“And phones down!”
It’s 6.30pm and Andrew, the point man for Obama for America in Ballston, is instructing us to hang up our telephones. And, with precision timing, it’s the end of the 2012 presidential election campaign for our field office in the battleground state of Virginia.
Election Day, ominously known as E Day, is coming to a close. We’ve been calling known Democrats in Arlington County since 9am this morning but, with polling stations closing in 30 minutes, there’s little more to do but wait.
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The way the American media reported it, the second debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney during the week was a bruising, bare-knuckle affair—the roughest and most aggressive presidential debate ever. Crocodile Dundee comes to mind. “That wasn’t aggressive. THIS is aggressive.”
The Democratic president and his Republican challenger presented their arguments forcefully, and there was plenty of needle in the contest. But, compared with what we’ve become used to in Australia in recent times, they were remarkably respectful towards each other in the language they used.
The most offensive term I heard during the 90 minute telecast was “offensive”. Although each man was out to convince the massive TV audience that his opponent was telling untruths, neither uttered the word “lie”.
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The last week of elections is white line fever time. It’s the moment when history is written and the stakes are amplified and everything counts from the fliers, to the bunting, to the final ads, to the body language.
Just over 14 million Australians are registered to vote this Saturday – and if you believe the figure that 10 per cent don’t make up their mind until election day that means that the 1.4 million people who will decide this election are still in play.
But rather than glamorous game-changing plays, history is littered with the lessons from campaigns past, where the parties have pushed it that bit too hard to steer it home, and ended up wiping electoral excrement from their face. So here, as a community service to the campaigns at this stressful time, we present the Punch’s Seven Cautionary Tales for People Who Really Want to Win
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