October 19, 2012

Posted by orrinj at 6:55 PM


America needs a turnaround, which is why I'm voting Romney (Lee Iacocca, 10/19/20, Detroit News)

I've seen a lot of situations that needed a turnaround in my time, and I know one when I see one. Trust me, America needs a turnaround.

America is in deep trouble. After four years, economic growth is still anemic, our annual deficits were not cut in half as promised, and our staggering $16 trillion federal debt hangs over us and our kids like the plague. Our people are hurting, they can't find jobs, they have lost a major part of their net worth, the number of Americans living in poverty is at unacceptable levels, and we just aren't doing the things that would get our country back on the right track.

Like any turnaround it must begin by honestly facing our problems; hope and speeches won't get our people back to work. It will require experienced leadership that can create and lead policy change that will enable a more robust and competitive America. We need leadership that understands that government, just like American families, can't continue to spend beyond its means. We must find leadership that won't pander to the people, but rather will speak honestly to them about our situation, explaining in simple terms what we have to do to get back on the right track. And we need leadership that can bring us together in a sense of shared responsibility so that we can move forward as a team. All of us. As Americans.

Mitt Romney has successfully led both public and private sector turnarounds.

Posted by orrinj at 6:51 PM


U.S. description of Benghazi attacks, at first cautious, changed after 3 days (Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay,  McClatchy Newspapers)

 In the first 48 hours after the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya, senior Obama administration officials strongly alluded to a terrorist assault and repeatedly declined to link it to an anti-Muslim video that drew protests elsewhere in the region, transcripts of briefings show.

The administration's initial accounts, however, changed dramatically in the following days, according to a review of briefing transcripts and administration statements, with a new narrative emerging Sept. 16 when U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice asserted in a series of TV appearances that the best information available indicated that the attack had spun off from a protest over the video. [...]

[T]he administration's statements offer an ironic twist on the "fog-of-war" phenomenon: They apparently were more accurate on the day after the attacks than they were when Rice made her TV appearances four days later. Administration officials so far have provided no detailed explanation for the change.

...is the delicious spectacle of the Right backtracking on their own accusations and defending the innocent Arab Street.

Posted by orrinj at 6:48 PM


Ford's quirky Flex station wagon finds niche in California (Jerry Hirsch, October 19, 2012, LA Times)

This is an odd vehicle - kind of a 1950s' Woody meets a 1970s Ford Country Squire station wagon. [...]

 "The Flex reminds people of the old Woody wagons and the beach lifestyle that went with them, which is very closely linked to the California lifestyle," said Alan Mulally, Ford's chief executive.  The Flex's versatility, or 'flexibility' in terms of space for family, friends, equipment and more, is very appealing for buyers who want that capability but do not want a minivan."

They have to sell more per capita in NH.  It's the ideal Hockey Dad car.
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Posted by orrinj at 5:53 PM


Transcript, video: Mitt Romney jokes at the Alfred E. Smith dinner (Craig Newman, October 18, 2012, Chicago Sun-Times)

I'm pleased to once again have the chance to see Governor Cuomo who's already being talked about for higher office. A very impressive fellow, but he may be getting a little ahead of himself. I mean, let me get this straight, the man has put in one term as a governor. He has a father who happened to be a governor, and he thinks that's enough to run for president.

Of course we're down to the final months of the president's term, as presidents...


...as President Obama surveys the Waldorf banquet room with everyone in white tie and refinery, you have to wonder what he's thinking. So little time, so much to redistribute.


And don't be surprised if the president mentions this evening the monthly jobs report where there was a slight improvement in the numbers. He knows how to seize the moment, this president. And already has a compelling new campaign slogan, "You're better off now than you were four weeks ago."


You know, with or without all the dignitaries that are here, the Al Smith dinner surely lives up to its billing. Usually when I get invited to gatherings like this, it's just to be the designated driver.


Your kind hospitality here tonight gives me a chance to convey my deep and long held respect for the Catholic church. I have special admiration for the Apostle St. Peter, to whom it is said, "Upon this rock, I will build my church." The story is all the more inspiring when you consider that he had so many skeptics and scoffers at the time who were heard to say, "If you've got a church, you didn't build that."

Posted by orrinj at 2:50 PM


Obama invents new condition: 'Romnesia' (Jerry Markon, October 19, 2012, Washington Post)

President Obama fired up nearly 10,000 supporters in Virginia on Friday by debuting a new line of attack on Mitt Romney, accusing him of having "Romnesia" for changing his positions and trying to move to the political center.

The Romney strategy is based on spending the closing weeks of the campaign reminding swing voters that his career--as opposed to his primary rhetoric--demonstrates that he's a moderate to liberal Republican.  Help from the Obama camp in driving that point home can only be welcome. 

Posted by orrinj at 11:30 AM


Our pick for president: Romney (Orlando Sentinel, 10/19/12)

With Obama in charge, the federal government came perilously close to a default last year. Now it's lurching toward another crisis with the impending arrival of massive tax hikes and spending cuts on Jan. 1.

The next president is likely to be dealing with a Congress where at least one, if not both, chambers are controlled by Republicans. It verges on magical thinking to expect Obama to get different results in the next four years.

Two years ago, a bipartisan panel the president appointed recommended a 10-year, $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan. Rather than embrace it and sell it to the American people, Obama took his own, less ambitious plan to Congress, where it was largely ignored by both parties.

Now the president and his supporters are attacking Romney because his long-term budget blueprint calls for money-saving reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, three of the biggest drivers of deficit spending. Obama would be more credible in critiquing the proposal if he had a serious alternative for bringing entitlement spending under control. He doesn't.

Romney is not our ideal candidate for president. We've been turned off by his appeals to social conservatives and immigration extremists. Like most presidential hopefuls, including Obama four years ago, Romney faces a steep learning curve on foreign policy.

But the core of Romney's campaign platform, his five-point plan, at least shows he understands that reviving the economy and repairing the government's balance sheet are imperative -- now, not four years in the future.

Romney has a strong record of leadership to run on. He built a successful business. He rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and mismanagement. As governor of Massachusetts, he worked with a Democrat-dominated legislature to close a $3billion budget deficit without borrowing or raising taxes, and pass the health plan that became a national model.

This is Romney's time to lead, again.

Posted by orrinj at 11:14 AM


Obama spinning toward a loss (A.B. Stoddard, 10/18/12, The Hill)
President Obama is losing. So says the latest Gallup poll, and so do those swelling numbers in key states like Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia and Ohio. [...]

Obama can expect, even if he wins another debate on Oct. 22, that this will remain a tight race or that Romney will begin to break away at the end. Obama's September surge resulted from an increase in Democratic enthusiasm, which is waning. As Romney has hardened his support among Republicans, he is also winning over new voters, leaving Obama with the task of exciting his base of Latinos, women, African-Americans and young voters. Without enough of them he loses. With less than three weeks to go it's hard to see where he finds that excitement.

...the UR has to try to gin up the base, in a way that's necessarily broadly divisive, just to try to prevent a total blow-out.

Posted by orrinj at 11:08 AM


Posted by orrinj at 5:40 AM


Romney all but erases Obama's polling lead on foreign policy (Julian Pecquet, 10/18/12, Hotline)
Mitt Romney has all but erased President Obama's lead on foreign policy issues in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, according to a Pew poll released Thursday. [...]

A separate Pew poll taken last week, also released Thursday, found that a large chunk of independent voters disapprove of Obama's handling of the Libya situation, possibly helping Romney with a bloc of voters that could decide the election.

The second poll found that while the general public was split evenly on Obama's handling of the attack, independents were more likely to disapprove of the president's handling of the situation, 40 percent to 28 percent. 

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Posted by orrinj at 5:36 AM


Poll: Romney takes lead over Obama in Pa. (Myles Snyde, 10/18/12, WHTM)

The poll conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research on behalf of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania found that 49 percent of likely voters now support Romney while 45 percent plan to vote for Obama. [...]

Romney has a strong lock on the GOP vote, winning Republicans by an 86-9 margin, while still gathering 18 percent of the Democratic vote and leading by 12 points among registered Independents, 47-35 percent, according to the poll.

The poll also found that Republican Senate candidate Tom Smith now leads Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey, 48-46 percent. Casey led Smith 48-45 percent in an SP&R poll conducted October 12-14.

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Posted by orrinj at 5:32 AM


For Obama and Romney, small New Hampshire could have a big impact (Dan Balz, October 18, 2012, Washington Post)

Recent public polls have produced conflicting portraits of the state of play here. One showed Obama with a six-point lead, while others show the race statistically tied. Obama campaign advisers say they hold the lead now and are confident they can keep it. Romney campaign officials say the race is a tossup. Democrats not working directly for the president's campaign say they see a tie. In fact, they say that every top race in the state is tight.

"You could put a piece of paper between the two candidates right now," Nick Clemons, a Democratic strategist with long ties to New Hampshire politics, said of the presidential race. "Both congressional races are very tight. The governor's race is neck-and-neck. It's a classic New Hampshire election."

...Mitt will carry in Ovide Lamontaigne as governor and defend both House seats.
Posted by orrinj at 5:30 AM


Republicans point to early vote gains in Ohio (Peter Hamby, 10/18/12, CNN)

Since early and absentee voting began on October 2, more than 1.4 million Ohio voters have voted or requested an absentee ballot. Almost a third of Ohio voted early in 2008, and Democrats expect that number to be even higher in 2012.

But Republicans have polished their early vote operation since 2008.

Four years ago, Democrats made up about 42% of the early and absentee vote while Republicans made up 22% - a dismal 20-point deficit that contributed to Sen. John McCain's defeat in Ohio.

Through Wednesday, however, the margin has narrowed: Democrats account for 36% of the early and absentee vote while Republicans make up for 29%.

Republicans are outperforming their voter registration in several of the state's biggest counties.

Posted by orrinj at 5:24 AM


Barack Obama and the Perilous Politics of Progress (Carson Holloway, October 15th, 2012, Public Discourse)

While the president's vanity shows itself in his thinking that he is better at ordinary politics than he really is, his grandiosity is manifested in his desire to transcend ordinary politics, to do really big and memorable things. President Obama's ambition is not merely to execute the office of the presidency in a dignified and competent manner, but to enact policy changes that will vault him into the ranks of the few lastingly consequential presidents.

It is safe to conclude that this grandiosity is an authentic expression of his character, since he reveals it in both public and private arenas. He has told the world that he wants to "fundamentally transform" America and even that he hopes his presidency will allow the "planet" to begin to "heal." In private he has told his Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, that a presidential legacy of preventing a second Great Depression is "not enough for me."

It would be unfair to deny that there is something impressive in the president's grandiosity, that it is nobler than the petty aims of the ordinary politician who seems ambitious mainly to enjoy the honor and power that accompanies high office. Nevertheless, this grandiosity has also carried serious costs for the president himself, for his party, and for the country. He wants to do big things; but big things are difficult and therefore of necessity controversial. Thus his ambitions have turned out to be self-frustrating. He wanted to be, and promised to be, a unifying figure; yet the ambitious character of his legislative program has made him among the more polarizing presidents in our history. His presidency has strained considerably the bonds of civic friendship among Americans and made political cooperation more difficult at a time when it is all the more demanded by looming fiscal problems.

...think of how little his presidency will have achieved--extending W's War on Terror, appointing two rather moderate justices, and passing the mandate that Republican health care reforms require.

Posted by orrinj at 5:17 AM


Behind Closed Doors, Romney at Peace as Vote Nears (Scott Conroy, October 18, 2012, Real Clear Politics)

"A couple weeks ago, everybody was talking about the campaign in such negative terms, and I think in many ways that totally clarified for the governor why he was running and what was at stake and the importance of the election," Madden said. "It really focused him. It really did."

Madden said that Romney has "found real comfort" in his political career's rapidly approaching D-Day, and has conveyed privately that he is now considering more seriously the tall task that will greet him should everything goes as hoped for on Election Day.

"He seems to be more inclined to think about how he's going to govern," Madden said. "He has said in some conversations that he recognizes what an enormous challenge it's going to be because it is going to be a very close election, and he sort of welcomes that."

Romney advisers emphasized that the GOP standard-bearer is by nature too disciplined and focused to dwell at length on his potential transition into the White House. But several added that Romney has been buoyed visibly by the palpable surge in enthusiasm surrounding his campaign the last couple of weeks.

The former Massachusetts governor was able to secure his party's nomination in no small part because he convinced enough Republican partisans that he is the candidate best able to defeat President Obama, even if he wasn't able to elicit the loudest cheers from supporters.

But now Romney is being greeted regularly by crowds that are both large and boisterous. Senior adviser Ron Kaufman traveled regularly with the candidate four years ago when Romney typically held four or five events a day but rarely drew more than a couple hundred people to them. That sleepy dynamic has changed dramatically, and the new one is rubbing off on Romney's psyche.

"I've never seen a Republican candidate -- even an incumbent, other than Reagan -- getting the crowds that Mitt's getting today," Kaufman said. "We were in Ohio last weekend and literally, over three days, every crowd was 8-, 9-, 10,000 people. It pumps you up, you know."

It is a political cliché that every campaign is a reflection of the candidate, but the sense of calm optimism is indeed seen in those who surround Romney. The members of his inner circle acknowledge that the race is essentially a tossup according to the polls, but each of them is buoyed by their faith in Romney's ability to pull it out in the end.

It's a special moment in a campaign when you reach that point of peace.
Posted by orrinj at 5:04 AM


For Democrats, It's Not 2008 Any More : With Romney ahead of Obama nationally, 2004 is more instructive in assessing the House. (Josh Kraushaar, October 18, 2012, National Journal)

One of House Democrats' favorite talking points this cycle has dwelled on one statistic: the number of Republicans holding seats in districts that President Obama carried in 2008 and the newly created seats that the president won (66).  It's a reminder of the days of yore, intended to demonstrate that the midterm wave in 2010 was something of a fluke. But the real revelation this year - and why House Democrats aren't close to netting the 25 seats to take back the majority - is how far the president's standing has fallen from four years ago.

With Mitt Romney running ahead of Obama nationally, 2004 is shaping up to be a much more instructive baseline for the upcoming elections than Obama's historic win in 2008. Indeed, only eight House Republicans hold districts that John Kerry won in 2004. That, more than anything, explains how the Democratic expectation of being within striking distance of the majority is falling far short of reality.