2012 Presidential Election
Earlier today, I noted that President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney essentially agreed that thousands of American soldiers should’ve been left in Iraq after the 2011 troop withdrawal deadline. Romney was at least honest about supporting this, Obama wasn’t.
Another point during the debate where the two seemed to agree was on the looming $1+ trillion in sequestration cuts as part of last year’s debt deal. Romney was critical of sequestration because roughly half of the cuts will hit defense, which he and most Republicans believe is a threat to America’s military strength.
[T]he sequester is not something that I proposed. It’s something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen. The budget that we’re talking about is not reducing our military spending. It’s maintaining it.
Well, that’s just not true. The Daily Caller notes that Bob Woodward’s new book explains that the sequestration was proposed by officials in the White House to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid during the debt ceiling fight:
That directly contradicts a 2012 book from investigative journalist Bob Woodward — the Washington Post editor who, with Carl Bernstein, took down President Richard Nixon over the 1970s-era Watergate scandal.
Then-OMB Director Jack Lew, now the White House chief of staff, and White House Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors pitched the idea to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Woodward writes,” according to a Sept. 7 story appearing on the Politico website.
On Monday night, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney had an exchange about ending the war in Iraq. While Obama and his campaign surrogates have taken credit for winding down this unnecessary war, Romney noted that the administration wanted to leave about 5,000 troops as part of a “status of forces agreement” with the Iraqi government. Obama denied it.
Did Obama really end the war in Iraq and is Romney right when he says that the administration wanted to leave troops? Over at AntiWar.com, John Glaser sets the record straight on the exchange and what the Obama Administration really wanted in Iraq (emphasis mine):
President Obama has consistently claimed in this campaign that he “ended the war in Iraq.” But this couldn’t be further from the truth: his administration tried desperately for months to establish a new Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq which would have left thousands of US troops there, perhaps indefinitely. Only when this effort failed, did Obama fall back on the Bush administration’s policy of pulling all troops out in 2011.
Romney correctly insisted President Obama had the same preference as he did to sign a new Status of Forces Agreement on Iraq, leaving thousands of US troops there, but failed to get Baghdad to agree to it.
“With regards to Iraq,” Romney said, “you and I agreed I believe that there should be a status of forces agreement.”
Obama balked and tried to deny this accurate charge, because it conflicted with his attempts to claim he ended the war in Iraq, and to highlight Romney’s recent statement that the US should still have up to 20,000 troops in Iraq.
With exactly two weeks until election day, we’re keeping track of any change in the Electoral College. With that, Monday brought some good and bad news for Mitt Romney.
Let’s start with the bad news. While Republicans were excited to see a polling out of New Hamsphire showing Romney ahead, a new poll from University of New Hampshire (UNH) shows President Barack Obama with a 9-point lead, shift the state back into his column, according to Real Clear Politics. It should be noted that this poll seems to be, well, out there when compared to everything else coming out of New Hampshire.
In fact, UNH polls, in the past done in coordination with WMUR*, have generally shown a big lead for Obama, while Rasmussen and Public Policy Polling have both had either Romney or Obama up by 1-point in the last week. Suffolk University had the race for the state’s four electoral votes in a tie last week. Needless to say, UNH is an outlier at this point. But for sake of argument, let’s throw New Hampshire back to Obama for a moment.
The good news for Romney is that a new Suffolk University poll out of Ohio shows a dead-heat for the Buckeye State’s 18 electoral votes. Public Policy Policy also released a survey out of the state over the weekend showing Obama up by 1-point. Keep in mind that no Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio, so the importance of this state cannot be overstated. There simply is no path to victory for Romney without victory here.
This morning we ran through the current electoral vote count and what states were currently in play for both candidates. Some may be wondering what factors are driving the race right as Mitt Romney looks to be making substantial gains in swing states. Perhaps the most important voting bloc helping Romney in these important states is independents, as Christian Heinze notes over at The Hill:
a. Colorado = Obama won by 10% with indies in 2008.
b. Florida = Obama won by 9% with indies in 2008.
As President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney finish preparations for this evening’s debate, which will focus on foreign policy, it’s clear to both campaigns that the election is on the line and there is no room for error.
The momentum has stayed with Romney over the last several days, despite a stronger showing from Obama in the most recent debate. Post-debate polling indicated, however, that Romney sounded better than Obama on economic issues, the issue on the minds of most voters as they head to the polls.
Weeks ago, it looked like Obama was crusing to re-election. Just two weeks ago, he was easily leading Romney in the Electoral College, 332-206 (this is roughly where it has stayed since we started tracking in August). But that lead began to tighten as polls started to reflect the results of the first debate, which Romney handily won. Colorado and Florida drifted over into Romney’s camp, narrowing the Electoral College to 294-244.
By last week, Romney had taken a slight lead in Virginia, bringing the Electoral College to 281-257. As noted at the time, all that was standing in the way of a win for Romney, other than time, was Ohio, where Obama has maintained a small lead.
After being out of town a lot over the last month or so, I finally sat down this weekend to catch up on some much welcome non-political reading. While perusing the October 15th issue of ESPN: The Magazine, featuring the resurgence of sports in the District of Columbia, I ran across a story on athletes from the United States’ four major sports about their their views on the upcoming presidential election and some of the issues being hotly debated across the country, including gay marriage, abortion, and taxes.
The sample size is small, so it can’t be taken as anything solid, but it’s still interesting for those of us that are both sports and politics junkies.
On who they want to see win the presidential election, athletes are overwhelmingly behind Mitt Romney, with Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Hockey League (NHL) showing the strongest support. Suprisingly, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is also firmly behind Romney. President Obama only gains a plurality in the National Football League (NFL), with many Sunday stars staying undecided.
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will tonight square off for the second time. This debate, hosted by Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York and moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, who has been a source of concern for both campaigns, will be a townhall setting, where theoretically on-the-fence voters will be able to ask Obama and Romney questions about domestic and foreign policy.
Since the last debate, Obama has seen his numbers drop. Romney has managed to show momentum in some swing states, but he hasn’t been able to best Obama in Ohio or Virginia, two essential states to the GOP ticket. As of this morning, the Electoral College shows Obama up, 294-244.
Not a day goes by when I get a message from a conservative telling me that I must vote for Mitt Romney, not just because a vote for Gary Johnson (or anyone other than Romney or Obama) would be a wasted vote, but that we must vote for the one guy who has a shot of defeating Obama to save our country. That we absolutely cannot vote for anyone other than Romney, because if Obama gets another four years this country will no longer exist. There’s a reason for this.
Some examples of the comments I’ve received:
We are on the preverbial roof of a house while the flood waters are rising. The rescue boat is here to help us off the roof and to drier ground. Are you going to say, no I would rather stay on the roof until a helicopter comes because I like helicopters better?
Let me be clear, Romney was not my first, second, third, fourth,or even fifth choice! But I would vote for the town drunk before I voted for Obama. As far as the status quo you say, well I think we have to STOP THE BLEEDING, you may not agree with that approach but the last four years of the wrecking ball smashing away at the economy everyday I believe we need to try a different approach. Such as getting more people back to work so there is more people paying taxes.
The thing is that there is virtually no evidence that Romney is either A) piloting the rescue boat coming to get us, or B) going to do anything to stop the bleeding. The man is very acutely interesting in expanding our military budget, while doing little to reform our bloated entitlements or actually cutting spending beyond the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—which is a good move, but not enough to save us from the black hole we’re spiraling into.
On Monday, Mitt Romney was down in the electoral vote count by 126 votes, but new polls have been reported out of all important swing states that have completely turned the race for the White House on its head.
It may just be a blip thanks to his strong performance last week — what Gallup says is biggest debate win ever, but if you’re working for President Obama right now, you’re no doubt in a panic. According to the latest Real Clear Politics averages out of swing states, Romney now holds slight leads in Colorado and Florida. He’s down by less than a point in Ohio and Virginia.
There are also reports that Romney’s campaign has closed the early voter gap in a few important states and, playing to his advantage, polling out of swing states shows that Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats.