With less than two weeks until Election Day the Presidential debates have now transpired and we must now deliberate and decide who we want to lead our country for the next four years. I have assembled four news articles which I have collected since the first debate in the early part of October and thru the third and final debate so that we may make some kind of comparison and reflect on our choice for the office of President of the United States. The publications chosen are as follows:
* Rasmussen Reports
Presidential polling data for Presidential job ratings of Barack Obama and the
Presidential race of Obama - Romney.
DENVER — Wednesday’s presidential debate was a tale of four candidates: the two men who stood on the stage for 90 minutes and the two rivals Americans have seen for months on the campaign trail and in television commercials. There was no comparison.
Start with President Obama, who may have lost Wednesday’s debate in as lopsided a manner as any incumbent in recent times. Other incumbents have stumbled in their first reelection campaign debates. Ronald Reagan in 1984 and George W. Bush in 2004 come to mind. Both had bad moments that cost them the debate.
Obama didn’t lose because he had a few bad moments. Challenger Mitt Romney dictated both the tone and the tempo of the evening, at times acting as candidate and moderator. Obama fell behind in the opening minutes and never really found his footing. He lacked energy stylistically and he lacked crispness substantively. He sounded like he does in his press conferences, at times discursive and often giving answers that were longer than necessary.
This wasn’t the Obama seen in Obama campaign commercials or in the daily scrum with Romney’s campaign. His team has waged an extraordinarily aggressive campaign from the moment Romney wrapped up the Republican nomination.
Given his vulnerability due to the state of the economy, Obama and his advisers sought to define Romney before Romney could define himself. It seemed to work. The campaign attacked Romney for his work at Bain Capital, for not releasing his tax returns, for putting money in a Swiss bank account and in the Cayman Islands.
Obama mentioned none of that on Wednesday night. It was as if he left his campaign’s best attack lines in a folder backstage. Inexplicably, he never once mentioned Romney’s “47 percent” comment — his line that nearly half of all Americans pay no federal income taxes, that they see themselves as victims, that they’re dependent on government and unwilling to take personal control of their own lives.
If none of those were worth talking about on Wednesday night, why has Obama’s campaign spent the last four months and hundreds of millions of dollars driving home that message? Perhaps his advisers believe they’ve done all the damage they need do with those attacks. There is evidence that they’ve stuck. Perhaps the president did not want to project a persona that conflicts with the candidate who captivated the country with a message of hope and inspiration four years ago.
Whatever the case, his performance left Democrats wondering what happened. As one Democratic strategist put it in an e-mail message Thursday morning, “ughhh.”
Tad Devine, another Democratic strategist, who was one of Kerry’s senior advisers in 2004, sent an e-mail with this assessment of the president’s apparent strategy Wednesday night: “I assume they had a strategy not to engage or get too personal. He [Obama] was like he had been in many previous debates, but in these very different times, cool and calm is not as powerful as it once was. They have to recalibrate or risk being pushed aside by the new and improved Romney.”
Romney, too, seemed disconnected from the candidate Americans have seen over the past year. On the campaign trail, he is awkward. He is corny and wonky. His stump speech neither soars nor strikes home with real force. Only in debates did he shine during the primaries ,and on Wednesday night he was back on comfortable ground. He knew his brief and he seemed happy to be able to deliver it face to face with the president.
Romney did what he wasn’t fully able to do at his convention, which was to make the debate as much about the president’s record as possible while giving viewers a better sense of what he would do as president to get the economy moving.
But who was the Romney Americans saw on Wednesday night? This was not the candidate who lurched to the right to win the Republican nomination. This was not the nominee of a Republican Party that is more conservative than it was when conservative icon Reagan was president. This was moderate Mitt from Massachusetts, the turnaround artist with a plan to fix the economy.
As William A. Galston of the Brookings Institution put it in a post-election analysis, “Romney presented himself as a reasonable man — neither an extremist nor an ideologue. He calmly rebutted familiar attacks on his proposals. He was clear and forceful, tough but respectful.”
But in the aftermath of the debate, Romney will face plenty of questions about his agenda, including the one that the president never forced him to answer on Wednesday. Romney insisted repeatedly that he does not have a $5 trillion tax-cut plan that would favor the wealthy, though independent analysts have said it would.
If that’s not his plan, what is his plan? How much would it cost? And just how would he make the math add up? He refuted Obama’s criticisms by deflection, not by engagement. He still hasn’t said what loopholes and tax expenditures and deductions he would get rid of.
In the hours after the debate, Obama campaign advisers were insistent that they would tear into Romney for what he said and didn’t say. Obama failed to make his criticisms stick in person. He’ll have two more opportunities in upcoming debates to do so. But the next opportunity will be Vice President Biden’s, when he debates Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) next Thursday in Kentucky. It’s unlikely he’ll leave the 47-percent issue backstage.
Both sides believe the contrasts drawn on Wednesday night favor their candidates. Obama’s team sees Romney on the wrong side of public opinion on Medicare, on dealing with the deficit and on protecting the middle class. Romney’s team argues that Obama is on the wrong side of public opinion in calling for higher taxes, more spending and more regulation. Obama called Romney’s economic plan trickle-down; Romney said Obama’s plan is “trickle-down government.”
Republicans were elated by what happened on Wednesday night. They knew that a bad performance by Romney might have all but doomed his chances of winning the election. Now they see a race joined again. Stuart Stevens, the Romney campaign’s chief strategist and a target of considerable criticism over the past month, looked particularly pleased as he fielded questions from reporters after the debate.
Stevens has argued for many months that Obama’s failure to take ownership of his record would prove to be his biggest obstacle to reelection. He said the debate proved that. “I don’t think [Obama] had a particularly bad debate,” he said. “He has a bad record.”
Stevens said polls show a virtual tie nationally and noted that challengers often don’t overtake an incumbent until the very end of the election. Obama advisers stressed that Romney still has a narrow path through the battleground states to win the necessary 270 electoral votes and seemed determined to make that part of whatever new narrative comes out of Wednesday’s debate.
Democrats were sobered by the president’s performance but believe fundamentals still work in Obama’s favor. Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, said Romney’s victory was “convincing, but hardly changed the race.” He argued that Romney’s performance likely would bring some Republican-leaning independents who had been wavering or tilted toward Obama into the former governor’s column, but said underlying forces would still help the president.
“That said,” he added, “I think the president will have to be much more passionate about the changes he will bring, and bolder. In our dial tests, his best scores were right at the beginning when he laid out four things he would do. People are still looking for what the candidates will do. Obama will have to show much more.”
Devine said the effect of the debate is to take away hopes among Democrats that Obama might score a big victory in November and help other Democrats in down-ballot races. “That huge opening may now be lost if Romney makes up ground or, even worse, if it looks like he will win,” he said. “People want progress and to turn the page after 11 years of doubt, and last night Romney looked more like the guy who could and would turn that page for them.”
“Romney is a top-notch debater and the president had an off night,” said Steve Rosenthal, a Democratic strategist with ties to organized labor. “Debates are like speed bumps — you have to slow down to get past them but then you can resume your normal cruising speed. The public is evenly divided and this is going to be a race to the end. Now it’s onto the next one, but hopefully last night was a wake-up call to anybody on our side who had grown overconfident or complacent.”
It will take some days for the impact of the debate to filter through the electorate. Only then will it become clear whether or how much Wednesday’s debate changed things. But for the moment, Romney far exceeded expectations, and for now that has made this a different contest.
"Town Meeting" format - Hofstra University - Hempstead, NY.
The Editorial Board
A more forceful Obama and a well-prepared Romney square off at Hofstra.
- Romney continued to undermine the Democratic strategy of casting him as a dangerous extremist.
- Obama delivered a forceful, presidential performance that sometimes dominated the stage.
- Neither addressed key "fiscal cliff" tax and spending decisions that the winner will confront early in the next term.
12:46AM EDT October 17. 2012 - In the annals of presidential debates, the town hall sessions have typically been a refreshing change of pace.
OTHER VIEWS: Call it a tie
They tend to be less scripted than those run entirely by journalists, sometimes venturing into unforeseen territory. They also make it harder for candidates to take the questions simply as cues to launch into memorized monologues or harsh attacks on their opponents.
After a ragged start, Tuesday's town hall debate in Hempstead, N.Y., featuring questions from uncommitted voters, proved no exception. Initially, the voters' role was overshadowed by moderator Candy Crowley's follow-ups and extended, combative exchanges between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on education, energy costs and middle-class tax cuts. But as the debate went on, it settled into an exchange that presented a contrast of ideas that viewers could absorb more easily than they did the statistics-laden first debate.
As for who won, it could be looked at in a variety of ways.
Mostly obviously, Romney's perfomance continued to undermine the Democratic strategy of casting him as a dangerous extremist. As in the first debate, the former Massachusetts governor presented himself as reasonable and focused on the audience's concerns, and particularly the insecurity brought on by a sluggish economy.
But unlike the first debate, this was no clear-cut Romney win. In fact, after the first 30 minutes, Obama -- so lackluster in the first debate -- delivered a forceful, presidential performance that sometimes dominated the stage. The apex came in response to a question about why requests for added security at the American mission had been denied before the deaths of four diplomats, an issue Romney has been trying to capitalize on for weeks. Without directly answering the security-denial question, Obama forcefully said the responsibility was his. He then attacked Romney for suggesting that he -- as president -- would play politics with American lives at stake, angrily calling it offensive and leaving Romney with no effective response.
In the end, each candidate achieved what he needed to do, with early reaction suggesting either a split decision or an Obama win. Political activists and national journalists on Twitter, who almost universally saw a Romney win in the first debate, were divided this time, as was wider commentary. Instant polls by CBS and CNN both found an Obama victory by 7 points.
So much for style points and flash reactions.
As for substance, the economy remained the dominant issue, and here the candidates continued to fall short on specifics. Both pitched more middle-class tax cuts without acknowledging the need to raise more revenue to reduce deficits. Neither addressed key "fiscal cliff" tax and spending decisions that the winner will confront early in the next term.
With the candidates ducking the tough choices and polls showing a tight contest, many voters regard the debates as chances to see how comfortable each candidate is in his own skin and how well each can relate to voters' concerns. Tuesday's debate, coming three weeks before the election, provided ample opportunity to take that measure.
Boca Raton, FL - Debate "Foreign Policy". The candidates
with moderator, CBS's Bob Scheffer.
Monday Oct. 22, 2012 at Lynn University - third and final debate.
This photo really resembles our cartoon at the end of the article!
3ird Debate - Lynn University
Who Won The Third Presidential Debate: Commentary Roundup
Leadership | 10/23/2012 @ 12:24PMSusan Adams, Forbes Staff I cover careers, jobs and every aspect of leadership.
How do you score a debate when the candidates agreed on almost everything? At least when they stuck to the subject of the night, foreign policy, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama demonstrated few differences at their third and final debate, at Lynn University in Boca Raton. That left commentators to view the debate through their own pro-Romney or pro-Obama lenses. The post-debate critiques are falling largely along partisan lines, with Obama supporters seeing the President’s performance as forceful and compelling and the pro-Romney camp viewing their candidate as steady, strong and appealing to voters.
Here at Forbes, Leadership Editor Fred Allen writes that the president emerged the victor because he seemed relaxed, in command and clear in his explications of the administration’s policies. Fred also thinks that Obama’s one-liners were effective, like his response to Romney on one of the few foreign policy differences between the two candidates. When Romney criticized Obama for allowing the navy to operate with fewer ships than it had in 1916, the President responded that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets.” Also, writes Fred, when Romney described the many problems overseas and America’s weakness at home, he may have lost points, rather than scored them, with his negative message.
Forbes’ John Tamny, a conservative, calls the debate a victory for Obama, because the president seemed reasonable and confident and scored points in part because Romney agreed with so many of the administration’s policies in places like Iran, Israel, Afghanistan and Syria. But Tamny believes Obama’s win was pyrrrhic, because the election is really about the economy at home, and on that subject, he believes Romney remains much stronger.
Obama Vs. Romney On Foreign Policy In Final Debate
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) debates with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as moderator Bob Schieffer listens at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University on October 22, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida. The focus for the final presidential debate before Election Day on November 6 is foreign policy.
Another intriguing piece here at Forbes: communications coach Carol Kinsey Goman’s assessment of who won the debate in terms of body language. I don’t know what Goman’s political proclivities are, but she scores last night for Obama, writing that the president “had the best combination of likeability and command cues,” while his challenger perspired, swallowed frequently, licked his lips, stammered and even gave a slight shudder, which all showed that he was under a great deal of stress. By contrast, Obama used palm-down gestures, signaling certainty and flashed his “great genuine smile,” a sign of his likeability.
On the editorial pages, The Wall Street Journal says Romney won this debate, not because he scored so well on foreign policy, but because he was able to steer the talk back to domestic policy, the struggling economy, ballooning debt and his ideas for how he would stimulate growth over the next four years. On foreign policy, the evening’s subject, the Journal says Romney held his own and Obama failed to make him look “wrong and reckless.” The Journal also notes that Obama may have scored more debating points with his jabs and one-liners, “but he looked smaller doing it.” At the same time, the Journal wishes Romney had been more hawkish, writing that the situation in Syria may wind up requiring U.S. military intervention.
The New York Times sees Obama as the clear winner last night, and criticizes Romney for having “no original ideas of substance on most world issues, including Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.” Writes the Times, “At his worst, Mr. Romney sounded like a beauty pageant contestant groping for an answer to the final question.” The Times also praises the president for calling Romney’s claim that Obama went on an “apology tour” of the Middle East soon after taking office, “the biggest whopper” of the campaign.
Elsewhere, the commentary is hewing mostly to political fault lines, with several commentators at the National Review, and Charles Krauthammer of Fox News, all saying that Romney won the debate. The Review has more than a half dozen stories calling Romney the victor, from Jonah Goldberg, who writes that Romney appeared presidential and got in some good lines on the economy, to Jim Geraghty, who says that while Romney’s answers seemed geared to please focus groups, Obama’s horses and bayonets quip was “snippy and sneering,” and won’t go down well with voters. One piece at the Review, by Yual Levin, gives the debate to Obama on points, but says that Romney came out ahead because his goal was to seem presidential and he did that, answering every question “with a calm, responsible attitude [that] convey[ed] sobriety and level-headedness.”
Over at Fox, Charles Krauthammer writes that “Romney won unequivocally” because he demonstrated he “knows every area of the globe,” and could talk about each region with impressive details, like the threat of the Haqqani network in Pakistan. Aside from the details, Krauthammer thinks Romney was smart to frame the contest for the presidency as a big picture struggle about how America is perceived in the world. Krauthammer liked it when Romney accused Obama of going on an “apology tour” in the Middle East, and praises Romney’s line about how the U.S. doesn’t dictate to other nations, “we liberate them.”
From the liberal perspective, Obama won the debate hands down. At Time, Joe Klein says Obama performed better on both style and substance, writing that Romney seemed nervous, scattered and unconvincing, while agreeing with the president on almost every foreign policy issue aside from military spending. Klein writes that Obama was not only strong but clever, mentioning Israel three times as America’s greatest ally in the Middle East. Klein feels that Obama’s zingers, the horses and bayonets quote and his comment about Romney favoring the “foreign policy of the ’80s, the social policy of the ’50s and the economic policy of the ’20s,” though “precooked,” were effective.
At The Washington Post, Eugene Robinson also gives the debate to Obama, praising the president’s decision to highlight Romney’s flip flops, including Romney’s earlier stance on whether the U.S. should have pressed to oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi (Romney had called it “mission creep”). Robinson also notes that Romney’s decision to agree with Obama on almost every major policy decision, from Afghanistan to Syria to pilotless drones, was a plus for Obama. Robinson also notes Romney’s “one big flub,” when he said that Syria was Iran’s “outlet to the sea.” Of course the two countries don’t share a border and Iran has a thousand miles of coastline.
What will voters think of this debate, and will it make a difference to the election’s outcome? A CNN/ORC International snap poll showed 48% of voters saying Obama won the debate and 40% saying Romney was the victor. But perhaps the more important number is what respondents said about how the debate will affect their plans at the polls. Half said it won’t matter, while 25% said they were more likely to vote for Romney and 24% said they were more likely to vote for Obama. In other words, the debate didn’t change anything in this very close election.
My take? As I have written before, I am an Obama supporter, and like other pro-Obama commentators, I score this debate for the president. I don’t think Romney bombed, but to me, he seemed unsteady and flustered, often dodging moderator Bob Schieffer’s questions and instead painting a negative picture of the “tumult” all over the Middle East, implying that it is the president’s fault that there are violent extremist groups in places like Pakistan and Libya. As my colleague Fred Allen writes, I don’t think that negative message goes over well with voters. By contrast, I thought the president was direct, confident and forceful in his articulation of the administration’s policies, from pulling out of Iraq to his actions after the tragic assassination in Libya. Though I understand how conservative commentators could see it as disrespectful and condescending, I thought one of Obama’s best lines came when he interjected, “I know you haven’t been in a position to actually execute foreign policy.”
Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
These Presidential Tracking Poll updates are based upon nightly telephone interviews and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. As a result, today is the first update based entirely upon interviews conducted after the final presidential debate.
It’s now clear that Romney gained ground over the three debates. Heading into the first debate, the president was ahead of Romney or tied every single day in the tracking poll for two full weeks. Now, looking back over the past three weeks of daily tracking, the president has had the advantage just once. On the morning of the first debate, it was Obama 49% Romney 47%.
Heading into the second and third debates, Romney was up by a 49% to 47% margin. Forty-nine percent (49%) of Likely Voters believe Romney won the debate season, while 41% think Obama won.
Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update).
In Election 2000, Florida was the decisive state in the Electoral College. In 2004, Ohio was the ultimate battleground state that put George W. Bush over the top. Scott Rasmussen suggests in his weekly newspaper column that Wisconsin May Be the New Ohio this year.
The Rasmussen Reports Electoral College projections show the president with 237 Electoral Votes and Romney 235. The magic number needed to win the White House is 270. Seven states with 66 Electoral College votes remain Toss-ups: Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
New polling from Virginia shows Romney clinging to a two-point advantage. The president is up five in Pennsylvania, while Romney is up eight in Arizona. In the swing state of New Hampshire, Romney is up two, while the president has the edge in Nevada. In Ohio, the candidates are now tied at 48% apiece. New data will be released later today for Wisconsin and Florida.
The Pennsylvania Senate race is now a surprising Toss-Up. The Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings project that Democrats will end up with 47 Senate seats, the Republicans 47. These totals include four states leaning towards the Democrats and four leaning to the GOP. Other than Pennsylvania, there are five remaining Toss-Ups: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Montana, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The economy, the debates and the Electoral College were the topics on this week’s edition of What America Thinks. Scott Rasmussen’s new weekly television show is seen on more than 60 stations nationwide. If you’d like Scott to speak to your organization, meeting or conference, please contact Premiere Speakers.
(Presidential Job Approval Data Below)
A president’s job approval rating is one of the best indicators for assessing his chances of reelection. Typically, the president’s job approval rating on Election Day will be close to the share of the vote he receives. Currently, 48% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's job performance. Fifty-one percent (51%) at least somewhat disapprove (see trends).
Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters believe the nation is currently heading in the right direction.
The housing market is looking a little stronger. Fifty-five percent (55%) of homeowners now believe their home is worth more than the mortgage.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company whose work is followed by millions on a wide variety of platforms. In addition to the new TV show, we regularly release our work at RasmussenReports.com, through a daily email newsletter, a nationally syndicated radio news service, an online video service and a weekly newspaper column distributed by Creators Syndicate.
Rasmussen Reports polling tends to show less volatility than other polls for a variety of reasons. In 2008, we showed virtually no change during the final 40 days of the campaign. Then-candidate Obama was between 50% and 52% in our polling every single day. He generally held a five- or six-point lead, occasionally bouncing up to an eight-point advantage and only once falling below a four point-lead. This stable assessment of the race is consistent with the reality of what we know about voter behavior. Obama won the election by a 53% to 46% margin.
To get a sense of longer-term Job Approval trends for the president, Rasmussen Reports compiles our tracking data on a full month-by-month basis.
(Approval Index data below)
Intensity of support or opposition can have an impact on campaigns. Currently, 30% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way Obama is performing as president. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove, giving him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -12 (see trends).
Platinum Members can review additional information from the tracking poll on a daily basis.
During midterm elections, intensity of support can have a tremendous impact on turnout. That was demonstrated in 2010 when Republicans and unaffiliated voters turned out in large numbers to express opposition to the Obama administration’s policies. However, in presidential election years, there is a smaller impact on turnout. Still, all indications so far for Election 2012 suggest that Republicans are more engaged and more likely to turn out.
Rasmussen Reports has been a pioneer in the use of automated telephone polling techniques, but many other firms still utilize their own operator-assisted technology (see methodology). Pollsters for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have cited our "unchallenged record for both integrity and accuracy." During Election 2008, Rasmussen Reports projected that Barack Obama would defeat John McCain by a 52% to 46% margin. Obama was 53% to 46%. In 2004, Rasmussen Reports was the only firm to project the vote totals for both candidates within half a percentage point. Learn more about the Rasmussen Reports track record over the years.
Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Results are also compiled on a full-week basis and crosstabs for full-week results are available for Platinum Members.
They're going the distance but the fight isn't over until the votes are counted
on November 6 2012!
Obama, Romney roast each other at Alfred E. Smith Dinner
Smith also poked fun at Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York and a man of considerable girth, who sat between the two candidates. He joked that they were separated by a “vast expanse.”
Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner
The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner is an annual white tie charity fundraiser for Catholic charities, held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York on the third Thursday of October. It is organized by the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation in honor of former New York Governor Al Smith, the first Catholic presidential candidate. The first dinner was in 1945, the year after Al Smith's death. The 2008 dinner raised $3.9 million.
Since 1960 (when Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy were speakers), it has been a stop for the two main presidential candidates during several U.S. election years. In 1976, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter spoke; in 1980, Carter and Ronald Reagan; in 1988, Michael Dukakis and George H.W. Bush; in 2000, Al Gore and George W. Bush; in 2008, John McCain and Barack Obama; and in 2012, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Since 1945, only two presidents have not spoken at the dinner: Harry Truman and Bill Clinton. Candidates have traditionally given humorous speeches poking fun at themselves and their opponents, making the event similar to a roast. It is generally the last event at which the two candidates share a stage before the election.
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