jueves, 31 de mayo de 2012

Obama recibe a los Bush en la Casa Blanca

Simpático y emocionado, el Presidente número 43 ha asistido a la presentación de su retrato oficial en la Sala Este de la Casa Blanca.

Romney se planta delante de Solyndra

El Gobernador Romney contraataca a las críticas a Bain con una visita a la sede de Solyndra en Fremont, California. La compañía hizo generosas contribuciones a la campaña del candidato Obama en 2008 y a cambio recibió una garantía de préstamo millonaria del programa de estímulo del Presidente Obama sin ningún estudio previo sobre su situación financiera.

David Axelrod se mete a "campaigner"

Rodeado de legisladores demócratas, el estratega jefe de Obama ha atacado a Romney desde las escaleras del Capitolio de Boston, en medio del duelo de consignas de los seguidores de Romney y Obama.

Bill Hemmer (Fox News) entrevista a Mitt y Ann Romney (Parte II)

"Broken Promises: Romney's Massachusetts Record"

Chicago ha producido este web ad que acusa a Romney de haber incumplido promesas en Massachusetts sobre empleos, deuda y gobierno limitado.

Patrick también cuestiona los ataques a Bain; Team Obama cambia de planes

Un nuevo demócrata se ha sumado al grupo de defensores de Bain Capital. El actual Gobernador de Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, posible aspirante presidencial dentro de cuatro años, ha defendido en la MSNBC a la compañía de capital de riesgo que tiene su sede en su estado.

"Bain es una compañía muy buena, tienen un papel en la economía privada y tengo muchos amigos allí. No creo que Bain sea la cuestión," ha dicho Patrick.

Viendo que la estrategia de Bain no funciona como esperaban, Team Obama está pivotando esta semana sus ataques hacia el historial de Romney como Gobernador de Massachusetts, utilizando a los demócratas locales. Hoy mismo David Axelrod está coordinando una conferencia de prensa anti-Romney de legisladores demócratas en el Capitolio de Boston.

En esto Patrick sí ha sido más disciplinado: "Cuando era candidato a Gobernador, (Romney) nos vendió en Massachusetts las mismas palabras que está intentando vender a los Estados Unidos, y después no ocurrió de ese modo," ha dicho.

¿Veremos también anuncios como este?

Rumor: Romney maneja una lista de 7 nombres

The number stays at 7 and the door is now shut.
The Rumor Mill has heard, according to  information we have received from our sources, that there will be no more additions to “The List.” Gov. Romney’s selection for Vice President will be one of the following candidates:
  • Senator of Florida – Marco Rubio
  • Senator of Ohio – Rob Portman
  • Senator of New Hampshire – Kelly Ayotte
  • Governor of New Jersey – Chris Christie
  • Governor of Minnesota – Tim Pawlenty
  • House of Representative of Washington State – Cathy McMorris Rodgers
  • Governor of Louisiana – Bobby Jindal
(...) Let me explain why I believe that Paul Ryan will not be under consideration by Team Romney.
First, I want to say I’m a big supporter of Paul Ryan and I would have no problem in supporting his selection as Vice President. I do believe his selection would secure the election, because it would result in discussions centering around the issues of the budget, the economy, and jobs. The selection of Paul Ryan would take this election away from the silliness of issues such as Rev. Wright, bullying in high school 45 years ago, Donald Trump, personal drug use 30 years ago, and so on.
According to “The Eagle”, the rumor on ” The Hill” is consistent in regards to Paul Ryan’s future: Paul Ryan will be the “Quarterback” for the Romney Administration up on “The Hill.” It is being said that Paul Ryan & Mitt Romney have already had more discussions between the both of them on how they should hit the ground running after the election than President Obama has had discussions with anyone of the Democratic side of capital hill in 3 1/2 years.
According to the rumors, discussions have gone into such detail as to how Ryan will present his reform package once Romney has taken the oath of office.  Ryan has been effective in getting some traction with some Democrats, such as Senator Wyden of Oregon, and that progress maybe at risk if the reform push comes the Vice Presidential office, instead  of someone in Congress itself.
Do I believe Ryan is on the VP list right now? Yes. But  it does not seem likely that Ryan will become the Vice Presidential pick.
Another name has surfaced as being vetted by Beth Myers for Team Romney, and it’s none other than Senator from Arizona, Jon Kyl. But the rumor is that the contact between Senator Kyl and Team Romney has been made more out of a courtesy to Senator Kyl than anything else. The rumor is that Team Romney wants Kyl on the list just in case this election suddenly turns into one where foreign policy takes center stage. For example, if Israel takes military action against Iran. However, I have received no information that Team Romney has asked for any information from Kyl, or that he has given any documents or information to Team Romney.
I do believe, based upon the information I have been given, that there is a clear distinction between “The Final 7″ listed above and any other candidates which may be mentioned as possibilities in the media.

Buddy Roemer tira la toalla

Sí, puede que lo hayamos olvidado,  pero el ex Gobernador de Louisiana seguía siendo oficialmente candidato a la Presidencia. El ex demócrata convertido en republicano reformista se había declarado candidato independiente después de fracasar en su intento de conseguir la nominación republicana con una plataforma populista de denuncia de los grupos de intereses especiales que dominan la política. Sin dinero e incapaz de atraer la atención de los medios y el público, hoy se ha dado por vencido.

USA Today:

Buddy Roemer has ended his presidential campaign -- again.
The former Louisiana governor and Democrat-turned-Republican said on his website that he's giving up his bid for the White House as an independent. In February, he dropped his GOP campaign.
"After 17 months of a wonderful campaign, the lack of ballot access in all 50 states makes the quest impossible for now," Roemer said, vowing to continue his fight against special interests in politics.
Roemer, who was never invited to any of the major televised GOP primary debates, had a longer than long shot chance. He gained a following on Twitter with his posts about the dangers of big money in campaigns.

8 criterios históricos para seleccionar un running-mate


GEOGRAPHY: Balancing the ticket regionally is the oldest of considerations. Originally, that meant balance between North and South, and it’s why James Madison of Virginia ran with George Clinton of New York.
Democrats, Whigs, and Federalists practiced this kind of balancing until the Civil War. So did the nascent Republican Party when it burst on the scene in 1856. That year, the Republican ticket was comprised of California’s John Fremont and William Dayton of New Jersey. Because they had no presence in the South, Republicans were careful four years later to pair up Illinois’ Abraham Lincoln with Hannibal Hamlin of Maine.
One hundred years later, although slavery was no longer the issue, Richard Nixon (California) chose Henry Cabot Lodge (Massachusetts) as his running mate.
Massachusetts is often in the geographical balance mix: Bay State Democrats John F. Kennedy and Michael Dukakis chose Texans as running mates in 1960 and 1988, respectively, albeit with different results, and in 2004 John Kerry chose a North Carolinian.
Who would fit the geographic bill for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney? Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and perhaps two Floridians: Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.
IDEOLOGICAL BALANCE: Geography often has implied ideology as well; certainly this was true in pre-Civil War times, the Jim Crow years, and the civil rights era.
In 1932, the liberal and patrician Franklin Roosevelt chose House Speaker John Nance Garner, a rural conservative lawmaker from Red River County, Texas. “Cactus Jack” is immortalized for describing the vice presidency as “not worth a warm bucket of piss.”
Twenty years later, Illinois liberal Democrat Adlai Stevenson chose Alabama conservative (and segregationist) John Sparkman. In the post-civil rights era, this has been a more subtle exercise for both major political parties.
In 1976, Ronald Reagan sought to reassure moderate Republicans that he wasn’t some fire-breathing John Bircher by announcing that, if nominated, he’d run with Pennsylvania’s Richard Schweiker, who had compiled a liberal-to-moderate voting record in the Senate. The same year, Jimmy Carter tapped Minnesota Democrat Walter Mondale, a liberal force in the Senate, for similar reasons.
After besting “Mr. Republican” (Ohio’s Robert Taft), Dwight Eisenhower allowed party leaders to foist the more conservative Richard Nixon on him in 1952. And it’s why Bob Dole, who had helped ameliorate some of the effects of the Reagan tax cuts while in the Senate, chose supply-side economics evangelist Jack Kemp in 1996.
In an era of highly polarized and politically pure parties, this is harder. The trick is to pair -- in no particular order -- a fire-breather who will excite the base with a centrist-sounding candidate who has potential appeal to independents. It’s harder still for Romney, whose stances on issues have morphed into staunchly right-leaning policy positions, but whom movement conservatives suspect of being a closet moderate.
To “balance” a ticket, he might have to find someone with long-standing conservative cred.
Any number of potential candidates fit this bill, starting with Huckabee and Rick Santorum, the man who finished second to Romney this year. The list includes Rubio and McDonnell, along with New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the Palin-endorsed “Granite Grizzly” of 2010, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.
Under this rubric, Romney probably cannot choose from among an attractive roster of pro-choice Republicans ranging from Condoleezza Rice to Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.
DOUBLING-DOWN: Sometimes, presidential nominees and their parties want to send the opposition a message: We really mean it. This was the case with Barry Goldwater in 1964, when he chose obscure New York Rep. William E. Miller as his running mate. Bill Miller was a U.S. Army prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, but his main qualifications were that he was one of the few members of Congress as conservative as Goldwater -- and he personally annoyed Lyndon Johnson.
Doubling-down choices are not usually that prosaic. Bill Clinton pledged to be a “different kind of Democrat,” and his choice of Al Gore underscored this undertaking. He picked a candidate of his own age, from a neighboring Southern state, and fellow member of the centrist-leaning Democratic Leadership Council. In other words, he chose someone who would most likely carry on his policies if it came to that. Privately, Clinton discussed his feelings of mortality with confidants, feelings he came by honestly because his own father died before he was born.
For Romney, truly doubling down might involve picking former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a fellow Mormon and longtime rival considered a “good government” type in the mold of Romney circa 2002. That is unlikely -- the two men don’t even like each other -- and it would put religion on the front burner. But Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, an uncharismatic, but highly competent governor, might fit this bill nicely.
COMPLEMENTARY CHOICE: Most recent presidential tickets feature an inside-Washington and outside-Washington component. A governor and a senator; a Washington insider and someone with outside-the-Beltway bona fides.
More than that, recent political history contains several examples of nominees tapping someone who filled out perceived gaps in their own résumés: Ronald Reagan lacked foreign policy experience, but George H.W. Bush had been ambassador to China and ran the CIA. Bill Clinton lacked a war record, but Al Gore had been to Vietnam. Barack Obama had only been a U.S. senator for 3½ years when he secured the presidential nomination; Joe Biden had been a senator for 3½ decades.
This was another argument for Richard Nixon in 1952. Although Eisenhower’s biography was so sterling he probably could have secured the nomination of either political party, he was utterly new to elective politics. Nixon was the consummate political insider.
So who complements Romney’s résumé?
If the concern is that he can be an awkward campaigner, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is as big a people-person as the Republicans have this side of the Mississippi River. So is the affable and capable Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. Christie also mitigates against the rich-guy rap, as do several others, including Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Marco Rubio. The potential veep who best fits the bill in this regard may be former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a working-class conservative who actually quit the race in August 2011, in part because he didn’t want to mortgage his family’s future.
There is some evidence that the personal wealth angle matters to Romney. In 2002, the Republican seemingly in line to be the GOP’s candidate for lieutenant governor was wealthy Boston businessman Jim Rappaport. Democrats could hardly contain themselves at the prospect and were talking about the “Rolls-Royce” ticket. So Romney turned to state party chairwoman Kerry Healey, a self-starter who’d put herself through Harvard on scholarships and money she earned selling souvenirs on Daytona Beach.
Healey, by the way, is available.
DIVERSITY: In 1968, ethnic diversity meant going beyond the WASP gene pool. Nixon wanted a big-city ethnic and tapped Spiro Agnew, who was of Greek descent. On the Democratic side, Hubert Humphrey liked the idea of a Roman Catholic and chose Edmund Muskie.
That wouldn’t cut it today in the pluralism department.
Only two women have been nominated as major party vice presidential candidates in the history of the Republic: Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008. No Asians or Latinos. The rest were white males. One African-American has been nominated, and he’s the current president, which raises the question of whether the days of a white-male ticket are passé.
True, we’ve not had a Mormon president, but that probably doesn’t cut it, either. In 2008, Obama won among women, young people, blacks, and Latinos. If he does it again, by the same margins, the same result will occur.
So far, when asked about the changing demographics of the electorate, the Romney campaign insists that among all these communities, the real hunger is for a better economy and more job opportunities. That may be true, but appearance and atmospherics count, too, and the Republican Party actually has an array of qualified female and minority office-holders who might fit the bill:
Luis Fortuño, the charismatic governor of Puerto Rico, is quite popular in the island territory -- and he helped Romney win the primary there. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martínez could counter Romney’s weakness with Mexican-Americans, although there would have to be a meeting of the minds on illegal immigration first. (“ ‘Self-deport?’ What the heck does that mean?” Martinez said after Romney asserted in a GOP debate that “self-deportation” was the way to solve the problem of 10 million people living in the United States without papers. “I have no doubt,” she added, “[that] Hispanics have been alienated during this campaign.”)
Cuban-American Rubio doesn’t disagree with Romney’s policy positions directly, but he has stressed the need for Republicans to speak to Latino concerns with much more sensitivity. And the mere presence on the ticket of Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire or Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin would force Democrats to modulate their rhetoric about the GOP’s supposed “war on women.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal or South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, both of Indian descent, would be the first Asians on anybody’s national ticket.
DOING THE HEAVY LIFTING: Until George W. Bush chose Dick Cheney as his running mate, few presidential scholars conceived of a presidential nominee who would name someone to actually help him govern.
In both 1976 and 1980, Gerald Ford and then Ronald Reagan noodled around with the idea of a Dream Ticket (Ford-Reagan in ’76 and Reagan-Ford in ’80), but the idea ran aground on the shoals of discussion of a co-presidency, which seemed anathema to the way the White House works.
George W. Bush didn’t look at it that way, either before or after taking office. The Bush-Cheney model was the culmination of a trend that started when Harry Truman took over for Franklin Roosevelt -- and was utterly unprepared because FDR hadn’t briefed him or allowed him to attend meetings. The modern vice presidency is a powerful office. Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush, and Al Gore, in particular, had primary responsibility in specific policy areas.
If Romney were to consider this factor, who might he choose?
Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie are popular governors who’ve wrestled with profound budget shortfalls -- and done so successfully. So did Jeb Bush, who helped begin the process of improving Florida’s public schools. Rob Portman is a seasoned Washington hand who ran the White House Office of Management and Budget. Speaking of the federal budget, Paul Ryan has ideas on how to tame it, and would command the respect of Congress -- the Republican side of the aisle, anyway.
RUNNING ALONE: If you slipped sodium pentothal into Mitt Romney’s Sanka, he might tell you -- as Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower and either of the Roosevelts would have if given truth serum -- that he’d just as soon run alone. A running mate means time and trouble and the potential for mistakes.
Some candidates don’t share the spotlight easily. In 1976, Carter pollster Pat Caddell noticed that when Mondale’s name was added to the question, Carter picked up two or three percentage points. The candidate was instructed to mention Mondale’s name prominently. He agreed -- but could barely bring himself to do it. In a major speech in San Francisco two days before the election, Carter never mentioned Mondale once.
Most presidential nominees think they can do it on their own, and they are usually right. Gerry Ferraro was supposed to help Democrats ride a huge “gender gap” to victory in 1984. She couldn’t deliver her own congressional district. Dan Quayle was envisioned as the bridge across a generation gap. He was bogged down by questions about a National Guard billet he secured during the Vietnam War and the perception that he was too callow to be president.
So for some nominees the next best thing to running alone is running with someone bland, seasoned, and safe. Who would that be in 2012? Tim Pawlenty is the name that springs to mind. Pawlenty wouldn’t even criticize Romneycare when he was running against the guy. Also, Daniels chose not to run at all, apparently out of concern for his family. Portman certainly knows how to avoid unwanted attention.
HAIL MARY: George Condon of National Journal recently alluded to this category, in the sense of a desperate heave at the end of a football game. It rarely produces a touchdown. It might be called Hail Gerry (or Hail Sarah). It’s also what Reagan was trying to do with his clunky Richard Schweiker gambit in ’76. It almost never works -- if it’s perceived this way.
But one person’s “Hail Mary heave” is another’s confident downfield touchdown pass.
Is Rubio a stretch after two years in the Senate -- or is he the running mate who gets the Republicans right with Latinos? Ditto for Susana Martínez and Luis Fortuño. What if Portman is chosen to help Republicans carry Ohio, but they don’t? Is that a sign of a Hail Mary that failed -- or a weak nominee?
Ron Paul would be a Hail Mary, but if Romney decides to shore up the GOP base with Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, would that qualify? Gingrich, who does not lack for confidence, exhibited refreshing candor when asked about his chances of being chosen recently. “Inconceivable,” he replied. “Would you pick me as a vice presidential nominee?”
As for the last Republican to take this step, he’s never publicly admitted that Sarah Palin was in any way a desperate decision. Leaving that aside, what does he think Romney’s criterion should be?
“The absolute most important aspect is if something happened to him, would that person be well qualified to take that place?” John McCain told ABC’s Jake Tapper. Asked for his “best advice” on what to look for, McCain added, “I think it’s a person that he knows that he could trust.”

1936, 1980 o 2004

National Public Radio ha pedido a cinco politólogos que den su opinión acerca de a qué elección presidencial de la historia americana se parece más la elección de este año. Tres apuntan a la de 2004, uno a la de 1980, y otro a la de 1936.

1936: Franklin Delano Roosevelt vs. Alf Landon, says Alison Dagnes, who teaches political science at Shippensburg University. "The Republicans tried to attack FDR for his New Deal programs, saying they were too expensive and moved the country toward socialism — sound familiar?
The problem, she says, is that once a president gives the people new rights, the public grows attached and wants to keep them. "This is going to be the case for the health care program, which the Obama campaign is now terming 'Obamacare' for its own purposes. The campaign is gambling on this FDR-style move of giving more to the public, who will want to keep it. Same goes for the rest of the social programs Obama is touting today — it's expensive, all right, but who doesn't want a better educated public? Et cetera."

She adds that "we are far more politically divided today than in 1932, and — thanks to seven or eight cycles of redistricting our congressional elections — far more sharply partisan. This is why the 1936 Electoral College split of 523 to 8 would be highly unlikely — regardless of the math adjustment. But I do think that when the American people are happy with their lives, then the incumbent gets to keep his job."

1980: Jimmy Carter vs. Ronald Reagan, says Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. He cites the similarities: "Young, unknown president is elected after an unpopular administration — Nixon/Ford, Bush — economy in the doldrums, problems with Iran, sense of malaise. Republicans nominate the person who finished second place in the previous nomination — Reagan to Ford in 1976, Romney to McCain in 2008 — after a divisive nomination struggle. But the GOP came together in 1980 and are coming together in 2012, while the economy continues to drag at the incumbent."
Back in 1980, Smith says, Carter went "very negative against Reagan ... because he could not claim success with the economy, and Obama looks to do the same thing this year. Only waiting for Romney to ask if you're better off than you were four years ago."

2004: George W. Bush vs. John Kerry. "Definitely 2004," says Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University. "This year, just as in 2004, you have an incumbent president running for re-election in a polarized and closely divided electorate."
Obviously, he says, some things are different: The Democrat is in the White House and the Republican is the challenger, and the economy is the major concern of voters this year instead of the war in Iraq. "But there are some striking similarities," he says. "And the result is again likely to be a close election in which the outcome will come down to a few swing states. In fact, some of the same swing states — Ohio, Florida, Iowa and New Hampshire — along with a couple of new ones — Virginia and North Carolina."
Gerhard Peters, who in 1999 helped create the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says that the analogy "depends on what variables I am to use to compare 2012. If it's the Electoral College landscape, combined with a marginally popular president, I would say 2004."
And Marc Schulman, co-founder of MultiEducator — a New York-based history software company — says: "The best one I came up with was Bush vs. Kerry, and that is a bit of a stretch. In trying to look at comparisons, it's important to look at a few things: First, America has never ditched a president in the time of war. That goes all the way back to [James] Madison in the War of 1812, even when they have not been all that popular — for example, Bush in 2004."
The 2012 election will present "a situation similar to 2004 when a substantial minority never accepted the original victory of the president," Schulman says, "and you have an economy that is and was sliding sideways."
Also this time around, he says, the president is facing a wealthy opponent — Romney instead of Kerry.
True enough, there are some parallels with 1996 — when Republican Bob Dole ran against Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton — Schulman says, but "Dole was perceived as too old" by many of the voters.
"Plus the economy was not a problem for Clinton," Schulman says. "It is for Obama."

miércoles, 30 de mayo de 2012

Bill Hemmer (Fox News) entrevista a Mitt y Ann Romney

La entrevista fue grabada este fin de semana en su casa de La Jolla, en San Diego.

"No fue fácil"

Nuevo anuncio de Obama en español que se emitirá en Colorado, Florida y Nevada.

Massachusetts, una fábrica de candidatos presidenciales

Con la nominación de Romney, hay que recordar que, desde 1960, Massachusetts ha dado cuatro nominados presidenciales por los dos grandes partidos, más que ningún otro estado. En ese mismo periodo, al menos media docena de políticos de Massachusetts han montado campañas presidenciales serias. Y el estado ha dado cuatro Presidentes en total (John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge y JFK).

The Daily Beast analizaba hace unos días el por qué de ese protagonismo de Massachusetts:

Virginia was once known as “the mother of presidents” because four of our first five presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe) hailed from the Old Dominion. Virginia’s dominance actually made sense since that state was by far the largest of the original thirteen, in terms of both land area and population.

More recently, the same logic might suggest that California or Texas would be the prime source of presidential nominees since these are the two top states in population, and ranked numbers two (Texas) and three (California) in land area. The Lone Star and Golden States have played significant roles in recent presidential politics, with Texas generating three nominees (Lyndon Johnson and the two George Bushes) and California producing two (Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.)
But it’s actually Massachusetts, of all unlikely places, that’s the odd winner of the nomination sweepstakes, with four—count ‘em, four!—major party nominees since 1952. This unlikely presidential breeding ground gave the nation John Kennedy, Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, and now Mitt Romney. The Bay State also produced other formidable contenders who fell short of winning the nomination, including Ted Kennedy in 1980, Paul Tsongas in 1992, and Henry Cabot Lodge, a vice presidential nominee in 1960 and briefly a presidential contender four years later. Meanwhile, two other prominent presidential aspirants were born in Massachusetts (Robert Kennedy and George H. W. Bush) though they both ultimately represented other, larger states (New York and Texas) when they ran for elective office.
(...) For both parties, nominating a candidate from Massachusetts offers no practical advantages, especially since much of the rest of the country seems to dislike or resent snooty Bostonians. During the primary campaign, virtually all of Romney’s Republican opponents regularly derided him as a “Massachusetts Moderate” or even “Massachusetts Mitt,” as if the mere invocation of this effete bastion of supercilious liberalism would discredit their rival in other corners of the continent.
For three reasons, however, Massachusetts has produced a steady stream of presidential candidates and will almost surely continue to do so.
First, the state has nurtured a long tradition of treating its top politicos like rock stars – or, perhaps more appropriately, like the sports stars cherished by rabid fans of the Red Sox,  Celtics, and Patriots. In the Revolutionary era, “Sons of Liberty” leader Sam Adams led the original Tea Party, a piece of street theater featuring vandalism and Native American disguises. John Hancock, the egotistical and fabulously wealthy merchant who signed his name larger than the rest of his colleagues on the Declaration of Independence, fancied himself the true leader of the new nation and smoldered when George Washington eclipsed his glory. Sam’s cousin John Adams may have been a controversial figure in the rest of the colonies (and, ultimately, a one-term president) but he remained a sage and dynasty founder at home. His son, John Quincy Adams, also lost a re-election bid after a single turbulent term as president, but came home a hero and got himself elected to the House of Representatives for eighteen more years of service.
In the same era, Massachusetts voters literally worshipped the beloved Senator they proudly called “the Godlike Daniel,” forming an admiring cult around the incomparable orator Daniel Webster. He served as Secretary of State twice, and made frequent lunges at the presidency without ever securing a nomination from his Whig Party. Republican Calvin Coolidge enjoyed more national success as an ardently admired governor and one of the most popular chief executives of the twentieth century. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, the charming rogue James Michel Curley served in Congress and the governor’s mansion, before winning four terms as Mayor of Boston—one of which he served largely from his prison cell. His flamboyant personality inspired the 1956 bestseller The Last Hurrah by Edwin O’Connor, as well as the nostalgic John Ford-Spencer Tracy movie based on the book.
(...) In addition to the local obsession with colorful and contentious politics, the educational resources of Massachusetts certainly play a role in producing the string of presidential candidates. It’s no accident that three of the four recent Massachusetts nominees (Kennedy, Dukakis, and Romney) all held degrees from Harvard, the nation’s oldest, most prestigious university. John Kerry, on the other hand, had to content himself with graduating from Yale in Connecticut before he returned home to pursue politics and attend law school at Boston College.
The presence of an unrivaled number of elite colleges (Harvard, MIT, Amherst, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, Williams, Smith, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern, Emerson, Tufts, and many more) leads a disproportionate number of the nation’s most ambitious and driven students to make their way to Massachusetts; some of them who arrive from other states (like Michigan-born Romney and Vermont-born Coolidge, who graduated from Amherst) inevitably decide to stay there.
(...) The final feature of Massachusetts culture that inspires presidential runs involves the state’s historic sense of destiny and self-importance. On the very occasion of the founding of Boston, Puritan leader John Winthrop delivered his famous sermon comparing the new settlement to the Biblical “City on a Hill,” inspiring the whole world with its excellence and righteousness. Boston also quickly seized the designation “Cradle of Liberty,” though Philadelphia, a much larger town, served as the colonial capital and Virginia produced more significant leaders and crucial battles in the War for Independence. In 1858, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. dubbed Boston “the Hub of the Universe” based on its role as a center of intellectual and political ferment—a particularly obnoxious title given the town’s status as only the fifth most populous city in the nation. (New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and even Brooklyn – then separate from Manhattan—boasted more residents, but Brooklyn never claimed to be the Hub of the Universe).
The educational excellence of Massachusetts colleges of course fed this preening self-regard, producing precisely the sort of utopian grandiosity that breeds presidential candidates. When John Kennedy sought the White House in 1960, he not only proclaimed that America stood on the edge of a “New Frontier” but deployed a campaign slogan declaring “A Time for Greatness.” Michael Dukakis made his race 28 years later, boasting of his gubernatorial achievements as leader of “the Massachusetts Miracle.” The leaders of most other states—especially other states with limited population and economic clout—would feel far more reluctance to trumpet their own records as frankly “miraculous.”

Obama llama a Romney para felicitarle por la nominación

A nasty contest is no doubt ahead of them, but Wednesday morning the presidential combatants had a moment of comity. President Barack Obama phoned former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to congratulate him on securing the needed delegates for the Republican presidential nomination.

“President Obama said that he looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America’s future, and wished Governor Romney and his family well throughout the upcoming campaign,” the Obama campaign said in a statement.

Mr. Obama placed the call at about 11:30 a.m. ET.

Spokespeople for both candidates said the call was cordial.

“Gov. Romney thanked the president for his congratulations and wished him and his family well,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

Romney en Las Vegas, Nevada

Michele Obama en The View (ABC)

Bill Hemmer (Fox News) entrevista a Romney

Romney ata la nominación republicana

The Boston Globe:
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who has spent much of the past six years running for president, won the Texas primary tonight, giving him enough delegates to secure the Republican nomination and run against President Obama.
Romney was declared the Lone Star state winner by the Associated Press shortly after the polls closed at 9 p.m. Eastern time in Texas.

“Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three and a half years behind us,” Romney said in a statement. “I have no illusions about the difficulties of the task before us. But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity.”

Romney has been the presumptive nominee since his top rival, former senator Rick Santorum, dropped out in April. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, quit the race earlier this month and Representative Ron Paul has said he would not actively campaign, even in his home state of Texas.

Romney won’t become the official nominee until the end of August, when Republicans hold their convention in Tampa. But the vote tonight pushed his delegate count past the 1,144 needed. After accepting the nomination at the convention, Romney will be the first Mormon nominee from a major party, succeeding where others, including Senators Orrin Hatch and Mo Udall, and Romney’s father, George, did not. Mitt Romney lost the nomination to John McCain in 2008.

He is also the third presidential nominee from Massachusetts in the past quarter century, joining Democrats Michael Dukakis in 1988 and John Kerry in 2004. The last Republican nominee from Massachusetts was Calvin Coolidge, in 1924.
Con su triunfo en Texas (con el 69% del voto), y a falta de completar el reparto, Romney se asegura al menos 97 de los 155 delegados en juego en ese estado, lo que le sitúa ya con un total de 1,183 delegados, 39 más de los necesarios para asegurar la nominación.

martes, 29 de mayo de 2012

Romney en Craig, Colorado

El anti-Palin

La semana pasada fue The Washington Post el que le dedicó un perfil a Rob Portman. Esta semana le toca a The Wall Street Journal:
As Mitt Romney ponders his choice of a running mate, the case for Ohio's Rob Portman is fairly simple: He wouldn't hurt the Romney cause in any significant ways, and could help it in others.

If that sounds like an underwhelming argument for Sen. Portman, it isn't. In the eyes of some Romney advisers, the one thing the presumptive Republican nominee can't afford to do is replicate his party's 2008 choice of Sarah Palin, who soared on the excitement scale but appeared unprepared for the presidency. She also served as a regular distraction from the actual presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, and ultimately became a reason to question his judgment.

And if the goal is to avoid a Palin-like experience—well, Rob Portman is the un-Palin of 2012. His résumé is sterling. There is no chance his credentials would be questioned, little chance he would hurt the ticket and only a slim chance he would commit a distracting gaffe.

(...) The case for Rob Portman starts with that résumé. He served in the House for a dozen years before being elected to the Senate. He was head of White House legislative affairs for President George H.W. Bush, and held two cabinet-level positions—U.S. trade representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget—in the George W. Bush administration. He was part of the congressional supercommittee that tried—and failed—last year to come up with a master deficit-cutting plan.

He has practiced law and has helped run two family businesses in Ohio. He's moderate in style but generally well-liked by his party's conservative wing.

(...) Beyond credentials, there is the matter of the political importance of Mr. Portman's home state of Ohio. No Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying it, and there is a high probability it will be essential again to Mr. Romney's chances.

Would he carry his home state for Mr. Romney? There is no guarantee, of course, but he'd likely help. In the course of his seven successful elections to a Cincinnati-area House seat, the share of the vote he won ranged from 70% to 77%.

When he ran for the Senate in 2010, it was assumed his problem was that he wasn't particularly well-known outside that home base of Cincinnati. Yet he raised a ton of money and destroyed an opponent well-known around the state, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, winning the race 57% to 39%, and carrying 82 of Ohio's 88 counties. He ran credibly in Democratic areas of the state.

Still, there are two significant arguments against Mr. Portman. The first is that his work as budget director in the latter stages of the George W. Bush administration would make it easier for the Obama campaign to underscore the case that the deficits that now plague Washington actually took root during the Bush years, and that a Romney presidency would simply mark a return to Bush economic policies that precipitated the great economic slide of 2008 and 2009.

The Portman response would be that he pushed back against deficits internally, persuading Mr. Bush to issue his first veto of a spending bill. "I sent to Congress a five-year, not a 10-year, but a five-year-balanced budget," he argued during a recent breakfast sponsored by Bloomberg View. "Wouldn't that be great to do today?"

The second argument against Mr. Portman is that he's simply too much like the Republican candidate himself, and therefore would represent a missed opportunity to broaden the ticket or provide an added attraction. Like Mr. Romney, he went to an Ivy League college (Harvard for Mr. Romney, Dartmouth for Mr. Portman). Both like numbers. Both can seem more comfortable with process than politics.

In other words, a Portman pick would risk the dreaded characterization of a "two boring white guys" ticket.

On the other hand, Mr. Portman may prove more intriguing than he seems at first glance. He speaks fluent Spanish, for example, and is an accomplished hunter and kayaker. Besides, lots of Republicans figure they got enough vice presidential excitement in 2008 to last a lifetime.
*  Hace cuatro años le escribí una breve biografía en español en Wikipedia.

Romney reunió a más de 5,000 en San Diego

Mitt Romney reunió ayer a más de 5,000 personas en el parque Balboa de San Diego. Lo destaco por ser la mayor multitud que concentra en lo que lleva de campaña. No es extraño que haya sido en San Diego. La segunda ciudad más poblada de California, situada junto a la frontera de Tijuana, México, es un histórico bastión del GOP, cuna de políticos republicanos como Pete Wilson o Duncan Hunter, y el lugar elegido por Reagan para cerrar todas sus campañas electorales (para Gobernador y para Presidente).

Sus blancos anglosajones son más derechistas, puede que por la proximidad de la frontera, y es menos diversa y más tradicional que otras grandes ciudades californianas como Los Angeles, San Francisco u Oakland. Hay muchos hispanos (una cuarta parte de la población del centro urbano) pero muy pocos negros (apenas un 6%) tratándose de una ciudad de millón y medio de habitantes. Y sus suburbios, sitios como La Jolla (donde el propio Romney tiene una casa), Del Mar, Poway o Rancho Bernardo, albergan a blancos de clases muy altas y a familias de militares retirados.

Si inventáramos un estado al sur de Los Angeles, una California del Sur, que incluiría los conservadores San Diego y Orange, el segundo y tercer condados más poblados de California, y el quinto y sexto condados más poblados de toda la Unión,  sería uno de los estados más leales al GOP y le otorgaría unos cuantos votos electorales que al juntarlo con Los Angeles, San Francisco y la costa del Norte, se evaporan.

Chicago no encuentra un buen eslogan esta vez

President Obama’s campaign has yet to find a clear 2012 reelection slogan that carries the heft of 2008’s “Change You Can Believe In,” raising worries among his supporters — and hopes among Republicans — that he is having trouble articulating a concise case for a second term.

“It’s a problem because in 2008 he had an absolute winner of a slogan in ‘hope and change,’” said Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University professor and expert on political advertising. “It said it all, and the things that he has tried so far this time haven’t worked in the same way.”

Berkovitz is not sure that the Obama team can conjure something so effective this time around, and suggests the campaign is “struggling to find a core message.”
Obama formally launched his campaign this month with the message of “Forward,” but one senior Democratic Party official told The Hill that people who thought that would be the campaign’s lasting official slogan should “stay tuned.”

Obama at various times over the past year has taken “Winning the Future,” “A Fair Shot,” “An America Built to Last,” and “We Can’t Wait” for test drives, but none has found lasting traction. Vice President Biden has suggested one possible bumper sticker slogan: “GM’s alive; bin Laden’s dead.”

The president’s Twitter feed earlier this week featured a picture of him throwing a football at Chicago’s Soldier Field along with the words “Clear eyes, full hearts.” The slogan concludes with “can’t lose” and is borrowed from the TV show “Friday Night Lights.” It has been adopted as a semi-official rallying call by Obama loyalists, and can be seen displayed on walls—and a chalkboard or two —around the reelection team’s Windy City headquarters.
At rallies and fundraisers this month, Obama insisted that this bid still incorporates the foundational themes of his successful 2008 quest.

“If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them, it’s still about hope,” Obama told supporters at a rally in Columbus earlier this month. “You tell them it’s still about change.”

Jen Psaki, who served as deputy communications director in the Obama White House and as a press secretary during the 2008 campaign, sought to reinforce the message of continuity.

She said that although “we’re at a different time,” it was nonetheless the case that Obama is “still the person arguing that we can bring about change.”

But Pete Snyder, the chairman of the Republican Virginia Victory 2012 group, said the message isn’t working, equating Obama’s current slogan to the ignominious attempt by Coca Cola to introduce “New Coke” in the 1980s.

“It’s rather interesting that ‘Forward’ appears to be 100 percent about the past,” Snyder said. “If you go to any Obama event now they’re playing the same music from 2008 and trying to gin up the same vibe. It’s like a bunch of aging hippies looking for that old time feeling.”

Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney faces his own challenges on messaging, however.

Perhaps the most memorable slogan Romney’s team has come up with so far is “Obama Isn’t Working”, a barely disguised co-option of a famous poster that helped British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ascend to the premiership of her country a generation ago.

Romney seems to have settled on “Believe in America” as an overarching slogan, but his search has also included other options, like “More jobs, less government.”
Republican consultant Kim Alfano argued that Romney has, for the moment, foundation enough simply by virtue of being the alternative to the president.

“Later in the campaign, he needs to give voters more,” she said. “But his message right now simply has to be ‘I’m not Barack Obama.’”

Obama faces difficulties on several fronts in trying to conjure a new message. 
The nation’s continuing economic troubles make it virtually impossible to run on a message as unambiguously optimistic as President Reagan’s 1984 “Morning in America” ad.

More broadly, the mere fact that Obama now has a record of both achievements and disappointments, makes him less of a blank canvas onto which voters can project their own desires.
“Forward” dominates Obama’s headquarters and the merchandise — and Democrats insist it will be the primary slogan during the campaign, even if it is augmented.

“The country has a decision to be made between going forward or going back,” the Democratic official said. “The more we thought about it, [“Forward”] is the right frame for the discussion we’re having with the American voters.”

La secuela de Hope and Change

John Heilemann ha escrito en la revista New York un reportaje de ocho páginas absolutamente imprescindible sobre los entresijos de Team Obama, con entrevistas a David Plouffe y Jim Messina: 
David Plouffe sits in his White House office, just a few steps from the Oval, staring at an oversize map of these United States. It’s late afternoon on May 9, two hours after Barack Obama’s declaration that his evolution on gay marriage has reached its terminus. The president is down the hall and on the phone, discussing his decision’s theological implications with several prominent African-American pastors—while Plouffe is being queried about its political dimensions by a querulous Caucasian reporter. The map at which Plouffe is gazing isn’t the electoral kind with the states shaded blue and red; as a federal employee, he notes wryly, “I’m not permitted to have one on the wall.” But given the way his head is hardwired, I’m pretty sure Plouffe is seeing those colors regardless.
The question of whether Obama’s new stance narrows or widens his path to victory in November is one that Plouffe and his comrades have been agonizing over since early this year, when their boss returned from vacation and told them he wanted to take the plunge. The possible political benefits are clear: jazzing up young voters, ginning up gay dollars. As are the costs: turning off socially conservative Democrats and independents, particularly in four pivotal swing states—Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia. But as to the net effect of the announcement on Obama’s ability to accumulate 270 electoral votes, his adjutants are unable to render a firm verdict. “I think there is more upside potential than downside potential,” Plouffe says. “But is there a scenario where it’s harder? Yes.” ... Continúa.

Romney alcanzará hoy los 1,144 delegados

For so long, he was the putative front-runner, the nominal front-runner, the weak front-runner. Then he became the all-but-certain nominee. And by Tuesday night, he’ll be able to ditch those modifiers.

Willard Mitt Romney is about to do what his father didn’t and no one in his church ever has. With Tuesday’s Texas primary, he is poised to secure the 1,144 delegates required to clinch the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s August convention.

It seems like forever ago that Rick Santorum and Newt Ging­rich were waving Etch a Sketches at their rallies in a last-ditch bid to stop Romney’s march to the nomination. The long slog of primaries effectively ended on April 3 with Romney’s victory in Wisconsin. Three weeks after that, the former Massachusetts governor returned to New Hampshire, where he launched his campaign on a windswept farm one year ago this week, to claim the mantle of nominee.

But it should become official on Tuesday, when Texas voters are expected to push Romney over the finish line in the delegate race. And with that, the Republican Party will have selected an unlikely standard-bearer for 2012: a New Englander in a party rooted in the South; a man of moderate temperament in a party fueled by hot rhetoric; a Mormon in a party guided by evangelical Christians; a flip-flopper in a party that demands ideological purity.

(...) After a year of criticism that he didn’t have the strength or shrewdness to take on President Obama, Romney has emerged from the bruising primary as a formidable adversary. With the race firmly in general-election mode, he is a more disciplined campaigner than he was a few months ago and has pulled even with Obama in many national and swing-state polls.

However reluctantly they may have settled on Romney, most Republicans are now rallying behind him. On Monday, about 5,000 people — one of the largest crowds of his campaign — turned out to see him pay tribute to veterans in San Diego.

Romney started sensing that enthusiasm on a cold morning three days after Christmas. He awoke in Muscatine, Iowa, and headed to a coffee shop for a quick campaign stop. It was before dawn, but his supporters had filled the cafe, snaked down a hallway and lined up in the street. Romney’s top strategist, Stuart Stevens, said he overheard a woman telling her child, “We’re here to see the next president.”

For a campaign used to having to place robo-calls and blast out e-mails to generate a crowd, this was a shock. A few hours later in Clinton, Iowa, another shock: So many people turned out to see Romney give his stump speech at Homer’s Deli & Sweetheart Bakery that he gave a second speech at Rastrelli’s, an Italian restaurant across the street.

“What a crowd! What a welcome!” Romney gushed, a little bewildered. “This response in Clinton comes as a bit of a surprise, I have to tell you.”

Now, five months later, Romney is set to make history as the first Mormon to become a major party’s presidential nominee. At age 65, he has finally achieved what his hero — his father, George — did not.

lunes, 28 de mayo de 2012

Romney conmemora el Memorial Day

El Gobernador Mitt Romney ha escogido el Museo y Centro Memorial de Veteranos de San Diego, en California, para rendir tributo a los caídos. Ha estado acompañado por el Senador John McCain.

Obama conmemora el Memorial Day

El Presidente Barack Obama ha rendido homenaje a los caídos en el Cementerio Nacional de Arlington, al otro lado del río Potomac, con la tradicional ofrenda floral en la Tumba del Soldado Desconocido y un breve discurso institucional en el Memorial Amphitheater que ha aprovechado para recordar que "por primera vez en nueve años, nuestros soldados ya no están luchando y muriendo en Iraq."

Memorial Day

Último lunes de mayo. El Día de los Caídos.

16: Gingrich le da un consejo a O'Malley

Ayer en Meet The Press (NBC), Newt Gingrich le dio un consejo al Gobernador Martin O'Malley, de Maryland, si piensa presentarse a Presidente en 2016: "Recauda mucho dinero."

Gingrich dijo que el dinero es "un problema de nivel básico" en lo que considera "un proceso brutal," y aconsejó a O'Malley que "tienes que estar preparado y, en segundo lugar, entender que pasarás dos o tres años en la carretera."

El Gobernador de Maryland es el actual presidente de la Democratic Governors Association y suena mucho como posible candidato para 2016.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

domingo, 27 de mayo de 2012

Ferris Bueller, un héroe americano

Chicago descubre que la cosa es seria


Two difficult weeks for President Obama have shaken the overwhelming confidence of his campaign in Chicago and of Democratic leaders in Washington, and prompted a depressing realization: This is, at best, 2004, not 1996. At worst it's 1992.

Democrats had taken comfort for months in the Republican Party’s seeming inability to get behind Mitt Romney, Obama’s healthy lead in the polls, and equally healthy job growth. And for a few, fleeting, moments, Democrats thought the election might just be easy. But Republican division appears to have been merely an artifact of primary politics, and Mitt Romney has proved a consistent, if unglamorous campaigner.

And this week, amid poor economic indicators and continuing voter frustration, Democrats returned to the harsh reality that this election is going to be anything but a walk in the park.

“There was this sense maybe a month or two ago that Obama was really riding high — that he had gotten his base behind him and the economy was doing better and it had this Clinton vs. Bob Dole 1996 feeling — that he was going to cruise,” said one 2008 Obama aide who does not work for this year’s campaign. “And now it feels like it’s going to be really tough — a 2004 race.”

Indeed the campaign is shaping up to be a close-combat battle for one percent of swing voters in a few hundred precincts across three or four states.

That’s not to say the Obama campaign hasn’t been preparing for a tough fight — they have — but they’ve also adopted a confident, and at times arrogant, attitude toward their opponent.

From naming their elevators after cars (Cadillac I and Cadillac II) to private conversations with reporters, the campaign has rarely taken Romney seriously, focusing their efforts on mitigating the host of electoral wildcards like the economy.

Now, nobody’s laughing.

Moreover, a campaign that two months ago seemed infallible has proven to be very capable of making mistakes. Obama’s aides were taken aback when Vice President Joe Biden publicly backed same sex marriage — and spent a week punishing him for speaking out in the press. Long preparation for attacks on Romney’s time at Bain Capital, aimed at changing the narrative, nevertheless left them flat-footed when Republicans (and even a few Democrats) counter-attacked. Romney, who stumbled into the Republican nomination, scored his first tactical victory of the general election and further shored up the Republican base in the process.

“The attacks on Bain have the consequence of seeming to unite the party behind Romney, and that makes this attack perhaps a little clumsy,” said the former Obama aide.

Chris Lehane, a former Clinton White House official and Democratic political operative, cast the past two weeks as the establishment of the “natural waterline” in the presidential race.

“The polls are reflecting where the country is — a 47-47, 48-48 country,” he said, noting the similarity to the environment George W. Bush faced for reelection. “It took Romney a while to solidify his support, but if Romney really won Iowa, won South Carolina, this is where the race would have been in February and where we’d be through the fall.”

El recall del Gobernador de Wisconsin y su impacto en noviembre

The Washington Post:
[Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker made national headlines last year when he eliminated most collective-bargaining rights for public employee unions, triggering huge protests. The fight put friends, neighbors and family members on opposite sides and left the state as polarized as any in the nation. It will culminate in next month’s recall election, only the third for a sitting governor in U.S. history.

But there is more at stake on June 5 than the question of whether Walker remains in office or is replaced by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. To Bradtke, saving Walker’s job is a crucial step toward making Wisconsin a competitive battleground in November and electing a Republican president who deals with budgetary issues nationally the way Walker has in Wisconsin.

The recall contest “is the second most important election in the country this year,” he said.

(...) At first blush, Wisconsin may look daunting for Romney. The state has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan three decades ago. But that is a deceptive indicator of the state’s politics overall. Four years ago, Barack Obama coasted to victory here by a margin of 14 points, but George W. Bush nearly won the state in 2000 and 2004. And Republicans scored major victories in 2010, taking over the governor’s office and a Senate seat.

Karl Rove, Bush’s top political adviser in both those campaigns, argues that the results of Walker’s recall election and the margin of the vote will offer the first genuine clues as to whether Wisconsin’s political environment is similar to four years ago or has reverted to the nail-biter status of 2000 and 2004. “This will give a very clear indication of whether Wisconsin and the industrial Midwest will be up for grabs this year,” Rove said.

Mike Tate, the Wisconsin Democratic chairman, said he remains confident the grass-roots energy that triggered the recall can carry Barrett to victory. But he does not need to wait for the results of the recall election to predict that the state will be a battleground this fall, despite what happened here in 2008.

“I think this is Kerry-Bush Wisconsin ’04,” he said, referring to the presidential contest that ended up with Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) winning the state by just two-tenths of a percentage point11,000 votes out of 3 million cast.

“This electorate was never as blue as it was in ’08 and never as red as it was in ’10,” Tate added. “Those were dynamic swings that were subject to national momentum. This is now and I think will remain a state that is very, very closely divided.”

(...) Republicans have treated the recall election as if it were part of its national effort in 2012. The Republican Governors Association has spent more than $8 million since March. Walker has been or will be joined on the campaign trail by a string of fellow governors, including Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, the association’s chairman; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the group’s vice chairman; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.

The Wisconsin Republican Party, with assistance from the Republican National Committee, has made more than 2.5 million calls identifying voters. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, a former Wisconsin Republican chairman, said the party has “done more work in this state than in any state in the country. That’s all going to help us in November.”

The Democratic Governors Association has spent more than $3 million to help Barrett. But in contrast with the GOP effort, the past two weeks have produced grumbling that national Democrats are not doing enough to help defeat Walker. As a result, the Democratic National Committee sent out a fundraising appeal for Barrett and President Obama’s campaign publicly announced that it has invested about $1 million in its grass-roots organization in the state that can be tapped for Barrett on June 5.

Tate argued that the race will turn on who can get their voters to the polls in a state where undecided voters are only a tiny percentage of the electorate. If Barrett was to win, it would be a significant blow to the GOP. But Democrats recognize the implications for November of a clear win for Walker.

Many national Democrats, including some Obama advisers and some national union officials, were unenthusiastic about trying to recall Walker this year. They saw Walker as weakened by the political turbulence he touched off and therefore someone who would be vulnerable in a 2014 reelection campaign. They also worried that a recall campaign five months before the November election would be a hugely costly undertaking. They feared that it could leave their forces exhausted and, if Walker were to win, demoralized heading into November.
* Enlace relacionado: Lo que hay en juego en Wisconsin

Hay 7 estados clave

President Barack Obama faces new warning signs in a once-promising Southern state and typically Democratic-voting Midwestern states roughly five months before the election even as he benefits nationally from encouraging economic news.

(...) If the election were today, Obama would likely win 247 electoral votes to Romney's 206, according to an Associated Press analysis of polls, ad spending and key developments in states, along with interviews with more than a dozen Republican and Democratic strategists both inside and outside of the two campaigns.

Seven states, offering a combined 85 electoral votes, are viewed as too close to give either candidate a meaningful advantage: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.

"As of today, the advantage still lies with the president, but there is a long and hard road ahead in this election," said Tad Devine, who was a top strategist to Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry but isn't directly involved in this year's race.

(...) The race is expected to be close, and the past six weeks have been volatile.

North Carolina is a case in point.

Obama announced his support for gay marriage on May 9, one day after 60 percent of North Carolina voters approved a constitutional ban. "That issue definitely hurts him down there," said veteran Republican presidential campaign strategist Charlie Black, a top aide to 2008 nominee McCain. Black's not directly involved in this year's race but is an informal adviser to Romney.

North Carolina's high African American and young voter population, keys to Obama's 2008 wins there, give him the edge, aides say. And the president so far has spent heavily there, $2.7 million on television, according to reports provided to the AP.
But Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue gave Republicans an opening by not seeking re-election this year. And union leaders, a key Democratic constituency, are upset that this summer's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., is being held in a state where union rights are weak.

In Wisconsin, embattled Republican Gov. Scott Walker's improving fortunes as a contentious June 5 recall election approaches could alter that state's landscape. Walker, who sparked mass protests by signing anti-union legislation last year, has pulled narrowly ahead of Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in recent polls.
If Walker survives, Romney aides say they have a real chance to carry Wisconsin, which no Republican has done since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

"I don't think there's been any better dress rehearsal for a presidential election than what's going on in Wisconsin right now," said Rich Beeson, political director for the former Massachusetts governor.

Indeed, the Wisconsin recall could signal a GOP shift in an arc of states from Iowa to Pennsylvania that have reliably voted Democratic in presidential elections for a generation.

"Whether Walker wins or doesn't is going to be a big indicator of how Wisconsin goes, and how the whole upper Midwest goes," said Iowa's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.

Romney has signaled plans to contest Iowa, where Obama's 2008 caucus win propelled him to the Democratic nomination. Romney also sees opportunity in his native Michigan, where Democratic presidential candidates have won since 1988.

Bright spots are developing for Obama, too.

Public polls this month showed the president narrowly ahead in Virginia, a Southern state Republicans had carried nine times before Obama won it in 2008. Obama's advantage among Latino voters is moving New Mexico his way. Neither campaign nor the super PACs have advertised there, despite close finishes in 2000 and 2004.

(...) Obama has had an edge in getting out his message. For nearly two months, his campaign has aired spots across 11 states, heaviest in Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia, according to the ad-tracking reports.

Romney has only been airing ads for two weeks in four states. But super PACs that support him have helped shave Obama's advertising edge, airing $10 million in ads across 10 states.

Obama aides point to an edge in state-by-state organizing that could be the deciding factor in a close election. While Romney is quickly arranging with the Republican National Committee to deploy staff to various battlegrounds, Obama's campaign has been up and running for years.

Said Democratic strategist Devine: "The president and his campaign have a real and potentially decisive advantage on the ground."

sábado, 26 de mayo de 2012

El mayor fan de Romney

Jim Wilson, un vendedor de seguros jubilado de Virginia, recorre el país con su camioneta haciendo campaña a favor de Mitt Romney. Desde el verano pasado, ha recorrido más de 40,000 millas siguiendo al candidato, visitado 15 estados, y participado en 150 eventos de campaña.

¿Mala campaña o mala economía?

En el conservador The Washington Free Beacon creen que las dificultades de Obama en el último mes se deben a errores propios y a una campaña mal llevada:

We are rapidly approaching the moment at which Washington reevaluates the Obama campaign’s reputation for competence and expertise. Every week, one or several of Obama’s surrogates trip over their own words; every day, Jim Messina and David Plouffe and David Axelrod must scratch their heads in wonder at the mess they are creating. One gaffe is an isolated event. Two is an embarrassment. But three or more form a pattern, one that is damaging not only Obama’s precarious chances for reelection but also the fortunes of the Democratic Party.

The most recent trouble arrived last Sunday in the person of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who went fantastically off message when he said his fellow Democrats’ attacks on Mitt Romney’s background in private equity are “nauseating.” The Obama for America hazardous waste disposal team leapt into action, forcing Booker to record a hostage-video-like recantation of his comments by the end of the day. It was too late, though. Booker had tested the waters of intra-Democrat dissent and had found they were warm. Dianne Feinstein, Chris Coons, Steve Rattner, Ed Rendell, Artur Davis, Harold Ford Jr., Mark Warner, and Joe Manchin all followed him in.

What Obama intended as an attack on the business practices of Bain Capital transmogrified into a debate over the fairness of that attack. The press hates hypocrites, and it did not take much digging to report that Obama raised more from private equity in the 2008 cycle than any other candidate, and that the president’s negative ad buy went up on the very day he held a $35,800 per plate fundraised in New York City with the president of private equity firm Blackstone.

(...)  Obama may spend close to a billion dollars demonizing Bain, only to find that when the national exit poll comes out the night of November 6, “private equity” will not rank at the top of the public’s priorities. There is also a larger danger with shifting the focus of the campaign to such ancillary topics as whether private equity is good or bad: When you run a tactical campaign that targets the news cycle, you run the risk of having the attacks backfire. That is exactly what happened in the case of Booker, and what has happened in other cases as well.

(...) In February, the president’s Chicago team jettisoned the political identity Obama had been building for years. He had already turned off independents by outsourcing legislation to the left-liberals in Congress in 2009, ignoring the bright flashing neon DANGER sign that was Scott Brown’s victory in 2010, and waiting until the last minute to release an economic plan that had no chance of passing in 2011. But it was not until the New York Times reported that Obama had reversed his position on raising money for the Super PACs he had once called a “threat to our democracy” that the bloom truly came off the New Politics rose.

This purported reformer was a classic politician who broke promises and compromised ideals in a relentless quest for cash. Lacking a popular record of accomplishment, and having betrayed his reputation for youthful, sunny, bipartisan Hope and Change, Obama had no other choice but to run a negative campaign in which he tried to paint the alternative candidate as too frightening to govern. So here we are.

(...) The “war on women” message was conceived as a way to frighten all the single ladies into turning out for Obama in the fall. But that narrative quickly collapsed when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen appeared on CNN in April and proclaimed that Ann Romney had not worked “a day in her life,” a remarkably stupid attack on stay-at-home mothers that Obama Super PAC donor Bill Maher “explained” by saying, “What she meant to say, I think, was that Ann Romney has never gotten her ass out of the house to work.”

America was thus treated to the spectacle of the president, his wife, and the vice president all defending Ann Romney’s honor, and of the White House press secretary pretending that he did not know the well connected Democratic player who had stepped on the campaign’s message. Making matters worse, the Free Beacon revealed that both the White House and Senate Democrats pay female staffers less than male ones.

Joe Biden’s May 6 appearance on Meet the Press turned into a similar disaster when the vice president said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage. That put Biden at odds with his boss, who at that time opposed “men marrying men, women marrying women.” Education Secretary Arne Duncan sided with Biden the next morning. Soon the media wanted to know whether Obama agreed with his subordinates. It was a treat to watch the condescending and preening White House press secretary being pummeled for 21 minutes with questions he could not answer because his bosses at the White House and at the campaign hadn’t the faintest clue of what to do.

Here, too, money was the foremost concern. Major fundraisers in the LGBT community were threatening to withhold cash if Obama did not endorse gay marriage. Jay Carney could not dodge press inquiries forever. ABC correspondent Robin Roberts was rushed from New York to D.C., where the president informed her that Sasha and Malia had helped him evolve into a supporter of same-sex marriage. The timing could not have been worse. The interview aired the day after North Carolina, which had been a swing state and where the Democrats will hold their convention in September, banned gay marriage and civil unions with 61 percent of the vote. Team Obama, however, managed to tell reporters—somehow while keeping a straight face—that they had been planning such a shift all along. The public doesn’t buy it.
Por contra, en el liberal The New Yorker creen que la culpa de los problemas de Obama está solo en la mala economía:

In attempting to rally the base and raise money, Obama has moved from one issue to another over the past few weeks. Surely, he needs to articulate a clearer vision of where he intends to take the country and how he intends to kick-start a slowing economy. But just because Joe Biden can’t keep quiet and Corey Booker and Steve Rattner object to attacks on Romney’s record at Bain Capital, it doesn’t mean that Obama’s campaign is imploding. Biden is Biden. Seizing an early opportunity to try and define the presumptive G.O.P. candidate as an out-of-touch rich guy makes strategic sense—even if it causes some dissension in the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party.

Much of what is happening in the media has nothing to do with the President’s I.Q., or with poor old Joe Biden, or with the missteps of David Axelrod, Jim Messina, and the rest of Obama’s campaign Rottweilers out in Chicago. It is about commentators catching up with the polling numbers and the economic data, which have been indicating for some time that this is going to be a very close race. Having largely written off Romney’s chances in the first few months of this year, the pundits now have to explain why he is suddenly leading Obama in some polls and running very close in others. One obvious, but not necessarily accurate, explanation is that Obama is screwing up.

I ran through some polling data last week. Several surveys published this week confirm it is a dangerous time to be running for reelection. According to TPM’s poll tracker, almost two thirds of Americans still believe the country is on the wrong track, and according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, more than four in five voters think the economy isn’t in good shape. Just sixteen per cent of respondents said they personally are better off than when Obama took office: thirty per cent say they are in worse shape.

In circumstances such as these, virtually any incumbent would be facing a tough reelection race, and Obama is no exception. For several months, though, the internecine warfare of the G.O.P. primary and a sharp drop in the unemployment rate, which raised hopes that the economic slump might finally be coming to an end, obscured the picture. It is the fading of these factors, rather than any major stumbles on Team Obama’s part, that explain why Mitt Romney is smiling these days.

The Politico story gives Romney credit for focussing on the economy and playing to his strengths, but that is nothing new. He has been trying to do that all along. A few months back, when the unemployment rate was falling and things appeared to be looking up, his message that Obama doesn’t know what he is doing didn’t resonate. Now it does—even though, as I pointed out yesterday, much of what he is saying is guff. Fifty-five per cent of respondents to the ABC News/WaPo poll said they disapprove of the President’s handling of the economy—a finding that is mirrored consistently in other surveys.

Attacking Romney’s record at Bain Capital will serve to reinforce doubts about his job-creation skills. But they won’t do much to change people’s opinions of the President’s competence as an economic manager. On this front, the critics of his campaign have a point. Rather than simply targeting Romney, the White House needs to be much more forceful in defending its economic record over the past few years, and in laying out proposals to create more jobs. A good place to start would be the American Jobs Act of 2011, large parts of which the Republicans in Congress refused to pass. Here’s a little example the President should be emphasizing in speeches and campaign ads: if the G.O.P. had enacted the whole of the package, tens of thousands of teachers who were laid off by cash-strapped states would still have their positions.

All sides agree that the election will come down to the economy. If Obama pushes a coherent message on jobs and prosperity, one that combines a critique of Romney and the G.O.P. with a positive vision for his second term, the odd slipup here or there won’t matter very much—not nearly as much as how the next few months of economic statistics come in. Most voters don’t read Politico, or TPM, or follow Twitter all day. They will judge Obama based upon their overall impression of his record, and on the basis of how much they trust him compared to his rival.