By Aaron Hutchins - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 0 Comments
Seems no matter the outcome of the U.S. election, people have plans to move
By John Parisella - Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 7:20 AM - 0 Comments
John Parisella explains why a Republican victory on Tuesday night is a real possibility
When a presidential campaign comes down to talk about voter turnout, and the concentration on fewer than nine states in the Electoral College, you know it is a cliffhanger.
Barack Obama has all the advantages of incumbency, which history shows has its assets, but Mitt Romney is making his own victory a real possibility. A sluggish economy and a sense that little will improve under existing policies may lead America to choose a different path, just four years after making that very consideration.
Mitt Romney has had a good month of October. His debate performance on Oct. 3 against a lackluster President Obama will ultimately have the effect of a knockout win in history, should he triumph Nov. 6. Was it that he was so good in the exchange, or was Obama so bad? Obama has rebounded since and Hurricane Sandy seems to show his steady hand and experience, but Romney has stayed the course. He is a serious challenger and the national polls attest to that.
When one looks at the Romney of the primary season and the “moderate Mitt” of October, we see two different candidates. It is, as one of his close advisers said, an “etch a sketch” transformation. He veered to the center without much challenge from Obama in the first debate, and nearly parroted Obama’s positions in national security during the third debate on Oct. 22. The effect has been to place the strident Republican Party voice of recent years in the background, and present an image of a competent, successful, and strong family man able to take on the most important challenges of the leader of the free world. It may actually work.
It is somewhat ironic that the Romney of moderate Massachusetts governor days had to hide during primary season and be replaced by the Romney of Bain Capital days, and the Romney of flip- flopping fame over such core issues as abortion rights, healthcare, and gun laws only to see a semblance of the former Massachusetts governor resurface in the closing days of the campaign. There is now talk of his record in job creation in Massachusetts. There is also repeated mention of his positive relations with a Democratic controlled Assembly in Massachusetts. The only thing missing is saying that Romneycare would become his national healthcare program. Oh! That would be Obamacare!
When one takes a closer look at his policies, however, we see greater consistency with the Romney of the primary season. On cultural issues such as abortion rights, he has indicated his intent to appoint judges that would likely overturn Roe v. Wade. He remains adamantly opposed to gay marriage, and remained ambiguous about Obama’s policy about DADT and gays in the military. The tone and style has changed, but the essence of where he wishes to take America has not.
On deficit, debt and tax matters, he may refer to the Simpson-Bowles Commission and how Obama failed to endorse it, but his running mate Paul Ryan also voted against it. He endorsed the pledge against any new taxes as did his GOP opponents in the primaries. To be fair, he promises to change the tax code, which could produce more revenue, but fails to be specific about which tax deductions he would eliminate. The Bush tax cuts set to expire this year would remain in place. There is not much change from Bush era economic policies.
As he repeated in the last debate, he intends to increase military spending which should appease neo-conservative supporters and advisers such as noted neocon and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. When Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush left office, however, the very policies of tax cuts and higher defence spending had led to the greatest deficits in U.S. history. In fact, the majority portion of the current U.S. deficit can be attributed to the Bush tax cuts, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the unfinanced universal drug prescription program.
The strongest argument for a Romney presidency may well be the fact he may be in a better position to deal with a Republican Congress. With the so-called fiscal cliff on the horizon, this may represent a distinct advantage for Romney and independent voters.
Romney may well win this election, but there is no doubt his victory would represent an important change in direction for the nation in economics, cultural, and national security areas. He may even break the partisan gridlock in Congress. A victory by Romney, however, will clearly lead many to ask: which is the real Romney, and which one will America get after Nov. 6? That has been the consistent question that has dogged him since day one of his candidacy, and makes one wonder whether he has successfully closed the deal.
By Emma Teitel - Friday, November 2, 2012 at 6:04 PM - 0 Comments
It was hard to imagine at the height of Todd “legitimate rape” Akin’s mass pillorying, that the Missouri congressman would survive his senate race. The Republican establishment all but abandoned him, Romney asked him to step down, and even Ann Coulter called him a “selfish swine” for his annoyingly strong convictions. What his decision to remain in the race will do for Romney’s chances is unclear, though his name–and now, Richard Mourdock’s– is pretty much synonymous with the dreaded “War on Women.” Akin’s own chances at victory, however, aren’t as damaged by his bogus science as everybody thought they’d be.
According to a post on The Hill today,
“Akin went from a low of 38 per cent support in one poll, conducted in the days after his comments drew national scrutiny, to just a 2-percentage-point deficit in one independent poll released last weekend. One Republican internal poll has Akin and McCaskill tied.”
It’s also rumoured that a number of his old friends (the National Republican Senatorial Committee perhaps?) are slithering back just in time for the election, with some last minute millions. And the Missouri Republican Party recently helped him out with a $300,000+ ad buy:
See below, one of the weirdest campaign ads ever made (though not as weird as this one) in which a multicultural/multi-generational group of women gush about how much they love Todd Akin, and one of them, about how much grocery shopping sucks in communist Russia…
The United Colors of Todd Akin
If Akin does manage to win the race, the joke is on the Democrats: In August, the Washington Post argued that the Democratic party was instrumental in Akin’s Senate GOP Primary victory. The Dems assumed his opinions were so out there, that were he to win the primary, incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill would be a practical shoe-in for the Senate. So according to the Post, the Dems “spent $1.5 million trying to help Akin win his 3-way primary.” In other words, they created their own political version of the Producers. Apparently, they ran anti-Akin ads like the one described below, that deliberately made the candidate more appealing to conservative voters, and more likely to win the GOP primary in Missouri. From the Post:
“‘Todd Akin calls himself the true conservative, but is he too conservative?’ asks the narrator of the ad, which is approved by McCaskill’s campaign and paid for by the DSCC. The narrator goes on to note the negative posture Akin has taken toward President Obama, before concluding, ‘it’s no surprise Todd has been endorsed by the most conservative leaders in our country – Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee.’”
That’s not a mild attack ad. That’s a full on endorsement for Akin, which means that if he does in fact beat McCaskill next week, he’ll have some thanking to do across the aisle. And Planned Parenthood will at least in part have its own party to thank for the impending “War on Women”
By Erica Alini - Friday, November 2, 2012 at 10:36 AM - 0 Comments
The much-anticipated October jobs report, the last major economic release before Nov. 6, is out and it continues to show a U.S. economy slowly edging forward on the path of recovery. At 171,000, the number of jobs added last month beat expectations, which were hovering around a gain of 125,000 payrolls. The politically important unemployment rate, however, edged up a tick, rising to 7.9 per cent from 7.8 per cent in September, likely a sign that discouraged job seekers are looking for work again.
None of this challenges the candidates’ narratives on the state of labour market, which run more or less like this:
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 Chris Sorensen - Monday, October 29, 2012 at 10:31 AM - 0 Comments
China-bashing is all the rage in the U.S. Beijing is pushing back
As the U.S. election looms, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been eager to blame China for America’s economic woes. Both are running ads that paint China as a job-stealer, an intellectual property thief and a currency manipulator. Romney’s campaign has called China a “cheater” in international trade, while Obama has accused Romney of offshoring American manufacturing jobs while running his private equity firm.
The rhetoric is amplified by concerns about the $1.15 trillion worth of U.S. Treasury bills that China holds, ostensibly threatening Washington’s financial independence. “I love Big Bird,” Romney said during the first debate, spawning a torrent of Twitter jokes. “But I’m not going to keep spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.” Beijing hasn’t found the campaign threats nearly as funny. A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry urged both candidates to “do more things conducive to China-U.S. mutual trust and co-operation,” while China’s official news agency, Xinhua, called the China-bashing an election-year ritual that “leaves Americans with the impression that China is responsible for their country’s decline.”
The war of words highlights how high tensions are running on both sides. That’s because both countries are under intense economic pressure. America is trying to pull out of a crushing recession (and a debt of more than $16 trillion) and put millions back to work. China is desperate to maintain economic growth, the glue holding the country of 1.3 billion together, while in the midst of a difficult leadership transition (tarred by the Bo Xilai corruption scandal). Caught in the middle is a $503-billion trade relationship that’s emerged as a cornerstone of the global economy.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 11:08 AM - 0 Comments
Let the ground war begin: Our Washington correspondent on what’s left of the battle.
If you tally the rhetorical blows, the punches and the insta-poll results, Barack Obama came out ahead in the ﬁnal two of three debates this month. Yet the overall debate math has worked out well for the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, who has tied the President in national polls and narrowed the gap in what really matters this election: the crucial battleground states.
“This race is going to be incredibly close—razor-thin in some places—until the end,” Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday. “But we’re up or tied within the margin of error in every single swing state. That’s exactly where we thought it would be.”
It’s certainly not where things stood before the first debate, on Oct. 3. Romney was trailing Obama in the polls and had lost many supporters to some combination of verbal gaffes, nasty attack ads and a surge in Democratic enthusiasm following that party’s convention. But Romney’s focused, aggressive performance in Denver against a lacklustre, sedate Obama won the Republican the debate and brought his supporters back into the fold.
The next two debates—the town hall in Hempstead, N.Y., and Monday’s foreign policy debate in Boca Raton, Fla.—were better nights for Obama, who was sharper and landed more punches. But, it turns out, presidential debates are more like a figure-skating routine than a boxing match: technical points count, but so does style. And Romney’s routine had a very strategic choreography.
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 10:59 AM - 0 Comments
It’s hard to believe the U.S. election campaign is almost over—it feels like it began only two or three eons ago. In the time since Mitt Romney launched his 2012 candidacy, the seasons have changed, toddlers have reached puberty, gases and dark matter have come together to form the seeds of untold future galaxies and Lady Gaga has had, like, three different hairstyles. Most people now can’t wait for Nov. 6, which will mark the final day of this campaign and the only day Wolf Blitzer won’t talk about the next one.
By this point in the process, Mitt and Barack are like in-laws who’ve come to town, done the tourist thing, doted on the grandkids and now you desire nothing more than for them to get the hell out of your house. We just want our bathroom back, guys.
But before that glorious day could come, we needed to get through the Continue…
By Aaron Hutchins - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 8:32 PM - 0 Comments
Aaron Hutchins rounds up the reaction
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 12:23 PM - 0 Comments
This just in. Well, OK, never mind
After days of breathless anticipation, Donald Trump finally made his big announcement about President Barack Obama. And apparently Trump wants the President to turn over his college and passport records in exchange for a $5-million donation to a charity of Obama’s choice. And, well, that’s it.
By Aaron Hutchins - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 7:19 AM - 0 Comments
The race for the White House? A fight to the finish
By macleans.ca - Monday, October 22, 2012 at 10:30 PM - 0 Comments
During Monday night’s debate, Mitt Romney accused Barack Obama of embarking on an apology tour during his tenure, “going to the Middle East and blaming America.” Responded the president: “Nothing Governor Romney has just said now is true.” Responded Twitter? Well … you’ll see:
By macleans.ca - Monday, October 22, 2012 at 8:55 PM - 0 Comments
Our formerly live blog from the U.S. presidential debate
By John Parisella - Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 1:57 PM - 0 Comments
This election has turned into a “base” election in which the turnout of the party base will be the deciding factor.
With the presidential debate season drawing to an end, campaign emphasis will soon shift to getting out the vote.
It is estimated that by Nov. 6, between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of eligible voters will have done so since early voting began at the beginning of October. The influence of the first debate, which challenger Mitt Romney clearly won, has turned what seemed like a sure bet for Obama’s re-election into a tightly fought race that will come down to a small number of key states.
Popular vote polls are generally within the margin of error. It is likely the final result on Nov. 6 could be close to an even split. However, a president is chosen by the Electoral College and here we are reminded of the most dramatic outcome in U.S. history: the Gore-Bush election of 2000. As we all recall, Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote, but George W. Bush became president when the Supreme Court of the United States decided to end the recount saga in Florida, thereby awarding the 27 electoral votes of that state to the Republican challenger.
A similar scenario could emerge in which the popular vote total may not translate into the Electoral College outcome. The general consensus is that Barack Obama clearly won the second debate, and has kept his lead in a key battleground state – Ohio – as well as maintaining his edge in other swing states to pull off an Electoral College majority (270 votes ).
It seems the outcome in three states that could decide the next President are Ohio, Florida, Virginia. Latest polls give Ohio to Obama and Florida to Romney. Virginia is a toss up. Obama will likely win such small swing states as Iowa, Nevada and Wisconsin, which could make Ohio the deciding state for the presidency.
This election has turned into a “base” election in which the turnout of the party base will be the deciding factor. A “wave” election where independents break for one candidate seems less and less likely.
For non-Americans, winning the Electoral College seems an awkward way to choose arguably the most important leader on the planet. But it is in the U.S. Constitution, and America remains the oldest and most stable democracy in the world and in history.
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 6:10 AM - 0 Comments
Barack Obama’s performance in the first U.S. presidential debate was bad—and it only got worse in the days that followed. Pundits kept one-upping each other in describing just how detached he had been. The President was lethargic! He was invisible! He wasn’t just aloof—he was theloof!
They weren’t exaggerating: Obama’s interventions in the first debate featured more ums than the periodic table. In the days leading up to this week’s second debate, the President’s surrogates promised a more vigorous, more aggressive Obama. A few made it sound as though Mitt Romney would basically be facing off against a giant green rage monster and his terse campaign slogan: “Hope smash!”
By Aaron Hutchins - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 10:36 PM - 0 Comments
Big Bird may be getting replaced. During the Tuesday presidential debate, Mitt Romney criticized Barack Obama’s energy policies, saying the president “has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal.” Twitter took the comment from there.
By John Parisella - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 6:47 AM - 0 Comments
John Parisella on what’s at play in tonight’s debate
While presidential scholars argue over the influence of debates on presidential results, there is no doubt the first Obama-Romney debate turned the campaign into a horse race. Democrats have barely recovered from President Obama’s lackluster performance on Oct. 3. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is attracting larger crowds and is now leads in such key battleground states as Florida and Virginia.
With the vice-presidential debate behind us, momentum favors Romney. It is clear the former Massachusetts Governor has changed the perception created by his mixed performance on the campaign trail since the debate, and the image created by the Obama campaign ads. The final two debates could go a long way in making Romney appear presidential enough to become the third challenger since 1932 to beat an incumbent President.
Following a spirited debate performance by Vice President Joe Biden, Obama must now display similar energy and engagement to seize the advantage he had less than two weeks ago. He must show passion for his achievements and present a vision for the next four years. Biden made a valiant and effective effort against Republican Paul Ryan, but voters choose the top of the ticket and not the running mate.
I still consider Romney a more natural debater than the professoral and aloof President. Tonight’s debate features a town-hall format and deals with national security, which brings the contenders in direct contact with the voter. The answers and the arguments must be crisp and focused. No time for hesitation or fumbling through notes. And all this must be done in a congenial, voter-friendly manner.
For Obama to stage a debate comeback and possibly win the encounter, he must show, as Bill Clinton did so expertly at the Democratic National Convention, that the first four years of an Obama administration improved the lot of Americans. He must show how he has made the world more respectful of America as a world power, and made it safer by hunting down Osama Bin Laden.
Obama must also argue passionately that economic recovery and economic security are essential ingredients to a strong nation. Obama must show how Obamacare was part of a grander scheme as was his financial institutional reform. A revived economy, improved national security and a more inclusive vision for the future of America is better than a return to Bush-type policies that appear to be in Romney’s policy playbook (deregulation, lower taxes, higher military spending and a more aggressive stance with China and the Middle East ).
Obama should expect a continuation of the new, moderate Romney backtracking on two years of what his detractors call “flip flopping” and hard right positions. He should never forget that when his opponent speaks, he is still on camera with the split-screen. Finally, it is a given that the political centre is where elections are won in America. This political centre is what Obama must defend, displaying his passion for the road travelled under his leadership, and a vision to where he intends to bring his country in the next four years. This is the best path for winning this presidential contest. Anything less means losing the debates and possibly the election.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Monday, October 15, 2012 at 5:17 PM - 0 Comments
Could the stakes possibly be higher in a presidential debate? The polls keep tightening and the president has largely cleared his schedule to hunker down in Williamsburg, Va., to prepare.
Tuesday night’s townhall style is one with which Obama has had a lot of experience. But with the momentum on his side, Romney only needs to not screw up — while Obama needs to impress. In the first debate, there seemed to be more time spent discussion what Romney would do in the next four years than what Obama would do. The president has an opportunity to change that.
It will be interesting to watch CNN’s Candy Crowley press Romney on the math of his tax cut and military spending plans, and to question Obama on his administration’s handling of the deadly consular attacks in Libya. If anyone can get them off their talking points, Crowly can. The debate runs 9-10:30 pm ET.
Yesterday, Paul Brandus (@WestWingReport) and I discussed the VP debate and looked forward to Tuesday’s presidential debate on CBC with Nancy Wilson:
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Monday, October 15, 2012 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
Political junkies look to Brooklyn-based blogger who correctly predicted 49 out of 50 states in 2008 election
When a string of new polls came out this week showing Mitt Romney making major gains on the heels of his aggressive debate performance against a subdued President Barack Obama, there was a sense of panic among the President’s supporters. “Has any candidate lost 18 points among women voters in one night ever?” fretted commentator Andrew Sullivan. “On every single issue, Obama has instantly plummeted into near-oblivion.
Democrats mourned and Republicans gloated, but one voice stayed calm amidst the furor.
Nate Silver, a 34-year-old Brooklyn-based statistician and blogger who correctly predicted the results of 49 out of 50 states and every Senate race in the 2008 election, tried to cool emotions on Monday. “According to Twitter, Barack Obama went from a huge favorite at 1 p.m. to a huge underdog at 4 p.m.,” Silver tweeted. “Get a grip, people.”
Silver’s blog, FiveThirtyEight.com (named for the number of electors in the U.S. Electoral College system that technically elects presidents), was licensed by the New York Times after his 2008 success. In a post on Sunday, he counselled caution in over-interpreting the latest polls: “Polling data is often very noisy, and not all polls use equally rigorous methodology. But the polls, as a whole, remain consistent with the idea that they may end up settling where they were before the conventions, with Mr. Obama ahead by about two points. Such an outcome would be in line with what history and the fundamentals of the economy would lead you to expect.”
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 11:24 PM - 0 Comments
During Thursday’s vice-presidential debate, there were a lot of complaints by Republicans about VP Joe Biden’s demeanor: his laughing and smirking, dismissing Ryan’s answers as “malarkey” and a “bunch of stuff.”
Democrats, meanwhile, cheered his aggressive attacks on Romney and Ryan and loved the debate, which they found to be a much-needed answer to the president’s weak performance in Denver.