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Wednesday
Oct242012

President Obama Speaks to 26,000 Voters on Air Force One Calls

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(LAS VEGAS) – President Obama addressed 16,000 supporters at a Denver rally Wednesday afternoon. But his campaign said two Obama conference calls from Air Force One later drew an even bigger – and arguably more important – crowd.

En route to Los Angeles from Denver for a taping of The Tonight Show, Obama gave a 15-minute pep talk to about 17,000 swing-state campaign volunteers, according to a spokeswoman.

“This election is much more important than last time around,” he told them, according to photographers who briefly were allowed to shoot the scene inside Obama’s personal cabin.

Later, he held a 20-minute conference call with roughly 9,000 “undecided” swing-state voters invited to join by the campaign’s field staff, aides said.

The president took questions that were suggested by voters on the call, but the questions were read to the president by staff members in Chicago, said Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

President Obama is scheduled to place more calls Thursday. He uses a special campaign-designated phone on the plane that is not paid for by taxpayer dollars, aides told ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct242012

Biden in Ohio Calls Romney ‘One Quackin’ Duck’

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(MARION, Ohio) – According to Vice President Joe Biden, there’s a whole lot of quackin’ going on. During a campaign stop at Marion Harding High School here, Biden used one of his mother’s old sayings when he talked about Mitt Romney paying a lower tax rate than many other Americans because of the lower tax on capital gains, calling the GOP presidential nominee “one quackin’ duck.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, when asked on 60 Minutes — not by us, it was 60 Minutes — governor, you only pay 14 percent on $20 million because of this tax break, and the guy making 50 grand pays more. Do you think that’s fair? The governor said, yes, I think that’s fair,” Biden told the crowd gathered at the high school.

“This is one of these places where, my mom used to have an expression,” Biden said. “You know, I’d say mom … can I go hang in the corner with the guys?  She’d say,  ’Joe, they’re going to get in trouble.’ I said, well I won’t, mom. And she’d look at me and she’d say, ‘Joey, if it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck!’

“Man, this is one quackin’ duck! This is one quackin’ duck! Folks, just use your commonsense, this is about commonsense!”

The vice president also criticized Rep. Paul Ryan for his unwillingness to detail the specific loopholes he and Romney would close to pay for the tax cuts they’ve proposed.

“On television he said the math is too complicated for us to understand. Look, that’s what he said, didn’t have time, the math is too complicated. I know the math! The math is the little guy gets crushed and the big guy gets rich! That’s the math! That’s how it works!” Biden said.

“Thank God you have Medicare and Medicaid. They eliminate Medicaid for a million of those people. Where are these folks gonna go? What are they going to do? And all in the service of tax cuts for the very wealthy. It is not fair. It is not right. It is not good economics. It is not good for growing the economy,” Biden said.

Biden explained that Romney and Ryan are taking the Republican Party down a new path and that those on today’s GOP ticket are nothing like the figure many Republicans revere – Ronald Reagan.

“They say it’s just like what Ronald Reagan did. Ronald Reagan did not do this. I served with Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan had a massive tax cut. When it didn’t work, he ended up raising taxes 11 times. … Ronald Reagan couldn’t even be their standard bearer this time based on what he did.”

“Vice President Biden and President Obama showed again today that their campaign is getting smaller and smaller as Election Day approaches,” Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Romney, said in a statement. “With no plan to grow the middle class, Americans know another four years of Obama-Biden policies will mean more of the same: falling incomes, higher taxes and more debt. In two weeks, they will choose Gov. Romney’s positive agenda over the Obama campaign’s increasingly desperate attacks.”

But wrapping up his third day straight campaigning in Ohio, Biden made known his love of the Buckeye State. “You probably heard the rumor that Ohio is going to pick the next president of the United States of America, and I’m happy about that,” Biden said later. “I think that there’s no better group of Americans we could put the presidency in the hands of to decide than the people of this great state.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct242012

David Plouffe Calls Mitt Romney’s Momentum Claim a ‘Bluff’

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(DENVER, Colo.) — President Obama’s campaign Wednesday shot down claims by the opposition that Mitt Romney is picking up momentum in key battleground states, saying the GOP nominee will have to “pull voters off the president to win.”

Speaking to reporters traveling with the president in Iowa Wednesday, Obama advisor David Plouffe said Romney’s recent boost in the polls shows he has regained lost ground but that he is approaching his “ceiling.”

Beaming with confidence, Plouffe said the Romney camp is “overstating their Electoral College situation.”

“Both of our campaigns are telling you where we think the race is and in 13 days one of us will be right and one of us will be wrong,” he said. “My sense is you’re going to find that what was emanating out of Boston was more bluff than reality.”

While Plouffe declined to make any projections, he was certain “we maintain a lot more plausible pathways to 270 [electoral votes] than Gov. Romney.”

“Our strategic view has always been to develop a campaign strategy where you don’t have to win all of them,” he said of battleground states. “Our goal this time has always been to have enough states in play so that we wouldn’t have to pull an inside straight to win the presidency, and we still think that’s where Gov. Romney is — that he has a much more narrow path.”

For example, Plouffe said, “Gov. Romney’s campaign likes to talk about how well they’re doing in North Carolina, but we think we’re doing a lot better in Ohio and Iowa and Nevada than they’re doing in North Carolina.”

As the president kicked off a 48-hour blitz in Iowa Wednesday morning, Romney campaigned in Nevada for the second day in a row.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Gov. Romney’s last trip to Nevada was this week, because it doesn’t look good for him, and I think in an honest moment they would say that themselves,” Plouffe said.

Plouffe drew further attention to Romney’s travel schedule this week, saying it suggested his campaign is “very concerned about Ohio” and perhaps not as confident about Florida and Virginia as it is suggesting.

“If they feel so good about Florida, then pull out,” he said.

Obama is visiting eight states during his two-day marathon swing. In a last-ditch effort to sway undecided voters, the president has been touting signs of economic progress and portraying Romney as untrustworthy by highlighting his shifting positions in the run-up to the election.

“It’s about trust,” Plouffe said. “You have never seen a major party nominee this close to the election try to fudge what he would do as president.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct242012

Mitt Romney Crisscrosses the Country Predicting a Victory in November

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa) -- Landing his campaign plane just yards away from a hangar full of supporters in the Hawkeye State, a revved-up Mitt Romney predicted a win for himself on Election Day, now just 12 days away.

“The Obama campaign is slipping because it can’t find an agenda to help the American families, but our campaign is growing into a movement across this country that says we’re going to get America back, we’re going to get America strong, we’re going to provide for our families,” said Romney. “And I’m optimistic. I’m optimistic not just about winning. We are going to win by the way. And we’re going to do that.”

Recent polls have Romney and Obama neck-and-neck. Romney eked out a slight edge nationally in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 49 to 48 percent among likely voters.

“I’m not just optimistic about winning,” Romney said. “I’m more optimistic about the future of America.”

It was the second time Wednesday that Romney predicted a win for his ticket, with his first prediction coming earlier in the day in Reno, Nev.

“He doesn’t have a plan to get jobs for Americans,” Romney said of President Obama during a rally in Reno. “I do, and that’s why I’m gonna win.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct242012

Rep. Paul Ryan Talks Upward Mobility: ‘In This War on Poverty, Poverty Is Winning’

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(CLEVELAND) – Paul Ryan said Wednesday that the Republican presidential ticket will do more to help the poor in this country, declaring, “In this war on poverty, poverty is winning,” and calling for a shift from federal government programs helping the poor to a community-focused model.

He said the GOP ticket would set such a model into motion if it gets to the White House.

Ryan cited the amount of money the federal government spends on “means-tested programs,” saying it accounts to more than $1 trillion, or giving “every poor American a check for $22,000.”

“We spend all that money attempting to fight poverty through government programs. And what do we have to show for it?” Ryan asked, saying one in six Americans are living in poverty and citing high food stamp use and high school dropout rates.

“With a few exceptions, government’s approach has been to spend lots of money on centralized, bureaucratic, top-down, anti-poverty programs,” he said. “The mindset behind this approach is that a nation should measure compassion by the size of the federal government and how much it spends.”

Ryan added that the GOP ticket’s solution is a “balance,” or, “allowing government to act for the common good, while leaving private groups free to do the work that only they can do.”

“There’s a vast, middle ground between the government and the individual,” Ryan said at Cleveland State University. “Our families and our neighborhoods, the groups we join, our places of worship – this is where we live our lives. They shape our character, they give our lives direction and help make us a self-governing people.”

The GOP vice presidential nominee praised welfare reform under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, but said the “reform mindset hasn’t been applied with equal vigor across the spectrum of our anti-poverty programs.”

“In most of these programs, especially in recent years, we’re still trying to measure compassion by how much government spends, not by how many people we help escape from poverty,” Ryan told a crowd of about 600 people.

Ryan’s plan was short on specifics, but he met with a group of community leaders in this battleground state before the address on the issues he would discuss, which also included school choice. In his speech, he promised a Romney-Ryan administration would consult those same people, saying they “share your cause and we will seek your counsel.”

“For our part, should we have the chance to serve, I want you to know this,” Ryan said. “We will remember your hospitality today, and it will be returned. The transformative power of your example will inform our approach to public policy. And when the question is how best to help low-income families reach for opportunity, we will not defer to the Washington-knows-best crowd. We will talk to the real experts – including many of the people who are right here in this room.”

He praised his running mate, presidential nominee Mitt Romney, throughout his speech, but said sometimes the Republican Party may have “a vision for making our communities stronger,” but they “don’t always do a good job of laying out that vision.” He said the presidential ticket wants to “change that.”

Standing in front of three American flags, Ryan said Romney is a “man who could easily have contented himself with giving donations to needy causes, but everyone who knows him well will tell you that Mitt has always given his time and attention to those around him who are hurting.”

Although it may seem unusual to give such an address less than two weeks before Election Day, four years ago Sarah Palin also gave a series of policy addresses in the final days, including one on support for families of special needs children.

An argument that the Republican world view will do more to help the American poor could represent an attempt by the Ryan and the Romney campaign to address the perception among voters that they lack empathy.

According to ABC News pollster Gary Langer, empathy can be a “significant independent predictor of voter preferences.”

President Obama leads Romney by seven points, 51 to 44 percent, on the question of “who better understands the economic problems people in this country are having,” according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday.

Ryan touched on similar issues in a speech to Georgetown University in April, when he discussed upward mobility for the poor.

Ryan’s address is also in the shadow of Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments, when he said, in a leaked video from a $50,000-a-head fundraising dinner in Boca Raton, Fla., that 47 percent of people, who don’t pay income taxes, will never vote for him because they are “dependent” and “victims.”

Ryan has added to image problems concerning the ticket’s policies toward the poor. The campaign suffered a photo-op misstep when he was criticized for appearing to scrub clean pots at a soup kitchen in Youngstown, Ohio. Ryan was accused of reaching for a photo instead of actually wanting to help homeless people.

Ryan was introduced by Jimmy Kemp, the son of Ryan’s mentor, the late former Rep. Jack Kemp, R-N.Y., who was known as a “bleeding heart conservative,” a Republican working with those battling poverty. In the early 1990s, Kemp was the chairman of the Economic Empowerment Task Force, a Cabinet subgroup formed to develop antipoverty policy.

Ryan will head back to Ohio this weekend for an eight-stop bus tour all over the critical state. A poll out Wednesday from Time magazine had the president up by five percentage points in the Buckeye State – 49 to 44 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct232012

Obama Hits Romney for Not Mentioning Vets at Debate

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(DAYTON, Ohio) -- President Obama twice chastised Mitt Romney on the trail Tuesday for failing to mention veterans in Monday night’s debate, in a further attempt to drive a wedge between Romney and supporters of the military.

The criticism comes on the heels of repeated observations by Democrats that Romney failed to mention U.S. troops in Afghanistan during his acceptance speech at the Republican convention.

“By the way, I just want to point out, in the same way that Governor Romney didn’t mention the Afghan war or our troops in his convention speech, Governor Romney didn’t even mention our veterans last night,” Obama told supporters at a rally in Delray Beach, Fla., Tuesday. “Now, he may write off half the country as victims behind closed doors, but the men and women and their families who have served this country so bravely — they deserve better from somebody who’s applying to be commander-in-chief.”

“When our veterans come home, let’s put them back to work in some of these jobs. Let’s make sure we’re serving them as well as they’ve served us. Governor Romney did not even mention our veterans last night,” the president reiterated at his campaign event in Dayton.

For his part, Obama uttered the word “veteran” six times at the third presidential debate.

“As commander-in-chief, I will maintain the strongest military in the world, keep faith with our troops and go after those who would do us harm. But after a decade of war, I think we all recognize we’ve got to do some nation building here at home, rebuilding our roads, our bridges and especially caring for our veterans, who sacrificed so much for our freedom,” he said Monday night.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct232012

Obama Campaign Claims Edge in Early Vote

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(DAYTON, Ohio) -- President Obama’s top campaign advisers Tuesday said early-voting returns in several battleground states show Democrats with an edge over Republicans in courting so-called “sporadic voters,” those Americans who would not otherwise vote and could tilt the scale in a tight race.

“We are outperforming our early-vote margins in key states compared to 2008. We’re ahead of where we were against McCain, and more importantly, we’re ahead of Mitt Romney,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on a conference call with reporters. “Romney may be winning more raw votes than McCain did at this time, but look, the facts are important here. And the numbers tell a very clear story.”

Messina said that the campaign’s growth in early-vote margins, borne out both in state election data and in public polling of early voters, is a net gain for Democrats since many early voters are people who likely would not have otherwise voted. The process was widely credited with helping Obama win several swing states in 2008.

“Early vote isn’t only taking a finite number of voters and only changing the day they vote. …. What early vote does is help us get out our low propensity voters-voters called sporadic voters-which broadens our universe and frees up more ‘get out the vote’ resources later, especially on election day,” Messina claimed.

“This is about increasing the overall share of people, who may be drop out voters. And our numbers and public numbers are showing that more Obama sporadic voters are voting than Romney sporadic voters, which is a very big piece of business for the total turnout,” he said.

Public polls show Obama holds double-digit leads among people who have already voted in Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin, states where in-person early voting is allowed. Obama also leads in North Carolina.

The U.S. Elections Project at George Mason University tracks all public early voting data HERE.

The data are not considered definitive indicators of the ultimate electoral outcome in any given state, but do provide a snapshot of voter engagement and the campaigns’ ability to bank votes ahead of time.

“Here is the most important thing to remember 14 days out: We’re tied or ahead in every battleground state, and we’re not leaving any place where we are tied or ahead,” he said. “Romney has not been able to knock us out of a single battleground, and we’ve forced him to spend more and more resources in states like North Carolina that the Romney campaign has said they wanted locked up a long time ago.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct232012

Romney Likens Obama Campaign to Sinking Ship

Win McNamee/Getty Images(HENDERSON, Nev.) – In his first appearance since the final presidential debate, Mitt Romney stormed into the battleground state of Nevada and characterized President Obama’s campaign as a sinking ship.

“These debates have super-charged our campaign,” Romney said during the first of two joint appearances Tuesday with running mate Paul Ryan. “There’s no question about it, we’re seeing more and more enthusiasm, more and more support.”

“He’s been reduced to try to defend characters on Sesame Street and word games of various kinds, and then misfired attacks after one and another,” Romney said of Obama. “You know the truth is that attacks on me are not an agenda.”

Romney was making reference to Obama’s latest attack line that accuses the Republican nominee of having “Romnesia” when it comes to remembering his position on certain issues. Earlier Tuesday at a rally of his own in Florida, President Obama said that Romney’s “Romnesia” was a “severe outbreak” during the debate, adding, “It was at least stage-three ‘Romnesia.’”

But in Nevada Tuesday Romney sought to focus on his argument that the president has not offered a clear agenda for the next four years.

“We’ve gone through four debates, with the vice presidential debate and my debates, and we haven’t heard an agenda from the president, and that’s why his campaign is taking on water and our campaign is full speed ahead!” Romney said.

President Obama’s campaign released a 20-page glossy magazine outlining his plan for the next four years Tuesday, and the Romney campaign quickly pounced and called the move a “glossy panic button.” Tuesday marks Romney’s first trip to Nevada since last month.

Ryan warmed up the crowd of 6,000, praising his running mate’s debate performances, saying Americans saw a “man who is ready to become a great president,” and tailoring his message for this state hit hard by the housing crisis.

“You know what we saw last night, we saw Gov. Mitt Romney offer this country bold ideas and leadership. In so many ways and you know this right here in Nevada, look at the unemployment rate, we cannot afford four more years like the last four years,” Ryan said.

Romney and Obama faced off for the final time Monday night and Ryan asked the boisterous crowd, “You know what we saw last night?”

“Yet again, another display of a man who could be president, another display of someone with the demeanor, with the temperament, with the skills to be a leader,” Ryan answered. “What we saw last night was Mitt Romney being concerned about America’s position in the world and President Obama more concerned about his position in this race.”

The GOP vice presidential nominee noted that voters go to the polls just two weeks from Tuesday, saying then the president “is going to become former President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is going to be the next president of the United States.”

“Because we can do better than this, we don’t have to settle for this,” Ryan continued.

He also reminded voters in the battleground state that early voting has already started. Polls show Romney and Obama in a tight race in Nevada, with some showing that nationally the race is within the margin of error. The new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday evening shows Romney with 49 percent support among likely voters to Obama’s 48 percent nationally.

The GOP ticket will appear Tuesday evening at a rally with Kid Rock and country star Trace Adkins in another coveted state: Colorado.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct222012

Ryan and Boehner Rally Includes Eyebrow-Raising Jokes

Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images(DURANGO, Colo.) -- Speaker John Boehner joined Paul Ryan on the campaign trail Monday and told the crowd they originally met when Ryan was a student at Miami University of Ohio when he helped Boehner put up yard signs for his first congressional race.

“Twenty-two years ago, I was running for Congress for the first time. And you know, if they can’t say your name, they probably aren’t going to vote for you. Look at my name: Beaner. Bonner. Boner,” the speaker of the House joked about his last name.

After making fun of himself, Boehner had only praise for Ryan.

“You’re never going to find a more decent person on the face of the earth. Never going to find anyone who’s as smart as he is, who knows more about economic policy, knows more about the economy,” he said.

When he took the stage in front of over 1,000 people, Ryan threw the joke back at Boehner incorrectly pronouncing his last name as “boner.”

“Hey, it’s nice to see John Boehner here today isn’t it,” Ryan said, laughing at the incorrect pronunciation. “It’s a true story, but I would put up yard signs as a young guy in college. I had no idea how to pronounce his name. But serving with him for 14 years we kind of figured it out.”

Ryan did not mention Monday night’s final debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, but Boehner did, saying Romney will “show the American people the lack of leadership in this White House when it comes to the issue of foreign policy.”

Monday night’s debate hosted by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer will focus on foreign policy.

The speaker also accused the president of lying to the American people at last week’s debate at Hofstra University.

“Last week in that debate, he attempted to mislead the American people about the deaths of four Americans in Libya,” Boehner said. “Now, tonight the president has the opportunity to level with the American people, to look the American people in the eye and tell them the truth about what he knew and when he knew it.”

Ryan is on the second day of a three-day swing in the state. Polls there are in a dead heat with both candidates within the margin of error.  He urged the crowd at Fort Lewis College to vote early. Early voting in the state started Monday.

“We need your help,” Ryan said. “We need your votes. Early voting started. Colorado is at the cusp of the battleground states. This state and a handful of other states will determine the future of this country not for four years, but for a generation.”

Ryan campaigned outside of a vent and piping factory in Pueblo West earlier Monday and visited a debate-watching party in Grand Junction before watching the face-off himself at his hotel. He continues his swing Tuesday evening with a joint event with Mitt Romney in the state -- that’s after another rally with the top of the ticket outside of Las Vegas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct192012

President Obama’s Bundlers Include Former Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Gwen Stefani

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Obama campaign Friday voluntarily released a full list of its top campaign financiers, also known as bundlers. Combined, these 758 individuals are responsible for at least one fifth – or $180 million – of the more-than-$835 million raised by President Obama and Democrats for this election.

These wealthy donors each give the legal maximum to the campaign for the primary and general elections ($5,000) and to the Democratic National Committee ($30,800).  They then get their well-placed friends and colleagues to do the same.

Supporters who collect $50,000 or more for Obama and Democrats earn the “bundler” classification.

Obama added 120 new bundlers to his list in the third quarter, July through September, including former Republican governor of Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and singer Gwen Stefani, who raised more than half a million dollars, according to the Obama campaign.

The president also received elite fundraising support from 13 American bundlers who live overseas, collecting ex-pat cash in London, Paris, Geneva and Shanghai.

Here’s the breakdown of Obama bundlers, as provided by the campaign:

  •     172 bundlers at $50,000-$100,000 each
  •     169 bundlers at $100,000-$200,000 each
  •     181 bundlers at $200,000-$500,000 each
  •     236 bundlers at $500,000+ each

It’s important to note that Obama is the only candidate to voluntarily release the identities and contribution amounts of his bundlers. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has not released comparable information, breaking with a precedent set by President George W. Bush and continued by the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., by keeping his top financiers secret.

You can see the full list of Obama bundlers HERE.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio