September, 2012

Obama Campaign Says Don’t Expect Zingers

President Obama’s re-election campaign said the president “likely won’t be flinging barbs during this week’s presidential debate,” CNN reports.

Said spokeswoman Jen Psaki: “If you’re expecting that, that’s probably not what he’s going to deliver.”

Psaki was referring to reports that Mitt Romney was “working on zingers” and memorizing short attack lines to fire off at the president during Wednesday’s debate in Denver.

Last Chance for Romney?

National Journal: “After nearly six years of running for president, millions of dollars spent on ads, a massive political convention and hundreds of rallies in swing states such as Ohio, Florida, and New Hampshire, Mitt Romney’s bid to become the next president could come down to a few hours onstage on Wednesday night.”

The Week: The first debate: “Do or die” for Mitt Romney?

Bill and Hillary

“No one has ever doubted the influence of the Clinton marriage, but in his new book, Bill and Hillary, the historian William H. Chafe ups the ante, arguing that the entire Clinton presidency was powered by the psychodynamics of the Clinton union,” according to a New York Times review.

“In his telling, Bill was a brilliant mess, Hillary gave him discipline and from this sinner-rescuer complex, the drama unfolded… The Clinton marriage, he argues, played a large part in Bill Clinton’s loss of the Arkansas governorship in 1980, his decision to run for the presidency in 1992, the first-term scandals and even the partisanship that hardened over Washington. That’s before the author even gets to Monica Lewinsky.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“It would take me too long to go through all of the math.”

— Rep. Paul Ryan, in an interview on Fox News, after host Chris Wallace played a clip of President Obama saying “they tell you they’re gonna start talking specifics really soon, they don’t do it. And the reason is because the math doesn’t work.”

Obama Maintains Lead Nationally

The latest Rand survey — an experimental polling method which uses the same single panel of voters over several months — confirms what nearly every other traditional poll has found: President Obama and Mitt Romney were running neck and neck until the Democratic convention and ever since then, Obama has been rising and Romney falling in the poll.

Obama now holds a seven point lead in the Rand survey over Romney, 50% to 43%.

For comparison, the Gallup tracking poll shows Obama leading by six points, 50% to 44%, while the Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Obama leading by five points, 47% to 42%.

Warren Leads in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Elizabeth Warren (D) leading Sen. Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 38%, with another 18% still undecided.

This survey is the sixth of eight public polls taken this month that show Warren ahead.

Said pollster Andrew Smith: “It’s trending away from Brown. Brown right now is not doing well enough among Democrats to offset the advantage that ­Warren has. That’s just such a big obstacle to overcome for any Republican candidate in Massachusetts.”

Debates Rarely Have An Effect

Miranda Green: “From Al Gore’s loud sighing to Jimmy Carter saying he consulted his 12-year-old daughter on nuclear proliferation, presidential debates are full of memorable moments. But despite the fanfare that surrounds each election cycle’s televised events, historical data shows the debates are rarely game changers.”

“A 2008 Gallup study found that between 1960 and 2004, there were only two years where debates made a difference in actual votes. Instead, the most common outcome of the presidential debates is a slight popularity bump… Data from the Gallup study also saw no direct correlation between the winner of each debate and the winner of the presidency. The 2004 Kerry vs. Bush debate was cited as an example. Kerry was considered the victor of all three showdowns, but still lost the election.”

Donna Brazile: “The debates this year
will certainly have their moments. But both candidates are already so
well-known, the memorable lines will probably reinforce, rather than
change, voters’ perceptions.”

Why is John Quincy Adams Not Well Known?

Just published: John Quincy Adams by Harlow Giles Unger.

The author spoke to Britannica: “One reason is that John Quincy Adams may have been the most modest American president in history, even having refused to campaign for election in 1824 and 1828. He believed it was beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate to campaign — to make speeches containing promises he would never be able to keep.”