Entries in Democratic Party (9)


Gleeful Dems Send Popcorn, DVD to Romney HQ

Massachusetts Democratic Party(BOSTON) -- The Boston headquarters of Mitt Romney’s campaign got an unwelcome delivery Wednesday -- a tub of popcorn and a DVD of Romney’s Tuesday-night appearance on Fox News.

What’s worse? It was delivered by the Massachusetts’ Democratic Party, along with a handwritten note that read, “Dear Romney Campaign Staff: We thoroughly enjoyed Governor Romney’s interview on FOX News with Bret Baier last night. It’s clear to us that the more voters hear from the Governor the less they’ll like what they hear.”

“We had such a great time watching all 16 minutes of the interview that we wanted to make sure you had the opportunity to enjoy it too!” read the note. “We’ve attached a DVD of the interview and a box of popcorn for your viewing pleasure.”

The note was signed by John Walsh, the Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman.

The popcorn delivery is not the first food prank of the campaign cycle. In May, Romney sent leftover pizza to President Obama’s Chicago re-election headquarters after a campaign stop in the state.

In fact, Romney tweeted a photo of a delivery boy heading out with the food, writing at the time, “Great deep dish at @ginoseast. Sending the extra slices to @barackobama and his Chicago HQ team.”

Romney’s appearance on Fox News has gotten panned in the press. The Democratic National Committee even released an ad editing together the criticisms from pundits calling the interview “disastrous” and “uncomfortable.”

According to Kevin Franck, the communications director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party who delivered the package Wednesday afternoon, security at the building would not let him in, but he did spot a member of the Romney staff come down to take the package from security.

“Unfortunately, Team Romney did not seem very eager to watch their boss squirm and fidget his way through the testy interview. We hope they enjoy the popcorn though!” said Franck in an email message to ABC News.

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Wednesday’s delivery.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Could a Third-Party Presidential Candidate Emerge?

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With President Obama’s approval rating hovering around 40 percent and Republican presidential primary voters seemingly undecided about who should be their front-runner, the stage may seem set for an alternative to the mainstream partisans.

But despite this dissatisfaction with the current options, when given the choice of a third-party candidate or one who is nominated independently of the two-party system, voters are still more likely flock to the traditional Democratic or Republican candidates.

“There is a lot more historical precedent for challengers from the main party winning than third parties doing a lot better,” said Jonathan Ladd, an assistant government professor at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute. “We have had incumbents in the past who were a good deal less popular than Obama and, even then, third-party challengers haven’t been ultimately successful.”

This tendency of Americans to stick with their mainstream parties may not be their fault, though, Ladd said.

Unlike many other democracies, America is a winner-takes-all system. In almost every state, whichever candidate gets the most votes wins every one of the state’s electoral votes, rather than the delegates being split up proportionately to the top group of vote-getters.

This creates “an incentive to not want to waste your vote,” Ladd said, adding that there is often “inherent skepticism” of third-party candidates.

Unlike past election cycles, that skepticism has seeped into mainstream politics, as well.

An ABC/Washington Post poll in October found that 68 percent of voters are unhappy with the current government and 60 percent said they support the idea of an independent candidate running against the Democrat and Republican nominee.

Green Party spokesman Mark Dunlea said the frustration has manifested itself in the Occupy Wall Street movement and the polls that show Congress has a lowest-ever approval rating of less than 10 percent.

“People are definitely fed up,” he said. “Am I predicting a victory for the Green Party this year? It’s certainly still a long shot, but less this year than in past years.”

Much of Americans’ frustration stems from the gridlock currently plaguing the political process, Ladd said. That is precisely why a group called Americans Elect has launched a campaign to put a party-free candidate on the ballot in every state in 2012.

“We are not a third party,” said Elliot Ackerman, the group’s chief operating officer. “The country has enough special interests and goofy ideologies out there. We are a second way to nominate our leaders.”

By gathering enough petition signatures, the group has already secured a spot on the ballot in nine states. Ackerman said that number will jump to 28 by the end of the year and before November 2012, he said the group will have secured the remaining 22 states.

But Americans Elect does not even have a candidate yet. That prospective candidate will be chosen through an online nominating process that is open to any registered voter who signs up through the group’s website to be an Americans Elect delegate.

So far, Ackerman said about 20 people have privately expressed interest in running for the Americans Elect nomination, although he would not disclose who the prospective nominees are.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Poll: Democratic, Republican Parties Struggling for Popularity

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Favorable views of the Democratic Party have fallen to their lowest since the Reagan landslide of 1984.  Even fewer Americans see the Republican Party positively, and Americans by a 2-1 ratio say they’d welcome an independent alternative for president.

Sixty-one percent of people surveyed in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll respond positively to the idea of an independent running for president against the two major-party nominees, while 32 percent say no thanks.

The results of the poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, underscore the level of interest in alternatives, and the extent to which the two main parties are struggling for popularity a year from the 2012 election.  The public now divides 48 percent to 46 percent in favorable vs. unfavorable views of the Democratic Party.  It's even worse for the GOP: Fifty-three percent see it negatively, 40 percent favorably.

The Democratic Party’s rating is its lowest in polls since November 1984, days before Ronald Reagan’s landslide re-election, when it hit 47 percent favorable.  The Republican Party is better off than its historic low in popularity -- 31 percent in 1998, upon the impeachment of Bill Clinton -- but still eight points below the Democrats according to that poll.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama's Labor Problem: Union Scales Back Support

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- As if dismal economic growth, high unemployment and natural disasters weren't enough to dampen President Obama's vacation, the nation's largest labor union has announced that it will scale back support of the Democratic Party for the 2012 elections.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka -- who has met with Obama frequently -- said Thursday that the union will spend more of its money to "build our own structure" and give less money "to build structures for others."

In other words, instead of giving money to boost the Democratic Party as a whole, the union plans to build its own strategy to influence specific races and highlight particular issues beyond the election season.

"Contributing money to the party had value but it didn't leave anything enduring that was independent of the party," said AFL-CIO's political media outreach specialist Jeff Hauser.  "We are much more interested in building a year-round, odd year and even year, every year political mobilization rather than gearing up ourselves six months [before the election] and relying on an external political operation."

President Obama's relationship with labor unions has been on the rocks after the president failed to achieve passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, or "card-check" bill, that would make it easier for workers to organize.

"There is broad frustration with the party and all elected officials, broad frustration with the lack of a union agenda," said Michael Monroe, chief of staff of the Building & Construction Trades Department of AFL-CIO.  "People are looking for outlets to express that frustration."

The president's support of free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea was also unpopular with labor groups like the AFL-CIO, which contributed $1.6 million to Democratic campaigns in 2010 and $1.2 million during the past presidential election.

Hauser said there is "broad discontent within the labor movement" because Washington is preoccupied with cutting deficits instead of setting its sights on creating jobs.

"The number one issue in this country is by far the jobs crisis," he said.  "We hope to encourage leaders to focus on the real issue, the jobs crisis, rather than focusing so much attention on long-run deficit issues."

The union's announcement comes on the heels of AFL-CIO's move to create their own Super PAC (Political Action Committee), which will allow the union to collect and spend unlimited funds.  The union said the Super PAC is one aspect of AFL-CIO's strategy to build a year-round political operation.

Hauser said the new structure will increase AFL-CIO's ability to impact elections and strengthen the candidates it supports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


For the Kennedys: The End of an Era

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The sun has set on the Kennedy era. When Congress reconvenes next week, it will be the first time in 64 years that there has not been a Kennedy in office.

The last Kennedy -- Patrick, a congressman from Rhode Island -- has officially left the building, saying, "my life is taking a new direction and I will not be a candidate for reelection."

His father, Sen. Edward Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate, died in 2009. Now, the new frontier on Capitol Hill has a distinctly Republican flavor. Replacing the Kennedys as the only father-son team on the Hill are Rep. Ron Paul and Senator-elect Rand Paul, both Tea Party Republicans.

John F. Kennedy launched the family franchise in 1947 when, at age 30, he joined the U.S. Congress. He spent six years as a congressman and eight years as a senator, fighting for civil rights and social welfare. In 1961, he moved to the White House, famously calling on Americans to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." He brought with him his two brothers in to the political fray: Robert became attorney general and then senator, and Ted would be elected to the Senate too.

The attention attracted to the family's glamour, intellect and occasional scandal would last decades and help propel Ted Kennedy to serve almost 47 years in Congress. He championed Medicare, rights for the disabled, and health care reform. His son, Patrick, and Robert's son, Joe, also followed in the Kennedy footsteps serving as Congressmen.

It's a legacy of triumph, tragedy and a national fascination with Democratic Party's first family. John and Robert were both assassinated, and Ted Kennedy famously pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a deadly car accident at Chappaquiddick.

Still, there is a new generation of young Kennedys who have yet to pick up the torch of public service. It's possible the sun has not set on Camelot for good.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


On Thanksgiving, Obama Asks for Bipartisan Approach to ‘Give Back’

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – President Obama offered a Thanksgiving greeting in his weekly address Thursday and asked Americans to give back to their country this holiday season.

“Even as we speak, there are countless Americans serving at soup kitchens and food pantries; contributing to their communities; and standing guard around the world,” Obama said.

The Obamas took time out this week to do some volunteering of their own. The First Family, along with 29 family members, distributed food baskets at Martha’s Table Wednesday, a D.C. area organization that provides food and shelter for the less fortunate.

He also took time to address public concern over the economy and jobs, asking for a bipartisan effort to move forward.

“We’ve got to do it as one people.  And in the coming weeks and months, I hope that we can work together, Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike, to make progress on these and other issues,” Obama said.

“This is not the hardest Thanksgiving America has ever faced.  But as long as many members of our American family are hurting, we’ve got to look out for one another.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Both Parties Say They'll Take House; Obama Keeps on Campaigning

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With just nine days to go until the midterm election, the leaders of both parties claim they will have control of the House of Representatives when all the votes are counted.

Republican party chairman Michael Steele said there is a "vibration" out there in the race for House control.  "I think you're going to see a wave, an unprecedented wave, on Election Day that's going to surprise a lot of people," Steele said on NBC's Meet the Press.

On ABC's This Week, Democratic National Committee head Tim Kaine didn't exude the same confidence of his counterpart, but still expressed optimism.  "It's all about turnout and ground game, and we're seeing good early voting trends and we've got work to do, but we think we can do it," he said.

Meanwhile, President Obama is scheduled to be back on the campaign trail Monday, visiting Rhode Island as he pleads for Democrats to vote.  Democrats claim to have closed the so-called "enthusiasm gap," but that doesn't mean they can win all their vulnerable seats.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Teaming Up: The President and First Lady to Campaign Together

Photo Caption - The White House | Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and the first lady will hit the campaign trail together next weekend, the White House announced Thursday, the first time the Obama duo has been out on the campaign trail together this midterm election cycle.

During Thursday afternoon’s daily White House briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced that on Sunday, Oct. 17, the president and the first lady will attend a fundraiser for Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. The Ohio governor is fighting for re-election in a tight race against Republican John Kasich.  Afterward, the president and the first lady will travel to Columbus, Ohio for one in a series of big rallies hosted by the Democratic National Committee.

With less than a month until the Nov. 2nd elections, the president has been out campaigning for Democratic candidates in order to minimize losses in November.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Obama at Fundraiser: 'People...Can Make a Difference'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In twin Democratic fundraisers in Washington, President Obama helped the party raise an estimated $1.75 million as he urged the party's faithful to get energized for the congressional elections in which Democrats could lose significant majorities.

“This was never going to be easy,” the president told 50 donors at a candlelit dinner in the home of his former aide, Linda Douglass. “When people come together, they can make a difference. You can see them get a little more pep in their step."

He scoffed at critics who claim his recent rally in Wisconsin didn’t show the same degree of enthusiasm he drew in his campaign.

The president urged the donors who contributed as much as $34,000 each to the Democratic Party not to rest between now and Election Day, Nov. 2.

“You can rest Nov. 3,” he said.

At the night's second event, 3,000 young people crowded into DAR Constitution Hall for what the party called a Gen44 Summit concert, with tickets as low as $44.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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