Entries in 2012 Presidential Election (1166)


Campaign Debt Outlives Presidential Races

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The race might be over, but it hasn't all been paid for.

Presidential campaigns still owe millions of dollars to consultants, former staffers, phone companies, software vendors, database management firms, direct-mail firms, sign printers, event-productions companies and banks; in other words, nearly every kind of entity with which a campaign does business.

Some campaigns owe money back to the candidates themselves, and one owes money to a former rival.

The total won't be known until campaigns file their next disclosures next month, but Obama and Romney owed nearly $8.5 million combined (all of Romney's debt owed on a $3 million loan), according to their Oct. 17 pre-election disclosures.  Of course, with more than $146 million in the bank, they likely have enough cash to cover it.

The failed GOP primary candidates, however, still owe their share: more than $7 million, according to their latest Federal Election Commission filings in September and October.

Candidate debt is commonplace, and the most notable examples are Hillary Clinton, whose 2008 presidential campaign still owed hundreds of thousands of dollars earlier this year; and Rudy Giuliani, whose 2008 campaign still owes $2.6 million.  Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, is in a class by himself, still owing nearly $2.7 million more than 20 years after running for president in 1984.

Half of the failed GOP presidential primary candidates have clean balance sheets.  Jon Huntsman, Tim Aplenty, Ron Paul and Rick Perry have zero debt, according to their FEC disclosures.  For the other half, some of the debts are complicated.

Herman Cain's campaign owed $450,000 as of Sept. 30, all of it to Herman Cain.  The candidate is owed $175,000 in "travel expenses" and $275,000 for a series of five loans, most of them $50,000 or less, which Cain made to his campaign between June and August of 2011.  His campaign has already paid him back for eight loans totaling $400,000.

Rick Santorum's campaign owed more than $1.1 million, and Michele Bachmann's owed more than $530,000, as of their FEC filings in September and October, respectively, which is far more than they had in the bank, casting doubt on whether their 33 creditors will ever get paid.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, meanwhile, reported more than $227,000 in debt, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein reported $44,000; again, more than they had.

But among the 2012 GOP candidates, Newt Gingrich owes the most, hands down.  He owed $4.9 million as of his last disclosure on Sept. 30, but after renting his list of supporters and reaching agreements with creditors, he'll close the year owing $4.6 million, spokesman R.C. Hammond said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Chris Christie Says He 'Really Worked Hard for Mitt'

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reflected on Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election Tuesday, and said he really worked hard for the GOP candidate.

Christie told The Record, “I worked really hard for Mitt for a year and we became good friends and so that’s really what disappointed me.”

Christie said he was pleased that the GOP didn’t lose any incumbent governors on Election Day, saying it was “the only bit of good news for the Republican Party” that night.

He told the newspaper he raised over $30 million during visits to more than 25 states on behalf of more than a dozen GOP candidates, but he didn’t think his endorsement had much impact. 

Christie told The Record, “I always say, I don’t think endorsements mean as much as the people who are receiving the endorsements think they mean.  You know they’re really psyched when I come and I endorse them and say it makes a huge difference and I kind of wonder whether it really does.”

Still, Christie admits he does do one thing well on the campaign trail. 

“I tend to attract a crowd and they’re willing to pay to hear me talk, so that helps them as well.  But I don’t think in a direct way I affect the races,” he said.

Christie continued, “The money I raise helps to affect the races.  The attention I bring them may help to raise their profile a little bit. But I don’t think in the end that I make a difference in the race nor do I think any endorser makes a difference in the race.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


No Regrets for Man with Romney Tattoo on His Face

Eric Hartsburg/Facebook(WASHINGTON) -- Campaign season is over, and it seems as if the biting battle between presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney has faded away.  But not for everyone.

Eric Hartsburg, who got the Romney ‘R’ logo tattooed on his face for an eBay bid of $15,000, will have a constant reminder of his losing candidate probably for the rest of his life.

But Hartsburg said that’s fine with him.

“I am college educated, and I am not an idiot,” Hartsburg, a professional wrestler, told ABC News.  “Getting the tattoo was a decision that I made, and I am cool with.”

When asked how he felt about having a losing candidate’s logo permanently stamped near his right temple, Hartsburg said, joking, “Wait, did the election already happen?  Did Romney lose?”

Hartsburg, 30, who got the tattoo after auctioning off the prime real estate on his face, said, “Of course I am disappointed about the election results.  I wanted Romney to win, obviously, but I am proud of the voters and the record turnout in certain places.  And most of all, I am proud of the effort that I made.”

But Hartsburg has received some criticism for his tat post-election.

“Obama supporters have come up to me since the election and said, ’Told you so’ or ‘You look like an idiot,’ but if you take Romney’s losing out of the equation and someone with a face tattoo out of the equation and actually have a conversation with me, you might realize that it’s not just about what is on the surface,” he said.

“Besides,” Hartsburg continued, “It’s a decision that I made. … I can deal with the criticism.  I have thick skin.  I don’t regret the tattoo at all.  I would do it all over again if I had to.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Deficit Deal Tops Obama's Day-One Agenda

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- He won a second term by a narrower margin than he won his first, but President Obama believes his victory Tuesday night delivered a mandate that will reinvigorate his stalled legislative agenda and resolve a partisan impasse over taxes.

Obama will waste little time putting his perceived new influence to the test, aides say, making negotiations over expiring tax cuts, looming spending cuts and deficit reduction his immediate priority after the electoral smoke clears.

A double dose of deep reductions to defense and social spending, plus across-the-board tax hikes for all Americans, will automatically kick in 54 days from now unless Obama can broker a deal.

"First thing we're going to have to do is to, once and for all, determine how we're going to reduce our deficit and our debt coming out of this terrible crisis we've had now that the economy has begun to grow again, we're adding jobs again," Obama told a local Des Moines, Iowa, TV affiliate on Tuesday.

"If we can get that done early, then my sense is not only will the economy grow and see more jobs added, but I think it will take a lot of the rancor out of our politics," he said.

But despite that sanguine view, there are signs that a compromise on taxes with Republicans -- who retained majority control of the House of Representatives -- won't come easily.

Obama remains insistent that existing tax cuts on individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000 should expire on Jan. 1, 2013.  Republicans remain staunchly opposed to any increase in taxes.

"We're not raising taxes on small-business people," House Speaker John Boehner told Politico in an interview on the eve of the vote.

After it became clear Obama would win the election, Boehner released a statement pointing out that Republicans held onto the House of Representatives.

"If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs, which is critical to solving our debt," Boehner said early Wednesday morning.

Finding that common ground will be difficult since both men have made such specific declarations about taxes.  They tried -- and failed -- to achieve a "grand bargain" to reduce the deficit in 2011.  Through a complicated legal agreement, that failure is what led to the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes Boehner and Obama will now have to work quickly before the end of the year to avoid.

Wasting no time, Boehner has scheduled a press conference to discuss the fiscal cliff on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon.

However the fiscal debate is resolved will largely set the tone for a raft of domestic policy debates to follow.

Obama has said he plans a big push for a comprehensive immigration reform bill, a stimulus package for states to help hire public school teachers, and a massive infrastructure upgrade that he says will provide jobs to thousands of construction workers.

He has also signaled plans to consolidate progress on financial regulatory and health care reform by more aggressively implementing the outstanding provisions of the Wall Street reform law and Obamacare.

Obama is expected to navigate the new dynamic with a largely stable team of senior aides and cabinet secretaries, though he will have to recruit and nominate some new members.

He has already begun to take stock of who's planning to leave the administration and who would like to stay, aides say.  In the next few weeks, he will begin examining resumes of possible replacements for top officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Exit Polls: Obama's Winning Coalition of Women and Nonwhites

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A coalition of women and nonwhites helped re-elect President Obama to a second term Tuesday night.

Obama has always performed better with women than with men, and with nonwhites than with whites.  But on Tuesday night, those numbers were so much in his favor that they built Obama a powerful firewall against a dropoff in support from white men and independent voters.

Nonwhite voters turned out to vote in higher numbers than ever.  They made up 21 percent of all voters.  In 1996, they were just 10 percent.

That new bloc was evident in Florida, the perennial swing state that was thought to be in Mitt Romney's corner.  Hispanics came out in force for Obama, in greater numbers than in 2008 when Obama beat John McCain among Hispanics in Florida 57 to 42 percent.  On Tuesday, he beat Romney among Hispanics 60 to 39 percent.

And as the country tinted blue for the second presidential election in a row, it also got a little less white.

White voters made up only 72 percent of the electorate in this election, according to exit polls.  That's still a majority, but it's the lowest in exit polls dating from 1976.

Romney won the white vote handily, 58 to 40 percent, the biggest lead for a Republican since 1988.

Romney's most reliant bloc the whole campaign was white men.  He led by 25 points with them on Tuesday.  But in 1976, white men were 46 percent of voters.  Today, they're at a new low, 34 percent.

If white women had stayed in Romney's camp, those swing states -- Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire -- might have moved into his column.  Instead, Obama led among women by 12 points, nearly identical to his lead among women four years ago.

In Florida, Obama led Romney by just two points among independents, according to the exit polls.  In 2008, that number was seven.

In Ohio, Romney leads Obama by 10 points among independents -- a significant number considering that in 2008 Obama had an 8 point lead over McCain in Ohio among the same nonaligned voters.  But women came to Obama's rescue, keeping him competitive.  Exit polls showed Obama with a 12 point lead among women, more than his 8 point lead in 2008.

In Wisconsin, a state that Romney needed badly, Obama's one-time strength among independents appeared to be neutralized.  He won independents there by 19 points in 2008, but preliminary polls now show that Romney fought to a draw with them.  However, Obama prevailed among young voters, and other voters there said they favored the auto bailout by 51 to 40 percent, an issue that the president held over Romney in the Midwest.

Obama lost just a few independents in Iowa, but more than made up for it by winning over women, who picked the president over Romney by a double-digit margin.

In Virginia, Romney won independents by 53 to 41 percent.  Four years ago, Obama and McCain tied among independents in the commonwealth.

Just like white men, independents make up less of the electorate than they did four years ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Vows to Forge Change Where He Failed

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- After four years of trying and, by his own admission, failing to change the nature of politics in Washington, President Obama Tuesday night vowed in a second term to forge bipartisan compromise in a way a large majority of Americans desire.

The president, who took the stage shortly after receiving a personal concession from Republican nominee Mitt Romney, said he would demonstrate his commitment by “sitting down” with Romney in the weeks ahead.  It would be a significant -- if only symbolic -- step at bringing Democrats and Republicans together after a rancorous campaign.

“When we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.  That won’t change after tonight.  And it shouldn’t,” Obama said.  “But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future.”

“By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock, resolve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward,” he continued.  “But that common bond is where we must begin.”

“Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual,” Obama said.  “You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours.”

Obama, who has not met with congressional Republican leaders since May, said he was also “looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties” in the “coming weeks and months.”

After the electoral smoke clears, both parties face the looming specter of steep, across-the-board tax hikes and deep spending cuts that will automatically take effect in 54 days if a deficit reduction deal is not reached.

“The American people re-elected the president, and re-elected our majority in the House,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Tuesday night.  “If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs, which is critical to solving our debt.”

And in what is perhaps an ode to the new dynamic in the wake of a grueling campaign, Romney live-streamed the president’s acceptance speech and remarks about bipartisanship at


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Congratulates Romney on ‘Spirited Campaign’

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(CHICAGO) -- President Obama on Tuesday congratulated GOP nominee Mitt Romney on a hard-fought race and expressed confidence he would have the votes to win a second term as he kicked off Election Day with a visit to his local campaign office.

“I also want to say to Gov. Romney, Congratulations on a spirited campaign,” the president told reporters after thanking volunteers at his local Hyde Park, Ill., field office.  “I know that his supporters are just as engaged and just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today.”

With polls open across the country, the president expressed confidence that “we have the votes to win.”

“I’m looking forward to the results, and I expect we will have a good night,” Obama said.  “No matter what happens, I want to say how much I appreciate everybody who supported me, everybody who has worked so hard on my behalf and, again, I want to congratulate Gov. Romney and his team for a hard- fought race as well.”

The president, who voted early, in-person in Chicago two weeks ago, urged Americans “on all sides just to go out and exercise this precious right that we have and that people fought so hard for us to have.”

Keeping with tradition, Obama is spending the afternoon playing basketball with family and friends.  Shooting hoops became a superstitious Election Day ritual for the president after he didn’t play on the day of the New Hampshire primary in 2008, which he lost to Hillary Clinton.

Obama is playing at a local Chicago community center with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former Obama aide and college basketball player Reggie Love, and his close friends, Mike Ramos and Marty Nesbitt.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Election Day: Romney Still Campaigning, Obama to Play Basketball

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The costliest election in United States history is also one of the closest, as polls open Tuesday and the country finally picks its president after a long and divisive campaign.

After spending nearly $1 billion apiece, President Obama and Mitt Romney are today in much the same place they were months ago at the campaign's outset -- the president leads his Republican challenger by so small a margin it is statistically insignificant in most places.

The tightness of the race was expressed at midnight, when the first town to open and close its polls -- the tiny hamlet of Dixville Notch, N.H. -- evenly split its vote five to five.

On Tuesday, Romney will campaign up to the last minute, holding rallies in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and doing interviews with radio stations in Ohio and Virginia.

Obama, meanwhile, will remain in his home state of Illinois on Tuesday, doing some satellite television interviews and playing a game of basketball -- an Election Day ritual.

The fate of the election will rest on the outcomes in a few hard-fought swing states: Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and, most crucially, Ohio.

Victory or defeat may very well come down to Ohio, a battleground whose 18 electoral votes may be as critical this year as Florida was in 2000.  Both candidates know it, and have spent more time there than anywhere else.

Ohio, or possibly Wisconsin, where Romney has trailed for months, create "a very narrow path to electoral college victory," Republican strategist and ABC News consultant Matthew Dowd.

He said the first key state where polls will close is Virginia and a defeat or victory there for Romney could be crucial to the rest of his night.

"I think Virginia is going to tell us a lot.  It's going to tell us if this night ends early for Mitt Romney or if we're in for a long night," Dowd said.

There are also a few critical demographic groups to watch, including Latinos, young people and women.

Both campaigns have battled for the women's vote, but Donna Brazille, a Democratic strategist and ABC News consultant, said Obama has an advantage with women.

"One thing to remember is that in the last six elections, Democrats are six and zero.  We've won the women's vote in every election.  That's what makes Democrats competitive," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Battleground State Early Voting Tallies

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Polls may have opened nationwide Tuesday morning, but the election has been under way for weeks thanks to early and absentee voting, and millions have already cast their ballots.

It is expected that 46 million people will have voted before Election Day this year, and their votes will make up roughly 35 percent of the total votes cast in this cycle.  That's an increase from 2008, when the total early and absentee vote was roughly 40 million and accounted for 30 percent of the total votes cast.

Out of the eight states that ABC News currently considers "toss-ups" -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin -- all but New Hampshire allow for some form of in-person early voting.  (New Hampshire only allows mail-in absentee voting for those who can't make it to the polls on Election Day.)

Four of the states -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa and Nevada -- register voters by political party, so their early vote count includes a party breakdown.  In three of these states -- Florida, Nevada and Iowa -- Democrats have a slight advantage in terms of early votes, while in Colorado, Republicans have the advantage.

But the vote is close in all these battlegrounds, and in each one voters registered as "no party" or "unaffiliated" -- more commonly called independents -- make up a sizable percentage of the voting population, which heightens the uncertainty about who is actually ahead in the final, crucial hours.

Below is a breakdown of where the early vote count stands in these battlegrounds:

COLORADO - 1,872,987

  • Dem -- 34.3%
  • Rep -- 36.1%
  • Other -- 29.6%

FLORIDA - 4,469,393

  • Dem -- 42.9%
  • Rep -- 39.1%
  • Other --18%

IOWA - 640,248

  • Dem -- 42.3%
  • Rep -- 32.1%
  • Other -- 25.6%

NEVADA (reports numbers by county)

  • Clark County (the most populous in the state) - 484,363
  • Dem -- 47%
  • Rep -- 33%
  • Other -- 19%

And here's the early vote numbers in battlegrounds that don't register voters by party affiliation:

OHIO - 1,791,334

VIRGINIA - 427,987

WISCONSIN - 412,611

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Brings His Kids to Vote, Predicts Victory

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images(JANESVILLE, Wis.) -- Paul Ryan and his wife Janna took their three young children with them to vote Tuesday morning, telling reporters that after two and a half months on the road “it felt good waking up in my hometown.”

When asked after he voted at the Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, Wis., if his ticket will be victorious Tuesday night, Ryan answered, “I think we are, I feel good about it.”

Dressed in a dark suit and silver tie, he told reporters: “I feel great today.”

“It’s a great tradition,” Ryan said after voting.  “It’s Election Day.  I’m very excited to be here.  I’ve been voting here a long time.”

He laughed when asked who he is voting for, answering, “It will be suspenseful.”

The GOP vice presidential nominee held his final rally of the 2012 campaign late Monday night in Milwaukee and he said on Tuesday “it felt good coming to this neighborhood I grew up in.”

“I went to junior high about 60 yards that way,” Ryan said of the polling place.  “So it’s great to be here in my hometown.”

Ryan and his wife moved ahead of voters in line and while the woman registering them could not immediately find their name, the Ryans’ 10-year-old daughter Liza could, pointing to the page and reading, “Paul D. Ryan.”

Ryan took his youngest child, 7-year-old Sam, as well as Liza with him as he filled out his ballot.

After voting, he quickly headed to his campaign plane receiving hugs from family traveling with him on Tuesday, including mom Betty Douglas and brothers Tobin and Stan Ryan.

He heads next to Cleveland for an event with his running mate before making another quick stop in Richmond, Va.  He will then travel to Boston for their election night party and to watch the returns.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio