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Posts in "Barack Obama"
January 18, 2013
Having helped re-elect President Barack Obama with his unrestricted super PAC Priorities USA Action, former White House official Bill Burton will now join the public affairs firm Global Strategy Group.
“Bill has played a major role in two successful presidential elections, advised and represented the President of the United States, and has a deep understanding of the communications and political landscapes in Washington,” the firm’s CEO, Jon Silvan, said in a statement.
Burton will be executive vice president and managing director in Global Strategy Group’s Washington office. Before running Priorities USA Action as senior strategist, Burton was deputy press secretary at the White House. Burton’s previous posts include communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and communications adviser to several Capitol Hill Democrats.
Having initially kept unrestricted outside groups at arm’s length, Obama reversed course and embraced super PACs last February. Priorities USA Action got off to a slow start but eventually raised $76 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, making it the top-grossing super PAC backing Democrats.
December 4, 2012
Republicans insisted that President Barack Obama couldn’t win a second term by blaming George W. Bush for the lackluster economy. The 43rd president left office nearly four years ago, and blaming high unemployment and stagnant growth wouldn’t fly with voters in 2012, they argued.
But according to at least one Republican pollster, this strategy worked exceedingly well — thanks in large part to an assist from Mitt Romney and his campaign team. Yes, the Republicans encountered challenges with voter demographics that aren’t going away, acknowledged David Winston in his post-election survey and analysis of the presidential contest. Yes, the Democrats’ voter turnout operation is significantly more advanced than the GOP’s. Full story
November 6, 2012
11:15 p.m. | President Barack Obama has defeated Mitt Romney and won re-election, capping the most expensive and divisive national campaign in memory, according to network news and Associated Press projections.
The president’s victory — built on key swing states including Ohio, Wisconsin and New Hampshire — will give him a second term in a deeply divided nation, and he will be facing a similar lineup in Congress, which has thwarted the bulk of his agenda for the past two years.
Obama’s victory was sealed by the critical state of Ohio — the focus of both candidates for months — where Romney, his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Vice President Joseph Biden all made appearances on Election Day.
Updated 10:57 p.m. | At Republican and Democratic election night events in Washington, D.C., Democrats seemed to be having the better time.
With President Barack Obama racking up wins in battleground states and Mitt Romney yet to put one away, the Republican National Committee party at the Ronald Reagan Building seemed to be thinning out after 10 p.m. At one point, a smattering of applause rang through the hall when Fox News announced Romney won Utah.
Attendees seemed to be clinging to any good news after announcements that Democrats won Senate seats in Massachusetts and Indiana. But they soldiered on, holding out hope despite the fact that it’s a cash bar. Full story
November 5, 2012
Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) appears to be cruising to victory in the open-seat Senate race in Hawaii, but she’s nonetheless getting a final boost from President Barack Obama.
A new radio ad released over the weekend by the Hirono campaign features Obama expressing support for the Congresswoman, highlighting her connection to his family.
“Years ago, Mazie worked with my late grandmother. So Mazie isn’t just a reliable partner of mine in Washington; she is part of my ohana at home in Hawaii,” Obama said. “Now, I need Mazie’s cooperative style and commitment to middle-class families in the U.S. Senate.”
November 4, 2012
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made their closing pitches to swelled crowds of swing state supporters in the final weekend before voters deliver their verdict, while top surrogates hit the Sunday show circuit to spin their map to victory on Tuesday.
Much of the debate in the campaign’s final hours has focused on Pennsylvania, where Romney is campaigning today and where President Bill Clinton will stump for Obama on Monday. Republicans insist their last-minute play for the Keystone State is based on polling showing it’s winnable. But Democrats charge that the move is a sign of desperation from a team whose path to 270 electoral votes is narrowing.
Later today, Romney will stop in Morrisville, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia across the river from New Jersey. The Romney team sought to expand the battleground map with a late multi-million dollar investment on Pennsylvania airwaves, vastly outspending Democrats there in the last two weeks.
“It’s a remarkable juxtaposition here that Mitt Romney will be in the suburbs of Philadelphia today, and, you know, four years ago, Barack Obama was in Indiana,” Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie said on ABC’s “This Week.” “When you look at where this map has gone, it reflects the — the change and the direction and the momentum toward Governor Romney. And the fact is that a state like Pennsylvania being in play, a poll out today showing Michigan a dead heat, you know, this — the map has expanded.” Full story
November 2, 2012
Campaign donors from Washington, D.C., have given more money to super PACs in this election cycle than donors from any other city in the United States, according to an analysis released today by MapLight, a nonpartisan group that follows political money.
Inside-the-Beltway donors gave $71.6 million, or 14 percent, of the more than $510 million that super PACs collected through Sept. 30 of this election cycle, MapLight found.
The MapLight ranking belies Washington’s traditional reputation as a relatively marginal center for campaign fundraising. Both GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have spent more time courting donors in places such as New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles than they have in the nation’s capital.
Unrestricted super PACs, however, appear to be raising large sums from D.C. donors, underscoring how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling has changed traditional fundraising patterns.
The second-ranking city in terms of super PAC donations was Las Vegas; donors there gave $48.7 million to super PACs, or 9.5 percent of the total. Next came New York City, with donors giving $40.8 million, or just less than 8 percent of the total.
The remaining top-donating cities, in descending order, were Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Little Jackson Hole, Wyo., Detroit and San Francisco. All told, 57 percent of all super PAC donations came from the top 10 cities, MapLight found.
Job growth in October strongly beat expectations Friday, even as the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in the final report before next week’s elections.
The government reported 171,000 net new jobs last month and revised upward the previous two months by 84,000. The unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a point, as discouraged workers started to return to the labor force.
The report contained ammunition for both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney but mostly comes as a relief for a White House with the rate staying below 8 percent for a second straight month and allowing the president to point to strengthening job creation in the final days of the too-close-to call race. Full story
November 1, 2012
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama’s re-election today, highlighting the issue of climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, as well as other issues, including health care, abortion and gay rights.
“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief,” Bloomberg said in a column on his eponymous news service.
Bloomberg pointed to the hurricane as a sign that the world should act on the climate change issue.
“Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action,” he said.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said today he will head to Ohio for the final four days before the elections as part of the labor group’s get-out-the-vote strategy on behalf of President Barack Obama and downballot Democrats nationwide.
“We’re facing a dramatic choice of visions and paths forward,” Trumka said today during a conference call with reporters.
He said working-class Americans are rejecting the agenda of the Republican ticket, led by Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.).
The AFL-CIO has mobilized 128,000 volunteers who plan to knock on 5.5 million voters’ doors in battleground states such as Ohio, he said.
“We’ll make 5.2 million phone calls,” Trumka added. “We’ll be talking to voters at their homes, on their phones, at their worksites.”
He said union volunteers and organizers are also making a difference for Democratic Senate candidates Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), among others.
“We also continue to monitor reports of voter suppression,” Trumka said. “We’re going to have over 2,000 people available as poll monitors that will be connected to a number of lawyers around the country. We’ll be able to have a rapid response team that will respond immediately to that.”
Trumka said he visited an early voting site in Las Vegas last week where Republican volunteers were also on the ground. He said Ohio would be a major focus of such poll watching and predicted that Obama would ultimately win the state by 3 points or 4 points.
Michael Podhorzer, the AFL-CIO’s political director, said working families, particularly those in unions, have “decisively chosen Barack Obama’s path.”
Trumka said a Romney campaign ad claiming that Jeep has planned layoffs — a claim that parent Chrysler Corp. has called erroneous — “is backfiring on him” particularly in Ohio. “It shows how desperate he is,” Trumka said.
Trumka said the labor movement has much at stake on Nov. 6. If Romney wins, he said, “I think it would be devastating for America, including the trade union movement.” He added that a Romney administration would be “geared toward corporate America and away from workers.”
No matter what happens this cycle, the union leaders said they would maintain a full-time staff in Ohio and other states so they can grow the program into future elections.
October 31, 2012
President Barack Obama’s campaign claimed today that Mitt Romney’s campaign is “flailing” in the final days, with senior strategist David Axelrod betting his mustache that Obama will win the newly minted battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.
Axelrod and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on a conference call with reporters dismissed the Romney campaign’s late charge into those states, despite persistent polling leads for Obama, as a sign that it is losing in the existing battlegrounds and is increasingly desperate to expand the map.
“It’s break glass time in Boston,” Axelrod said. “I’ve put my mustache on the line.”
Messina said Democrats are piling up big leads among early voters in key battleground states including Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado and Florida.
Axelrod dismissed a question about Obama consistently trailing significantly among independents in polling. Full story
October 26, 2012
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) laced into President Barack Obama in an open letter today, blasting him and his campaign for producing an advertisement that uses a double entendre-laden theme to encourage first-time voting.
The ad was a testimonial from actress Lena Dunham of HBO’s “Girls” fame. In the spot, she quite obviously compares losing one’s virginity to voting for the first time.
“What could you possibly have been thinking?” Blackburn writes in her letter. “The ad you have launched featuring a young actress equating voting for you to a sexual act is offensive to me, to millions of women and to the stature of the office you hold. As a father of two beautiful girls, how could you possibly have allowed this to be aired?”
October 25, 2012
The political world has spent the last 40 hours or so issuing condemnations or statements of support for Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R), who made a controversial debate comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.”
Mourdock and national Republicans have his bid against Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) riding on how the story plays out. Democrats have resoundingly criticized Mourdock, and Republicans are split in their statements.
Democrats sent a flurry of press releases when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) considered withdrawing his support for Mourdock in a pre-taped CNN appearance on Wednesday night. McCain said his support for Mourdock was contingent on whether he “owned up” to the comments and that Mourdock needed to ask for forgiveness.
But this morning, a McCain spokesman explained that Mourdock still has the lawmaker’s support. Full story
October 23, 2012
A super PAC supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is considering going on television in Maine, the Portland Press-Herald reported. According to CNN, the pro-Romney group, Restore Our Future, has already reserved air time in the state.
Restore Our Future has identified Maine’s more rural 2nd district as a target for possible ad spending if funds become available, according to a recent email to the super PAC’s donors that was obtained by Time’s Mark Halperin. In Maine, (and Nebraska,) electoral votes are not awarded on a winner-take-all basis, but rather to the victor in each Congressional district.
“As the Romney-Ryan momentum grows, and more states become within reach, the needs list grows,” the email said, demonstrating that campaigns and outside groups are leaving no stone unturned in the search for electoral votes.
A Press-Herald poll released at the beginning of this month showed that while President Barack Obama had an insurmountable lead in Maine’s coastal 1st district, the story could be quite different in the 2nd district, which encompasses much of the state’s more rural, inland territory. There, Obama had a 5 point lead over Romney, the survey revealed, suggesting to Republicans that they have a chance to pick off an electoral vote in the state.
October 15, 2012
Campaigns, committees and outside groups are flooding the airwaves with negative television ads. A common hit to those who have held public office is a vote to increase one’s own salary.
American Action Network, a Republican super PAC, announced this morning that it was targeting four House races — California’s 10th, Minnesota’s 8th, New Hampshire’s 1st and New York’s 27th. The new ads released will have $5 million behind them, and more money and ads are expected to come in the closing weeks.
But it was a rare positive ad that best cut through the clutter today:
North Dakota Senate
This new statewide broadcast ad, which features former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) swinging away at a batting cage, created angst among female members of the Washington press corps who participate in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.
The game annually pits female reporters against female Members. The Member roster is postured to lose its best hitter in Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.), who was recently named Roll Call’s most endangered incumbent. If Heitkamp is able to pull out her Tossup race against Rep. Rick Berg (R), it is a safe bet to assume that two of her first congratulatory calls will be coming from Member team captains Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) looking to recruit her for their team.
Wasserman Schultz, who does double duty as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, jokingly tweeted on the ad, “I cannot confirm nor deny that batting average is a question on our candidate recruitment forms!”
October 13, 2012
Bruce Springsteen is set to team up with President Bill Clinton to campaign for President Barack Obama in Parma, Ohio, on Thursday.
Even as October Springsteen appearances have become something of a Democratic tradition since 2004, this was not exactly an expected development. Back in February, Springsteen had expressed a reluctance to campaign and disappointment with some of Obama’s economic policies.
Up until this announcement, Springsteen had been largely quiet about the election. He rarely, if ever, mentioned Obama in recent appearances on his current world tour.
The pairing with Clinton is further evidence that wounds from the 2008 primary have healed. Then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was forced to cease playing “The Rising” at campaign stops because Springsteen endorsed Obama during one of the most heated moments of that campaign — the lead-up to the Pennsylvania primary.
In the past, Springsteen campaign appearances are as much about organizational strategy as they are about boosting excitement. As Springsteen plays, campaign workers use the opportunity to campaign, register voters and to collect contact information. However, Ohio’s voter registration deadline has passed.