less like drawing balls from an urn and more like flying an aircraft in zero-visibility conditions. The boffins are becoming increasingly reliant on “non-probability samples” like internet panel groups, which give only narrow pictures of biased subsets of the overall population. The good news is that they can take many such pictures and use modern computational techniques to combine them and make pretty decent population inferences. “Obama is at 90 per cent with black voters in Shelbyville; 54 per cent among auto workers; 48 per cent among California epileptics; 62 per cent with people whose surnames start with the letter Z…” Pile up enough subsets of this sort, combined with knowledge of their relative sizes and other characteristics, and you can build models which let you guess at the characteristics of the entire electorate (or, if you’re doing market research, the consumerate).
As a matter of truth in advertising, however, pollsters have concluded that they shouldn’t report the uncertainty of these guesses by using the traditional term “margin of error.” There is an extra layer of inference involved in the new techniques: they offer what one might call a “margin of error, given that the modelling assumptions are correct.” And there’s a philosophical problem, too. The new techniques are founded on what is called a “Bayesian” basis, meaning that sample data must be combined explicitly with a prior state of knowledge to derive both estimates of particular quantities and the uncertainty surrounding them.
A classical pre-election voter survey would neither require nor benefit from ordinary knowledge of the likely range of President Obama’s vote share: such surveys start only with the purely mathematical specification that the share must definitely be somewhere between 0 per cent and 100 per cent. A Bayesian approach might start by specifying that in the real world Obama, for no other reason than that he is a major-party candidate, is overwhelmingly likely to land somewhere between 35 per cent and 65 per cent. And this range would be tightened up gradually, using Bayes’ Law, as new survey information came in.
This is probably the best way, in principle, to make intelligent election forecasts. But you can see the issues with it. Bayesianism explicitly invites some subjectivity into the art of the pollster. (Whose “priors” do we use, and why?) And in making the step from estimating the current disposition of the populace to making positive election forecasts, one has to have a method of letting the influence of old information gradually attenuate as it gets less relevant. Even nifty Bayesian techniques, by themselves, don’t solve that problem.
Pollsters are trying very hard to appear as transparent and up-front about their methods as they were in the landline era. When it comes to communicating with journalists, who are by and large a gang of rampaging innumerates, I don’t really see much hope for this; polling firms may not want their methods to be some sort of mysterious “black box,” but the nuances of Bayesian multilevel modelling, even to fairly intense stat hobbyists, might as well be buried in about a mile of cognitive concrete. Our best hope is likely to be the advent of meta-analysts like (he said through tightly gritted teeth) Nate Silver, who are watching and evaluating polling agencies according to their past performance. That is, pretty much exactly as if they were “black boxes.” In the meantime, you will want to be on the lookout for that phrase “credibility interval.” As the American Association for Public Opinion Research says, it is, in effect, a “[news] consumer beware” reminder.
By Emily Senger - Monday, October 29, 2012 at 8:58 AM - 0 Comments
The latest celebrity endorsement in the U.S. presidential campaign comes from sci-fi filmmaker Joss…
The latest celebrity endorsement in the U.S. presidential campaign comes from sci-fi filmmaker Joss Whedon and, just in time for Halloween, Whedon says he supports Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who is just the man to usher in a new age of zombie apocalypse.
“Mitt Romney is a very different candidate, one with the vision and determination to cut through business’s usual politics and finally put this country back on the path to the zombie apocalypse,” says Whedon, as he dries dishes.
The tongue-in-cheek ad urges voters to start start stocking up on canned goods, because, “If Mitt takes office, sooner or later, the zombies will come for all of us.”
By Emily Senger - Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 11:19 AM - 0 Comments
In the final campaign push before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 6, new…
In the final campaign push before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 6, new polls show Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney slightly ahead in a close race, just as President Barack Obama picks up a key endorsement.
An Associated Press-GfK poll released Thursday showed Romney ahead and that a gender gap, where women had shown more support for Obama, was closing.
According to the poll, 47 percent of voters were likely to choose Romney and 45 per cent said they would choose Obama. The poll also showed that Obama’s former 16-point lead with female voters was gone, with a 47-47 per cent tie between men and women. Romney’s 13-point advantage with men has also shrunk to just five points, the poll showed.
However, the results of the poll are so close that the split is “within the margin of error,” notes AP.
Another poll, conducted two days earlier for The Washington Post and ABC News also showed a tightening race, with Romney at 49 per cent and Obama at 48.
While recent polls give Romney a slight edge, Obama picked up an important re-endorsement from former Republican secretary of state Colin Powell Thursday morning.
Speaking on CBS This Morning, Powell said he was supporting Obama again, after breaking rank with the Republican party in 2008 and endorsing him. “I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012 and I’ll be voting for he and for Vice-President Joe Biden next month,” Powell said.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM - 0 Comments
President Barack Obama had some zingers for Donald Trump late Wednesday, after the billionaire’s…
President Barack Obama had some zingers for Donald Trump late Wednesday, after the billionaire’s bizarre announcement that he would donate $5 million to charity, should the president turn over his college records and his passport.
The non-news announcement, which Trump had heralded as game-changing bombshell about the president just days before, was widely ridiculed, and the ridicule didn’t stop when the president made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
“What’s this thing with Trump and you?” asked Leno. “It’s like me and Letterman. What has he got against you? I don’t get it,” Leno asked.
The president was quick with his response, which poked fun at Trump’s repeated claim that the president was born outside of the United States.
“This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya,” said the president, to much laughter. “We had constant run ins on the soccer field. He wasn’t very good, and he resented it. When we finally moved to America, I thought it would be over.”
Obama then told Leno that he had never actually met Trump.
The stop on Leno is part of a 48-hour campaign tour, where Obama is appearing in eight states during the final weekend of the campaign. Notably, he will appear in states which are viewed as pivotal to a Democratic win, including: Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Ohio and Virginia.
By Emily Senger - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM - 0 Comments
Clint Eastwood is back in the spotlight in an advertisement supporting Republican presidential candidate…
Clint Eastwood is back in the spotlight in an advertisement supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The well-scripted ad, paid for by the super PAC American Crossroads, is a far departure from the star’s last appearance at the Republican Convention in Tampa, where he cursed at an empty chair meant to stand in for President Barack Obama.
“If somebody doesn’t get the job done, you hold him accountable,” says Eastwood in the new ad. “Obama’s second term would be a rerun of the first time, and our country just couldn’t survive that.”
American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio told CNN that the commercial was taped at Eastwood’s home in California.
The ad is one of three new ads launched by American Crossroads in swing states this week, in what CNN says is an estimated $17-million campaign by the super PAC.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 9:15 AM - 0 Comments
Female voters favour president’s foreign policy approach
The barbs over foreign policy have been traded, the horses and bayonets memes have galloped across the internet, and the polls say President Barack Obama won the third and final debate against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
According to a poll conducted by CBS News immediately after the debate, 53 per cent of undecided voters said Obama had the win and 23 per cent said the win went to Romney. A high number of the 521 voters polled, however, said the debate was split, with 24 per cent of respondents calling it a tie.
Over at CNN, post-debate polling showed a tighter margin of victory for the president, with 48 per cent of respondents giving Obama a win and 40 per cent saying Romney came out on top. CNN’s poll also noted a gender gap, saying women rated Obama’s debate performance more favourably than they rated Romney’s.
By Emily Senger - Monday, October 22, 2012 at 10:48 AM - 0 Comments
‘It’s going to be very big,’ billionaire tells Fox News
Donald Trump has a game-changing announcement about President Barack Obama, which he will make public on Wednesday, he told hosts of the Fox News program Fox & Friends.
“It’s going to be announced, probably on Wednesday, but I have something very, very big concerning the president of the United States,” Trump said.
Without giving any hints on exactly what this news might be, Trump told hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade in a phone interview that his yet-to-be-announced news could “possibly” change the outcome of the election.
“It’s going to be very big,” Trump said. “I know you will cover it in a very big fashion.”
Trump, a Republican supporter, has been a high-profile “birther,” arguing that the president wasn’t born in the United States, despite a mountain of evidence (including a birth certificate) that proves the president was, indeed, born on U.S. soil.
By Jane Switzer - Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 8:20 AM - 0 Comments
Vladimir Putin gave his strongest indication yet that he’ll run in the 2012 presidential election
Between a string of appearances on a four-day tour across Siberia, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gave his strongest indication yet that he’ll run in the 2012 presidential election. Though tight-lipped about his intentions, Putin told the newspaper Kommersant that the idea interests him “more than anyone,” although he “doesn’t make a fetish out of it.” Putin became Russia’s most popular politician during his 2000-2008 presidency, but ceded power to protege Dmitry Medvedev due to a constitutional limit on serving a third consecutive term. He is now eligible to return and serve another two consecutive terms. The 57-year-old former KGB officer’s well-documented summer exploits, from co-piloting a firefighting plane to taking part in a scientific whale expedition, have also fuelled rumours of his political intentions.
In the interview, Putin also had choice words for anti-government protesters who have been denied access to a central Moscow square since last year, saying they don’t have the right to gather illegally: “You need to get permission from the local authorities,” he said. “If you have received it, then go and demonstrate. If you have taken to the streets without the right to do so then you are going to get bashed over the head with a truncheon. That is all there is to it.”
By John Geddes - Monday, November 2, 2009 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
Meet the Canadian who uncovered fraud, and sent Afghanistan back to the polls
For much of this fall, the most pressing question in world affairs—preoccupying leaders from U.S. President Barack Obama to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon—was how to sort out the messy aftermath of Afghanistan’s Aug. 20 election. As charges of massive voting fraud mounted, so did the stakes. Would Hamid Karzai, the incumbent president, be allowed to cling to power under a cloud of suspicion that he’d cheated his way to victory? How badly would such an outcome undermine already flagging support in Europe and North America for ongoing military sacrifice in Afghanistan? Near the centre of the controversy and uncertainty was a disarmingly low-key Canadian, whose job was to tell Afghans, and the world, if the election had been stolen or not.
From his manner, Grant Kippen, chairman of Afghanistan’s Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), seems an unlikely sort to play such a pivotal part in an international crisis. In the crowd of flamboyant Afghan politicians and big-ego diplomats dispatched to Kabul, Kippen stands out by standing back. Seemingly unflappable, doggedly methodical, he guided the ECC through weeks when many observers doubted that the results of its investigation would be allowed to carry the day. Speculation swirled that Karzai would be permitted to triumph no matter what—a suspicion that suddenly looked more than plausible when Peter Galbraith, a U.S. diplomat, was fired from a top United Nations job in Afghanistan after charging that his UN superior was biased in favour of Karzai. Continue…
By Michael Petrou - Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 10:41 AM - 15 Comments
The exact date this footage was filmed is disputed. What it depicts is not: another innocent Iranian has been shot dead, this time through the head, while protesting Iran’s rigged presidential election.
Although President Obama has not yet officially dropped his policy of engaging with Iran, it is difficult to see how such a policy can still be justified. Iran has already committed widespread atrocities against its own people, and it appears this repression and violence will escalate. As Payam Akhavan, a professor of international law at McGill University, notes today in the Ottawa Citizen, such actions constitute crimes against humanity, and the Iranian leaders responsible for them deserve to face justice, as did Slobodan Milosevic and as will, one hopes, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
This isn’t to say that Obama’s strategy of extending a hand to Iran was foolish, only that it has failed. Iran will not unclench its fist. Obama needs to recognize this and reconsider his options.
By John Parisella - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 11:01 AM - 2 Comments
How else can you describe it? Thanks to Maclean’s for giving me the opportunity…
How else can you describe it? Thanks to Maclean’s for giving me the opportunity to share with readers in the blogosphere my impressions about the US presidential race from the perspective of a challenger who was 22 percent behind in the national polls at this stage last year. Thanks, too, to the readers and responders along the way. Many disagreed with me but were not disagreeable. While it may not always show, the more conservative, pro-Republican responders made me think and I am grateful. I still believe conservatism is a vital and essential part of American political thought. Just like liberalism needed to rethink its basic tenets from the 70′s on, I believe 2008 is the beginning of the next conservative revolution. This is just the way America works—checks and balances on its institutions and, more importantly, on its political thinking.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 12:37 AM - 16 Comments
Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama—as prepared for delivery
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.