Entries in 2012 Eleciton (3)


Obama‚Äôs 2012 Pitch in Focus: Firewall Against Romney

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When President Obama holds his first public campaign rallies this week, he’ll take direct control of a populist re-election narrative that Vice President Joe Biden and senior Obama strategists have spent weeks honing on the campaign trail.

The message: incumbent Obama is a firewall against a return to the “failed” foreign, social and economic policies of the George W. Bush administration, which are now embodied by presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Romney “basically wants to do what they did before — on steroids,” former President Bill Clinton told a crowd of high-dollar donors at an Obama campaign fundraiser Sunday night, “which will get you the same consequences you got before, on steroids.”

Biden has used a month-long series of five speeches on key campaign issues to methodically lay out the same argument, signaling that Democrats will focus less on positive promises for a second Obama term than on a negative message about Romney.

“He offers his prescription as if somehow it’s a new idea, folks, like something we haven’t seen before, even worse, like something we haven’t actually tried before,” Biden said of Romney’s tax-cut focused economic plan during a speech in New Hampshire earlier this month.

“Folks, we’ve seen the movie before,” Biden said. “It doesn’t end well.  It does not end well.  Where has he been?”

At campaign rallies in Toledo, Ohio, and Davenport, Iowa, Biden highlighted the resurgence of the U.S. auto industry and manufacturing sector — both of which received financial support under the administration — as case studies in contrast with Romney.

The former Massachusetts governor famously opposed the 2009 auto bailout and has suggested the administration’s emphasis on greater investment in U.S. manufacturers may be misplaced.

Biden warned retirees in Coconut Creek, Fla., that a President Romney would “dismantle” Medicare and roll back health care benefits for women, including abortion rights and contraception coverage.

The targeted, populist pitch — to which Obama will more forcefully lend his voice this week — tracks closely with positions backed by large or increasing numbers of Americans.

Majorities of voters in recent public opinion polls side with Obama on higher taxes for millionaires and billionaires, for example, and resisting bold changes to Medicare as proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan and backed by Romney.

Growing numbers of Americans also say they support the taxpayer-funded auto bailout, and withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Republicans say Obama’s argument is shaping up as a diversion from the unpopular aspects of his first term, including the health care overhaul and lingering high unemployment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Analysis: Rick Santorum Struggles to Transition to Major Candidate

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Rick Santorum’s transition from scrappy Iowa underdog to national contender hit some bumps in his first full day campaigning in New Hampshire since his near-upset in the Hawkeye State.

During a stop Thursday at the Merrimack train station in Northfield, N.H., the former senator from Pennsylvania charmed the crowd, telling his life story, making his pitch and winning them over. Diving into the traditional engagement that New Hampshire voters demand, Santorum excelled in the back-and-forth.

But at the New Hampshire College Convention, at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, N.H., he seemed lecturing and occasionally prickly. And while perhaps an instructive tone is not entirely inappropriate in front of students, he did some of the same Wednesday night at a senior center in Brentwood, N.H.

His debate with college students about same-sex marriage grew contentious.

“Why shouldn’t marriage [be] between three men?” he asked at one point.

His position on the issue is one that certainly will have appeal for the social conservatives in this state, where same-sex marriage is legal, and even more so for his next audience in South Carolina. But the extensive back-and-forth -- he clearly relishes debate -- distracted from his task at hand: introducing himself to voters, explaining his rationale for his candidacy, and becoming a contender. While his bona fides as a social conservative are part of that, his task is to now expand beyond those base Republican voters. Even before that debate over marriage, Santorum’s stump speech was long on history lessons, short on rallying supporters.

Santorum at one point asked for a show of hands as to who knew the national motto. He expressed a shocked disgust that “only five percent of you are raising your hands.”

Moreover, he was wrong. He said the motto was “E Pluribus Unum.” It isn’t. It’s “In God We Trust” -- as Republicans pointed out two months ago in a House resolution after President Obama made the same mistake.

Presidential campaigns provide opportunities for candidates to grow and mature, to step into the role of a national leader. Not every candidate is able to meet the moment -- witness Howard Dean, for example, or Mike Huckabee. Sometimes the thinking is: Well, this worked for me up until now, so I might as well continue doing it. But that is a fallacy. Campaigns are opportunities to grow into something else. No nominee starts the same as he ends.

Santorum will need his campaign to grow in infrastructure, fundraising, endorsements and national reach. After New Hampshire, as the candidates move to states that depend less on retail politics and more on money, TV ads and major rallies, this will become a resource war.  But that won’t be enough. He will need to grow, as well.

Conservatives are looking for a candidate around whom they can rally. Santorum will need to rise to the occasion, or like others before him, he could fall.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ron Paul Gains Momentum, Sights Set on Newt Gingrich

Scott Eells-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While portions of the national press corps have declared the GOP primary a two-man race between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, the tenacious Texas congressman on his third run for the White House, is quietly picking up speed.

The libertarian-leaning Texas congressman is buoyed by strong poll numbers. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, Paul is polling in the top three in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Similar polls by NBC, CBS, and the Des Moines Register show the same.

Paul has set his sights on Gingrich, releasing videos that criticize the former House speaker for a career in politics and policy shifts.

The two have not only sparred over the size of the federal government, but its scope. Paul unveiled an ad last week attacking Newt for being a serial hypocrite and for building his wealth through questionable lobbying efforts on behalf of the health care industry and mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

“He’s been on a lot of different sides on all the issues,” Paul told ABC’s Jon Karl Wednesday. “He may be the opposite of what I’ve been doing for 30 years. My positions haven’t changed all that much.”

While Gingrich has led Republicans in Washington as speaker of the House in the 1990s, Paul has often been a thorn in their side, unyielding in his support for a radical downsizing of the federal government. Paul unveiled a budget proposal in October which cuts $1 trillion from the federal government in the first year.

Gingrich labeled the plan “a non-starter.”

Paul, who served in the House of Representatives with Gingrich for seven years -- one while Gingrich was speaker -- gave the current GOP frontrunner credit for “devis[ing] some strategies” while he led the House,  but said he “falls short on leadership” in seeing those ideas through.

The two also sparred over the scope of government during a recent CNN debate in which Gingrich advocated for strengthening the Patriot Act, which provides law enforcement authorities enhanced tools to combat terrorism.

Paul refuted the idea, instead imploring “not to sacrifice liberty for security.” Gingrich shot back that he didn’t want to lose an American city before action is taken.

But the latest ABC News poll does show problems for Paul. On the electability issue, just eight percent of likely caucus-goers see Paul as best able to beat Obama, trailing Gingrich by 21 points. It was Paul’s weakest attribute.

But this was far from his only challenge. Paul trails Gingrich by a whopping 30 points on having the best experience. And Paul’s renaissance on limited government and deficit control is counted by his very broad objection to his non-interventionist views.

In the coming weeks, Paul plans to continue airing ads in the early primary states reminding voters how’s he’s different from Gingrich.

The message will be reinforced by an extensive get-out-the-vote effort. The campaign is sending 500 young supporters to Iowa and New Hampshire. The program is called Christmas Vacation with Ron Paul, and through it, youth activists will travel around the key early-voting states to drum up support and get out the vote for Paul.

Paul’s organization is his greatest asset and the starkest contrast to Gingrich. Yahoo! News reported that phones for Newt Gingrich’s Iowa campaign office finally arrived on Tuesday, exactly one month before the state’s caucuses.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio