“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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As if politics wasn’t a difficult and dirty enough business; politicians also have to take into account the unwholesome fact that nutters vote, too.
There’s a lesson for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in how failed US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney stretched himself a bit too far. He wanted to pitch to the far right but couldn’t quite span the octave. His finger slipped off the middle bit and he lost votes there instead.
Conservatives need the votes of older, white men - but by hooking up with sexist, racist, homophobic nutters (who often appeal to some of those conservative white men) they risk losing other, equally important votes.
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Mitt Romney should not be president, period. To suggest so is to flagrantly ignore the long list of gaffes, missteps, and contradictions that have characterised Romney’s campaign, and to further ignore the dangerous and destructive force that both he and the Republican Party represents. Romney’s substance consists of nothing more than scapegoats, bad policy and poor charisma.
Conservatives have heavily criticised “the liberal media” for portraying Romney as an extremist, but how much of that is true?
Take women’s reproductive rights, for example. Romney has flip-flopped on the issue of abortion since 1994, ranging from completely pro-choice, to completely anti-choice, and now he lies somewhere in-between.
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Mitt Romney is not a stylish politician. He will never match the uplifting rhetoric or easy charm of current US President Barack Obama. But if this week’s presidential election were to be decided purely on substance, Romney would win in a landslide.
For months, Democrats have depicted Romney as an extreme, uncaring plutocrat who wants to steal from the poor and give to the rich. President Obama, who promised to change the tone of politics for the better four years ago, has made the personal destruction of his opponent the centrepiece of his reelection strategy.
There’s just one problem. Romney doesn’t fit the caricature. In fact, his policies would do far more to help disadvantaged Americans than anything Obama has offered.
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The US Elections and the railways are long-standing bedfellows. No campaign during the 1800s would be complete without a ‘whistle stop tour’ – when candidates would charter trains to take them to the voters they hoped would carry them into office. This month I set out on my American Quest, travelling by train into the heart of some of this election’s most contentious issues, via some of its most keenly contested states.
Amtrak’s California Zephyr is one of the US national rail operator’s most famous services. This double decked train, with its iconic 1970s carriages, takes 48 hours to travel from Chicago to San Francisco. On the way it rolls from Obama’s Illinois heartland, through the critical swing state of Iowa and into rural Nebraska. It travels on via independent and unpredictable Colorado, to Romney’s Mormon base in Utah, and the beautiful Sierra Nevada. Finally, 4000 kilometres later, it arrives in California, and one of the world’s most liberal cities: San Francisco.
You would be hard pushed to find a more diverse slice of America, and that is precisely what we discovered on our trip.
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Israel, Egypt, Syria, Russia. That was what President Obama and rival Mitt Romney talked about today at the last presidential debate. Kind of, at least.
They’re issues pretty distant from most of the things we care about here in Australia.
But their debate came just after our appointment to a temporary seat on the crucial (and flawed) international decision-making body, the UN Security Council. Subsequently, what the two candidates said about foreign policy today raised further questions about what role we’re going to play in the world in the next few years.
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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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Obama is weak and has made America timid. Obama is more a follower than a leader; a passive figure lacking clarity, lacking purpose and lacking resolve. He has deserted past and potential allies, and is guilty of allowing the Middle East to become a more dangerous region than when he took office.
It’s less than a month to the US Presidential election, and as the focus turns from domestic to foreign policy, these are the charges being levelled against the incumbent by Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Speaking at the Virginia Military Institute in Washington recently, Romney prevailed on those gathered that the country couldn’t afford another four years of failure, passiveness and receding influence. That its best hope for realising a so-called ‘American century’, securing its dominant economic, political and cultural influence, is his elevation to the oval office. It’s a message he reiterated in yesterday’s town hall debate in Hampstead, New York.
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“Binders of women”. Don’t know what we’re talking about? Watch:
Hope you’re not in too much of a bind today. What’s on your mind?
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So the sleepyhead woke up. Whassup, Barack?
Lefties in the US were about to jump a fortnight ago, when the president lamely waffled his way through the first debate. Obama had his large cappuccino this time around. With his back against the wall today at the second “town hall debate”, the prez was the clear winner of a duel that featured questions from undecided Americans.
That’s not to say Romney didn’t sell himself well. He always sells himself well. He certainly has one flash haircare regimen to keep it grey only at the temples. He was especially convincing, and perhaps befuddling, when reeling off a string of stats about how Obama’s economy is down in the dumps.
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The US election is going to be a squeaker. An absolute squeaker, if the presidential debate today (mostly about the US economy and the president’s health care reforms) was any indication.
Obama sounded like he needed a strong cup of coffee. Maybe with a double shot of something much stronger.
He was lethargic and mathematical - sometimes incomprehensibly so. That was particularly the case in the first half of the debate, which focused on the economy.
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This morning Treasurer Wayne Swan took a big swipe at Romney’s party, saying it was full of “cranks and crazies”. He was having a go at the Tea Party, who he thinks would be responsible for the US economy going off a “fiscal cliff”.
The Republican Party does have its fair share of cranks and crazies.
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Mitt Romney has a real chance to make Barack Obama a one—term president. The polls say the two men are close but Romney offers something that Americans will find hard to ignore on November 6 when they go to the polls: a proven record as a job creator.
When Clint Eastwood took the stage at the Republican National Convention, and gave an uneven speech that misfired in parts, he nevertheless made his point. Eastwood went to Tampa not as a Republican but an American who sees a great country struggling to find its way, hogtied by a stalemated Congress and run by professional politicians who put their survival ahead of their constituents.
President Obama’s fine rhetoric no longer moves hearts and minds.
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With a single announcement, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has changed the entire complexion of the upcoming American election.
In an uncharacteristically bold move, Romney unveiled policy wonk Congressman Paul Ryan as his pick for Vice President over the weekend. He could not have gifted Barack Obama with a bigger political target.
Ryan is the author of a controversial budget plan that aims to slash government spending, cut taxes and drastically reform America’s increasingly expensive entitlement system.
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It’s always entertaining when a political figure with no real responsibilities other than winning votes makes a high-profile foray into the delicate world of foreign affairs.
Unshackled by anything resembling real authority over such things as military or security policy, opposition politicians are free to blunder in to say, Chinese-American geo-political sensitivities, without concerns they might accidentally spark an explosion in the Taiwan Strait.
You only have to look at how quickly Bob Carr hit the “delete post” button on his Thoughtlines blog when he went from interested private citizen to Foreign Minister in the blink of a cursor.
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I fondly refer to them as “fan mail”. They’re the emails sent from concerned readers pointing out typos in articles and I love them for it.
Typos are evil. They make a person look silly, slapdash and unprofessional and have a nasty little habit of appearing in any article that you write disclosing the evils of poor spelling and grammar. So watch this space.
Typos also appear in the comments section. Just yesterday banter broke out between Emma and Susan on my piece about texting. Emma pointed out a typo, Susan reprimanded Emma’s typo in her comment about my typo and so it continued.
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