So other than (over) reaction to Water(bottle)-gate, did anything Earth-shattering occur last night?

Many seem to want to make an issue over Rubio slip-up – or is that sip-up?. Did his case of cotton mouth impact on his performance?

Any surprises from the President?

Even though he’d be 74 when he’d take office, Vice President Joe Biden is showing signs that he intends to make a run at the Oval Office in 2016.

Joe Biden summoned more than 200 Democratic insiders to the vice presidential residence Sunday night to chat about the 2012 triumph — but many walked away convinced his rising 2016 ambitions were the real intent of the long, intimate night.

“I took a look at who was there,” said longtime New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, “and said to myself, ‘There’s no question he’s thinking about the future.’ ”

He’s right. Biden, according to a number of advisers and Democrats who have spoken to him in recent months, wants to run, or at least be well positioned to run, if and when he decides to pull the trigger. Biden has expressed a clear sense of urgency, convinced the Democratic field will be defined quickly — and that it might very well come down to a private chat with Hillary Clinton about who should finish what Barack Obama started.

There are, of course, a lot of reasons to think there is no chance Joe will go in 2016. There’s the obvious age issue. His deserved reputation as a gaffe machine will give his opponents major ammunition. If Hillary runs, he knows he has no shot.

But he certainly appears to be considering it, and The Daily Caller gives five hints to prove that.

Biden 2016 may not result in victory, but it should give political junkies like myself plenty of material to write about.

Florida Senator and GOP rising star Marco Rubio will deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address next week.

The response is a chance for Rubio to assert his brand on a national stage, a chance to show that he’s ready for prime-time – or is that primary time?

The last time a young, star-in-the-making Republican gave the opposition response to Obama’s SOTU after election was in 2009, when Louisiana Bobby Jindal gave a performance that set back his reputation by years.

So will Rubio succeed, or will he Jindal?

Bobby Jindal thinks that prospective Republican candidates for 2016 should “get their head examined” and said that Republicans should “stop being the stupid party,” in recent comments.

Jindal, who has long been rumored to have national ambitions, appears to believe the GOP has been goaded into fights with President Obama and the Democrats on issues they can’t seem to win on:

A majority of American voters think that the government is trying to do too much. They want smaller government yet they still voted for President Obama — that means we’re not winning the conversation. We’re not presenting our ideas. We’re not in that debate as well as we should be,” Jindal said on Fox News.

Does Jindal have a point here? Are Republicans being maneuvered into fighting Democrats over issues that Democrats can win elections on?

If the last two elections are any indicator, the 2016 race will mean quite the windfall for those in the political marketing industry. And the potential candidates know it, based on the smattering of names being link to various political mega-donors, as described in this Politico read on the role money and Super PACs may play in 2016.

Republicans mentioned meeting with folks who could underwrite their campaigns include Bobby Jindal, Bob McDonnell, John Kasich, Rick Santorum, Scott Walker, Susana Martinez, and Rick Perry. On the Democratic side, Joe Biden, Martin O’Malley, and Mark Warner also have meet with money mavens, but the majority of the dollars on the Dem side are stuck in stasis until Hillary Clinton makes a decision on running.

Follow the money, and you will find a trail to the likely 2016 horses.

John Ellis Bush, the son and brother of two former presidents, who is better known as “Jeb”, appears to be laying the groundwork for a run at the office that his family held for 12 out of the last 24 years. Some pundits have pointed to Barack Obama’s victories over Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney as a signal that the era of political family dynasties is over. Not so fast my friends, several of these venerable clans will be fielding formidable candidates for 2016.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo would be at the top of almost any list of probable nominees. Clinton’s defeat by Obama in the 2008 primaries still does not seem to sit well, and she would have a vaunted fundraising machine at her disposal should she make another run. Cuomo has enjoyed major success and popularity as governor of New York, and his father was a regularly rumored, but never actual, candidate for the Oval Office.

On the Republican side, we have Jeb and Senator Rand Paul, son of the mercurial Ron Paul, and heir to the conservative wing of what I’ve come to consider the populist movement of the Republican Party. While Rand may not garner the same numbers that any of the other previously mentioned dynastic representatives, he inherits a passionate and vocal group of supporters from his father.

The Bush name is the thing that may be the biggest thing holding Jeb back, who has a strong record as Florida’s governor and enjoyed strong support from both Latino and Jewish voters in the state, which are two groups that Republicans have not traditionally done well with.

It may be a little early to start pulling those old Bush family jokes out of deep storage, but there is enough evidence at this point to put Jeb on the list as someone seeking the 2016 GOP nomination.

The two highest ranked potential candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination had very, very different types of weekends, with Chris Christie drawing criticism for a Saturday Night Live appearance and Marco Rubio getting strong reviews at a record-setting Iowa fundraiser.

Christie has seen much of the strong reputation he built as a key Romney surrogate get washed away like much of sand on the Jersey Shore. First he took hits for his buddy treatment of President Obama just days before the election on November sixth, and now his clowning appearance on SNL was criticized as callous, as constituents in his state continue to suffer with out power, with gas shortages and with the damage to homes and businesses.

Rubio had several Iowa Republicans calling him the future of the party after his remarks at Governor Terry Branstad’s birthday fundraiser. “I just think he’s the future,” Branstad, the Republican Governor of Iowa, told TheDC. “He’s the kind of leadership that we need, and I think he’s a very intelligent, articulate, and he is a great example of the American dream, and that’s exactly what we have to make available for more and more people.”

The first Political Derby Power Rankings are in the books, and now we want to hear from you. Who should be considered for the Democrat and Republican Rankings of the future?

There are a few names that were bandied about for these first rankings, such as Mark Warner and Mike Pence. Tell us who we should rank and why. Keep in mind the Rankings are a snapshot of the race as it would stand today, so even if you have a crush on the policy stands of Candidate X, if that candidate is a first term House member from Topeka, it is unlikely they would be ranked ahead of the more well known names on the Rankings. This isn’t about who you love.

So fire some names at us, and we’ll put them in the hopper for the next round of Power Rankings and see if your horse cracks our top five.

I’ve been enamored with the idea of General David Petraeus as a candidate on the GOP ticket for some time now. I constantly listed him on my own, private list of potential VP candidates for Mitt Romney, especially given Mitt’s light foreign policy resume. But when it became obvious that the campaign was going to be all about the economy, that thought faded.

As Romney went down in defeat to Barack Obama, I was already collecting the list of GOP horses for 2016 in my head. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment, just for the record. And while the obvious names percolated to the top, Petreaus’ name was one still floating in the troposphere of my brain. And why wouldn’t it? One of the most successful military leaders in the last 25 years of our nation’s history, now the head of the CIA, who appears to be a smart, rational and capable leader.

That was until last week, when Petreaus resigned and it was revealed that he had been having an extramarital affair. And even more interesting is the news that many top officials have known about the affair for month.

The David Petraeus case is yet another in a long line of promising political careers dashed by the sad loss of judgement and self control, which has claimed the careers of people like Gary Hart, Eliot Spitzer, and Mark Sanford.

Scratch one dark horse off the 2016 race card.

So here we sit, the afternoon before polls open and the answer is still very much in question.

Both candidates are conducting last minute campaign blitzkriegs, seeking to sway the precious few Americans that are planning to vote, but that have not yet made up their mind.

There are grand predictions of landslides for both sides, which look silly. No, more than likely, this is election is going to be more like 2000 or 2004, rather than 2008.

The national polls remain virtually tied, but they realistically mean nothing, as Al Gore will tell you after winning the 2000 popular vote, but losing the White House to George W. Bush. The swing states are where this election will be decided. The RCP state polling aggregate lists 11 states as “toss up”, and President Obama has leads in nine of them. The Romney states are North Carolina and Florida, while Obama holds the lead by three points or more in Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Closer are Ohio, Nevada and New Hampshire. Even closer are Colorado and Virginia.

So let’s have some electoral college fun!

Read more

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?

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.

It is VP Debate Eve and what a busy one indeed!

The U.S. State Department is spinning a much different tale than the one initially told, that the size and scope of the attack was unlike any seen in Libya, and that the attack did not start with a protest over a video, as the White House has insisted. The official report has now changed, and the House is set to investigate “inappropriate security” levels at the embassy.

Romney’s gains in the polls continue, with a number of battleground states trending in favor of the Republican nominee, and several states once though out of reach are now in play, including Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Jack Welch continues to rip the validity of the recent job numbers.

And finally, The Daily Caller is reporting that President Obama attended the wedding of tomorrow night’s VP debate, and later appointed her husband to head the FCC. Hmmm.

It is the morning of the first debate of the 2012 Presidential election and there has been a flurry of activity over the last few days, almost like preparing for some big event, like, say, a wedding. With that theme in mind, I present today’s OT topics:

We start with something old – a video from 2007, where then candidate Barack Obama gives a fiery speech to a crowd that includes the infamous Rev. Jeremiah Wright “that the U.S. government shortchanged Hurricane Katrina victims because of racism.”

Now something new – the latest Joe Biden gaffe. The Vice President dropped another one this week, saying that the middle class has been “buried” during the time of the Obama administration. The White House deployed their “go-to” defense in times of trouble – namely blaming the George W. Bush administration for the problem.

Something borrowed. Pennsylvania is not the first state to pass a voter ID bill, but has become one of the battlegrounds for the issue. The latest from the Keystone State has a judge turning 2012 into a “practice” year for the law, allowing for poll workers to request IDs, but in the event someone does not have one, the person is still allowed to vote.

And finally instead of something blue, we have something on which to chew. How much of a difference will tonight’s debate make in this election? Does Mitt Romney need to come out swinging a score a decisive win, as many are opining?

Note: We will have an open thread for tonight’s 9:00 pm eastern debate, opening a couple of hours before it begins. Come by and discuss the proceedings as they happen.

Polls and their methodology have become an interesting topic over the last few days, as we had one PD reader ask us how the heck does the “average Joe” understand what’s going on?

The main argument is that many of the media polls are oversampling Democrats in their polls, and that this methodology is skewing the polls towards the President. One site, unskewedpoll.com, goes as far as giving Mitt Romney a seven to eight point lead in the national polling.

This skewing is being addressed by both pundits and the Romney campaign.

Here’s a clearer explaination of how the polling data seems to skew towards a more Democratic voting base.

Is the nation trending towards more registerted Dems, or are the polls being manipulated?

Depending on who you ask, Romney’s “47%” comment either “hits the nail on the head” and shows that he’s is taking a “bold approach” to the election, or he’s “100% wrong” and that the statement potentially marked “the end of Mitt Romney.”

All it did for me was magnify the level at which the press is biased, one way or the other, in this country today. Makes me happy that I chose not to pursue a career in news after college like I had originally planned. Shame on those who call themselves journalists and shill opinion over fact and party over principle.

It is a joke.

Mitt Romney is under fire for comments he made at a fundraiser in May that were released in the form of a secret recording. The most criticized comment:

In one clip, Mr. Romney describes how his campaign would not try to appeal to “47 percent of the people” who will vote for Mr. Obama “no matter what.” They are, he says, “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.”

He says those people “pay no income tax,” and “so our message of low taxes doesn’t connect.” Mr. Romney adds: “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Romney defended his comments in a press conference last night.

On the international front, Romney weighed in on some of the issues that have flared in the Middle East lately, including his opinions on Israel, Palestinians, and Iran.

And finally the teacher strike in Chicago has all the appearances of getting real ugly, after a near deal unraveled over the weekend and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel threatened legal action with harsh criticism of the strike:

“I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union,” Emanuel said in a released statement.

The economy is still expected to be the central issue in the general election, but after several serious issues cropped up in the Middle East yesterday, foreign policy certainly looks like it could become a serious part of the race in its own right.

First, the White House apparently snubbed the leader of the nation who is perhaps their most important ally in the region when they refused to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The White House said their schedule is too full to meet with Netanyahu, yet on the same day, it was announced that the President has been scheduled to appear on Letterman. I think it is safe to call that a slap in the face.

The second incident yesterday occurred in Cairo, as a crowd of protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy, tearing down an American flag. U.S. guards fired warning shots over the heads of the protesters, but the embassy itself was evacuated prior to the start of the protest.

The final, most serious, and saddest of yesterday’s events was the death of J. Christopher Stevens, the American Ambassador to Libya, along with two other Americans during violence in Benghazi.

Stevens became the first American ambassador killed in the line of duty since the death of Adolph Dubs in Afghanistan in 1979.

Will foreign policy become a major player in the upcoming general election?

The Democratic National Convention  opened yesterday in Charlotte with First Lady Michelle Obama leading the charge and channeling Bill Clinton’s “I feel your pain” message by telling voters that the “Obamas understand Americans’ struggles.”

The President, when asked to give himself a grade for his first term, gave himself an “incomplete.” Giving himself such a grade is beyond insulting to himself and the voters. If a President cannot give themselves a grade after nearly four years in office, said President is either running scared from their own accomplishments thus far, or telling voters that they needs another four years to accomplish anything of value. GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan wonders the same thing.

In the wacky world of polling, one area where President Obama has enjoyed success, despite a dip in his job approval ratings, had been his personal likeability. But even that number appears to be in danger, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll.

Oh, and are you ready for some football?

 

Paul Ryan accepted the GOP’s nomination for Vice President last night with a scathing attack of the Obama Administration, calling out the policies and record of the President and citing the sum of his administration as a “failed opportunity.”

The Washington Post listed Paul Ryan among the winners last night, along with Condi Rice and the Pauls. Among last nights “losers” were Tim Pawlenty, John Thune and “convention floor dancing.” That sounds like something Jason Wright does at CPAC every year.

As expected, health care is surely looking like an issue that the Republicans intend to hammer in the election cycle.