Posts Tagged ‘Presidential election’

Great to see the NJ State Government making it easier for people to vote. Worth passing on to any friends and family in the stricken state …

Release begins: Already Available to Military and Overseas Voters, State Opens Electronic Voting System to Make Voting More Accessible to Citizens Displaced by Hurricane Sandy and First Responders Assisting in Recovery Efforts

Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Department of State has issued a directive today to county elections officials to permit New Jersey registered voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote electronically. This directive also is intended to assist displaced first responders, whose tireless recovery efforts away from home has made voting a challenge.

“This has been an extraordinary storm that has created unthinkable destruction across our state and we know many people have questions about how and where to cast their vote in Tuesday’s election. To help alleviate pressure on polling places, we encourage voters to either use electronic voting or the extended hours at county offices to cast their vote,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “Despite the widespread damage Hurricane Sandy has caused, New Jersey is committed to working through the enormous obstacles before us to hold an open and transparent election befitting our state and the resiliency of its citizens.”

To vote electronically, displaced voters may submit a mail-in ballot application either by e-mail or fax to their county clerk. Once an application is approved, the clerk will electronically send a ballot to the voter by either fax or e-mail in accordance to the voter’s preference. Voters must return their electronic ballot – by fax or email – no later than November 6, 2012, at 8 p.m.

Voters can download a mail-in ballot application for their county by visiting http://nj.gov/state/elections/voting-information-vote-by-mail.html. A list of county clerk websites, phone numbers and fax numbers are available by visiting http://nj.gov/state/elections/voting-information-local-officials.html.

Separate directives issued today enable displaced voters and first responders to vote by provisional ballot at a polling place in a county other than the voter’s county of registration. The deadline for county clerks to receive mail-in ballots has been extended to November 19, 2012, for any ballot postmarked on or before November 5, 2012. Mail-in ballots post marked later than November 5 will not be accepted.

County elections officials have also been directed to print a sufficient number of provisional and emergency ballots to accommodate voters.

Voters are encouraged to take advantage of extended office hours at county elections offices to cast their vote early and in-person. Registered voters can obtain and cast their ballot in-person at their county elections office up until 3 pm Tuesday. County election offices are to remain open, at a minimum, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm throughout the weekend, until November 5. Voters that have a mail-in ballot and choose to deliver their ballot to the county elections office in person must present their completed ballot to their county elections office no later than the close of polls on Tuesday.

Information is also available by calling 1-877-NJVOTER.

Katy Perry performs at a campaign rally for US President Barack Obama in a rubber dress …. phew. Then again, Romney has, er, Meat Loaf on his team.

From AFP and others

President Barack Obama and rival Mitt Romney darted across the United States Saturday in an 11th-hour blitz, with the close White House battle heading to an ill-tempered climax.

Sharp political arrows flew much as they have throughout the bitter, months-long battle between the two parties’ flag-bearers, but the rivals also turned to soaring rhetoric as they made their closing arguments.

Three days before voters choose between giving Obama a second term or sending him back to Chicago, the rivals chased one another through a handful of states that will decide Tuesday’s too-close-to-call election.

The president dashed from small rural towns in Ohio to the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for a larger rally with a big, rowdy crowd in a conference center.

He also heads to Iowa and then Virginia, two of the eight or so battlegrounds that the campaigns are obsessing over in the final 72 hours of the race. Romney spent the day in New Hampshire, Iowa and Colorado.

Gratuitous extra photo of Katy Perry. Um, well, look. She just makes Obama look better than ever, OK?

Obama’s applause lines were greeted with lusty cheers, and chants of “four more years” from a crowd, put at 20,000 by Milwaukee event officials, warmed up before Obama’s arrival by pop star Katy Perry.

“As long as there is a child in any place in Milwaukee, any place in Wisconsin, any place in this country, who is languishing in poverty and barred from opportunity, our fight goes on,” Obama said,.

“Our fight goes on because America has always done best when everybody has got a fair shot,” he added, pushing his populist economic message.

Obama also hit out at what he says is Romney’s effort to roll back the clock to the days when Wall Street had “free rein to do whatever” it liked, contributing to “an economic crisis that we’re still cleaning our way out of.”

“And governor Romney now is a very talented salesman,” Obama added. “So in this campaign, he is trying as hard as he can to repackage the same old ideas that didn’t work and offer them up as change.”

Wisconsin had been considered safe Democratic territory, but a combination of a resurgent Republican Party, waning enthusiasm for Obama and home state hero Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate has tightened the race.

The latest RealClearPolitics average of state polls has Obama leading in Wisconsin by 5.4 percent.

Romney began his day in New Hampshire, which has only four of the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the White House but could punch above its weight in a tight finish, and accused Obama of “demonizing” political foes.

“I won’t represent just one party, I’ll represent one nation,” Romney told a crowd at an airport rally outside Portsmouth, and warned Obama would find it impossible to work with congressional Republicans if he wins re-election.

Romney also debuted a new political ad Saturday, seizing on Obama’s comment in Ohio a day earlier when he told supporters angry at the Republicans not to boo but to vote, saying “voting’s the best revenge.”

The ad featured Romney telling his biggest crowd of the campaign in Ohio Friday that Obama “asked his supporters to vote for revenge – for revenge.”

“Instead, I ask the American people to vote for love of country,” he said.

(Implying Obama doesn’t love his country? Disgraceful. I think Obama was simply stating the obvious. The best way to fight back against the continual lies and obfuscations of the Romney camp is to get out and vote.)

Romney repeated the message in New Hampshire and then at a rally in Dubuque, Iowa, where in close combat on the last weekend of the campaign, Obama was set to touchdown for his own event at the same airport hours later.

He also blasted the president for four years of failed economic policy that has left the nation mired in debt, with high unemployment and soaring gas prices.

“He wants to settle. Look, Americans don’t settle. We aspire, we reach, we dream, we achieve,” Romney said.

Later in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Romney said he saw Tuesday as “a moment to look into the future, and imagine what we can do to put the past four years behind us.”

“We’re that close right now,” he said. “The door to a brighter future is there.”

The president earlier visited the Washington headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency as New York and New Jersey struggle to deal with the aftermath of murderous superstorm Sandy.

“We still have a long way to go,” said Obama, stressing he had no time for government “red tape” which could hold up the relief effort, after discussing the crisis with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut and New York.

The Obama campaign enjoys the comparison between Obama doing his job managing the government while Romney campaigns as polls show a majority of Americans approve of the president’s handling of Sandy.

Latest polls show Obama and Romney tied nationally, but Obama appears to be solidifying his position in enough of the eight or so swing states that will decide the election to support his hopes of a second term.

New surveys by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News Saturday showed the president up by 49 to 47 percent in Florida and leading Romney 51 to 45 percent in Ohio, double the margin in the current RealClearPolitics average.

A Mason Dixon poll for the Miami Herald, however, had Romney up by six points in Florida, which the Republican, who also needs Ohio, cannot afford to lose if he is to be elected America’s 45th president.

Harold MacMillan

Harold MacMillan making his “winds of change” speech that heralded the end of British colonialism. “The President’s been so helpful” may turn out to be another historic moment.

Oh, yes. Sorry. I have been distracted by a couple of delightful days down the beach at St Leonard’s.

In response to many commentators and Wellthisiswhatithink readers who have asked why would prominent Republican Governor of New Jersey Christie be so voluble in his praise of Obama? Just a week after tipping another bucket on Obama, and his star turn at the Republican conference in Florida?

Well, that one’s just too easy – you really think the cheerfully chubby lad wants Romney to win next Tuesday? Nu-uh.

He wants the Republican nomination for himself in four years, which he wouldn’t get if Romney wins this time because Romney would automatically secure re-nomination in 2016.

I’m quite sure he – like much of the Republican establishment – wants Romney to do well enough to set Obama up for another four difficult years – and drag a few Congress and Senate candidates up with him – but not so well that the rather wacky crypto-moderate reborn right winger actually wins. And then it’ll be Cry Havoc and let loose the dogs of war for whoever replaces him on the Democrat ticket in four years. It’s called the long game. (I still have my eye on Hillary Clinton for the Democrats in four years, personally.)

Anyhow, as UK Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe once memorably remarked when Tory Prime Minister Harold McMillan sacked getting on for half his cabinet to revive his flagging electoral fortunes, “Greater love hath no man than he lay down his friends for his life.”

Mitt Romney is looking at falling just short in the race for the White House. He’ll be spitting chips right now at Christie’s very deliberate intervention.

Politics, huh? You gotta love it.

Meanwhile, if Hurricane Sandy comprehensively de-rails the already flagging Romney momentum and means the President garners extra kudos (and votes) for doing his job properly, then I am looking forward to Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee and all the other lunatics on the religious right (including Romney and Ryan themselves) confirming that the Good Lord obviously wanted Obama to get another four years to complete the job he’s started.

They do call it an “Act of God“, you know, fellas …

Michael Moore

Rowdy, unashamed, unabashed, curmudgeonly, grumpy, trouble-making, not to mention resolutely overweight and ugly. My type of guy in other words.

 

It has long been my opinion, born of both commonsense and practical experience, that elections are actually won away from the flashing lights and razzamattaz of national media coverage and TV ads by legions of worker bees toiling away patiently on doorsteps, on the telephone, in cars giving lifts to voters, and with their neighbours and friends.

I arrive at this opinion from many years slogging round the streets for the Liberal Party in the UK – then a tiny outpost of insanity or sanity depending on your point of view – where we had no money but endless enthusiasm, no press support but brilliant organisation, and a ruthless obsession with getting our vote out.

Simon Hughes

My good friend Simon Hughes, first elected to Parliament in the Bermondsey by-election of 24 February 1983. Hughes won the seat with 57.7% of the vote.

That obsession was, more than anything else, the genesis of so many of those “unexpected” Liberal or Liberal-SDP victories in by-elections that no one saw coming – except, of course, those of us in the eye of the hurricane, who knew full well that our “ground game”  was infinitely superior and we were going to win. Seasoned campaigners like Trevor “Jones the Vote” from Liverpool and Peter Chegwyn – from seemingly everywhere – and many other unsung luminaries – rigidly marshalled their ranks of duffle-coated apparatchiks to deliver “shock” victory after shock victory, built on the back of superbly targeted local issues. In seats as diverse as Sutton and Cheam, Liverpool Edge Hill, Ripon, Isle of Ely, Croydon NE, Glasgow Hillhead, Bermondsey and Crosby these victories galvanised public opinion and kept a small party alive.

Years later in Australia, dismayed by the antiquated centralised campaigning I saw around me, I wrote a pamphlet on “Community Politics”  which in one form or another was enthusiastically taken up by the then Australian Democrats, and then later to a lesser extent by the Labor Party and the Greens, and even a few forward-thinking Conservative politicians as well.

Anyhow, opening my in-box this morning, I found an email from documentary film-maker Michael Moore.

He points unerringly to the manner in which President Obama will definitely gain re-election. As that, I firmly believe, will be good for America and for the world, I commend his remarks too you.

Now is the time for action, not words.

“I have a personal favor I’d like to ask each of you. We all know the election next Tuesday is going to be very close. But I’ve got an idea that could help put President Obama over the top.
I want you – yes, YOU, the person reading this right now – to get ONE of your fellow Americans who would not otherwise vote to show up at the polls and support Obama.
Here’s the math: there are upwards of five million of you seeing this, via email, on my website, on the Huffington Post and all over the internet. There are 1.2 million following me on Twitter. I’ve got almost 700,000 Facebook friends.
I want just one million of you to convince just ONE person each – one person who’s planning NOT to vote – to go to the polls and vote for Barack Obama. That’s it. And those million extra votes could make all the difference in what will be a very tight election – and it will save us from a tragic return to the Bush years.
Do you realize that there are 90 million people who are planning to NOT vote next Tuesday? That’s according to a poll conducted by USA Today. 90,000,000!! It’s a shocking number, isn’t it? In the old days we’d just label these people as apathetic or stupid. Not anymore. They don’t need our admonition – they need our empathy.
The non-voter today knows exactly what’s going on, and he or she wants no part of it. They are discouraged, disillusioned, and have almost lost hope that things will change. Many are jobless or working for peanuts. They’re angry, and we should tell them they have every right to be.
But here’s something else about them: despite everything, they haven’t utterly given up on politics. When USA Today asked the non-voters who they’d choose if they HAD to vote for someone in this election, 18% said they would vote for Romney – and 43% said they’d vote for Obama! That means there are nearly 40 million people who prefer Obama – AND THEY ARE NOT GOING TO VOTE.
The other question they were asked was, what would it take to get you to vote? 85% of the pro-Obama non-voters said they would go vote IF they thought the election was going to be really close and that their vote would actually make the difference.
This is, for all its frustrating logic, incredibly good news. So our job for the next six days is clear: We – you and me – have to bring a little over 1% of the 90 million non-voters to the polls. If we do we’ll send Romney packing back to New Hampshire/Massachusetts/California or wherever he’s going to build car elevators next.
The time to convince undecideds to vote for Obama is over. All it’s about now is whose supporters simply show up. The side that does the best job of literally dragging people out of their homes between 6:00 AM and 8:00 PM on Tuesday, November 6th is the side that wins.
Each of us knows Obama-supporting non-voters. They’re your cousin, your coworker, your friend from the choir at church. Identify just one of them (best of all if they’re in a swing state) and pledge to get them to the polls. You can try to convince them with all the good arguments as to why they should vote for the O (click here), but I think the best way to do this is to ask them personally, just this once, to do this for you. Not for the country. For you.
Then, once they’ve committed to vote, make a commitment to them: that you are not going to be silent after Tuesday, that you are going to keep fighting like hell (including, when need be, fighting Obama) every single day after the election for them, for you and for all of us.
So, that is your mission – YOURS, the person reading this right this second. Bring just one non-voter to the polls. Easy! Do it and be known as part of the group that defeated Mitt “Bush #3″ Romney and gave Barack Obama another term – and another chance to do what we sent him there to do. “

Er … Wot he said.

This is a much better and more balanced article on the likely US election outcome than most. (Thank you to Richard Ember for forwarding it to me.)

And not just because it bears out what I have been saying, which is there has been a modest return to Obama, and also that Obama will indeed win Ohio (thus denying Romney the White House, because there is nowhere Romney can pick up the votes he won’t get in Ohio, even allowing that Romney will probably – not certainly – win Va and Fla.)

It also confirms my previous assertion that the national lead he currently enjoys is because Romney has been piling up votes where he doesn’t need them, in solid “red” states, as conservative voters (including Evangelical Christians, emboldened by Billy Graham’s flip-flop over whether Mormonism is a cult) decide they can, after all, hold their nose and vote for him.

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/29/oct-28-in-swing-states-a-predictable-election/?smid=tw-share

Anyhow, in related polling, RCP’s rolling average today pulls Romney’s lead back from 0.9% to 0.8%, not enough to win the electoral college vote. Is there wild enthusiasm for Obama? No, there is not. Will he win, if the Democrats get their ground game right? Yes.

I am definitely going to write about something other than American politics soon, I promise. Promise, honest injun, I pinky swear.

The economy is one thing. What type of world we live in is another, and frankly it’s more important.

I don’t care what your personal position on abortion is; after decades of careful consideration – and I have agonised over it, I assure you – I have come to the conclusion that we should all manage to agree on being pro-choice. In favour of CHOICE.

This decision – this terrible, imposing, huge decision – is and should be up to the individual.

And it’s this simple for public policymakers. Women will get abortions WHATEVER politicians say. So they should be safe, medically supervised, and entirely up to the woman concerned.

Obama is right, Romney and his crew are wrong. It’s as straightforward as that, and women should support the candidate that supports them.

I am so looking forward to getting back to discussing art, music, business, advertising, football and ephemera.

Can you spell A-I-R-C-R-A-F-T C-A-R-R-I-E-R?

The funniest (and pithiest) moment in last night’s US Presidential debate was Obama comprehensively making Romney look like a total idiot on the future of the US Navy.

This great article on Think Progress not only shows (in a very useful graphic) that Obama has actually done a great job of protecting the US Navy’s interests, but also replays the relevant segment of the debate for us all to enjoy again.

If you haven’t seen it, this moment may well be considered historic in the future – do yourself a favour and click on the link and watch.

http://thinkprogress.org/lbupdate/1067981/our-ship-production-is-just-fine/

#horsesandbayonets is the leading Twitter item in the US right now, hours after the debate. I reckon this is – just possibly – a gotcha moment.

And I will say again what I have said before – if the Obama of Debate #2 and #3 had turned up in Debate #1, this thing wouldn’t even be a race right now.

And by the middle of this week, it might not be so again.

#horsesandbayonets indeed

Stewart Yolland

Thomas Stewart Yolland, died 1957, 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Pacific Star, Italy Star, 1939-45 King George medal. Vote for Yolland if you can’t think of any other reasons.

A message to all Americans. OK, I don’t care whether you vote for Obama or Romney or one of the 1% candidates (Whoa! He’s lying right there, fact check him, quick!) but I do care that you vote.

You see, Democracy is dead simple. Use it, or lose it.

This little video makes the point SO well. I really hope all Americans view it, and show their 18 year old kids and their 90 year old grandparents, and their neighbours. It’s too late to register to vote if you haven’t already (I believe, I think I have that right, all the way from Oz) but if you are registered then this little video charmingly and intelligently explains why you MUST vote.

You. Must. Vote.

Quite apart from the fact that my Dad spent six years on destroyers in WWII to defend our right to a free vote, and it killed him. So if you can’t think of any better reasons to vote, vote for my Dad’s sacrifice. And for all the others who sacrificed, and still do.

Please.

You believed in what you did.
And I believe in what you did.
But all we are left with are the yellow photographs.

They get more yellow with the years. Time eats them alive.
They rust, like life. Until all that is left is a shell,
ready to crumble at the lightest touch and disappear.
We never had the days at the football.
We never had Christmas.
We never had a shared pint.
We never had a quiet laugh in the garden at dawn.
You had the waves, and the torpedos, and the fear,
and the cigarettes, and the fear.
And I got the yellow photographs.
That’s the way of it.

Obama and Romney

“I hate your tie.” “Well, I hate your tie more.”

That the race for the White House has tightened is undoubted. That it is still likely Obama will get back seems probable.

This article explains the current situation well, taking the likely feelings over the second deabte and translating them into likely results. Polls released in the next few days will be helpful too, and, of course, the last debate on Monday is shaping up to be very significant.

It is also going to be significant, I think, that it is on Foreign Policy.

Romney is not as strong here as Obama, it is widely acknowledged, and Obama’s anger at Romney going after him on the Benghazi incident was one of his strongest moments in Debate 2. “I find that offensive” he snarled, eyes flashing, and suddenly the man looked every inch a President and Commander-in-Chief. Looking every inch a President and Commander-in-Chief is exactly what he needs to do to get re-elected, so Monday will be interesting to say the least. Anyway, for someone’s views other than mine you would do worse than to read this excellent summary:

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/17/instant-reaction-polls-show-narrow-obama-advantage-in-second-debate/

What does interest me in this article and much recent analysis is that Romney appears to be doing better in Florida than I expected, (where I have been regularly predicting a Democrat scare campaign on Medicare – although maybe the on the ground campaign is yet to begin in earnest, and volunteers – who make up the bulk of party workers – really get energised in the last couple of weeks), not as well in Virginia as he needs to be at this stage, and definitely not as well in Ohio (where he is being massively outspent on TV by Obama).

As he has to win all three states to win, I stick with my prediction that he can’t. Win. But heigh ho, forecasting elections is a tricky business, and I may yet have egg on my face.

What is also clear is that one major implosion by either candidate now will not leave time for a recovery.

One side note: the Fox News panel of undecided voters was actually made up of of EX Obama supporters – not drawn from the ranks of the genuine undecideds or independents. Not surprisingly, despite everyone else calling it for Obama by one margin or another, these actively disillusioned voters felt Romney did well and looked “Presidential”. What next, if Romney falters? A panel of tea party supporters?

What a bizarre pretence of journalism that network really is. Rupert Murdoch – busy tweeting his support of Romney, no less – take yet another bow for what you have done to our body politic.

Close call – who do you think won?

Well, it depends who you ask.

I thought Biden looked measurably more confident – and well briefed – than Ryan. But with me, he is singing with the choir. I have long considered Biden a very impressive and honourable individual, and I am openly arguing for a return of Obama to the Presidency. So how did it all look to non Obama fans?

Immediate post debate reaction seems more mixed. Some people did not like Biden’s aggression and interrupting. Fair enough: and it never plays well with the general public. On the other hand, I am sure this is how he was briefed, as the Obama campaign considered their man had abandoned the field in the previous debate, so it would have done the workers, supporters and ironed-ons no harm at all to see their side be more confident and combative.

The “Undecided” panel from CNN (who make up the worm respondents) judged it thusly:

Biden was strongest on the economy, certainly when discussing the middle class, and was lowest on the Libyan consulate affair. (Which goes to a generalised lack of trust in the Administration, although one foreign policy incident is surely a lower order issue taken in the whole scheme of things.) On the other hand, Biden scored well in an opinion poll on the judgement of whether he could step up and be President if needed.

Ryan was also strongest on the economy, (surely a sign that people are genuinely confused as to the best way to go) and, interestingly, weakest on abortion. In other words, he was caught talking to his own base, and ignoring the more nuanced attitudes on the topic from mainstream America.

In the end they voted it a tie. On the panel, Obama picked up three intending votes, Romney picked up 3. Hardly a scientific pool, but overall, I suspect the effect of the debate is likely to solidify the base support and move a tiny percentage of undecideds to the Romney camp as well. But for most people, it will have just made the decision what it appears to be for the entire country – obviously tighter than last time.

What has become clearer is there is certainly a strong and deep mistrust of the Administration, and no great enthusiasm for it. But, in essence, Romney/Ryan need to convince people that they could do better. That’s the whole game, right there. At the moment they seem to be just short of that goal to this watcher, but certainly further on than they were. A lot will depend on the next two Presidential debates, and, as I have opined previously, how the Obama camp nails – or doesn’t nail – what I consider to be the obvious holes in the Romney/Ryan tax plan.

For example, Ryan asserted confidently that the Romney tax cuts could be implemented without touching middle class welfare allowances like mortgage relief. Biden huffed that it was mathematically impossible. Later, the bi-partisan Tax Policy Centre delivered their verdict. “Not possible.” So expect to see that hammered again and again in the next couple of weeks.

The other issue will be how the “vouchers not Medicare” issue plays in Florida.

Florida. Keep your eyes on Florida. As I keep saying, it is where the Obama campaign will focus their anti-voucher campaign but it will be much more than some TV ads. I suspect we are about to see a classic case of grassroots campaigning affecting the overall result. Either they will beat Romney there, on the ground, or they will not. And if they don’t, Romney just – just – stands a chance.

Certainly not a bad night for either camp. Just not especially good for either, either.

One side note. Well, two.

I was fascinated to see Fox News split their screen with camera angles that made it look – erroneously – as if Biden and Ryan were not looking at each other courteously. The effect was to make Biden look excessively dismissive – bad for Biden – and surely can only have been deliberate. CNN instead used head on cameras. It really does make one wonder.

Second, Obama has conceded publicly he got the first debate wrong.

In a radio interview with nationally-syndicated Tom Joyner on Tuesday he remarked as follows:

“I think it’s fair to say I was just too polite, because, you know, it’s hard to sometimes just keep on saying and what you’re saying isn’t true,” the president said, when asked what happened at the debate.

“It gets repetitive. But, you know, the good news is, is that’s just the first one. Governor Romney put forward a whole bunch of stuff that either involved him running away from positions that he had taken, or doubling down on things like Medicare vouchers that are going to hurt him long term.”

Questioned on why he “had the open shot and … didn’t take it” in last week’s debate, the president said “I understand, but you know, what happens though is that when people lose one game, you know, this is a long haul. I think it’s fair to say that we will see a little more activity at the next one,” he said.

“But keep in mind that, you know, the issues that are at stake for folks haven’t changed. You know? We’ve got millions of people who’ve got health care right now because of our health care bill. And they won’t have it if Mitt Romney is elected president.”

The president also protested the idea that he had the election locked down going into the debate.

“This is always going to be a close race,” he said. “Governor Romney kept on making mistakes month after month so it made it look artificially like this was, might end up being a cakewalk. But we understood internally that it never would be. That it was going to tight – it tightened over the last three or four days, but it could have tightened after the convention if they hadn’t had such a bad convention.”

He added: “By next week I think a lot of the hand-wringing will be complete because we’re going to go ahead and win this thing.”

We will see. Obama needs a real triumph in the next debate to recapture momentum. One telling moment will do it. We know that from past debates. Aides will be holding their breath. Whatever happens, expect a much more combative performance from Obama.

The gloves are off.

 

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney – Mr Nice Guy’s mask slips, possibly terminally

Whilst no one with any commonsense would argue that the size of the American Government needs to be trimmed to match more closely the productivity of the country, an interesting attitude from the man who would be President for all Americans – and not just those worth millions and billions of dollars – is now on public display for all to see.

As AFP report from Washington, Mitt Romney’s campaign was rocked Monday by a secretly filmed video in which the Republican tells rich Republican Party donors that nearly half of Americans are government-dependent ‘victims’ who dodge taxes.

President Barack Obama’s team quickly seized on the film, released by the liberal Mother Jones magazine, as proof that the multi-millionaire Romney had written off half the nation, and was not fit to serve as president.

The video was the latest blow to the Romney team as it fought off reports that the Republican’s White House bid is in disarray, as he struggles to close a small but growing and consistent gap to Obama in national polls and battleground states.

In excerpts from the video, which has emerged 50 days before the November 6 election, Romney is seen to say in a closed-door, private fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans will vote for the president “no matter what.”

“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.”

“These are people who pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

I find this attitude astonishing, but it is great to see the bullsh*t stripped from the carefully-posed performances that have characterised the uber-rich billionaire’s campaign so far. Here, laid bare for all to see (except those who don’t wish to) is the reality of the new ultra-right Republican party’s attitude to the American people.

Of course, if Americans are in receipt of Government care, it doesn’t mean that they are entirely dependent on the Government. It can be anything from medical support, education and retraining, to the more desperate needs of unemployment benefit, to food staples delivered (via food stamps) to people who would otherwise, literally, be in danger of starving, starving. In the richest country in the world.

Wellthisiswhatithink asks: Is it beyond the wit and ability of the right to understand many millions of people receiving some sort of welfare support are EX tax payers who are now GETTING THEIR TAXES BACK AGAIN – loaned to the Government to do with whatever it wishes – to survive in a tough period? Frankly, I would have thought that small government right wingers would approve of that concept?

“President Romney” is, thank goodness, looking increasingly unlikely. Because increasingly he looks like a buffoon, and not a very nice one at that. As one Bloomberg correspondent put it today:

You can mark my prediction now: A secret recording from a closed-door Mitt Romney fundraiser, released today by Mother Jones, has killed Mitt Romney’s campaign for President.

On the tape, Romney explains that his electoral strategy involves writing off nearly half the country as unmoveable Obama voters. As Romney explains, 47 percent of Americans “believe that they are victims.” He laments:  “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

So what’s the upshot? “My job is not to worry about those people,” he says. He also notes, describing President Obama’s base, “These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax.”

This is an utter disaster for Romney.

Romney already has trouble relating to the public and convincing people he cares about them. Now, he’s been caught on video saying that nearly half the country consists of hopeless losers.

Romney has been vigorously denying President Obama’s claims that his tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class. But now, he’s been caught on video suggesting that low- and middle-income Americans are undertaxed.

(That one is especially problematic given the speculation about what’s on Mitt’s unreleased pre-2010 tax returns.)

Corn tells us there are more embarrassing moments on segments of the video he hasn’t released yet. For example, Romney jokes that he’d be more likely to win the election if he were Hispanic. And he makes some awkward comments about whether he was born with a “silver spoon” in his mouth.

But those are survivable. The really disastrous thing is the clip about “victims,” and the combination of contempt and pity that Romney shows for anyone who isn’t going to vote for him.

Romney is the most opaque presidential nominee since Nixon, and people have been reduced to guessing what his true feelings are.

This video provides an answer: He feels that you’re a loser. It’s not an answer that wins elections.

Poll: Obama widens lead over Romney despite weaker jobs data – see the end of this article for 17 Sept update confirming trend is in Obama’s favour.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today. I think Ryan looks too young to run. Oh, sorry, my bad. (Photo credit: tvnewsbadge)

As predicted in the pages of Wellthisiswhatithink a few days ago, Obama has done better out of the conference season than Romney. The scheduling of the Democrat convention immediately after the Republican one may come to be seen as a strategic masterstroke when the experts parse the result of a Democrat win in November.

The President widened his narrow lead over Republican U.S. presidential challenger Mitt Romney in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Saturday.

The latest daily tracking poll showed Obama with a lead of 4 percentage points over Romney. Forty-seven percent of 1,457 likely voters surveyed online over the previous four days said they would vote for Obama if the November 6 elections were held today, compared with 43 percent for Romney.

“The bump is actually happening. I know there was some debate whether it would happen, but it’s here,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark, referring to the “bounce” in support that many presidential candidates enjoy after nominating conventions.

Obama had leapfrogged Romney in the daily tracking poll on Friday with a lead of 46 percent to 44 percent.

The president’s lead comes despite a somewhat mixed reaction to his convention speech on Thursday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Friday’s government data showing that jobs growth slowed sharply last month.

Obama’s lead over Romney is comparable to Romney’s former lead over the president after the Republican National Convention finished last week, Clark said.

“We don’t have another convention now to turn our attention to, so (Obama’s bounce) may maintain,” Clark said. “How big it’ll be and how long it will last remains to be seen.”

I am frankly surprised that the candidates aren’t closer this week, and in my opinion, as I explained the other day, the bounce will become slightly more pronounced next week, as this week’s averaged polls drop off polls from when Obama was in a comfortable lead.

From that point on, it is Obama’s election to lose. The difficulty for the Republicans is that the next major opportunity for them to draw blood is the debates, and these will almost certainly favour Obama, as, regardless of one’s political bias, he is clearly a stronger candidate than Romney – more charismatic, more likeable, and despite the mixed scorecard for the first term of his Presidency, appearing more capable. This is born out when one analyses the poll’s investigation of specific qualities of the two candidates.

Obama increased his lead over Romney in certain favorable characteristics. Asked who was more “eloquent,” 50 percent of the 1,720 registered voters questioned in the poll favored Obama, compared to 25 percent for Romney. Asked about being “smart enough for the job,” 46 percent sided with Obama compared to 37 percent for Romney.

In fact, Obama led Romney in a dozen such favorable characteristics, such as “represents America” or “has the right values.”

The only such category in which Romney had an advantage was being “a man of faith,” as 44 percent picked Romney, who is Mormon, compared to 31 percent for Obama, who is Christian, but who is dogged by rumours spread by his opponents, completely unfounded, that he secretly a Muslim.

The Democratic National Convention itself received a rather muted response in the poll. Of those registered voters who had heard, seen or read at least something about it, 41 percent rated it as “average” and 29 percent as “good.”

The Republican National Convention that wrapped up August 30 in Tampa, Florida similarly was rated slightly worse: “average” by 38 percent and “good” by 27 percent in Saturday’s polling results. Although these two results seem “nip and tuck”, this is actually further evidence of a setback for the republicans, who needed to attract a couple of percentage points from the very small group of “undecideds” in order to be competitive.

This election is close, but barring a disaster, should be won by Obama with a reasonable margin. As Harold Wilson said, however, “a week is a long time in politics”. That makes nearly two months a veritable aeon, in a world where the effect of banana skins are amplified tenfold by the voracity of the media.

In any two horse race, either can win, because one can falter or fall. But as we speak, Obama looks like he is a few furlongs from home with a handy lead.

Material sourced from Reuters. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

UPDATE 17 SEPTEMBER 2012 10.50PM AEST

As predicted – almost to the day – by this column, Obama’s bounce has solidified in key battleground states this week. Here is the data:

As the Monitor’s Liz Marlantes reported last Friday, Obama’s post-convention bounce apparently endures, most significantly in key battleground states.

According to a new set of NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls, Obama is now leading Romney by 7 points in Ohio and 5 points in Florida and Virginia, and the RealClearPolitics polling average right now has Obama up by 4.2 percentage points in Ohio, 1.3 points in Florida, and 0.4 points in Virginia.

(Note, if Romney does not win Florida then he needs a clean sweep of all the other battleground states to beat Obama – highly unlikely.)

A Philadelphia Inquirer poll released Saturday has Obama leading Romney in Pennsylvania, 50 percent to 39 percent, reports Politico.

“Pennsylvania Democrats are more consolidated behind Obama, with 77 percent in favor of Obama and 13 percent in favor of Romney, while Republicans are 18 percent in favor of Obama and 71 percent in favor of Romney,” according to the poll press release.

“Following the conventions, Obama’s favorability rating has increased by 3 points, while his unfavorable rating has decreased by 6 points. Opinions of Romney have improved slightly following the conventions, but he still has a net negative personal popularity rating among voters in state, with 46 percent favorable/48 percent unfavorable rating.”

Politico also reports on an internal Republican poll that has Romney behind by 4 points in Ohio, not as bad as his 7-point deficit in the NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls but behind in the key battleground state nonetheless.

“The numbers underline Romney’s longstanding problems in Ohio, where he’s taken a beating from Obama’s campaign and liberal groups,” writes Politico’s Jonathan Martin.

“But it’s actually a sign of the depth of Romney’s hole in the state that the results were greeted favorably by Republicans. Polling in Ohio before the conventions last month showed Romney with an even larger deficit, closer to double-digits.”

The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll of likely voters has Obama widening his advantage to 7 points, a gap that’s been increasing since the Democratic convention. “What that really means is that Obama is in good shape,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.

“Thursday’s online poll also found far more registered voters preferred the incumbent’s policies and approach on taxes (41 percent picked Obama, 30 percent Romney), healthcare (44 percent Obama, 28 percent Romney) and Social Security (39 percent Obama, 27 percent Romney),” Reuters reported.

Obama appears to be winning in foreign affairs, too. “Asked which of the candidates had a better plan, policy or approach to the war on terrorism, more registered voters again favored Obama: 39 percent to Romney’s 25 percent.” (Note that the poll was taken two days after the attack on the US consulate in Libya.)

One sleeper poll that may have particular importance given the tension between the US and Israel over drawing a “red line” regarding Iran’s nuclear facilities: Obama has extended his lead among registered Jewish voters to 70-25 percent, according to unreleased Gallup daily tracking poll data reported by BuzzFeed.

“The data, obtained through a Democratic source, shows Obama up from leading 64-29 in polling this spring – and on par with his 2008 performance at this point when he led 69-25 over John McCain in Gallup polling,” reports BuzzFeed.

Kansas

Kansas: for a moment there something nearly happened. False alarm.

A Kansas man who filed an objection with the state to President Barack Obama appearing on the state’s ballot is withdrawing his objection.

Joe Montgomery’s decision, which he communicated in an email to the secretary of state’s office Friday afternoon, ends a process that caused the all-Republican Kansas Objections Board to vote unanimously Thursday to seek further information before making a decision on whether Obama could be on the ballot.

Montgomery told The Huffington Post Friday afternoon that public reaction to the complaint led him to decide against continuing. He declined to say exactly what was said in the calls and emails he received, but indicated that people who knew him both personally and professionally were also contacted about the complaint.

“I didn’t file this objection with the desire to involve anyone else. This is me expressing myself on a personal political level,” he said. “I would appreciate it if people would not call anyone associated with me, whether a personal or professional association.”

Montgomery, who works at Kansas State University, filed the objection Monday, claiming Obama was not a “natural born citizen” because his father was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Kenya, and that U.S. citizenship is conferred “primarily” through the father.

He also said that Obama has not shown “valid, certified documentary evidence” of being born in the United States.

Montgomery wanted to start a dialogue with his objection, he said. “I have not been successful in that objective,” he told HuffPost. “Not in achieving a constructive dialogue.”

The state Objections Board — consisting of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Attorney General Derek Schmidt — voted to delay a final decision, saying it needed more evidence and would reach out to Hawaiian officials for certification of the president’s birth certificate, along with officials in Arizona and Mississippi. The board expressed concern that Obama’s campaign did not appear before the board and only sent a letter with its position. Obama’s campaign attorney Kip Wainscott wrote the board that Montgomery’s objection was “baseless” and that Obama’s eligibility has already been determined by state and federal courts.

The board’s decision has led at least one Democrat, state Rep. Ann Mah (D-Topeka), to accuse Kobach of pandering.

“It is a little disappointing that a board that has two out of three members as attorneys who should understand the Constitution made this decision,” said Mah, the ranking minority member of the House Elections Committee.

“But we are in Kansas, and Kobach has been waiting for this moment for a long time. The pretense that this has any validity and needs further investigation is ridiculous. Kobach seems to enjoy this type of thing. It panders to his base of “birthers”.”

Kobach, an informal adviser to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said at the board meeting that he was not acting in a partisan role, but rather wanted as much information as possible before the board made a final decision.

Mah said she believes the episode has hurt the state’s reputation. “They are making Kansas a laughing stock again,” she said, referring to Kobach, Colyer and Schmidt.

UPDATE: 7:06 p.m. — The Kansas secretary of state’s office sent out a statement Friday saying that the state Objections Board will meet as scheduled Monday morning. The statement said the meeting, which starts at 10 a.m. CT, will consider Montgomery’s complaint and his decision to withdraw the objection. Kobach’s spokeswoman, Kay Curtis, told the Topeka Capitol-Journal that the withdrawal is “unprecedented” and the meeting would be held to accept it.

The Objections Board was formed more than a century ago by state law and is considered a quasi-judicial agency that meets when objections are filed to candidates on the ballot. The board has held more meetings than usual this year, due to objections filed after the state’s redistricting process. During Thursday’s meeting, the board heard three other objections in addition to the to Obama, including disqualifying comedian Roseanne Barr from the state’s presidential ballot.