Entries in Election 2012 (30)


Re-Living Election 2012: Campaign Comes Full Circle At Harvard

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- It’s been just over three weeks since Election Day 2012, but to many it already feels like an eternity.

President Obama’s victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney quickly gave way to an unfolding sex scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, speculation about new Obama administration cabinet members — particularly the possible nomination of Susan Rice to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state — and the fiscal cliff negotiations that are now consuming Washington.

But after more than a year and a half of campaigning, the long road to Nov. 6 is coming full circle this week as representatives from the Obama and Romney campaigns, as well as top advisers to many of the GOP primary candidates and several influential outside groups, are gathering this week at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government for a 2012 debrief.

On neutral ground in Cambridge, Mass., fierce rivals (think Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina) will meet for the first time since the election — and many for the first time ever.

The conference will culminate on Thursday night with a forum, organized by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, featuring Messina, Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod, Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom and senior strategist Stuart Stevens.

Stevens, the eccentric advertising and message guru who was frequently at Romney’s side on the campaign trail, previewed his look-back at the race on Wednesday in a Washington Post op-ed in which he acknowledged that “Romney was never a favorite of D.C.’s Green Room crowd or, frankly, of many politicians.”

But his column amounts to a fierce defense of Romney the candidate, even arguing that the former Massachusetts governor sparked a “national movement.”

“When Mitt Romney stood on stage with Barack Obama, it wasn’t about television ads or whiz-bang turnout technologies, it was about fundamental Republican ideas versus fundamental Democratic ideas,” Stevens wrote. “It was about lower taxes or higher taxes, less government or more government, more freedom or less freedom. And Republican ideals — Mitt Romney — carried the day.”

In the end, however, President Obama won the day, scooping up almost all the swing states the Romney campaign hoped to capture and amassing 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206.

The Harvard gathering is taking place on the same day that President Obama plans to meet privately with Romney at the White House. Thursday’s meeting will be their first since the election. It also comes as Republicans continue to regroup after their loss this November and as chatter about potential 2016 presidential contenders has already begun.

When asked in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan Tuesday night whether it was a mistake for the GOP to nominate Romney, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus answered unequivocally, “No, I don’t think so at all.”

But, Priebus added that in order for his party “to get back in the game,” party leaders will need to “do a full autopsy of what happened.”

That autopsy is already taking both privately and publicly at venues like the Republican Governors Association conference in Las Vegas earlier this month where GOP governors from around the country offered an initial assessment of what went wrong. And it will continue next month when the RNC holds its annual winter meeting, which is sure to spark another round of soul-searching from party activists from around the country.

This week’s sessions at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics will include a who’s who of political bold-faced names from campaign 2012, including senior campaign aides like Romney political director Rich Beeson and pollster Neil Newhouse, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and digital director Teddy Goff, Rick Santorum adviser John Brabender, former Rick Perry campaign manager Rob Johnson and even Mark Block, who ran Herman Cain’s short-lived but much-talked-about presidential bid.

Representatives from the outside groups that had so much influence — and spent so much money — on the election will also be on hand, including Bill Burton, senior strategist for the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action; Steven Law, head of the pro-Republican group American Crossroads; and Tim Phillips, president of the conservative Americans for Prosperity.

In all more than three dozen campaign 2012 veterans will be on hand, along with some of the journalists who covered the election.

The closing forum with Messina, Axelrod, Fehrnstrom and Stevens will be streamed live on the Institute of Politics website Thursday at 6 p.m.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


As Obama Offers Olive Branch, Romney Dings President for ‘Gifts’ to Minority Voters

Melina Mara/The Washington Post(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Wednesday heaped praise on his defeated rival, GOP nominee Mitt Romney, saying the former governor’s record and ideas “could be very helpful” in shaping policy over the next four years.

“My hope is, before the end of the year… that we have a chance to sit down and talk,” Obama told reporters in his first post-election press conference.

But even as Obama extended something of an olive branch, Romney was reportedly accusing the president of doling out “gifts” to minority voters to curry their support for a second term.

“The President’s campaign focused on giving targeted groups a big gift—so he made a big effort on small things,” Romney told donors on a conference call, first reported by Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times.  “Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars.”

Romney claimed Obama had been “very generous” to blacks, Hispanics and younger voters, according to the Times, insisting that the policy decisions had been a decisive factor in high turnout that tipped the scale against him.

“I am very sorry that we didn’t win. I know that you expected to win,” Romney reportedly said. “We expected to win…. It was very close, but close doesn’t count in this business.”


Several participants on the call confirmed to ABC News the account and quotes presented by the L.A. Times.

On election night after both men spoke briefly by phone, Obama told his supporters that he extended an invitation to meet with Romney to demonstrate a spirit of bipartisanship after a bruising campaign.

On Wednesday the president reiterated his interest in a meeting but conceded he does not know whether Romney is willing to play along.

“He presented some ideas during the course of the campaign that I actually agree with. And so it’d be interesting to talk to him about something like that,” Obama said.  "There may be ideas that he has with respect to jobs and growth that can help middle-class families that I want to hear.”

But Obama added, “I’m not either prejudging what he’s interested in doing, nor am I suggesting I’ve got some specific assignment. But what I want to do is to is to get ideas from him and see if there are some ways that we can potentially work together.”

Read more about Romney’s donor call HERE.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Election 2012: Senate Democratic Majority Holds After Millions Spent

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats will maintain their majority in the U.S. Senate, ABC News projects, no small effort in an age of astronomically expensive campaigns and hyper-partisanship.

More than $1 billion is projected to have been spent in Senate races by candidates and outside groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But unlike in the 2010 and 2008 elections, neither party dramatically altered the balance of power in the Senate after this election.

Democrats defended 23 of the 33 seats in the Upper Chamber that were on the ballot in this election.

Several retirements in Maine, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas and Virginia imperiled some historically Democratic and Republican seats but opened opportunities in others.

The Democrats' achievement was aided in no small part by several high-profile missteps on the part of Republican candidates.

Embattled Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri faced a serious challenge from Todd Akin until his candidacy was imperiled by his comments suggesting that the human body could terminate a pregnancy that resulted from "legitimate rape."

The comments arguably aided McCaskill by refocusing the attention on her challenger, who was urged to drop out of the race by Republicans immediately after his remarks.

ABC News projects that McCaskill has won that race.

And in Indiana, Tea Party Republicans and many members of the GOP establishment actively campaigned against their incumbent, Sen. Dick Lugar, and instead nominated the state's treasurer, Richard Mourdock, a candidate Democrats preferred.

Mourdock received the personal endorsement of Mitt Romney in an ad late in the election, but his campaign ran into trouble when he said in an October debate that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

The comments set off a firestorm of recriminations from Democrats, and quickly prompted an apology from Mourdock.

ABC News projects that the Democratic nominee Rep. Joe Donnelly will win the Indiana Senate seat.

The gain in Indiana helped offset the loss of an open Democratic seat in Nebraska to Republican Deb Fischer, according to ABC News projections.

In other races, the slog was long and difficult.

A highly anticipated Massachusetts contest between Democratic activist and Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren and Republican Sen. Scott Brown became one of the most expensive and closely watched races in the country.

Brown's seat became a target for Democrats who hoped to retake it after he won a special election after the death of longtime Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Brown, who ran and won in 2010 as a small-government conservative during a wave Tea Party-driven elections, ran a markedly more moderate race in 2012.

But returning to its blue-state roots, Massachusetts will elect Warren, ABC News projects.

In the current Congress, two independents caucus as Democrats. Angus King, who won the open Republican Senate seat in Maine as an independent, according to ABC News projections, has not said whether he will vote with the Democratic Party.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jon Huntsman Describes Mitt Romney’s ‘Trust Deficit’

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Jon Huntsman sounded more like an independent candidate for president (which he is not) than somebody who has endorsed Mitt Romney (which he has) in a speech Thursday at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

“The party is not in a good place right now,” Huntsman said, according to a write-up in The Harvard Crimson.

The former Utah governor and former presidential candidate cited the GOP's rhetoric on immigration in particular and a lack of leadership in general.  “Boldness is thrown out the window,” he said.  “Courage is not on display.”

“Here you are during a time of the great crisis for this nation,” Huntsman said, “and you say, this is all this great country can offer up?”

He didn’t mention Mitt Romney’s name, but was eventually asked about him and was less than enthusiastic.

“I think Romney will show leadership on the economy,” Huntsman said. “But on the trust deficit, I don’t see a whole lot of leadership.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Predicts GOP Takes Back North Carolina in November

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- With the site of the Democratic National Convention behind him, Mitt Romney Wednesday looked forward to this fall, predicting a win in the crucial state of North Carolina and previewing what he believes President Obama will and will not say to Americans when he accepts the Democratic nomination.

“I know the Democratic National Convention is going to be right behind us,” said Romney, pointing to the Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte, as the crowd booed. “I know the president’s going to do everything he can to get North Carolina in his column and that will not be enough because we’re going to win North Carolina in November.”

“I want to give you some thoughts about what’s going to happen there, a bit of a preview, if you will,” said Romney, who stood at a podium adorned with a sign reading, “Obama Isn’t Working.” “I predict that you will not hear a reprise of President Obama’s speech from four years ago in Denver. They will not be quoting it extensively. But because they won’t, I thought I would.”

And with that, Romney delivered a speech unlike his standard remarks, listing off the various things Obama said in 2008 and at times even reading word for word portions of Obama’s speech.

“At that time the president said, and I quote, ‘Democrats have a different measure of what constitutes progress,’ and then he went on to list specifically the things that Democrats feel constitute progress,” said Romney. “He said you measure progress by, quote, ‘How many people can find a job that pays the mortgage.’”

“Now, what you won’t hear at that convention is that for the last 38 months, unemployment has been above 8 percent, that we’ve had 24 million Americans that are out of work, stopped looking for work, or underemployed,” said Romney. “You won’t hear that since he gave that speech and became president that there have been 50,000 more job losses here in North Carolina, more than twice as many as would fit in that stadium.”

“You will not hear that 400,000 North Carolinians are out of work. You will not hear that 93 percent of the people who lost their jobs during the Obama years have been women,” he continued. “Those are things you will not hear, but as I’m the nominee for our party, I hope, I’m going make sure the people of America hear those things loud and clear.”

Romney’s speech Wednesday, dubbed by his campaign as a “prebuttal” to Obama’s convention speech still more than four months away, is the first major push from the Romney campaign in the battleground state North Carolina since becoming the presumptive nominee last week.

During the 2008 presidential election, then-Senator Obama successfully flipped the state from red to blue for the first time in more than 30 years, winning 50 percent of the vote, inching out Sen. John McCain’s 49 percent.

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a conference call touted by the Obama re-election campaign earlier Wednesday, charging Romney as being unclear in his vision for America.

“What we have heard doesn’t sound good for a majority of Americans,” said Hagan. “As President Obama continues to fight for the middle class, strengthen our economy so that it’s built to last, and build on the 25 straight months of private sector job growth we’ve seen under the president, Mitt Romney will speak in Charlotte today and lay out his plans to return to the same failed policies of the past: tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and corporations paid for with cuts to Medicare, Social Security, education, housing and initiatives to boost our economy for everyone else.”

On Thursday, Romney will continue to chase President Obama around the country: The candidate is scheduled to hold an event in Lorain, Ohio, the same city where the president delivered a speech Wednesday.

“Our campaign is going to go toe-to-toe and post up against the Obama machine every day to help get the message out that Mitt Romney will be able to deliver what this president could not -- and that’s a more prosperous America,” said Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Maker of Racist Anti-Obama Sticker Shuts Down Site

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A photograph of a bumper sticker that features a racist play on words lit up Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere Thursday.

The sticker reads “Don’t Re-Nig In 2012″ and sits above a smaller text that reads: “Stop repeat offenders. Don’t re-elect Obama!”

The design seems to have originated from a site called Stumpy’s Stickers, which has since been dismantled. The site featured similar stickers for sale, including a picture of an ape that reads, “Obama 2012″; a drawing of the Confederate flag with the message “If this flag has offended you, then it made my day!”; and another that features members of the Ku Klux Klan and reads, “The Original Boys In The Hood.”

ABC News tried to access the website Friday morning, but the email address has been suspended, and the person(s) responsible for the website has not been identified.

The photograph went viral when it was posted to Facebook on Thursday afternoon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Raises $1.2M, Promises More ‘Change’ in Primary Eve Stump

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, President Obama did some campaigning of his own, attending two fundraisers in Washington, D.C., Monday night that netted at least $1.2 million for Democrats and his re-election campaign.

Obama also used the outings, his first two money events of 2012, to test drive his nascent campaign themes.

In a speech to 700 supporters at the Capitol Hilton, a fired-up Obama mimicked a clip reel of his greatest hits from the stump, exhorting his base to be “greater together” and energized by a vision for America “that says everybody deserves a fair shot, everybody needs to do their fair share.”

Reprising a litany of accomplishments from his first term that he’s begun to brand as “change is,” Obama touted the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell,” end of the Iraq war, and passage of a landmark health care overhaul as promises kept from the 2008 campaign.

Then pivoting to a call-to-action, Obama told the crowd, “Everything we fought for during the last election is at stake in this election. The very core of what this country stands for is on the line.”

“Don’t take my word for it: Watch some of the debates that have been going on up in New Hampshire,” he added with a smile, referring to the two Republican presidential debates that took place over the weekend.

Obama disparaged the policies of “Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail,” casting them as charting a course for the country in a “race to the bottom.”

And he promised that he would continue to deliver on “big change” in a second term, regardless of challenges faced during his first.

“If you want to end the cynicism and the game playing and the point scoring here in Washington, then this is the election to send the message that you will refuse to back down,” Obama said to the electrified crowd.

“And this election may be harder than the last one, but I promise you we will finish what we started in 2008,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, Obama attended an exclusive fundraiser with 25 supporters at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington.  Each paid $45,000 to attend, according to a Democratic official.  The event, which was closed to all press coverage, was dubbed a “roundtable discussion” by a White House spokesman.

Obama told the crowd at the Hilton that he spent time “reminiscing about the 2008 campaign” with those deep-pocket supporters, but had to give them a reality check.

“I said, ‘You guys are engaging in some selective memory here,’” he said. “First of all, 2008 wasn’t easy at all. There were all kinds of setbacks and miscues. Times I screwed up. But just over three years later, just because of what you did … we’ve begun to see what change looks like.”

The funds raised at the private event benefited the Obama Victory Fund and Swing State Victory Fund, two joint fundraising accounts for the Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee.  The second event benefited only the Obama Victory Fund.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


In Second TV Ad, Perry Says He’s Not All Talk

Toni Sandys/The Washington Post(NEW YORK) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry will release his second television ad in Iowa Monday, in which he says he’s “a doer, not talker.”

“If you’re looking for a slick politician or a guy with great teleprompter skills, we already have that. He’s destroying our economy. I’m a doer not a talker,” Perry says in the 30-second ad, wearing a blue button-down shirt with no tie.

“In Texas, we created 40 percent of the new jobs in the entire country since June of 2009 and we cut a record $15 billion from our state budget,” he says. “And they say we can’t do that in Washington. Well, they’re wrong. They need to go.”

The details of the ad were first reported by the New York Times. It comes on the heels of Perry’s first ad, released Wednesday, which also touted his record creating jobs in Texas.

Over the weekend, Perry tied Newt Gingrich at 7 percent for fifth place in an Iowa poll sponsored by the Des Moines Register. The poll was conducted from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26, the day Perry’s ad began airing in the Hawkeye State.

Herman Cain topped the poll with 23 percent, followed by Mitt Romney at 22 percent. Despite a late entrance in the race, Perry has spent more time in Iowa this year than the two leading candidates. He will make his seventh trip to Iowa this Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama: 2012 Is Like Basketball, and I Don’t Miss Clutch Shots

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- If his campaign for a second term is like a basketball game, President Obama says it’s nearing halftime, he’s down on the scoreboard, and facing a full court press.

Obama told a crowd of campaign donors, including a mix of past and present NBA stars, in Florida Tuesday night that “this is like the second quarter, maybe the third. And we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

“But I want everyone to know I’m a fourth-quarter player,” he said. “I don’t miss my shots in the fourth quarter.”

Obama spoke at the Lake Mary, Fla., home of attorney John Morgan, one of his top volunteer fundraisers, or bundlers, where around 100 guests paid at least $1,500 to see the president speak. Proceeds flowed to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint account between the Obama Campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

NBA all-star Grant Hill, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and Phoenix Suns guard Vince Carter were among the basketball stars in attendance, according to media reports. The official invitation for the event also listed ex-NBA great Patrick Ewing as a co-host.

“So as long as we’ve got a strong team and everybody’s engaged and involved, we’re not just going to win this election,” Obama said. “We are going to win this election and then we are going to make sure that we rebuild this country.”

The event was Obama’s second fundraiser of the day in Florida. Earlier he spoke to a crowd of 400 donors at the Orlando Sheraton where tickets started at $250. The two events raised at least a quarter million dollars combined for Obama and Democrats in 2012.

Florida was the fourth most generous state to Obama in 2008, behind California, New York and Texas. He raised $53 million there, according to stats compiled by Center for Responsive Politics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Excitement Up, Democrats Down for 2012 Election

Comstock/Thinkstock(PRINCETON, N.J.) -- With about 13 months to go before Election Day 2012, Democratic voters are pretty blasé at the moment.

A Gallup poll shows that 45 percent of Democrats are more excited about voting in the upcoming general election than the last one while 44 percent admit they're less excited.

That doesn't bode well for President Obama and his party since in 2008, 79 percent of Democrats were admittedly more enthusiastic about voting than they were four years earlier.

On the other hand, Republicans are feeling more juiced up with 2012 fast approaching.

Fifty-eight percent say they are more excited than in 2008 even as there are some doubts about the field of candidates who've set out to oppose Obama's reelection.  Just 30 percent say they feel less enthusiastic than they were three years ago.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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