Archive for the ‘2012 elections’ Category

Is the election coming down to four states?

There’s been a lot of theorizing on the comments threads about the Electoral College prospects of President Obama and Mitt Romney. At National Journal, Major Garrett writes something that I find rather reasonable: The election increasingly is coming down to four states:

What also became clear after the dust began to settle from the rumble on Long Island was the electoral map has narrowed and Obama’s team, while conceding nothing publicly, is circling the wagons around Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Plouffe said that Obama remains strong in all four states, but he would not discuss the specifics of internal polling or voter-contact analytics, saying only that Obama has “significant leads” in all four places.

It is uncharacteristic of Team Obama to concede any terrain, but Plouffe offered no such assurances about Obama’s position in North Carolina, Virginia, or Florida. Romney advisers have seen big gains in all three states and now consider wins likely, although not …

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A spirited debate that ultimately won’t boost Obama

If President Obama needed a win — any kind of win, by any margin — in last night’s presidential debate, maybe he can claim victory. But if he needed a decisive win in which he regained the initiative by spelling out his vision for the next four years, he’ll have to wait until next week and hope the third time’s the charm.

For Obama did not win such a victory. Personally, I would have called it a draw at worst, because the best, most sustained argument all night came from Mitt Romney, talking about Obama’s economic record, in response to a man who asked the president why he should vote for him again. It was a withering recitation of the missed opportunities of Obama’s presidency. “We don’t have to live like this” and “we don’t have to settle for [insert specific item from Romney's list of Obamanomics miseries here]” were simple but powerful points about what voters overwhelmingly call the most important issue of this campaign. The fact that Romney was responding to a question …

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Round 2: Live thread for second Obama-Romney debate

UPDATE at 10:28 p.m.: Predicted sound-bite highlights of the night: Romney’s devastating rundown of the failed economic recovery the past four years, Obama’s comment that it’s “offensive” for Romney to suggest he and his administration weren’t forthright about Benghazi attacks. The former was the best, most sustained argument of the night from either man. The latter, a perfect way for Obama sympathizers to say “the president is back!” We’ll see which one — or something else — resonated the most with voters.

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UPDATE at 9:54 p.m.: One story line tomorrow will be the way Romney dinged George W. Bush for his budget deficits. And, also in his answer to the way he differs from Bush, says his party “has been focused on big business for too long” and should be more focused on small business. That answer flies in the face of one of Obama’s main lines of attack tonight.

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UPDATE at 9:36 p.m.: Obama says, “It’s just not true.” Romney says, “It’s absolutely true.” The topic doesn’t …

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What matters today and tomorrow from yesterday’s debate

A few more thoughts from last night’s debate between Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan before we move on:

1. This was a trial run for the second presidential debate, especially in light of President Obama’s comment this week that he was “too polite” the first time around. I don’t think Obama will follow Biden’s lead exactly — in fact, I assume part of the strategy was for Biden to be so over the top with his laughs, smirks and interruptions that Obama can be fairly rude toward Mitt Romney next week but look gentlemanly by comparison. If nothing else, the media’s panning of Biden’s demeanor will surely dissuade Obama from going too far in that direction.

2. That said, Obama almost certainly will pick up where Biden left off — and from his own recent stump speeches — in branding Romney as dishonest. I noted this last night, but a clear part of Biden’s plan was to call Ryan’s credibility into question with labels such as “malarkey” and “incredible.” The laughs were surely …

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VP debate live thread: Biden vs. Ryan

FINAL UPDATE: As predicted, this debate won’t end up mattering very much. Each base will be pleased with its candidate and bewildered anyone could think much of the other guy, but I can’t imagine undecideds picking Obama or Romney based on tonight.

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UPDATE at 9:50: The story of this debate so far is Biden’s rude and erratic behavior — interrupting Ryan repeatedly and weirdly laughing throughout Ryan’s remarks. As I said before, the obvious strategy is to portray Ryan, and by extension Romney, as untrustworthy. But there’s enough in his own remarks — his claim that no Democrats support Medicare premium support, for example — that should be howled down by the fact checkers that it isn’t going to work.

It will be interesting to see how well Ryan’s barrage of data and statistics goes over. Biden has stuck with one or two figures per answer; even though they’ve often been wrong, out of date, or misleading, the simplicity might work better. We shall see.

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UPDATE at 9:20: Biden …

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Revelations from Benghazi are damning for Obama

This election’s “October surprise” may turn out to be the truth about something that happened in September.

Remember the rush by the Obama administration to blame the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on a reaction to a movie trailer offensive to Muslims? Well, like everything else in the Obama administration, that story had an expiration date. Here’s ABC News’ Jonathan Karl explaining:

For those who can’t/won’t watch the video, here’s the relevant section from Karl, citing a “senior State Department official”:

At the time [of the Benghazi killings], as you recall, we were told it was a protest that went bad and became an attack. Now we are told there was no protest going on outside that embassy. The first indication that they heard anything outside the walls of the … consulate compound was an explosion from gunfire.

Read that again: “There was no protest going on outside that embassy.” It’s not that the protest isn’t what led to the murders of …

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I’m back — with a different view of the first debate

The Blue Screen of Death greeted me at the office this morning, suggesting my laptop wasn’t ready for its autumn vacation to end. Nonetheless, albeit belatedly …

I’m back.

It was a good trip, but it’s even better to get back here right in the swing of the election season, with just under a month to go until election time.

The big story while I was gone, of course, was last week’s debate between Mitt Romney and Clint Eastwood’s Empty Chair President Obama. The consensus is that Romney won handily, and the opinion polls show a much-tightened race as a result: Not only is Obama’s lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls down to just 1.1 percentage point, but Romney is up to his highest level in the past year, over 47 percent on average.

Without getting into details from the debate’s exchanges which y’all have probably already read many times during the past several days, I do want to make one observation. I watched the debate in its entirety on CNN International, but not …

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Is America in trouble no matter who wins the presidency?

Last Friday, I spoke to a local chapter of the Optimist Club. This Friday, I’m going to make sure no one who reads my blog can possibly have any shred of optimism remaining.

Just kidding. Sort of.

In an election season in which the presidential campaigns take turns making mistakes, making one wonder if either candidate really wants to win this thing, Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics lays out a case that neither side should want to win.

It’s the third in a three-part series; the first two installments were an argument for why Barack Obama will be re-elected, and an argument for why Mitt Romney will unseat him. The third piece boils down to: Be careful what you wish for.

Trende cites four factors that, at this point in time, suggest the winner of this election will see his party (or, in Romney’s case, himself) get rocked in the 2014 midterms and 2016 presidential election.

1. The economy. After reviewing the way we have not sprung back from the most recent recession the way we …

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It’s the spending! Romney muddles the message on non-taxpayers

Politicians are not always good at the “telephone” game. Witness Mitt Romney.

“Telephone,” as you may remember from your childhood, is the game in which one person whispers a phrase to another person, who whispers it to another, and so on, until the last person in line. When the message reaches the final set of ears, it’s usually been misspoken so many times as to be unrecognizable to the original speaker.

That game came to mind this week when a video surfaced, depicting Romney speaking at a May 17 fund-raiser in Boca Raton, Fla. Romney is recorded saying, in part:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it …

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Obama’s unremarkable speech

To put President Obama’s unremarkable speech last night to the Democratic National Convention in full context, you have to pair it with this morning’s jobs report, which fell short of analysts’ expectations. Here’s how the Wall Street Journal put it:

U.S. job growth slowed in August, a sign of a slack recovery that could slow any postconvention momentum for President Barack Obama and spur the Federal Reserve to take further steps in an effort to stimulate the economy.

U.S. payrolls increased by a seasonally adjusted 96,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The politically important unemployment rate, obtained by a separate survey of U.S. households, fell to 8.1% from 8.3%, mainly because of more people dropping out of the work force.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected a gain of 125,000 in payrolls and an 8.3% jobless rate.

That growth is below this year’s monthly average (139,000), which is below last year’s monthly average (153,000). The only …

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