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Clarification on the President’s Ability to Suspend the Election

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Following up Bridget Johnson’s post yesterday about Obama’s ability to postpone the election due to Hurricane Sandy, L.V. Anderson at Salon.com offers some clarification:

Yes, but the details of the postponement would vary state by state. Many states have constitutional provisions or statutes that detail their ability to suspend or reschedule an election in the event of an emergency. For instance, a section of the election law in Maryland (which is being hit heavily by Sandy) allows the governor to postpone an election or specify alternate voting locations when issuing an emergency proclamation, and it allows the state election board to “petition a circuit court to take any action the court considers necessary to provide a remedy that is in the public interest and protects the integrity of the electoral process” in the event of extraordinary circumstances that don’t constitute a state of emergency. As for states without specific provisions of statutes, the governor could still reasonably use his or her emergency powers to suspend the election during a state of emergency. The exact person or people who get to decide whether an election is postponed or extended varies from state to state, too; in some cases, it’s the governor or the secretary of state, while in others the power belongs to the state board of elections.

State and local courts, too, have on rare occasion suspended elections. In 1985, a county court (at the request of the county’s election board) suspended a state election in Pennsylvania because of flooding and rescheduled the election for two weeks later. And on Sept. 11, 2001, a New York state judge suspended local primary elections due to the terrorist attacks.

Since the United States Constitution grants states the authority to administer all elections, even federal elections, the federal government does not explicitly possess the power to suspend or postpone a presidential election. However, Congress does have the right to mandate the timing of federal elections, and since the Presidential Election Day Act of 1845 presidential elections have been held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in election years. Hypothetically, given Congress’ authority over the timing of federal elections, Congress could pass a law regarding emergency rescheduling of a federal election. Similarly, the president could use his emergency power in such a way as to disrupt states’ ability to conduct elections, but this has never happened (and would likely be highly controversial if it did happen).

One thing is certain; Obama does not have the power to cancel the election. Nor, apparently, does he have the power to delay the election in any state, given the fact that jurisdiction over elections resides with state officials. It is doubtful that a Republican House would intervene to postpone the election nationally.

But would Maryland, for example, postpone its election if several hundred thousand people were still without power, or cleaning up after the storm? Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is a Democrat, and the state is safely in Obama’s column, so postponing the election would not effect the outcome of the race. New Jersey also will probably vote Democratic, and Republican Governor Chris Christie, who strongly praised the president today, might also consider postponing if a significant number of residents were suffering the after effects of the storm and would have a difficult time getting to the polls. New York was badly hit and will also probably consider postponing.

Postponement will depend on unknowns at this point; how fast can electric company crews restore power, how fast the flood waters recede, how much damage to local infrastructure (roads, bridges) was sustained, and whether many local governments could conduct an election at all under such trying circumstances.Some may be overburdened dealing with the crisis and would find it difficult if not impossible to hold a fair and legitimate election if manpower and local resources are dealing with the storm’s aftermath.

Other states that are affected by the storm are Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Four of those states are up for grabs and, coupled with the hardest hit states mentioned above, the affected states that could potentially postpone their elections total 153 electoral votes.

We will have a better idea over the weekend if there will be any postponements.

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Ugh: Atlantic City Mayor Says He’ll Go ‘Mano-to-Mano’ with Christie Over Evacuation Order

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

The mayor of Atlantic City, N.J., accused Gov. Chris Christie of “playing politics” for calling out the city’s chief exec for not evacuating all residents when ordered to do so, and said he’d love to confront Christie on it “mano-to-mano.”

“The governor is either misinformed and ill-advised, or simply just deciding to prevaricate,” Mayor Lorenzo Langford (D) said on the Today show. “But isn’t it sad, here we are in the throes of a major catastrophe and the governor has chosen a time such as this to play politics. I think it’s reprehensible that he would stoop to the level to try and make a political situation out of something that was so serious as the situation.”

Christie said that the mayor had given some of his city’s residents “comfort” to stay in shelters despite the governor’s evacuation orders, and due to those “mixed messages” urban search crews are now hunting for stranded residents in the flooded city today.

“I’m telling you that that is absolutely false and the governor needs to be challenged. Those of you with journalistic integrity need to ask the governor what his source is. Where did he get that information? He’s dead wrong,” Langford said.

“Fortunately, most of the residents in the city of Atlantic City heeded that advice. Unfortunately, as always will be the case, there will always be those who will not heed that warning and decide to stay,” he said. “…So we had a plan in place for those few residents who would decide at the last minute that they would not try to heed our warning and vacate the city, but would try to hunker down, tough it out, only to find that at some other time they wanted to flee. We had that contingency plan in place.”

NBC host Matt Lauer suggested they could try to get Christie and Langford on the air at the same time.

“I would love nothing better than that, than to confront the governor mano-a-mano,” Langford said.

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Michael Moore/MoveOn Ad Threatens to ‘C*ck Punch’ Mitt Romney, Burn The Nation Down

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Michael Moore’s latest ad claims to be a message from the “Greatest Generation,” but it’s really just a message from an execrable person and a disreputable group. The man who claimed that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a happy happy place full of kite-flying kids uses elderly actors to threaten violence using profanity. Warning, graphic language and explicit threats of personal and widespread violence:

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Suffice it to say that these folks do not represent the prevailing attitude among older voters, who are more likely to support Mitt Romney than Barack Obama.

The ad doesn’t represent any majority view on election security, either. The ad claims that there is widespread outrage at “voter supression,” which is far left code for voter ID. But about 71% of Americans across all demographic groups support requiring people to show photo ID before they vote.

So the offensive and exploitative ad is a lie from the first frame to the last.

President Obama owes it to the nation to disavow both Michael Moore and MoveOn.org for producing and sponsoring the ad.

 

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Christie Lauds Obama Response, Says ‘Election Will Take Care of Itself’

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Focusing on the “incalculable” devastation in his home state, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told CNN this morning “the election will take care of itself.”

“My lieutenant governor is overseeing the election process. My secretary of state, they have already been working on contingency plans for Election Day a week from today,” Christie said.

“I’m much more concerned about preventing any other loss of life, getting people to safe places. Then we’ll worry about the election.”

Christie said he spoke with President Obama three times yesterday. “He has been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state and not once did he bring up the election,” the governor said. “If he’s not bringing it up, you can be sure that people in New Jersey are not worried about that primarily if one of the guys running isn’t.”

New Jersey has about 2.4 million households without power — a million more than Hurricane Irene’s damage last year. Part of the famed Atlantic City boardwalk was washed away.

Christie stressed on NBC’s Today show that Sandy was “a major disaster.”

“And we have a battered, battered New Jersey shore that I hope to tour a little bit later on today, but I think the losses are going to be almost incalculable,” he said.

“The federal government’s response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the president personally. He has expedited the designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area. I expedited that,” Christie said.”Last night, I was on the phone with FEMA at two a.m. this morning to — to answer the questions they needed answered to get that designation. And the president has been outstanding in this. And so the folks at FEMA, Craig Fugate and his folks have been excellent.”

Urban search and rescue teams were going house to house in flooded Atlantic City to retrieve residents who stayed after mixed messages from the mayor, who said they could ride out the storm in their homes despite Christie’s evacuation order.

“The fact of the matter is that I feel badly for the folks in Atlantic City who listened to him and sheltered in Atlantic City,” the governor said. “And — and I guess my — my anger has turned to sympathy for those folks.”

When asked on Fox News this morning whether Mitt Romney would come to New Jersey to tour storm damage with the governor, Christie replied, “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested.”

“I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power. I’ve got devastation on the shore. I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state,” he said. “If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”

Christie reiterated his praise of the president.

“He called me for the last time at midnight last night, asking what he could do,” he said. “…He’s been very attentive, and anything I’ve asked for, he’s gotten to me. So I thank the president publicly for that. He’s done, as far as I’m concerned, a great job for New Jersey.”

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Obama Campaign Never Really Stopped Campaigning During the Super Storm

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

On Monday the Obama campaign claimed that it was suspending all of its campaign operations. But during the storm, the Obama campaign fired off the following fundraising email. It’s signed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

From: Michelle Obama <info@barackobama.com>
Subject: I know we’ve asked a lot of you, but we’re almost there
To:
Date: Monday, October 29, 2012, 7:44 PM

Friend –

There’s still time to meet Barack and get two of the best seats in the house on Election Night. If you make a donation today, you’ll be automatically entered to join us in Chicago for his big speech.

You’ll be right in the middle of all the action on Election Night, and if Barack wins, you’ll know you played an important part in making that happen and moving our country forward.

And if he loses, you’ll be smack in the middle of Pity Party City…

We’ll fly you and a guest to Chicago, put you up in a hotel, and make sure you’re right up front when Barack gives his speech.

What he’ll say that night depends entirely on what we do right now.

I don’t have to tell you, this election is close.

Barack needs you. Please chip in $5 or whatever you can today:

https://donate.barackobama.com/Election-Night

I know we ask a lot of you. Thank you for everything — we’re almost there.

Michelle

The Obama campaign also kept its virtual phone banks going, and emailed its supporters to use their phones even during the storm to make campaign phone calls. Seven million Americans are currently without electricity in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath.

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Gallup: Romney Holds Seven Point Lead Among Early Voters

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

SurveyUSA’s weird Ohio early voter poll caused me to wonder whether early voter polls are the new bogus exit poll, in that the poll didn’t seem to reflect reality and skewed very Democratic. It reported that Obama had a massive 62-36 point lead among early voters in Ohio. Such a large lead seems unlikely in a state that consistently polls as statistically dead even.

The latest Gallup poll, however, surveys early voting nationally, has a larger sample size and tracks with Gallup’s own national polling very well. And it shows Romney doing very well.

Romney Leads Among Early Voters, Similar to His Likely Voter Lead

Thus far, early voters do not seem to be swaying the election toward either candidate.

Romney currently leads Obama 52% to 45% among voters who say they have already cast their ballots. However, that is comparable to Romney’s 51% to 46% lead among all likely voters in Gallup’s Oct. 22-28 tracking polling. At the same time, the race is tied at 49% among those who have not yet voted but still intend to vote early, suggesting these voters could cause the race to tighten. However, Romney leads 51% to 45% among the much larger group of voters who plan to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6.

The 52-45 lead among early voters combined with the 51-45 lead among Election Day voters spells doom for the president.

If you’d like a bit more encouraging and bucking up, take a look at this new NPR Battleground poll. It only shows a one-point lead for Romney across the swing states. That doesn’t sound good, but two factors within the poll make it better. One, it uses a small sample size of just 466 voters spread across 12 battleground states. Small sample sizes tend to skew toward Obama yet Romney leads here. And two, the sample has a ridiculous D+8 skew. The larger national Gallup survey finds that Republicans actually outnumber Democrats this year by a point. Romney’s lead in this NPR battleground states poll is therefore larger by several points than the poll’s results indicate in its top line number.

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Damage to Homeland Security Chairman’s District ‘Absolutely Devastating’

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Long Island Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told CNN this morning that the island took an “absolutely devastating” hit last night from Hurricane Sandy.

“Long Beach has lost all its sewage, all its water supplies, and it’s basically very difficult to get to. Hospitals have been shut down. People stayed behind, and a number of firemen were stranded trying to get them out,” he said.

“In places like Massapequa, there are a number of fires. At one time 12 firemen stranded, had to send military vehicles down. Pretty much like Wyndhamhurst are under water, Babylon is really hit very, very hard. On Long Island more than 80 percent of the customers are without power, of 1.1 million customers, over 900,000 have lost their power.”

The House Homeland Security Committee chairman called it “probably devastating a hit as Long Island has ever taken.”

“It was really very harrowing. … It was just exceed the worst expectations for Long Island.”

King said that Suffolk County, which is partly in his 3rd congressional district, bore the brunt of the damage.

He estimated 7 to 10 days before power is restored.

“It’s only going to be this morning they can start with restoring of the power. It’s going to be a long process,” he said. “They are in place to do whatever they can as quickly as possible, but it’s important for people to realize that this is going to be a long, hard process.”

King added that “all those people who refused to evacuate, not only did they put themselves at risk they put many, many first responders at risk, areas where firemen almost lost their lives.”

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Women United PAC Launches Benghazi Web Ad: ‘When They Called’

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

This Women United PAC ad explains the Benghazi cover-up in less than 30 seconds.

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With the mounting evidence suggesting the Obama administration was fully aware of the terror attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, within two hours of the breakout of violence and the disappointing litany of excuses, mostly blaming a virtually unseen video at the time, it is more evident than ever that is time for the truth, it is a time for change, it is time for a real Commander in Chief.

On the group’s web site, Women United PAC says that the Obama administration and the Democratic Party are treating American women with contempt:

Women United PAC speaks plainly: the Obama administration and the Democrat Party are waging war against women who care about the future of our country. They are hoping to distract women from the big issues, to focus on so-called “women’s issues,” thereby reducing women to mindless, sexual, reproductive vessels. This is not feminism; it is contempt.

We don’t buy it. We won’t have it. And we are tired of it.

Women United PAC knows that the devastating effects of Obamacare, the shrinking economy, the refusal to develop America’s energy resources, the overwhelming number of new regulations and penalties, the number of unemployed and underemployed, the uncertainty of small businesses, and the centralization of authority in Washington all represent a threat to our country’s future.

We know that women continue to serve our country proudly, having raised generations of good citizens and great Americans. Women have fought with paper and pen, waged campaigns, and organized civic institutions. Women have spoken up and demanded justice, our freedom, our right to vote, our jobs, our education and our equality, and are not about to permit the discussion about our country’s future decline into a discussion about paying for an individual’s contraception.

Women across America are alarmed at the direction in which our nation is headed. Our families, cities, and Nation are in crisis and the alarm is widespread.

We intend to speak and be heard, honoring the legacy of American women.

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Now Up on the PJ Media Homepage

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 - by Ed Driscoll

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Can Obama ‘Adjust’ Election Day Due to Storm?

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House brushed off questions today about whether President Obama would be able to “adjust” Election Day if Hurricane Sandy leaves significant, long-standing power outages.

Some utilities have warned that tonight’s punishing storm could leave areas in the dark for 10 days, which would eclipse Nov. 6.

“I think that is not something I’m able to address. The fact is the storm is just taking effect now and having an impact now and making landfall I believe tonight,” press secretary Jay Carney said when asked about “any contingency planning to alter the Election Day schedule.”

“We have to focus on not the campaign and not the election, but on making sure that all federal resources are both prepositioned and in place to help states and localities respond to the storm, to help Americans who are affected by the storm. That’s our focus right now,” Carney continued.

“Would the president have the power to adjust Election Day?” a reporter asked.

“I don’t know the answer to that question. I think you’re getting way ahead of yourself here,” Carney said.

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Projected hurricane storm track for next eight days

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Zombie

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Benghazi: Early Briefings Pointed to Al Qaeda, Not a Protest

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Fox’s Catherine Herridge reports that the early government briefings to Congress on Benghazi pointed out evidence of al Qaeda’s involvement. But for some reason, the story changed over the next couple of days.

Two days after the deadly Libya terror attack, representatives of the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center gave Capitol Hill briefings in which they said the evidence supported an Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-affiliated attack, Fox News has learned.

The description of the attack by those in the Sept. 13 briefings stands in stark contrast to the now controversial briefing on Capitol Hill by CIA Director David Petraeus the following day — and raises even more questions about why Petraeus described the attack as tied to a demonstration.

The Sept. 13 assessment was based on intercepts that included individuals, believed to have participated in the attack, who were celebratory — as well as a claim of responsibility.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described using that information to say that terrorists mounted the attack as “cherry picking” last week.

Fox News is told that the Petraeus briefing on Sept. 14 conflicted with that of the FBI and NCTC.

On Capitol Hill, Petraeus characterized the attack as more consistent with a flash mob, where the militants showed up spontaneously with RPGs. Petraeus downplayed to lawmakers the skill needed to fire mortars, which also were used in the attack and to some were seen as evidence of significant pre-planning. As Fox News previously reported, four mortars were fired — two missed the annex, but the mortar team re-calibrated and the next two mortars were direct hits.

There’s a blank to fill in here — the CIA’s men were painting the mortar with a laser, in the expectation that US aircraft would take it out. That implies, as Bob Owens wrote last week, that the US had an AC-130U gunship overhead.

Fox News is told that Petraeus seemed wedded to the narrative that the attack was linked to a demonstration and was spontaneous as opposed to pre-meditated.

There’s a blank to be filled in here t00 — Gen. Petraeus has been known to crack down on US free speech rights if Muslim outrage is a possible result from Americans speaking freely. He criticized Rev. Terry Jones when the obscure pastor was set to burn a Koran on video, out of fear that Muslims would riot. Jones got a call from the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs this time around, urging the preacher not to support the obscure YouTube Petraeus was apparently blaming for the attacking in Benghazi.

Fox News is told that Petraeus was “absolute” in his description with few, if any, caveats. As lawmakers learned more about the attack, including through raw intelligence reports, they were “angry, disappointed and frustrated” that the CIA director had not provided a more complete picture of the available intelligence.

All of this sounds like Petraeus may be being thrown under the bus. Last week, Petraeus may have thrown Obama under the bus with the CIA statement that no one within the CIA denied any requests from the American agents who requested help during the battle and were killed. That statement can be read as the CIA saying, in essence, talk to Obama about denying help because we had no command authority.

So with that in mind, there is pushback in favor of Petraeus.

A U.S. intelligence official disputed the characterization of Petraeus’ briefing to lawmakers on Sept. 14, saying: “The first briefing (to the Hill) carefully laid out the full range of sparsely available information, with briefers noting that extremists — including those with possible links to AQIM and Ansar al-Sharia — were involved in attacks that appeared spontaneous. The talking points (from that weekend) clearly reflect the early indications of extremist involvement in a direct assault.”

As for the current assessment of the Benghazi attack, a U.S. intelligence official said no one is ruling out the idea militants may have aspired to attack the U.S., though the bulk of available information supports the early assessment that extremists — with ties to al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia — did not plan the attacks for day or weeks in advance.

One source who heard Petraeus brief also told Fox News, “I can confirm that he explicitly stated both to the House and the Senate oversight committees that members of AQIM and AAS participated in the attack in Benghazi. That assessment still stands.”

One thing would be helpful in sorting all this out: Names. Who is saying what here? If Democratic lawmakers are criticizing Petraeus it could say something different than if Republican lawmakers are lodging the criticism.

In any case, the dates here are key. The attack occurred on 9-11. On 9-12, Obama suggested in that buried CBS clip that Benghazi was a terrorist attack while in his Rose Garden remarks, he blamed the movie. Then he went to Vegas for his fundraiser. On 9-14, Secretary of State Clinton explicitly blamed the movie, during the transfer of remains ceremony. Petraeus’ briefing on 9-14 could be, depending on how you view it, vague enough to have been used to blame the movie due to confusion or something like that, or it could the green light that the political officers on the Obama administration/campaign seized on to blame the movie in order to preserve the talking point that al Qaeda is “on the run” after the death of bin Laden.

The administration’s two-week campaign to sell the movie doesn’t suggest an innocent explanation. By the 14th, the administration may have already started to determine that the agents died requesting help that was never given for whatever reason, and determined to cover that up. Or, the killing of Stevens itself exposed something that the administration did not want exposed, such as the rumored gun-running operation to jihadist rebels in Syria.

The gun-running itself is a fact, at least according to the New York Times. The question is, did the administration know it was running guns to al Qaeda? Petraeus’ personal involvement in both the movie tale and the gun-running operation itself (he traveled to Turkey to oversee it) only leads to more questions than answers.

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Christie’s Hurricane Survival Advice: ‘If It Looks Stupid, It Is Stupid’

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

As Hurricane Sandy bears down to take a direct hit on his state, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) chided residents to remember “if it looks stupid, it is stupid” when taking action to deal with the devastation.

“If you do not have power, please do not choose today as the time you decide to tap in to your creative juices and jerry-rig a power source,” Christie said at a midday news conference. “We need to be careful of the potential dangers of portable generators and back-feeding during power outage, in addition to some of these dangerous alternatives that folks may pursue. Please, we said this the other day, if it looks stupid, it is stupid and you’re going to wind up hurting yourselves and others.”

New Jersey is one of the Sandy-affected states that prepared for the potential massive blackouts by bringing in out-of-state utility crews to help.

“There’s going to be a long period of time for some folks where we’re going to be without power here,” Christie said. “We are only in the beginning of the storm. The storm is still, you know, a couple hundred miles off the New Jersey coast and you’re seeing what’s happening already. So, it’s going to be a while.”

Christie called people who decided to ride out the storm — and put rescue crews in jeopardy in the process — “stupid and selfish.”

Newark Mayor Cory Booker told CNN by phone that he feared “epic flooding” in places like his city.

“And then you also get the problem where people might realize, hey, it’s time to go, but at that point many of the main access routes out of our city or to higher ground are blocked. And even during Irene, we had to do numerous rescues of people who were stuck in cars, where the water rose,” Booker said. “We had to get a small aquatic teams out to rescue them. So at this point we’re asking people to use common sense, to embrace prudence and caution and leave the flooding areas of our city.”

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) said on CNN that states were able to benefit from getting several days’ notice of the “Frankenstorm.”

“We prepared for the worst. And, unfortunately, given the turn of this storm, it looks like we’re going to be the recipients of her worst,” he said.

“I’m told that the winds at the center are now up to 90 miles an hour. It’s approaching a category two status,” O’Malley added.

“So far, as you’ve heard, the storm is as we predicted,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said at a press conference. “There’s going to be a lot of rain and there’s going to be a lot of wind. And that is proceeding.”

Cuomo announced the closing of the Holland Tunnel and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but said bridges would remain open until winds hit 60 mph.

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Are Bogus Early Voting Polls the New Bogus Exit Polls?

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Remember back in 2004 (how young we all were then), all the exit polls showed Sen. John Kerry defeating President George W. Bush in Ohio and winning the presidency? Those exit polls dispirited Bush supporters and caused so much controversy, because they were consistent and consistently wrong, that news organizations changed how exit polls were done in subsequent elections.

Are we seeing the same thing play out now in these “early voter” polls?

I don’t know, but it is worth asking the question when these early voting polls keep skewing the way those exit polls skewed before, favoring Democrats.

Today, the Democrats are touting a SurveyUSA early voter poll in Ohio, for instance, that claims Obama is winning among early voters by a whopping 62-38. If that number is right, things look bad for Romney to win Ohio and thus the presidency. But is the number right?

Election Insight says hold the phone, the SurveyUSA number may not be right at all. You’ll need to read their entire post, but this gives the flavor of it.

The SurveyUSA data suggests that 60.32% of the early vote from those with No Party ID/Independents have voted for Obama. As of today, most polls suggest that that Romney is leading Independents by +8%. Even in Survey USAs poll, they report Independents breaking for Romney by +8%. We can only conclude that early voting polling, at this point, cannot be trusted to provide accurate results. The flaw may lie in the oversampling of Democrats to Republicans and overestimating who has already voted or who will be voting on Election Day.

With a 6% lead in Registered Democrats over Republicans, there is no doubt Obama is probably winning the early voter turnout. However to get a +8% Independent support for Romney, Obama’s early lead would probably be around 50% to 46% or 47% for Romney. Perhaps a better indication of how the early voting is going, and for whom it is breaking , is to look at the total number of Democrat and Republican Party affiliated voters and infer the total early votes received. Given how early voting turned out in 2008, Romney is in good shape to carry Ohio in 2012.

The Romney campaign’s take is that Obama is significantly underperforming now compared to 2008, and may also be cannibalizing his strong voters in early voting, leaving him weak when the final days comes. If they’re right, then these early vote numbers are actually bad news that the Obama campaign is spinning. The bottom line on this is obvious: Vote. Early if you can, on Election Day if you can’t. Don’t let what may be inaccurate and even possibly bogus polling dissuade you.

 

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Obama Proposes to Add a ‘Secretary of Business’ to Cabinet

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

It’s a scathingly brilliant idea. Let’s create a cabinet level department dedicated to promoting American business.

President Obama says he would like to establish a “secretary of Business” if he wins a second term.

In an interview with MSNBC, the president said he wants to consolidate a number of business and trade-related agencies, creating a “one-stop shop” for oversight.

“I’ve said that I want to consolidate a whole bunch of government agencies. We should have one secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA [the Small Business Administration] or helping companies with exports,” he said in an interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.

Obama’s statements amount to a late-campaign effort to burnish his business credentials against Republican Mitt Romney, who has highlighted his success as a private equity executive throughout the presidential race.

The Romney campaign responded to the idea by accusing the president of stifling the private sector.

Great idea. I’ve got the particulars already worked out for you sir:

The Department of Business will be concerned with promoting economic growth. The mission of the department is to “promote job creation and improved living standards for all Americans by creating an infrastructure that promotes economic growth, technological competitiveness, and sustainable development”. Among its tasks are gathering economic and demographic data for business and government decision-making, issuing patents and trademarks, and helping to set industrial standards.

Wait a minute…there’s something very familiar about that department. Can’t quite put my finger on it…

I know I’ve seen that before somewhere. Wait! It’s right on the tip of my tongue. It’s … it’s…

Thanks for the idea, Mr. President, but we’ll have to pass on that. Your confusion is understandable, though. You’ve forgotten to name a replacement for John Bryson, who took a medical leave of absence back in June and subsequently resigned. With no permanent secretary of commerce, I can see how you could have forgotten what the department is for.

But keep those ideas coming, Mr. President. Input from the help is always welcome.

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Obama ‘Not Worried at This Point’ About Storm’s Impact on Election

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama took one question at his White House press briefing today, telling reporters that the election didn’t matter “at this point” in the face of Hurricane Sandy.

“What about the impact on the election, sir?” one reporter asked after he delivered a statement on FEMA’s readiness, hurricane safety, etc.

“I am not worried at this point about the impact on the election,” Obama said. “I’m worried about the impact on families, and I’m worried about the impact on our first responders. I’m worried about the impact of our — on our economy and on transportation.”

“You know, the election will take care of itself next week. Right now, our number-one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives, that our search-and-rescue teams are going to be in place, that people are going to get food, the water, the shelter that they need in case of emergency, and that we respond as quickly as possible to get the economy back on track.”

The GOP camp canceled swing-state events over the next couple of days in deference to the “Frankenstorm.”

“Out of sensitivity for the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy, we are canceling tonight’s events with Governor Romney in Wisconsin and Congressman Ryan in Melbourne and Lakeland, Florida. We are also canceling all events currently schedule for both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan on Tuesday,” said Gail Gitcho, Romney communications director.
“Governor Romney believes this is a time for the nation and its leaders to come together to focus on those Americans who are in harm’s way. We will provide additional details regarding Governor Romney’s and Congressman Ryan’s schedule when they are available.”

Obama skipped an Orlando rally this morning as the storm got worse and canceled a Tuesday campaign event in Green Bay, Wis.

“You know, this is going to be a big storm. It’s going to be a difficult storm. The great thing about America is, when we go through tough times like this, we all pull together. We look out for our — our friends. We look out for our neighbors,” Obama said today. “And, you know, we set aside whatever issues we may have otherwise to make sure that we respond appropriately and with swiftness. And that’s exactly what I anticipate’s going to happen here.”

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Jarrett: Obama to Change Washington by Spending More Time Away

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said that in a second term, President Obama would change Washington by spending even more time away from D.C.

“I think everybody grows. Everybody matures. Everybody develops their, you know, their confidence,” Jarrett said of the first term in an interview airing this morning on MSNBC.

“As I think one of the things that he has said upon reflection is that he’s going to spend a lot more time traveling around the country,” she said after a New Hampshire rally. “A day like today is energizing, and the American people are hungry to be engaged and he wants to be able to spend more time doing it. And that will hold Congress accountable.”

“As you know, what we said in the last campaign was ‘yes, we can,’ not ‘yes, I can,’ for the president. He cannot take on these challenges alone. We need to keep the kind of crowd we had in New Hampshire, what we’ve seen all over the country. Going past the election, we need to win the election and then we need to move into a second term. And we need to bring our country forward together,” Jarrett added.

Last month, Obama said the most important lesson learned in his first term is that “you can’t change Washington from the inside,” prompting criticism from the Romney camp.

Jarrett reflected on going through this last campaign with her longtime friend Obama.

“It is a little bit like I can’t believe that this is the last time he’ll ever run for office again,” she said. “But then I know that we have four more years and a lot of hard work left to do. Right?”

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Will the Obama Labor Department Use the Storm to Delay This Week’s Jobs Numbers? (Updated)

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The U.S. Labor Department on Monday said it hasn’t made a decision yet on whether to delay Friday’s October jobs report, the final reading on the labor market before next week’s federal elections.

A Labor official said the agency will assess the schedule for all its data releases this week when the “weather emergency” is over.

Labor is scheduled to release the employment report on Friday, third quarter employment costs on Wednesday and weekly jobless claims on Thursday.

“…hasn’t made a decision yet…” Hm.

Both the Obama and Romney campaigns have suspended campaign activity today. The Obama campaign, though, took a veiled swipe at Romney during this morning’s media conference call, when Jim Messina said that the president is suspending activity because as president he has “real work to do.”

As if Barack Obama is the first president for whom there are tasks beyond campaigning that must be performed.

Update: Was the statement a trial balloon? Fox reports that Labor now says it will release the numbers on Friday as usual.

Update: Hmmmm.

NRO’s Eliana Johnson picked up on an interesting moment during yesterday’s This Week on ABC.  George Stephanopoulos asked former Obama administration economist Austan Goolsbee about the political impact of the jobs report coming up this Friday, just four days before most voters cast their ballots.  Goolsbee notes that only “unbelievable outliers … crack through the shell” of the electorate’s consciousness for a single-month’s report.  Goolsbee then admits that last month’s jobs report was “artificially too optimistic” — an “unbelievable outlier,” in other words.

So why admit that now?  Well, that “unbelievable outlier” is likely to get corrected in this month’s household survey, and that will drive the jobless rate up.

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The Benghazi Gambit That Could Save Obama

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Walter Hudson

During a weekly briefing of Tea Party Patriots local coordinators on Sunday evening, a veteran of the Reagan administration’s national security infrastructure pointed activists to the work of Pat Caddell at Breitbart.com. “Caddell was George McGovern’s pollster in 1972, and Jimmy Carter’s pollster in 1976 and 1980. The man knows the inner workings of the high command of the Democratic Party as an inside operator, so his insight is particularly valuable.”

Caddell warns Republican operatives and conservative activists to be wary of a late October surprise (even a November surprise) which could shift momentum toward President Obama if the public is not inoculated now. From Breitbart:

“October Surprises,” real and imagined, have been recurrent in US political history. The term can be thought of two ways: First, it is the simple reality that the unexpected “black swan” can emerge at any time, including on the eve of an election. Second, there’s the more nefarious idea that an incumbent could use the power of his office to affect the election. And such possible abuse by an incumbent has provoked challengers in elections to use the October Surprise phrase preemptively, as a way of warning voters to discount some last-minute bombshell.

Caddell anticipates a move by the Obama administration which could serve such a “nefarious” purpose:

[A] possible US military action against terrorists in Libya. We might first note that the entire Obama narrative on Libya has collapsed, leaving any Obama politico–including the totally political national security adviser, Tom Donilon–understandably desperate to do something to change the Libya story.

The national security expert advising Tea Party Patriots further fleshes out the potential scenario for PJ Tatler in this email:

As Commander in Chief, [President Obama] has power and authority over U.S. military assets.

His Administration has taken the art of drone strikes to a new level. See this Washington Post piece on counterterrorism adviser John Brennan’s June 2012 speech acknowledging publicly for the first time the Obama Administration’s new policy on the use of drones.

It would not stretch my imagination at all to conceive of a scenario in which the President, determined to show that he is a strong and determined leader (and in the process destroy the image of him as weak and feckless, an image clearly displayed by his administration’s response to Benghazi), would order drone strikes against militant targets in Libya — WHETHER OR NOT they were targeted against the terrorists who were responsible for the deaths of four Americans — so that he could then announce from the Briefing Room podium something along the lines of the following:

“Since the tragic events in Benghazi that took the lives of four Americans on September 11, 2012 — including my Ambassador and personal representative, Chris Stevens — my Administration has worked to identify and bring to justice those who were responsible. Today I am announcing publicly that last night, in (fill in the blank) Libya, (fill in the blank name) and (fill in the blank name) — identified by our intelligence sources as leaders of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi — were killed as the result of military action I ordered.

“Let the word go forth to all those who would seek to do harm to the United States, its people, or its vital interests — we will hunt you down and bring you to justice.”

And then he’d walk away from the podium, and leave his national security and communications aides to spin a pliant media with the notion that a month’s worth of “confusion” and “contradiction” on what happened in Benghazi — was it the result of a YouTube video? A planned terrorist assault? etc. — was actually part of a brilliantly crafted, deliberate plan undertaken by the administration in concert with U.S. intelligence agencies, who knew within hours who was responsible for the attack, but needed to “throw them off the scent” — that is, we didn’t want the terrorists to know just how much we knew about who was responsible for the attack, so the Obama White House made the politically dangerous decision to show itself as weak and rudderless and confused DELIBERATELY to confuse the terrorists. Thus, in this spin, Obama selflessly DID THE RIGHT THING, EVEN AT GREAT POLITICAL COST TO HIMSELF AND HIS REELECTION.

I shudder to think just how deeply the MSM will plant its collective nose up his collective rear end if/when this scenario occurs. Krugman, Matthews, Maddow, Schultz … they’ll think he’s martyred himself for the good of the nation, and we’ll never hear the end of it.

In his piece at Breitbart.com, Caddell provides much historical precedent for such a scenario. Taking the time now to consider the possibility undercuts its potential effectiveness. Caddell explains:

If Mitt Romney, the Republicans, and their allies want to win this election, they will have to put the issue of an October Surprise into a persuasive narrative, as a way of inoculating themselves against whatever the Obamans might be able to do. After all [there is much to] suggest that the Obama administration is quite capable–a better word than “capable” might be “eager”–to use national security variables for their partisan purposes.

Caddell’s full article is well worth a read, and it’s prescription of context-building should be followed.

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Obama Campaign: ‘Really, We’re Not Losing!’

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The Obama campaign held a media conference call this morning to address the latest polls and the widespread belief that the electoral map is expanding for Mitt Romney. Obama senior adviser David Axelrod led off the call, declaring that the race is a “distinct choice” before going into campaign boilerplate mode, talking about reducing the deficit in a “balanced way” before calling again for tax hikes on wealthier, job-creating Americans. When discussing the latest polls, Axelrod and campaign manager Jim Messina cited only polls that show them tied or leading in various swing states, despite the fact that some polls show Romney taking slight leads in the same states.

While Axelrod sounded cautious and even defensive on the call, Messina gave off more of an air of confidence. He denied that the map is expanding for Romney but was challenged on that claim when CNN’s Peter Hamby asked him why, if the map is not expanding, is Vice President Joe Biden suddenly spending time in Pennsylvania. That state has not gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988 and had been thought to be in Obama’s bag this time until recent polls suggest that it could go for Romney. Messina answered that the campaign is not “taking anything for granted.” He then said that both the Obama campaign and Restoring Our Future super PAC are going up with TV ads in Pennsylvania. The fact that both are spending money in PA this late in the game hints of worry. Both Axelrod and Messina claimed to be going after North Carolina and Florida despite polls in both states trending toward Romney. Neither mentioned competing in Virginia. While discussing their bullish take on Ohio, neither mentioned the latest Rasmussen poll, which shows Romney moving to a two-point lead there.

Overall, the call itself and the tone suggested that the Obama campaign is deeply worried and on defense. Messina repeatedly assailed various Romney policy proposals as if repetition is the same thing as offering evidence that they are wrong policies. Messina also repeated “Romney is getting desperate” several times. At one point, Axelrod flatly stated that the map is not expanding for Romney, just before admitting that Romney just made a major ad purchase in Wisconsin.

Interestingly, no one from the mainstream media asked the campaign gurus about sequestration’s possible impact on storm preparation as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the east coast. During the third presidential debate, Obama claimed that sequestration was not his idea and that it would not happen. That statement earned him four Pinocchios last week for being completely dishonest. Sequestration came from his White House. Absent a last-minute deal with Congress, it will happen, and along with the drastic defense cuts, more than half a billion dollars will be cut from the federal disaster programs.

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Latest Rasmussen Ohio Poll: Romney 50% – Obama 48%

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

Does Obama’s strongest reelection firewall now have a gaping hole?

According to Rasmussen:

The race for Ohio’s Electoral College votes remains very close, but now Mitt Romney now has a two-point advantage.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Ohio Voters shows Romney with 50% support to President Obama’s 48%. One percent (1%) likes some other candidate, while another one percent (1%) remains undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Ohio remains a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College Projections. 

Based on the current projections, Romney would have to win Wisconsin if he loses Ohio in order to move into the White House.

Like Hurricane Sandy, campaign winds could be severe, blowing unexpected late breaking poll results.

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Obama Takes ‘Offense’ at Accusations Over Benghazi Information Flubs

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama said he takes “offense” at “some suggestion in any way we haven’t tried to make sure that the American public knew as information was coming in what we believed happened” on Sept. 11 in Benghazi.

“Well, look, the fact of the matter is that this is a tragedy. There’s all kinds of legitimate questions to ask, because anytime a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans who are serving our country get killed, we’ve got to figure out what happened and fix it,” Obama said in an interview aired on MSNBC this morning. “And most importantly we’ve got to bring those folks who carried that out to justice.”

He said the investigation is going to show whether the intelligence community was giving bad information as the attack unfolded and afterward.

“But the truth is, across the board, when this happened, my No. 1 priority was secure Americans, figure out what happened, bring those folks to justice,” Obama said. “We are in the process of doing that right now. Congress has been getting the flow of information continuously from day one. And what my attitude on this is if we find out if there was a big breakdown and somebody didn’t do their job, they’ll be held accountable.”

Members of Congress, though, have increasingly complained about the information they’ve received being contradicted by new reports.

“Ultimately, as commander in chief, I’m responsible and I don’t shy away from that responsibility. My number one responsibility is to go after folks who did this and we’re going to make sure that we get them. I’ve got a pretty good track record doing it,” Obama said.

Last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called on Obama to publicly address Americans with all information he knows on Benghazi. Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) called on Obama over the weekend to “come clean.”

Related: The Benghazi Gambit That Could Save Obama

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‘Children of the Future’ Blame Disasters on Mom and Dad’s Vote for Romney

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

No sooner did I finish up the traditional values post than I came across this video. Singing children sing of an American that “fixes” gays and lets people “just die,” blaming the choice on their parents for not voting for Obama’s agenda.

YouTube Preview Image

The advertising firm that created this offensive ad is not officially working with the Obama campaign, but its alliance with his world view is obvious.

We haven’t killed all the polar bears
But it’s not for lack of trying
Big Bird is sacked
The Earth is cracked
And the atmosphere is frying

Congress went home early
They did their best we know
You can’t cut spending
With elections pending
Unless it’s welfare dough

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

Don’t miss the kicker at the end.

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And yeah, we’re blaming you

You did your best
You failed the test

Mom and Dad
We’re blaming you!

Is that a clear enough effort to divide parents from their children? Is this a clear enough attack on the family and traditional values? Are the dishonest Big Bird and welfare and global warming lines enough evidence that the strategy to go small and divide is purposeful?

The firm that created the ad, Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, is obviously on board with the Obama anti-family project.

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Traditional Values Voters: To Barack Obama, You Are The Enemy

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Stanley Kurtz does a remarkable job of explaining why, when he had the chance to discuss big themes and go for the center that supported him four years ago, Barack Obama has gone for the small, divisive and trivial in 2012. Binders, Big Bird, “bullsh***er,” etc. This is not the Obama campaign of four years ago, which cloaked its leftist intentions in “hope and change.”

We heard a lot about a left-leaning electoral realignment in 2008. That talk seemed to stop after the tea-party shellacking of 2010. Yet the truth is, Obama and his advisors never abandoned their quest to shape a permanent leftist majority, a coalition that would forever put an end to Clintonian triangulation and usher in unfettered leftist Obamaism instead. Obama’s frantic efforts to gin up the women’s vote and the youth vote aren’t only desperate attempts to secure his base. They flow from a deliberate decision not to fight for the center, but to build an independent majority on what is supposedly the “demographically ascendent” left.

Over at The Nation, Richard Kim gets it. Writing about the Lena Dunham “first time” ad controversy, he speaks of it as part of an effort “to realign the electorate towards the Democratic Party for a generation.” But the best place to read about Obama’s larger strategy is “Hope: The Sequel,” the New York magazine piece by John Heilemann that got attention last May but bears rereading now. When it comes to the course of the 2012 Obama campaign, Heilemann clearly nailed it.

His piece describes an Obama campaign willing to risk turning off socially conservative Democrats and independent voters by hyping leftist social issues. President Obama evidently made this strategic decision himself, and he publicly began to adopt it with his “evolution” on gay marriage in May of this year. While Obama’s team is solidly behind the strategy, Heilemann makes it clear that some prominent Democrats don’t like it. Instead, they fear it as an excessively divisive approach that puts the great asset of Obama’s likeability at risk with middle-ground voters.

Read the whole thing. The divide and rule strategy makes sense when on considers Obama’s pedigree — the Midwest Academy, Alinskyite community organizing, two decades under the tutelage of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and years in alliance with unrepentant anti-American terrorist Bill Ayers. But most voters never considered any of that and still don’t. It’s too esoteric. Likewise, Obama’s use of far left imagery and language, down to borrowing his “Forward” campaign slogan from socialist campaigns the world over, goes over the heads of most voters but serves the purpose of firing up the hard left.

Traditional values voters, many of whom were swayed by Obama’s warm and happy talk four years ago, certainly never did take any of the evidence of Obama’s true ideology into account. He said things that they liked and cast himself as genial and that was enough. I knew several traditional values voters four years ago who went for Obama despite all of the evidence available that he is a radical on abortion to the point of being literally pro-infanticide. Douglas Kmiec is probably the most prominent of the values voters were went for Obama four years ago. As of last year he was arguing that Catholics should not fear the possibility that Obama would use ObamaCare to impose abortifacients on religious institutions against their consciences. We all know how that turned out. Obama cannot be trusted to keep his word, and he cannot be trusted to respect any values different from his own. He is a hard core ideologue.

It’s important this election that traditional values voters not be fooled and not stay home. That imposition — first, imposing ObamaCare on a nation that did not elect the Democratic majority to pass it and that opposed its passage at the time, and then using that unpopular law to expand the power of the state over religious institutions — was of a piece with the strategy Kurtz describes above. This president clearly does not hold the Constitution or the law in high regard. He had openly declared his intent to work around the law when it suits his political interests. But his hostility to the center and right goes even deeper. This president does not have any interest at all in respecting, let alone fostering, traditional values. Obama does not want you to raise your children to respect and live by traditional values. To him, if you place any political weight to traditional values then you are “the enemy” on whom he wishes punishment.

He is already giving us glimpses — warnings, really — of how he intends to interpret re-election. Obama knows he would still have a national media mostly interested in covering for him. It continues to help him cover up the terrorist attack in Benghazi, in which four Americans were killed and about which the president himself has repeatedly lied to the American public. To him, re-election would validate ObamaCare, which would become permanent. Its violations of conscience would become permanent along with it, and he would expand its power even farther. Having gotten away with changing immigration law by fiat, there will be more unilateral action to come. He has shown no interest in solving the national debt that he has raised to an unsustainable level — he wants to double down on deficit spending to push his anti-values agenda. He has plainly said that re-election would be a mandate for the higher taxes he wants to impose. Anyone who stands in his way — governors, Congress, the church, the Supreme Court — can expect to be lied to, lied about, and demonized. That is what he has done over the past four years. Re-electing him would encourage more.

The bottom line is that Barack Obama is running his divisive small-ball campaign on purpose. He believes it is his route to big power in a second term. He would interpret re-election as license to attack values voters through rhetoric and through policy very directly and constantly. Four years is a long time to give Obama to enact the kind of radical change he really has in mind.

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Bill Clinton Politicizes Hurricane Sandy Before It Strikes

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The Clintons and their allies have not been shy about politicizing disasters, natural and man-made. President Clinton turned the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing into a sustained attack on Rush Limbaugh. Clinton-era officials including former FEMA head James Lee Witt helped turn Hurricane Katrina into a political issue against President George W. Bush despite the fact (or maybe, because of the fact) that the failures to deal with that storm were primarily local.

Now, Bill Clinton is sticking to his baser political instincts again, politicizing Hurricane Sandy ahead of its expected strike while speaking at a rally Sunday for Connecticut Democratic Senate candidate Chris Murphy.

On the campaign trail in Waterbury Connecticut yesterday, former President Bill Clinton used the threat of Hurricane Sandy to warn voters of the importance of the election next week.

“We’re coming down to the 11th hour. We’re facing a violent storm,” Clinton said according to the Connecticut Mirror. “It’s nothing compared to the storm we’ll face if you don’t make the right decision in this election.”

The federal government is using very strong language in its Sandy warnings, including “if you do not survive.”

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Tea Party Patriots Appeal to Undecideds with Devasting Obamacare Exposé

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Walter Hudson

There is little doubt that many incumbent politicians would love for the Supreme Court ruling upholding much of ObamaCare to deprive the Tea Party movement of its bedrock issue. Yet, the bulk of ObamaCare has yet to be implemented. Governor Mitt Romney has promised to repeal it if elected president, and the stakes remain the difference between life and death.

Tea Party Patriots has produced an exhaustive video exposé taking viewers through the process which produced ObamaCare, warning of its unjust and deadly consequences. Beginning at the issue’s root, the competing medical philosophies of the life-affirming Hippocrates and the statist Plato, The Determinators offers a brief history of medical politics and relives the constitutional trauma inflicted upon the American republic by the Obama administration and their Democratic allies in Congress. The film presents a stark choice between the value of individual lives and the value of the state for its own sake. At a running time of 58 minutes, it delivers an impressive amount of content in a concise package which compels a personal response.

The film is based upon the book The Battle for America’s Soul authored by Dr. C.L. Gray, who also narrates. Tea Party Patriots has mailed DVDs of the film to undecided voters in swing states, and has now made the film available to view in its entirety on YouTube (embedded above). They are asking for help in distributing the film to as many voters as possible before November 6th

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Now Up on the PJ Media Homepage

Monday, October 29th, 2012 - by Ed Driscoll

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[VIDEO] Pat Caddell BLASTS the Mainstream Media on Benghazi

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

It’s clear long time Democratic Party pollster Pat Caddell has had it with mainstream media suppression of Benghazi in this excerpt from the Jeanine Pirro on Fox Saturday night. (Caddell comes in at 1:15 after Ann Coulter).

Juicy bit: I am appalled right now.

This White House, this President, this Vice President, this Secretary of State, all of them, are willing, apparently, to dishonor themselves and this country for the cheap prospect of getting reelected — willing to coverup and lie.

And the worst thing is the very people who are supposed to protect the American people and the truth, the leading mainstream media, and I said in a speech a week ago — because I’m stunned. I’ve never seen in an issue of national security like this, but I will tell you this, I said it then they have become a threat, a fundamental threat to American democracy and then enemies of the American people.

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Virginia Dem: ‘The Storm Will Throw Havoc Into the Race’

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast — and early voters — a Democratic senator in one affected state predicted this morning “the storm will throw havoc into the race.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), citing a new Washington Post poll showing a 51-47 edge for President Obama in Virginia, said on Fox News Sunday the storm may not affect his state as much because “we don’t have as extensive early voting in Virginia as other states.” Extended power outages could affect voting machines through Election Day, though.

Obama and Mitt Romney both canceled Virginia events because of the hurricane.

Obama called Sandy “a serious and big storm” in remarks at FEMA headquarters today, vowing to get states and municipalities whatever they need.

“We’re going to cut through red tape. We’re not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules,” the president said. “We want to make sure that we are anticipating and leaning forward into making sure that we’ve got the best possible response to what is going to be a big and messy system.”

The other swing-state senators on the show focused on what these critical voters will make of the candidates’ policies heading into Nov. 6.

“As I drive around the victory centers, particularly yesterday, this issue of Benghazi is really bubbling up,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). “People are demanding answers from this administration. I think it’s going to have a big impact here in the state of Wisconsin.”

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) noted an early voting rate of about 80 percent in his state.

“Governor Romney has three problems here in Colorado. We don’t know whether it’s moderate Mitt or ‘me, too’ Mitt or severely conservative Mitt that will serve as a president. He’s been particularly unfriendly to Hispanics and Latinos,” Udall charged. “And women in the state are pro-choice. They want to make their own health care decisions and the Republican Party has in effect said to women, we know what’s best for you. We don’t want you to make your own decisions. So, those are reasons that President Obama will carry Colorado.”

Romney’s celebrated debate practice partner referred to the policy pamphlet released last week by Obama, repacking what the president has been saying on the campaign trail.

“He has a glossy new brochure. I’ve actually looked at that brochure and as you know I played the role of Obama during the debate preps. And it’s more of the same,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said. “I mean, you know, you can argue we need to do more of the same but it hasn’t worked and hasn’t worked by President Obama’s own measurements.”

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Ohio Newspaper Organization Poll Shows a Dead Heat

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

And a Mason-Dixon pollster tells the Tampa Bay Times that Romney has “pretty much nailed down Florida.”

The Ohio poll showed Romney trailing by 5 in September:

Dead heat. This close. And with almost no voters saying they’re undecided.

That’s how things look in the presidential race, according to the most recent Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio Newspaper Organization poll.

President Barack Obama, 49 percent. Republican challenger Mitt Romney, ditto.

One remaining percent for “other,” and one more for “don’t know.” And all within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

This is a major change from a similar poll a month ago, when Obama held a 51-46 percent lead over Romney.

Significantly, Romney is +6 over the president on the question of who can better handle the economy. This has probably been the most consistent advantage for the challenger since his surge to the front began just before the first debate.

As for Florida, the state seems to be slipping away from the president:

It has been a fundamental rule of Florida politics for decades: Statewide campaigns are won and lost on the I-4 corridor.

Today that celebrated swing-voter swath stretching from Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach is poised to deliver Florida’s 29 electoral votes to Mitt Romney.

An exclusive Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll of likely voters along the Interstate 4 corridor finds Romney leading Obama 51 percent to 45 percent, with 4 percent undecided.

“Romney has pretty much nailed down Florida,” said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, which conducted the poll for the Times and its media partners. “Unless something dramatically changes — an October surprise, a major gaffe — Romney’s going to win Florida.”

Good news for Romney, as is the latest poll from Minnesota which shows Obama up only 3 on the challenger. And a sign that Romney is probably very close or tied in Wisconsin; Tommy Thompson is now leading his Senate race against Tammy Baldwin after trailing for months. Given the polarization of the electorate in Wisconsin, it is hard to decouple the down ballot races from the presidential contest.

Obama carried Wisconsin by 14 points in 2008; Minnesota by 10. He also carried Pennsylvania by 10. Latest polls show Obama with a 2 point lead in Wisconsin, a 3 point lead in Minnesota, and his lead has narrowed to 6 in Pennsylvania. And today, Joe Biden was not in Ohio, or Virginia, or Iowa; he was campaigning in Pennsylvania — a state that Obama should have locked up weeks ago.

Tip: Watch where candidates are campaigning this week. It will tell you a lot about how both sides are seeing the race.

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Tehran, Mon Amour: Obama Tried to Establish Ties with the Mullahs

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

For all those bewildered about why Barack Obama made no attempt to reach out to the democracy demonstrators dying in the streets of Tehran (shades of Benghazigate), it seems our president had his eyes set on a bigger prize – diplomatic relations with Iran’s Islamofascist Mullahs.

From the Times of Israel:

Soon after he took office, President Barack Obama began a process ultimately designed to reestablish full US diplomatic relations with Iran, including a reopening of embassies, an Israeli daily reported Sunday. The initiative, part of a wider shift in America’s diplomatic orientation, aimed at reaching understandings with Tehran over suspending its nuclear program, Maariv claimed, citing “two Western diplomats very close to the administration.”

The initiative led to at least two US-Iran meetings, the report said. Israel was made aware of the contacts, and opposed them.

But Iran rebuffed the “diplomatic hand” offered by the White House, Maariv reported. The Islamist regime “opposed any sign of normalization with the US, and refused to grant a ‘prize’ to the Americans,” according to an anonymous Israeli source quoted by the paper.

The information — the lead item on Maariv’s front page, headlined “Obama offered to renew relations with Iran” — comes on the heels of reports earlier this month that the US and Iran held back channel contacts toward establishing direct talks over Tehran’s nuclear program. Both the White House and Iran denied those reports.

According to Maariv, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met with chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili for an hour in 2009, and one other meeting between officials from both sides took place as well.

Included in the diplomatic incentives package offered by Washington would be, in the first stage, the opening of interest sections in Washington and Tehran, with the possibility subsequently of expanding to full diplomatic ties, including US and Iranian embassies and ambassadors in each other’s capitals, Maariv claimed.

As part of restored diplomatic relations with Iran, Maariv reported, Washington was ready to hold senior level diplomatic contacts, to agree to reciprocal visits, to approve security cooperation between the countries, direct flights between the US and Iran, and the granting of visas to Iranians wishing to visit the US.

Like the guy trying to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in downtown D. C.

UPDATE: As Michael Ledeen has pointed out frequently on PJM, back channel discussions between the US and Iran have been going on literally for decades, so this is really a big yawn. On the other had, it’s interesting to see what Obama was selling.

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Is Benghazi Costing Obama the Election?

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Bill Kristol on Obama’s plunging job approval numbers:

On September 11, 2012, Rasmussen Reports had President Obama’s job approval at 52 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove. Today, October 27, the numbers have reversed—47 percent approve, 52 percent disapprove. The economic news over these past six weeks has been on the whole a bit better than expected, so it’s hard to believe that’s the cause of the change. The campaign and the debates could of course have played a role. But the main real-world event that might have affected voters’ approval or disapproval of President Obama’s job performance is Libya.

Actually, Obama’s approval slide is even worse than that:

Gallup’s daily tracking poll today — which also showed Obama losing 51-46 to Republican nominee Mitt Romney among likely voters — puts the president’s approval rating at just 46 percent.

That’s a staggering 7-point swing from Wednesday, when Obama’s approval rating sat at 53 percent. And it marks Obama’s lowest point since late September.

Obama’s disapproval rating, meanwhile, jumped to 49 percent. That accounts for another 7-point change since Wednesday, meaning the total swing has been 14 points. The disapproval rating is the president’s highest since mid-August.

I don’t know if it’s Benghazi that is causing Obama’s numbers to drop. Ask your friends if they’ve even heard of Benghazi and you have a snapshot of most of the electorate. Outside of the political class and political junkies like most of us, how many voters can tell you even a few of the particulars of the cover-up?

I think it’s more a final judgment on Obama by voters that will be followed shortly by even better poll numbers in swing states for Romney. That 47% approval rating could track very closely with Obama’s final numbers on election day — that’s how it usually works anyway. Very few voters cast their ballot for someone who they think has done a lousy job.

If that’s the case, we should see a gradual shift in the swing state polls toward Romney this week.

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Stephanie Cutter: Des Moines Register Endorsement of Romney ‘Not Based on Reality’

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

In a surprise, the Des Moines Register, Iowa’s largest and most influential newspaper, has endorsed Mitt Romney for president. The paper endorsed Obama in 2008:

While the editorial praised both Romney and Obama, the decision ultimately came down to one question, the newspaper stated. “Which candidate could forge the compromises in Congress to achieve these goals? When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate.”

According to the announcement, the editorial board, which enthusiastically endorsed Romney ahead of the state’s Republican presidential caucuses in January, had “a vigorous debate” over which candidate to choose for the November election.

While “Romney has made rebuilding the economy his No. 1 campaign priority,” the paper stated, “the president’s best efforts to resuscitate the stumbling economy have fallen short. Nothing indicates it would change with a second term in the White House.”

The editorial board said the country needed a “renewed sense of confidence” in the economy. “That should come with Mitt Romney in the White House.”

Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, complained that the paper’s endorsement “didn’t seem to be based at all in reality.”

I guess it depends on what your definition of “reality” is:

“It was a little surprising to read that editorial, because it didn’t seem to be based at all in reality — not just in the president’s record, but in Mitt Romney’s record,” Cutter said. “It says that he’d reach across the aisle, which he’d do the exact opposite. It’s the exact opposite of what he did in Massachusetts.”

This proves Ms. Cutter’s idea of “reality” is a little off the wall. The Massachusetts legislature was 85% Democrat when Mitt Romney was governor. Considering all of his accomplishments, just how does Ms. Cutter think Romney got anything done? Unlike Obama, Mr. Romney is not blessed with Lightworker powers and was forced to work with a Democrat legislature to pass his legislative program.

Romney was endorsed by four major newspapers in Iowa today:

 Cedar Rapids Gazette: “Gazette Endorsement For President: Romney”

Des Moines Register: “Mitt Romney Offers A Fresh Economic Vision”

Quad City Times: “Ready For Change”

Sioux City Journal: “Mitt Romney: He’s The Change America Needs”

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Obama’s bold second-term agenda summed up in one picture

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 - by Zombie

A lot of pundits and voters have been wondering: What exactly is different between Obama’s 2012 campaign promises and his original 2008 campaign promises? Because to the casual observer, he seems to be running for president as a challenger, as if this was his first time.

A few hours ago I ran across a campaign sign in front of a house in Pacific Grove, California which seemed to sum up Obama’s promised second-term agenda:

Re-use, recycle, rehash!

(In case it’s not clear, this efficiency-minded Obama voter simply took an “Obama ’08″ sign and scribbled out part of the “0″ and part of the “8″ to make it look vaguely like “Obama ’12.”) A perfect metaphor for Obama’s idea-free campaign!

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Obama Tried to Normalize Iran Relations: Israeli Paper

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Of course, the Iranians spit in his face. “Normalize” relations with the Great Satan? Never!

It should also come as no surprise that the Israelis were not pleased with the president’s advances toward Iran.

The Times of Israel:

Soon after he took office, President Barack Obama began a process ultimately designed to reestablish full US diplomatic relations with Iran, including a reopening of embassies, an Israeli daily reported Sunday. The initiative, part of a wider shift in America’s diplomatic orientation, aimed at reaching understandings with Tehran over suspending its nuclear program, Maariv claimed, citing “two Western diplomats very close to the administration.”

The initiative led to at least two US-Iran meetings, the report said. Israel was made aware of the contacts, and opposed them.

But Iran rebuffed the “diplomatic hand” offered by the White House, Maariv reported. The Islamist regime “opposed any sign of normalization with the US, and refused to grant a ‘prize’ to the Americans,” according to an anonymous Israeli source quoted by the paper.

The information — the lead item on Maariv’s front page, headlined “Obama offered to renew relations with Iran” — comes on the heels of reports earlier this month that the US and Iran held back channel contacts toward establishing direct talks over Tehran’s nuclear program. Both the White House and Iran denied those reports.

According to Maariv, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met with chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili for an hour in 2009, and one other meeting between officials from both sides took place as well.

Included in the diplomatic incentives package offered by Washington would be, in the first stage, the opening of interest sections in Washington and Tehran, with the possibility subsequently of expanding to full diplomatic ties, including US and Iranian embassies and ambassadors in each other’s capitals, Maariv claimed.

It’s hard to know just what the administration was thinking with this outreach. Were they stupid enough to think that Iran would make a nuclear deal more readily if we dangled the prospect of Iranian diplomats being able to party in Washington again?

Just another reason not to re-elect this naive president.

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