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Filed Under Rate that Ad on Oct 31 

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone in the Northeast U.S. had an uneventful visit from Hurricane Sandy. The Kaiser house lost power for a couple of days, but all is up and running now.

The campaign, after taking a brief pause for the storm, resumes in earnest today, less than a week before the nation goes to the polls. The polls continue to show a close race, with most giving Mitt Romney a slim lead nationally, but Barack Obama seemingly with an edge where it counts, the electoral college.

The focus continues to be on the battleground states, places like Pennsylvania and Iowa.

Do you see a path to the Oval Office for Romney, and if so, what swing states will he capture?

Peggy Noonan’s column sums things up nicely:

It puts forth the reasons why the first debate performances fundamentally altered the race and illuminates some basic character traits in Obama that probably hinder his ability to realistically access a political situation. She further discusses Bob Woodward’s new book “The Price of Politics,” which goes into this angle even more deeply.

Any individual, from whatever ideological background, will likely have difficulty dealing effectively with unpredictable, challenging, random situations when most of what they’ve faced previously has been tightly-controlled, somewhat orchestrated for them, and they’ve been made to always feel (deserved or not, immaterial) that they’re “the smartest person in the room,” as the old saying goes.

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Filed Under Rate that Ad on Oct 28 

Pollster Scott Rasmussen believe “Wisconsin may be the new Ohio“.

A quiet prayer delivered by Mitt Romney had a significant impact on a Washington insider.

Peggy Noonan writes: “America doesn’t date losers”.

Unable to make any comprehensible argument whatsoever on the economy or actual plans to improve it, Politico reports that Democrats are going all in on abortion. More evidence of this is today’s quarter 3 economic growth report showing a stagnant annualized rate of 2%, in other words a three month growth rate of 0.5% and a Q1-Q3 annualized rate of only 1.77%. This pales in comparison to the President’s projection in 2009 based on his policies. At that time Obama told Americans that his actions would result in GDP growth of 4.6% in 2012.

Even CNN is now questioning whether President Obama has an actual, feasible plan for a second term. Video after the jump.
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Filed Under Rate that Ad on Oct 26 

Races can often be looked at in retrospect at certain dates when things began to change. In 2008, the homestretch according to polling began September 18, 2008 as Barack Obama led John McCain by only 1.9%. Then Obama only pulled away from there. In comparison, on September 18, 2012, Barack Obama led Mitt Romney by 2.8%, eventually reaching a high of 4.1% on September 30. Since then everything has changed. On today’s date in 2008, Obama’s lead had grown to a completely unbeatable 8%. Today, incumbent Obama trails Mitt Romney by 0.7%, who seems to have turned the corner on October 9, leading the RCP average all but three days since. Romney has also led the daily Gallup tracking poll every single day since October 11. Additionally, despite losing 8 points of his advantage among male voters, Romney has completely erased a 16 point deficit among female voters.

In light of the recent debate on foreign policy, the Washington Post reports:

The government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.

Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.

“We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” a senior administration official said. “It’s a necessary part of what we do. . . . We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’ ”

Here’s a great column by Krauthammer, as usual, on Obama’s handling of the Libya attack situation. Great tactical analysis and great tactical recommendations.

But Krauthammer misses the bigger strategic point, the real “narrative” of Obama’s failure (and inherent weakness) on this issue.

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Tonight marks the final Presidential Debate. The live conversation starts here on Political Derby at 9:00 pm ET.

Foreign policy is the theme, which leads to several questions:

  • How many times will President Obama tout: “Bin Laden is dead”?
  • Will Governor Romney be successful in moving the conversation to the terrorist attack on American soil in Libya?
  • Are there any major differences between the candidates, or will they end up agreeing with each other most of the night?
  • Will both candidates continue to show a lack of understanding of the benefits of trade by continually pounding China for making American lives better through the production of lower cost goods?

Finally, a contest. Jason Wright will send a signed copy of his newest book, The 13th Day of Christmas to whomever can the most accurately predict which candidate is allowed more speaking time and by how much (to the nearest second). Entries must be posted in the comments prior to 8:55 pm ET. If someone has already posted a prediction and you duplicate it, your entry will be invalid.

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Filed Under Rate that Ad on Oct 20 

Mitt Romney had now led President Obama in 10 straight daily Gallup Polls. Today he took his biggest lead at 52%-45%. With 19 days to go until the election, Romney appears to suddenly be the leader.

Edit: Real Clear Politics now has North Carolina moving to Romney, resulting in Romney’s first projected electoral college lead. However, the 131 electoral votes of 10 “toss up” states are not included in either candidate total.

With less than three week to go until the election, President Obama and Governor Romney find themselves in a dead heat across national polls. The only major poll where the lead is not within the margin of error is the daily Gallup tracking poll, where Romney is up 6 points (margin of error of +/-3). Regarding this poll, Karl Rove says: “No candidate who has led in mid-October with 50 percent or more in the likely voter poll has ever gone on to lose.” Romney must have as bright an outlook, especially as traditional Republicans are typically more likely to vote. In 2008 there was a significant exception as with historically high Democrat turnout drove Obama’s decisive win. Most analysts do not expect this to be repeated.

The missing California jobless claims not reported last week, leading to the supposedly lowest week during Obama’s presidency, have been reported this week, given the US its highest weekly number of new jobless claims-388,000-in four months.

Governments in the US spent $1.03 trillion on welfare in 2011. This “data excludes spending on Social Security, Medicare, means-tested health care for veterans without service-connected disabilities, and the means-tested veterans pension program” and is divided between $746 billion spent by the federal government and $283 billion spent by state governments.

Finally, in Cuba some private property ownership is now being allowed, mostly for apartments. There is a significant division in the value of apartments built since 1959 and those built in the 1940s and 1950s. The older apartments have a significantly higher value in the free market as they are typically marketed as ‘capitalist construction’.

Debate two is in the books, and while the result is no where near as convincing as Romney’s drubbing of the President in the first debate, it is clear that Barack Obama had a much better performance this time, while Mitt Romney took a small step or two back. Overall, last night’s debate was a slug fest, with both sides vacillating between attack and defense.

Obama was clearly more focused, energized and prepared for this match, and he managed a few zingers on his opponent. Romney missed out on some chances to hit Obama, especially early on. He did score some points on Benghazi, but committed a bit of a gaffe with his “binders of women” statement. Both battled, sometimes bitterly, over oil production on federal lands, over auto company bailouts, and over Romney’s wealth. Regardless of the topic, it has become very apparent that these two do not like each other, and some of the descriptions characterized the debate as “nauseating” and as the “most rancorous Presidential debate ever.”

Polls are giving Obama a slim victory, and while both candidates swung hard, no significant blows were landed.

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This weekend a friend pegged me down on the three things I think each horse must do to win the debate Tuesday night. What do you think are the keys to either an Obama debate comeback or second big win for Romney?


1. Deliver passion without losing control (see Biden, Joe).
The President needs to go from a 2 to an 8 on the energy scale. Biden clocked 17.

2. Get his story straight on Libya.
The issue isn’t going away and he’s got to show the buck stops with him.

3. Convince Americans he wants the job.
There is a growing perception that he’s disinterested in the process. If he can’t fight for the job, Americans will fire him.


1. Stay humble.
Expectations are sky high after his historic drubbing of the president. He must approach this debate as if they’ve never debated before and avoid overconfidence.

2. Lay out details.
Romney has been hammered that his campaign has been light on specifics, long on promises. He needs to fill in gaps in his plans before Obama does during the 90-minute brawl.

3. Have a moment.
Romney needs a public moment like the kind many people say he’s had in private as a church and business leader. He needs an exchange at the townhall-style debate when he looks in someone’s eyes and doesn’t just say he feels their pain, he shows it. He needs a connection that makes viewers wish they were in the audience.

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Filed Under Rate that Ad on Oct 12 

Joe “The Gaffe Machine” Biden faces off against Paul “MiniMitt” Romney. The festivities begin at 9:00 pm eastern daylight time. (Yes, we are still on daylight time unlike the rest of the world. Not fun when you’re in international business.)

Tonight’s moderator is the wife of Julius Genachowski, whom President Obama appointed to lead the FCC. Her name Martha Raddatz. Obama also attended their wedding in 1991.

If you have a television, every major network will be carrying the debate. If you don’t, it will also be broadcast on YouTube.

Tonight is the country’s one and only opportunity to see Joe Biden and Paul Ryan debate head to head. CBS News says not to expect it to have much of an impact the election. However, after Mitt Romney’s dominating performance in front of 70 million viewers has led to Romney leading five of the last seven  major polls (tied and down one in the other two), it seems Americans are quite interested in the candidates’ real time responses to their opponent’s positions and accusations.

Of course, we will have a debate open thread up and going here on PoliticalDerby.com beginning about an hour before the fracas begins at 9:00 pm eastern.

Politico has ‘5 things to watch in VP debate‘ which include: ‘Can Biden draw blood?,”Can Ryan defend himself?,’ ‘Good Joe v. Bad Biden’.

The Supreme Court is once again hearing arguments from an American university, this time the University of Texas, regarding why the school believes the color of a person’s skin is a valid criteria to determine admission.

Finally, more evidence continues to show the global financial crisis is nowhere near solved as Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Spain’s debt rating to ‘one level above junk’. Of course, you could probably see this coming as Spain’s external debt to GDP ratio is 243%, similar to Greece at 232%. The US is just over 100% with its $16 trillion-plus debt and surprisingly the UK is over 500%.