Category Archives: Presidential race

Secession isn’t happening, Brownback says

As of Thursday morning, more than 7,600 people had signed a petition asking the federal government to “peacefully grant the state of Kansas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government” – though many of the signers don’t live in Kansas. But as Gov. Sam Brownback noted, “Kansas is and will always remain a state in the United States of America.” And as House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, told the Lawrence Journal-World: “I don’t think anyone in their right mind wants to have a secession debate.” What’s disturbing is that more than a few Kansans apparently do want that debate.

Romney lost but Ryan won

Paul Ryan’s election night wasn’t all bad. He lost the vice presidency, but state law allowed him to be on the ballot for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, too. He won re-election easily and returned to work Tuesday as House Budget Committee chairman. He told ABC News that President Obama won “fair and square,” but that the election was no mandate to raise taxes. “There are other ways of getting more revenue into our government without damaging the economy, and that’s the kind of thing we hope to achieve,” Ryan said, suggesting that they “take away the loopholes.” Ryan also said Mitt Romney’s campaign was “exactly the kind of campaign that I would’ve run had I been on the top of the ticket” – gracious talk, but not what Republicans looking to win in 2016 will be looking for.

Might as well laugh about campaign season

If laughter is the best medicine, this video of 2012 campaign humor might be the antidote for an ugly and discouraging campaign season.

Winners and losers of Tuesday’s election

Washington Post writer Chris Cillizza’s list of winners and losers from Tuesday’s election wasn’t surprising. Among the winners: President Obama (of course), women and young voters, Bill Clinton, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (whose warnings about the GOP’s Hispanic problem were proved correct), and the polling by big media organizations. The losers included the Republican Party, tea party champions (which cost the GOP Senate seats) and Donald Trump (“Please. Just. Stop.”).

Rove, billionaires had a really bad election

Who was one of the biggest losers in Tuesday’s election? Karl Rove. “The Republican strategist who created the model for the outside money groups that raised and spent more than $1 billion on the Nov. 6 elections saw almost no return for their money,” Bloomberg News reported. Not only did Mitt Romney lose, nearly all of the U.S. Senate candidates that Rove’s groups backed also lost. Even Donald Trump mocked Rove, saying on Twitter: “Congrats to @KarlRove on blowing $400 million this cycle.” Conservative billionaires (including Trump) also had a bad election. Sheldon Adelson spent more than $50 million, and all the candidates he backed lost. In addition to the tens of millions spent on the presidential race, groups backed by the Koch brothers supported an anti-union initiative in California that lost and a failed attempt to oust three state Supreme Court justices in Florida.

Did Kobach connection cost Romney the election?

Hispanic voters – especially in states such as Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico – were a key reason why President Obama was re-elected. Not only did more Hispanics vote this year than in 2008, but exit polls indicated that a higher percentage of them voted for Obama than four years ago. No doubt Mitt Romney regrets his decision during the GOP primary to embrace Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (in photo) and his policy of “self-deportation.” The GOP also should rethink its hard-line stances on immigration if it doesn’t want to keep losing national elections.

Now Obama, GOP need to work together

Kansas didn’t share in Tuesday’s re-election of President Obama, seeing its six electoral votes go to Republican Mitt Romney. If Obama’s win suggests a desire on American voters’ part to stick with the status quo, it also promises more debilitating partisanship. It could be a long four years. The nation needs quick and decisive action from its president and Congress on the spiraling debt, mounting entitlement obligations, stalled economy and other fiscal issues. Foreign affairs, especially in the unpredictable Middle East, will require cool heads and carefully measured and coordinated responses. With the GOP-led House still defined by its antagonism for Obama and especially Obamacare, and the Senate still in Democratic hands, the prospects are bleak for bipartisan problem-solving. The need for a new generation of Bob Doles and Tip O’Neills will be urgent.

Open thread on election

Romney has edge on enthusiasm

Polls show a dead heat between President Obama and Mitt Romney, but Romney has a key edge that may put him over the top on Election Day: voter enthusiasm. More than three-quarters of Republican and Republican-leaning voters said they are likely to vote, compared with 62 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. Obama has large leads over Romney on the questions of which candidate connects well with ordinary Americans (Obama up by 28 percentage points), takes consistent positions on issues (15-point lead) and takes more moderate positions (12 points). But that won’t matter much if people who feel that way don’t vote.

Independent expenditures swamping election

Spending by independent groups (the vast majority of which favors conservatives) has surged this election cycle, the website OpenSecrets.org reported. As of Tuesday morning, $838 million had been spent on independent expenditures so far during the 2012 campaign by third-party groups, many of which don’t have to disclose their donors. In the 2008 presidential election cycle, $138 million was spent on independent expenditures. The spending increase was fueled in large part by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on political expenditures.

How would Romney be handling Sandy?

Hurricane Sandy is prompting questions about how Mitt Romney would approach emergency management, especially given that he said during a 2011 primary debate that disaster relief might be better handled by states. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better,” he said then, adding that it was “simply immoral” to rack up debts and pass them onto our children. A Romney campaign official said Monday that the candidate would not abolish the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but that “as the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”

Kansas could see big drop in Medicaid funding

Kansas could see a 36 percent reduction in federal Medicaid dollars over the 2013-22 period, or about $12 billion, if policies advocated by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan go into effect, the Kansas Health Institute News Service reported. Nationwide, federal Medicaid spending would drop $1.7 trillion between 2013 and 2022 if the policies are implemented, according to a new report from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Of that total, $932 billion would come from repealing the Affordable Care Act, and $810 billion would come from converting Medicaid to a block grant program for states and capping the amount of federal aid each state could receive.

Presidential race still a dead heat

The presidential race remains a dead heat, according to the Real Clear Politics latest average of 10 different national polls. Mitt Romney is slightly ahead, 47.8 percent to President Obama’s 47.1 percent. Neither candidate has more than a 3-percentage point lead in any of the polls, which is within the margins of error of the polls.

Brownback stumps for Romney

After supporting Rick Perry and attending rallies for Ron Paul and Rick Santorum during the GOP primaries, Gov. Sam Brownback engaged in more presidential politics Tuesday by campaigning for Mitt Romney in northeast Ohio. Brownback told a Youngstown crowd that at Monday’s debate, Romney “looked like the president much more than the president.” Brownback said he saw Romney’s main message during the debate as: “You can’t have a strong foreign policy without a strong economy.”

Presidential debate unlikely to affect election

Though polling after Monday night’s presidential debate showed President Obama as the clear winner, the debate is unlikely to make a significant difference in the election. An average of “snap polls” of debate viewers had Obama winning by some 17 percentage points (including a 30-point win in a CBS News poll). But the topic of the debate – foreign policy – is not a priority for most voters, and Mitt Romney was able to meet the basic test of the debate: appearing as a credible commander in chief.

Open thread on presidential debate

Graves stacking donations high for Romney

Former Gov. Bill Graves topped the list of lobbyist bundlers of campaign contributions for Mitt Romney during the third quarter. Graves raised nearly $1.1 million for the GOP nominee in his role as CEO of the American Trucking Associations. From July through September, 42 lobbyists raised nearly $9 million for Romney. Other pro-Romney lobbyists on the list represent defense contractors, energy companies, financial firms, and pharmaceutical and health-related businesses. According to the Center for Public Integrity, Graves has now raised more than $1.6 million for Romney — delivering more money than any of the 62 other lobbyists named in federal filings. In a related story reported by Politico, some expect a Romney White House to rescind current rules preventing lobbyists from taking top administration jobs.

Romney surges in Gallup poll; tied in others

Mitt Romney surged ahead of President Obama by 6 percentage points in the latest Gallup poll, though other polls show the race as tied. Gallup has Romney up 51 to 45 percent among likely voters. Real Clear Politics’ average of eight polls (including Gallup) had Obama slightly ahead Friday, by 0.1 percent.

Staged photo ops a staple of political campaigns

Paul Ryan has taken a lot of grief for a staged photo op in which he washed pots at a soup kitchen. But photo ops are nothing new, as a Washington Post article noted. All campaigns do them, and for the most part, the press plays along.

Obama, Romney poke fun at themselves, each other

President Obama and Mitt Romney took a welcome break from the campaign bickering and had fun teasing each other and themselves Thursday at the 67th annual Al Smith dinner, a fund-raiser for Catholic charitable work.
Among Obama’s jokes:
“I had a lot more energy in our second debate. I felt really well-rested after the nice long nap I had in first debate.”
“After my foreign trip in 2008, I was attacked as a celebrity because I was so popular with our allies overseas. I have to say, I’m impressed by how well Gov. Romney has avoided that problem.”
“The next debate is on foreign policy. Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden.”
Romney’s jokes included:
“As President Obama surveys the Waldorf banquet room, with everyone in white tie and finery, you have to wonder what he’s thinking: ‘So little time. So much to redistribute.’”
”I was actually hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along this evening, cause he’ll laugh at anything.”
“In the spirit of ‘Sesame Street’ tonight, the president’s remarks tonight are brought to you by the letter ‘O’ and the number 16 trillion.”

Romney’s tax-cut math still doesn’t add up

Mitt Romney has said that he will cut taxes by 20 percent without increasing the deficit, because he will take away or cap some tax deductions for the wealthy. When pressed during Tuesday’s debate to explain how the numbers add up, he responded, “Of course they add up.” The only thing specific that he said was that he might limit total itemized deductions to $25,000. But such a cap would raise about $1.3 trillion over 10 years, far less than the estimated $5 trillion cost of his tax plan. “The math is the math,” Jonathan Bernstein wrote in the Washington Post. “There just aren’t enough tax expenditures that the wealthy use to allow Romney to cut tax rates by 20 percent without either reducing revenue or by making it up with tax increases on everyone else.”

Romney having trouble getting away from Kobach

President Obama criticized Mitt Romney during Tuesday’s debate for supporting “self-deportation” of illegal immigrants, a policy pushed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (in photo). Obama also tried to link Romney to Kobach and Arizona’s controversial anti-immigration law by noting that Romney’s “top adviser on immigration” wrote the law. Romney has tried to distance himself from Kobach since embracing him during the GOP primaries. But Kobach isn’t backing away. He told the Washington Times after the debate that “Obama is completely out of step with the American public on the immigration issue,” and he predicted that Obama’s statements in the debate about immigration “will further alienate independent voters who are concerned about the millions of Americans who have lost jobs to illegal aliens.”

Obama regained momentum, but Romney strong on Obama’s economy

The second presidential debate was not one for the conflict-averse. President Obama was awake and aggressive this time, likely regaining some of the campaign momentum he lost in his first debate against Mitt Romney. But the GOP nominee came on strong anytime he listed the nation’s economic woes and laid them at Obama’s door. Both men had some trouble with the facts. Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza named the president, the questions and partisans among the winners and Romney, bickering about the rules, and undecided voters among the losers. “The argumentative tone from both candidates is the sort of stuff undecideds and independents voters don’t like a bit – and affirms for them why politics is broken,” Cillizza wrote.

Dueling bus tours: anti-Obama, anti-Koch

On the same day last week that Americans for Prosperity hosted a rally in Wichita for its “Obama’s Failing Agenda” bus tour, a group called Patriot Majority USA made its own bus stop in Topeka. The group opposes policies pushed by Charles and David Koch, who back AFP, and delivered a letter Friday to Gov. Sam Brownback’s office urging him to denounce the “greed agenda.” “It’s not too late to change course – to work for a vision that benefits Kansans instead of draining it in favor of a few,” the letter said. AFP says the purpose of its coast-to-coast bus tour is to “educate Americans about President Obama and his failing agenda and to put grassroots pressure on him.”

Open thread on presidential debate