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December 4, 2012

In 2012, ‘Blame Bush’ Worked Again

In 2012, Blame Bush Worked Again

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaves after her speech on the third day of the 2012 Republican National Convention. The president she worked for, George W. Bush, did not appear at the convention. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

President Barack Obama Wins Re-Election

President Barack Obama Wins Re Election

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

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 4, 2012

Presidential Campaigns Make Closing Arguments in Sprint to Election Day

Presidential Campaigns Make Closing Arguments in Sprint to Election Day

President Barack Obama fires up supporters at a late-night rally in northern Virginia on Saturday. Obama and MItt Romney are barnstorming swing states in the last push to turnout voters on Election Day. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

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

Beltway Donors Top Super PAC Givers

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.

 

Monthly Unemployment Report Beats Expectations

Monthly Unemployment Report Beats Expectations

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned at the Farm Bureau Center in Doswell, Va., on Thursday. Current polls have President Barack Obama and Romney neck-and-neck in the state. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

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

Virginia: Mitt Romney, George Allen Rally GOP Faithful

Virginia: Mitt Romney, George Allen Rally GOP Faithful

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets the crowd at a campaign stop at the Farm Bureau Center in Doswell, Va. Romney was joined on the stump by Republican Senate candidate George Allen, who is locked in a tight race with Democrat Tim Kaine. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

DOSWELL, Va. — Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Senate candidate George Allen rallied the GOP faithful today to begin a final joint push across this crucial battleground state.

In the second event of a three-stop tour, several hundred supporters donning stickers for Romney, Allen and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) crowded into the expansive Farm Bureau Center outside Richmond to hear the nominees for president and Senate. Full story

Michael Bloomberg Endorses Barack Obama Despite ‘Disappointing’ Term

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.

Full story

AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka Heading to Ohio for Campaign’s Final Days

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

David Axelrod Wagers Mustache on Winning Expanded Battleground States

David Axelrod Wagers Mustache on Winning Expanded Battleground States

Top Democratic strategist David Axelrod bet his mustache that President Barack Obama will win Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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 23, 2012

Romney Group Could Advertise in Maine

Romney Group Could Advertise in Maine

A super PAC supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is considering going on the air in Maine. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

October 16, 2012

John Boehner to Boost Candidates in Iowa, Illinois

John Boehner to Boost Candidates in Iowa, Illinois

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John Boehner will be in Iowa campaigning for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday, and he also plans to fundraise for two House challengers while he’s in the state.

Ben Lange and John Archer, who are running against Democratic incumbents in Iowa’s 1st and 2nd districts, respectively, will get a boost from the Speaker.

The Ohio Republican will start the day with a fundraising luncheon in Davenport for Archer, a lawyer who is running against Rep. Dave Loebsack (D). The event will be held at the Davenport Country Club, and donations range from $250 to $1,000 a person, according to the Quad-City Times. Full story

October 9, 2012

Mitt Romney’s Polling Surge Continues

Mitt Romney’s Polling Surge Continues

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned last month in Virginia. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A cascade of poll numbers confirms Mitt Romney’s big bounce after Wednesday’s debate with President Barack Obama, putting him ahead in several national and state polls and closing the gaps in swing states where he had trailed.

However, there are signs that Friday’s surprising September jobs report may help Obama stanch the bleeding.

Gallup, which unveiled its seven-day likely voter tracker for the first time today, showed Romney with a 49 percent to 47 percent advantage, while Obama led 49 percent to 46 percent among registered voters. This and other recently released polls confirmed an enthusiasm gap that favors the GOP. Gallup did have one bright spot for Obama: Its three-day job approval for the president hit a recent high of 53 percent among “all adults,” possibly aided by Friday’s unexpectedly low 7.8 percent unemployment rate.

Still, polling generally continues to show a strong bounce for Romney, the Republican presidential nominee — most pronounced in Monday’s Pew poll that showed the former Massachusetts governor swinging to a 4-point lead from an 8-point deficit after the debate. Today, Romney led Obama nationally in the RealClearPolitics.com average for the first time in the 2012 campaign.

Full story

October 7, 2012

Missouri: Claire McCaskill Hits Todd Akin on Emergency Contraception

Missouri: Claire McCaskill Hits Todd Akin on Emergency Contraception

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) unveiled a new ad this weekend that makes reference to the comments that turned her challenger, GOP Rep. Todd Akin, into an underdog.

The ad tackles Akin’s August comments that in cases of “legitimate rape,” a woman’s body can prevent pregnancy. But McCaskill goes further by attempting to link Akin’s erroneous statements to his position against emergency contraception.

The ad notes the Missouri Democrat’s work as a prosecutor with victims of sexual violence. McCaskill worked as a prosecutor before becoming state auditor in 1999.

“It’s why Claire understands that survivors of rape deserve the option of emergency contraception, whether they accept it or not,” the ad says. “But Todd Akin opposes emergency contraception for victims of rape and incest. So it’s more than what Todd Akin said, it’s what he believes.”

Full story

October 4, 2012

TiVo, Twitter Agree: Big Bird Is Fascinating

People seem to really love Big Bird.

That’s one of the top takeaways from TiVo’s analysis of the “Top Moments” of Wednesday night’s presidential debate. Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s comments on eliminating federal funding for public broadcasting was, in essence, the most rewound and replayed moment of the entire debate by users of the digital recording devices, the company said today.

Twitter reported similar interest in Big Bird and PBS on the social media platform.

“The evening’s real breakout star was a certain tall yellow Muppet. There were more than a quarter million Tweets mentioning Big Bird, following Governor Romney’s statement that he wants to cut Federal funding for PBS, the Muppet characters’ TV channel, even despite his stated fondness for the Sesame Street character,” a blog post from Twitter said.

Asked by moderator Jim Lehrer of the “PBS NewsHour” to identify federal programs that he would cut to help reduce the federal budget deficit, Romney first said he would repeal the 2010 health care overhaul but then turned to funding for public broadcasting.

“I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too,” Romney said to Lehrer. “But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”

President Barack Obama’s budget request calls for an advance appropriation of $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for fiscal 2015. The corporation is supporting that level of funding. It has been funded through a two-year advance appropriation since 1976, in an effort that the corporation’s leadership says helps ensure editorial independence of Lehrer and others.

The Sesame Workshop, which produces the “Sesame Street” program featuring the lovable giant yellow bird responded with a statement today.

“‘Sesame Street’ has been a proud partner of PBS for 43 years, and is dependent on PBS to distribute our commercial-free educational programming to all children in the United States. Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization,” the group said. “We do not comment on campaigns, but we’re happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird.”

Sesame Workshop, previously called the Children’s Television Workshop, is a charitable nonprofit organized as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

TiVo reported the Big Bird moment took the top prize among viewers on CNN, Fox News and NBC.

Other leading moments included Romney’s explanation of his position on Medicare benefits for upper-income beneficiaries and an exchange between Romney and Obama regarding Romney’s tax proposals.

 

October 2, 2012

Obama Campaign Responds to Mitt Romney on Deferred Action

Obama Campaign Responds to Mitt Romney on Deferred Action

The Obama campaign today took aim at GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's position on the status of some undocumented immigrants. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s campaign today ridiculed GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s newly announced position on the status of some undocumented immigrants, as Senate Democrats again touted the DREAM Act.

Romney told the Denver Post that he would not take administrative action to invalidate work permits issued to undocumented immigrants as part of the Obama administration’s deferred action policy, which allows people who entered the United States illegally when they were young to work legally in the country under certain conditions.

“The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I’m not going to take something that they’ve purchased,” Romney told the newspaper. “Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed.”

Full story

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