October 02, 2012, 04:15 pm
By Heath Brown, assistant professor, Seton Hall University
As Governor Mitt Romney completes his final planning for the first debate, his aides quietly plan for an electoral victory. The so-called “Readiness Project” mirrors many of the same activities that began during the 1960 pre-election transition of President John Kennedy. It was the Kennedy team -- lead mainly by Clark Clifford with help from the Brookings Institution -- that initiated the optimistic practice of forming agency review teams, early vetting potential appointees, and establishing a nascent policy agenda.
Mike Leavitt, the former Governor of Utah, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and current Romney’s transition chief, has studied his history and has a well-staffed pre-election team encamped on C Street, planning for the day after the election.
October 02, 2012, 02:45 pm
By Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.)
Florida has a population of more than 19 million people. Our residents have lived in the state for generations, they came to Florida from other states to start their lives or to enjoy their retirement, and many have come from other countries for economic and political reasons to pursue the American dream. We have Southerners in the North, transplanted Northerners in the South and hardworking people throughout the state, trying to raise their families and live their lives as best and as successfully as they can.
Florida’s demographic breakdown closely mirrors that of the United States as a whole, making the Sunshine State a populous and important bellwether in any national election. As Florida goes, so goes the country — not only because of a plethora of electoral votes, but because as a large and diverse state, we capture the pulse of the nation.
October 02, 2012, 02:00 pm
By Jack Bass, College of Charleston
Maybe the Obama campaign needs to bring Bill Clinton back for another lesson in Arithmetic. When Steve Croft on CBS’s 60 Minutes confronted President Obama Sunday a week ago about an unemployment rate of more than eight percent, he got a stumbling response.
Suppose that Team Obama instead had prepared him with the right answer, “You know, Steve, that in the 12 months leading into my inauguration, unemployment went up every month, a total of 59.2 percent. From a 4.9 percent rate at the end of January 2008, it increased 59.2 percent a year later, to 7.8. With that momentum, it went up monthly, to 10 percent in October of my first year. Since then it’s dropped to 8.2 percent, an 18 percent decline. Get your fact-checker to Google “U.S. Unemployment“ at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
October 01, 2012, 06:15 pm
By Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)
Florida will play a key role in what will probably be one of the most important elections in our nation’s history. At stake is the presidency, control of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the Florida state legislature, key amendments to Florida’s constitution, numerous judicial contests and many local offices.
As we are now the third largest state in the nation, all eyes will be on us as we vote in this election. Our state has now over 11 million registered voters and I know that we have the commitment to excellence that sets us apart from others. Florida is by far the most important of the battleground states having the largest number of electoral votes – 29. It also now has one of the largest congressional delegations at 27 members including two new districts that which will be filled in this election for the first time.
October 01, 2012, 02:00 pm
By David B. Cohen, professor, University of Akron, Ohio
You hear the axiom all the time: as Ohio goes, so goes the nation. But it’s an axiom for a reason — because it’s true. It is rare that the path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has not wound through the buckeye battleground. No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio and only twice since 1896 has a Democrat become president without doing so. 2012 will be no different as Ohio’s 18 electoral votes are a must-win for both campaigns. Electoral urgency is demonstrated by the fact that Ohio is a popular place to come during an election year — and during other years as well.
The candidates and their surrogates visit places like Maumee and Beallsville, Toledo and Sandusky, Mansfield and Parma, not to price out real estate or scout out vacation spots but to shop for votes. In 2012, President Barack Obama has traveled to Ohio 11 times already (with many more trips to come), second only to Virginia which is just a short jaunt across the Potomac River from the White House. And just this past week, President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney crisscrossed the state holding dueling campaign rallies. But why is Ohio so very popular to the occupants and aspirants of the White House?
September 28, 2012, 04:15 pm
By David A. Hopkins, assistant professor, Boston College
This year, Mitt Romney is trying to make history — of a sort. The last victorious presidential candidate who failed to carry his political home state was Woodrow Wilson in 1916, nearly a century ago. But if Romney prevails in the electoral college this November, he will need to do so without the support of Massachusetts, the state he served as governor for four years and the site of his national campaign headquarters. Public opinion surveys of Bay State voters reveal a consistently wide lead for Barack Obama despite the favorite-son status of his Republican opponent, and both sides openly acknowledge that the outcome is not in doubt. Boston-area residents are being subjected this fall to a steady stream of media advertising on behalf of both candidates, but only because our neighbors to the north in the more competitive state of New Hampshire tend to watch our television stations—and thus are the true target audience for the campaigns’ dueling ad blitzes.
September 28, 2012, 03:45 pm
By Christopher B. Chapp, assistant professor, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
The last time Wisconsinites had a chance to vote for one of their own in a presidential contest the year was 1924 and the candidate was the progressive firebrand Fightin’ Bob LaFollette. In that year, the Badger state resisted the national Coolidge landslide and instead gave the nod to its favorite son, a testament to the power of homegrown loyalty in presidential voting. In choosing Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney was, no doubt, hoping to cultivate a similar degree of loyalty in a critical swing state. Despite this, it is unlikely that the selection of Ryan will provide the needed shot in the arm for the Romney campaign in Wisconsin.
September 26, 2012, 03:04 pm
By George Pearson Cross, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Although overlooked in a campaign focused elsewhere, Louisiana is, nevertheless, solidly supportive of Mitt Romney's presidential bid and will deliver its eight electoral votes for Romney-Ryan on November 6. It was not always so. In the primary, the twenty-four percent of Louisiana Republicans who voted supported Rick Santorum over Romney by 22 points (49-27%). Among those who described themselves as "very conservative," support for Santorum reached 53% to Romney's 23%.
September 26, 2012, 01:00 pm
By Anthony Nownes, professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Last week I saw my first presidential campaign advertisement of 2012. I was watching a DVRed episode of The Mentalist, and Simon Baker had just baited a trap designed to ensnare a feckless criminal. Then without warning an Obama advertisement appeared on my television screen. It had something to do with tires, I believe. I paid the ad no attention. It wasn’t meant for me anyway. The sad truth is that neither candidate gives a rat’s rump about me, nor do the Koch Brothers or Karl Rove or organized labor or the stable of celebrities and friends Barack Obama has enlisted to email me every five minutes. Actually, this is not entirely true—they do care about my money, they just don’t care about my vote.
September 25, 2012, 01:00 pm
By W. Martin Wiseman, director of the Stennis Institute of Government, Mississippi State University
When it comes to rationality and predictability in politics Mississippi has always been a problem child. Indeed Mississippi born author and former Harper’s Magazine editor Willie Morris often elaborated at length on the paradoxes that characterize life in this most southern of states. In so doing Morris would allude to his notion that Mississippi contains the friendliest, most engaging people anywhere and also some of the meanest folks on earth at one and the same time.