Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

The vice presidential debate: 'Malarkey' v. 'Adorkable'

Two words can be used to distill the essence of  Thursday Night's Vice Presidential Debate:  Malarkey v. Adorkable.  

On the one hand you have Joe Biden in familiar territory talking, interrupting, spinning, smiling feverishly to help the Democrats regain control of the political narrative after the widely perceived misteps of the president in the first presidential debate; on the other you have Paul Ryan, the wonder wonk, attempting to demonstrate 1) that he is NOT Sarah Palin, and 2) that he is more than simply a policy wonk and has the attendant seriousness, intelligence and skill set necessary to sit a heartbeat away from the presidency. Both succeeded in their appointed tasks.


In Florida, the choice is clear

The choice is clear. If Floridians want continued job growth in the private sector, and a commitment to the middle class, then Floridians should re-elect President Barack Obama. If Floridians want to return to the disastrous polices that turned a budget surplus into a deficit, and nearly caused an international economic collapse, then vote for Mr. Romney. What the president realizes, and what Mr. Romney cannot comprehend is that when the least amongst us is doing well, we all do well. 

Florida is a state with a high population of informed seniors. Many of Florida’s seniors live on a fixed income, and constitute the 47% that Governor Romney has callously dismissed as people he does not have to worry about; dismissing Florida’s seniors as takers who feel like they are entitled to basic needs such as food, housing, and healthcare. However seniors in Florida are no fools. Mr. Romney’s callous disregard for Florida’s seniors, working class people, and veterans will cost him dearly. As Floridians get to know Mr. Romney’s they understand that it is President Obama who can relate to their hardship, it is President Obama whom they see as favoring the middle class, and with the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act, they realize that despite the relentless misinformation campaign, the Affordable Care Act is good for Florida’s seniors.


Biden and Ryan debate to a draw, Style still trumps substance

Interest here in Britain in the U.S. presidential campaign is almost as intense as the interest in the UK general election. Inevitably, we are caught up in the horse race of who will prevail on November 6, but equally prominent is the question of what will be different under an Obama or Romney Administration for the next four years, both for Americans and for those outside the U.S.

The immediate verdict on last night's vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan was that this was --- to borrow a term from football (or soccer, if you prefer) --- a "score draw". Neither candidate clearly won, but each notched up enough goals to satisfy his supporters. Ryan, despite some signs of nerves and some tangled responses on foreign policy, showed the competence and ability under pressure to dismiss worries about his relative lack of experience. Biden's spirited, sometimes aggressive performance was more than enough damage control after President Obama's weak display last week.


Vice President Biden clarified muddied waters

I understand the Republicans are calling it a draw, which should tell you that Vice President Biden (my former boss, full disclosure) did very well tonight against Representative Paul Ryan in their first and only debate.

I did pre- and post-debate commentary on CNBC and before the debate, I said the vice president needed to clarify the waters that newly moderate Mitt had muddied. And that he did. Especially on the economic and fiscal material, he wouldn’t let Ryan get away with the misleading claims that too often went unanswered in the first debate.


An opportunity for a real policy debate between two Catholics

Tonight’s vice presidential debate features two Catholics squaring off for the first time in U.S. history. Joe Biden and Paul Ryan share the same faith, but dramatically different policy visions for our nation. Focus has predictably fallen upon their contrasting views on the legality of abortion. This is a bedrock moral issue for the Catholic Church, and a topic of political interest to both parties. However, there is another profound moral difference that will be on display in the debate. It concerns the morality of our nation’s budget and the growing influence of libertarianism on our politics and culture.


A time for governing

Most of the commentary about the first presidential debate focused on what it will mean for the two candidates on Election Day. But its just as important to consider what the debate means for America and whether those campaign themes will remain in tonight's vice presidential debate and beyond.

And if Barack Obama and Mitt Romney mean what they said, then perhaps a long and depressing era of gridlock and dysfunction in American government can come to an end.


A bulwark against the Super PACs: The Internet

Money and politics have always gone hand in hand. But this year, we are witnessing the first presidential election in which big corporations can contribute unlimited funds to media campaigns that directly support or attack candidates. In this brave new world, big money donors are coloring voters’ views of candidates which can make or break political careers at an unprecedented scale. The influence of big money interests continues once candidates are elected, with all of the access money can buy.
We must work to fix the massive structural issues that have allowed big money to distort our political landscape. But in the meantime, we also need to find ways to level the playing field for everyone. And that means protecting today’s greatest equalizer: the Internet.


Obama's closing argument

President Obama won’t have a chance to make up for his uninspiring debate performance until Oct. 22, when he will meet Mitt Romney in Florida with CBS’s Bob Schieffer moderating. The vice president’s debate comes before that, though, as well as a debate with a town-hall format that won’t allow the candidates much opportunity for oratory. So, as an old speech writer, I can’t resist offering suggestions for his last clear chance for summation. Here’s what I’d whisper in his ear the night before.


Romney's foreign policy: More, please

With polls showing Americans trust President Obama more on foreign policy and a debate devoted to the subject coming up on Oct. 22, Mitt Romney has been clarifying his positions in articles and speeches, including a major address Oct. 8 at the Virginia Military Institute.

Romney says he wants America to lead again, resuming the strategy that guided the United States for the 70 or so years prior to 2009. He has a good point, but much of his attention has been directed at what he considers Obama’s failings — leading from behind, apologizing, not being close enough to Israel — rather than toward delineating his own policy.

A good example was his pallid op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Sept. 30. It began with 10 paragraphs of throat-clearing (“President Obama has allowed our leadership to atrophy,” etc.) and offered precisely two prescriptions: make the ayatollahs believe “when we say an Iranian nuclear-weapons capability ... is unacceptable” and place “no daylight between the United States and Israel.”

Even in an election that will surely turn on economic issues, Americans deserve more from their candidates on foreign policy.


Romney will put business before consumers

Though presidents are rarely judged by their role in protecting consumers, President Obama may have done more for consumers than any president in recent decades. That makes sense, given that he took office shortly after the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression, a collapse caused in part by predatory lending, consumers not understanding what they were pledging to pay, and lenders granting mortgages without verifying that borrowers' incomes could cover their payments. In response, the president led the battle to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), passed new credit card protections in the 2009 Credit CARD Act, and, in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, blocked lenders from granting mortgages to borrowers who cannot repay their loans. When Senate Republicans vowed to prevent anyone from leading the CFPB unless the Bureau was significantly weakened, President Obama defied them by granting former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray a recess appointment to head the CFPB, so the Bureau could get on with protecting consumers.