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The Sunday Political Brunch – Oct. 28, 2012

My weekly look at politics!!!

[Posting of this was delayed due to Sandy storm coverage...]

(Providence, Rhode Island) – We are now in the home stretch, with the final full week of campaigning. I am ready to vote; and, to have all the final votes counted. With that in mind, here are some of my weekly observations.

Where’s Mitt?– If Mitt Romney loses the election, it may come down to one unanswered question in the final debate on Libya. The moderator, Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, “The first question, and it concerns Libya. The controversy over what happened there continues. Four Americans are dead, including an American ambassador. Questions remain. What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous? Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure? Was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened?” Romney gave a generic, polite, businesslike answer. He never attacked and never pushed or probed. Libya remains President Obama’s Achilles heel, and Romney’s greatest opportunity. I have been in this business a long time, and a week later I am still stunned at Romney’s tepid response.

What Were They Thinking? – I have heard various theories all week on why Romney failed to take the gloves off on Libya. One theory is that they were sitting down at the table, and that naturally makes the debate less confrontational. Another hypothesis was that polls indicate women don’t like confrontation and personal attacks in debates, and that in his efforts to close the gender gap we saw a “kinder, gentler” Romney. Theory number three suggests the public already “gets it” and knows the Obama White House really messed up in Libya. And finally, there is the theory Romney needed to look more “presidential” on foreign policy and that an angry, thrashing Mitt might send the wrong message to our allies, as well as voters at home. My own guess is that a combination of all four theories was at play. Had I been a Romney advisor, I would have been more aggressive on Libya.

The Obama Doctrine – On the other hand, President Obama needed to look more “presidential,” too. And at times, he didn’t. Obama got some digs in at Romney saying things such as, “I know you haven't been in a position to actually execute foreign policy – but every time you've offered an opinion, you've been wrong.” But at other times the President was also condescending and didn’t need to be. For example he said, "Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed." And he added, "We also have things called aircraft carriers that planes land on and submarines that go under water." Those comments were roundly criticized, particularly in the military community. Still, this debate had a slight edge to President Obama. But he didn’t win the debate; so much as Romney lost it by passing on Libya.

Bringing It Back Home! – One place Romney did score points was on the economy. I said in last week’s column that the candidates needed to talk about the economy and how it is affected by foreign policy. Things such as gas prices and jobs are all affected by what happens overseas. The fact that 60 million people watched the debate means people were engaged on the number one issue – the economy – and that helped Romney. He was strong here, and the President wasn’t. Again, overall, I’d give the debate to Obama, but I would score it close – 53 Obama, 47 Romney, on a 100 point scale.

Ohio, Here They Come! – The candidates will spend a disproportionate amount of time in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Hampshire in the next week. Most important now is Ohio. If Romney wins Ohio, he’s the next President. If he loses Ohio, he can still win by picking up Wisconsin, Iowa and New Hampshire, but that’s a tougher road. If the election were today, I still say Obama wins the Electoral College, but Romney wins the popular vote.

'Weather' Your Vote Matters! – Odd, unexpected things happen in campaigns, and severe weather can be one of them. Hurricane Sandy – and its aftermath – could disrupt or ever suppress voting in a key swing state such as Virginia. Right now, the storm is forecast to have the greatest impact on northeast Virginia (the Washington, DC) suburbs, which are a Democratic stronghold. But the storm could have far less impact in central, southern and western Virginia where the GOP is king. This could affect not only the presidential race, but the razor thin U.S. Senate race between Republican George Allen and Democrat Tom Kaine. Mother Nature could cast some crucial votes!

All Politics Is Local – The late House Speaker Tip O’Neill used to say, “All politics is local!” One of the things he meant by that is that voters are most affected by the politicians closest to them – their local and state officials. Voters also have the most access to these folks. With that in mind, . These names are well known locally, but head scratchers for my national readers. I mention them, because to my readers in DC, California, Wisconsin, Florida and elsewhere, I urge you to pay attention to your state and local candidates. Yes, the presidential race and Congressional races garner all the headlines, but who represents you in your local city hall or statehouse is just as crucial. So, do your homework on races that are lower on the ballot!

As always, I welcome your thoughts and questions. Click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe Sousa. November 04, 2012 at 09:26 PM
WASHINGTON -- Chinese manufacturers made more than half of the goods that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled last year, but few of them paid any price for producing defective wares.
Naome Lixes November 04, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Perhaps we should start with auto parts, and clawback jobs sent to slave labor camps. http://delphi.com/about/careers/locations/china/ You're going to blame Obama for an open trade approach on one hand, and call him a socialist on the other? That's not exactly coherent, is it Joey? Which is it - we were all for Free Markets, last month... Let's face it, you're not ABOUT anything Joe. You don't like Obama - we gittit.
Naome Lixes November 04, 2012 at 09:45 PM
It's telling that this trade imbalance is an important issue, now. Given that one of the citations is from 2008 - why wait? Oh yeah... http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/romney-ryan-slam-obama-administration-china-currency-manipulation/story?id=17472397#.UJbfMWdQTT8 You do know that Romney personally profited from sending American jobs to China - doncha Joe? What's that smell? Um.... "Hypocrisy" the new cologne for 1%ers. http://www.thenation.com/article/170644/mitt-romneys-bailout-bonanza Obama's actual record, dealing with China and the trade imbalance... http://www.cfr.org/us-election-2012/candidates-us-policy-toward-china/p26883 http://blogs.cfr.org/campaign-2012/2012/09/17/midday-update-romney-obama-pivot-back-to-economy/ Math matters, if you're doing arithmetic.
Naome Lixes November 04, 2012 at 09:53 PM
"Communism" in the world, according to mike - Conservation of resources (the root of CONSERVAtive) Public property versus corporate ownership of damn near everything One person = one vote Teeth in regulatory bodies, ie: A cell for Lloyd Blankfein and friends Stop the government spying on us More importantly, in the world according to mike - government checks for anyone else are socialist, his are "earned entitlements".
mike November 04, 2012 at 09:55 PM
naomi stop drinking the kool aid
Joe Sousa. November 04, 2012 at 10:06 PM
7.9 % unemployment Economists polled by CNNMoney were expecting 120,000 jobs to be added in the month, and the unemployment rate to remain unchanged. The unemployment rate fell largely because 368,000 people stopped looking for work, many of them young people. Just 63.5% of the working-age population was either employed or actively looking for work -- a 30-year low. "These numbers are not very strong," said Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank. "The job market is improving, but only gradually." At least 150,000 jobs need to be created each month to simply keep pace with the growing population.
Joe Sousa. November 04, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Four years and America is worse off. Do the math. It's the economy stupid !
Naome Lixes November 04, 2012 at 10:15 PM
It's a documentary, the way Farenheit 9/11 was a documentary. http://guardianlv.com/2012/09/2016-obamas-america-vs-becoming-barack/
Robert Farebrother November 04, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I will be glad when it's over!
Naome Lixes November 04, 2012 at 10:30 PM
It's never been about what happens on Obama's watch with you detractors - is it? Reagan got re-elected with nearly the same performance profile, selling the electorate on the "Trickle down" fiction which paved the way for today's debt load. The difference? The gullible electorate bought the snake oil pitch in 1984. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/10/05/barack-obama-2012-ronald-reagan-1984/ Two things, Joe - you don't attribute the quotes you so freely steal (http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/07/news/economy/august-jobs-report/index.html) and the data isn't current - this quote is from September. Nice try, but America is in better shape that ever, no matter how many times you repeat the Koch Brothers official lines. I'm all for running the numbers - where are yours? http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2012/09/03/america-is-definitely-better-off-under-obama So, is Obama the anti-Reagan?
Naome Lixes November 04, 2012 at 10:39 PM
mike - do you where that phrase arose? How many innocents died in Jonestown. Everytime one of you quacks uses that phrase to dismiss people who disagree, you dance on nearly a thousand graves. Proud of yourself? http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/mass/jonestown/index_1.html FYI - You're illustrating what's gone wrong with America and the rise of our version of the Taliban - you can't hear anything outside your echo chamber. You've been completely brainwashed by a propaganda machine, mike. Give it a rest, Gramps.
Naome Lixes November 04, 2012 at 10:46 PM
When the Patch charges us 10 cents to put in our 2 cents worth, it will be.
Naome Lixes November 04, 2012 at 10:52 PM
"...so let me get this straight woman should vote for the murder of babies,sex between same sex, murder of the elderly, minorities held down by socialism and a party that tried to take God out of their platform. I don't believe you speak for many woman I know." mike the clear-headed voice of Reason Keep your religious superstitions out of my Government, thank you very much. Why would anyone presume half of what you claim to be true? Based on what fervid reading of policy? Turn the tv OFF, already.
Joe Bremen November 04, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Employment always ticks up a notch after October 1st. It is because the seasonal hiring starts. This happens till February 1st when the seasonal help is laid off after the surplus inventory sales are done so the companies can ease their tax liability on surplus inventory. Same happens May 1st for the summer seasonal workers. The vast majority of these jobs are part time and temporary. Very simple common sense and no need for spin when it is obvious to the average person. Bottom line is that right now unemployment is stagnated, as is the economy. Not exactly something Obama can even discuss which he does not, other than same exact words from 2008. He makes the peanut farmer look good. Just an opinion
Novan for Life November 04, 2012 at 11:32 PM
manifold witness 68% of americans approve of how the president has handled this disaster compared to 15% who disapprove
Cranston Voter November 05, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Cranston Voter @ Manifold Witness I agree with you 100% The National Guard should have invaded NY and NJ as soon as the storm was over, bringing food, water, medical supplies, and other essentials necessary to help these unfortunate victims of the storm survive. But what do we get, more broken promises. This administration is unprerared for any kind of emergency. The US sends more supplies quicker and faster over seas to people who hate us, but can't them to NY and NJ. It's disgraceful, upsetting, and unacceptable. It's like watching a Chinese fire drill at best. With Obama, Biden and their cheer leader Nancy Pelosi (all she needs is a pom pom and shakers) we are all in harms way. God help us all. If anyone from the ACLU sees this, sorry I forgot to ask your permission before I wrote it. Since you have spent so much time here in Cranston over the past couple of months, my belief is that you will be setting up your world headquarters here! Vote Romney
Joe Sousa. November 05, 2012 at 12:20 AM
We can blame the Senators from RI as well. They talk about jobs but have done little to save them. They pass over the top regulations on American Companies while allowing countries like China to flood our shelves with cheap goods. They pollute the air , water and steal our companies patterns. Whitehouse and Reed are doing nothing to stop them.
b kcaj November 05, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Hey Joe-Have you seen the latest presidential polls-things are looking pretty bleak for your by Romney. Should we confiscate all sharp objects and prescription sleeping pills from your house?
b kcaj November 05, 2012 at 12:52 AM
And a pretty lousy opinion Jack-Looks like Romney is going down to defeat-almost time for the fat lady to sing!
b kcaj November 05, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Wow Jack-Since when did you become an economist? Did you graduate from the Wharton School of Business? Did you earn a PhD in economics from Harvard? Please Jack, share your credentials with the readers, so they can strive to be the genius that you are, or purport to be.
J. Lane McMahon November 05, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Of course, you do know that the National Guard can only be activated in a state by that state's Govenor, right? You want President Obama to send armed troops into a state????????? The National Guard was on the ground in NY and NJ during the storm, and were handing out water and food within hours of the storm passing. Stop telling fairytales, it makes you look stupid.
Naome Lixes November 05, 2012 at 01:51 AM
There was a Federal response, as requested by the governors: New York National Guard: Over 3,500 Guard personnel and 604 vehicles are supporting relief efforts. New York National Guard is conducting high-water evacuations and transportation out of the five boroughs and continues supporting power restoration, traffic control, debris removal, wellness checks, and food/water distribution. They are the designated water and petroleum distribution for all supported state agencies. They have five military police companies conducting presence patrols, traffic control points, and augmentation of local law enforcement agencies. The New York National Guard 2nd CST has deployed their Unified Command Suite and providing communications support to the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management. New Jersey National Guard: 2,029 National Guard personnel on duty. Assisting New Jersey State Police and Fire Department with rescues, security, and evacuations. Conducting debris clearance/removal, high water vehicle operations, shelter support, food and water distribution, and power generation. http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/latest-national/military-casualties/38037-update-on-the-dod-and-national-guard-response-to-hurricane-sandy-november-4-2012.html "This administration is unprerared for any kind of emergency. The US sends more supplies quicker and faster over seas to people who hate us, but can't them to NY and NJ." Except when they do, pinhead.
Naome Lixes November 05, 2012 at 01:54 AM
"The National Guard should have invaded NY and NJ as soon as the storm was over, bringing food, water, medical supplies, and other essentials necessary to help these unfortunate victims of the storm survive." Sunday the 28th, they were saddle up. Where did you come up with this? It's as if you WANT to believe the worst about Obama, is that it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU3n2Ba_5jY
Naome Lixes November 05, 2012 at 02:02 AM
"If anyone from the ACLU sees this, sorry I forgot to ask your permission before I wrote it. Since you have spent so much time here in Cranston over the past couple of months, my belief is that you will be setting up your world headquarters here! Vote Romney" You should apologize to the people that pumped out RI, back in 2010. They're the same people in New Jersey, today. Are you REALLY this clueless, or just trolling for a fight? http://envstudies.brown.edu/reports/EmergencyManagement.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBdZN3tTo34&feature=fvwrel
Small Change November 05, 2012 at 12:53 PM
=small change so let me get this straight woman should vote for the murder of babies,sex between same sex, murder of the elderly,== What in the world are yout talking about? Can't you read? I was decrying the Democrats playing the 'gender card' of 'we are not all in this together, this election is about women vs. men', and B kcaj made my point by playing the genderism/racism/sexual preferencism cards all in one sentence , as the Dems attempt to make everyone a victimized special interest group and have all of us at each other's throats. And you read it as an attack on Republicans, and made the same divisive arguments from the other side. Nice work. This may come as a shock to most Patch posters, but words have meanings.
Cranston Voter November 05, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Cranston Voter @ Naome Not trolling for a fight, just expressing my opinion on the situation. Of course I know National Guard can only be activated by the Governor of the state. However the everyday person realizes Obama's photo op empty promises visit pledging support and whatever it takes to get Ny and NJ back on their feet was merely a campaign stunt (that may back fire) because he left so quickly to continue campaigning. All the back slapping, and hand shaking isn't going to help those poor people. It's ACTION that counts! The Fed Gov has once again failed to deliver in a timely fasion! Lastly please refrain from name calling (pinhead).
J. Lane McMahon November 05, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I guess Fox news didn't tell you about the fuel supplied by our military, or the MRE's being handed out, or the NG vehicles being used as polling places. How about the Army helicopters being used to transport wounded and sick? Wait, did Fox news commit a lie of ommission? Hard to believe.
Naome Lixes November 05, 2012 at 02:56 PM
So Sunday you said: "The National Guard should have invaded NY and NJ as soon as the storm was over, bringing food, water, medical supplies, and other essentials necessary to help these unfortunate victims of the storm survive. But what do we get, more broken promises. This administration is unprerared for any kind of emergency." Today, the problem is that the response was too fast? "All the back slapping, and hand shaking isn't going to help those poor people. It's ACTION that counts! " You mean, like mobilizing the Air National Guard, declaring a disaster area and sending FEMA into high gear? How can you see the same things as the rest of us and come to your conclusions? I'll refrain from name calling when you no longer insist that stupidity is wisdom. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/30/christie-praises-obama-doesnt-give-a-damn-about-romney-photo-op/
Scott Clark November 05, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Reading this thread you'd think we'd be one of the swing states :) I don't care who anyone votes for. Just please be sure you know what you're getting. The glamor contest they try to make the Presidential Election about is far less important than the upper and lower houses of Congress. Further, both candidates are going to be surrounded by their party's premiere advisors. Whoever wins will bring people who have been pushing party agenda through predecessors dating back to Reagan. The sensationalist hyperbole used to talk about issues is wonderful for the media and their advertisement business model; however, as we've seen in the last few elections, the country is getting tired of the partisan gridlock. We're being stretched by the wingnut edges on both sides and not getting any serious work done. That drives the impression that one party or the other "needs" to win a filibuster proof majority just so they can roughshod over any dissension. But if that's your chief wish, you might as well extend it to its logical conclusion that we need to coronate our next king just so we can get something done. We all know how well THAT has gone in the past few millennia :) Democratic republics don't work that way.
J. Lane McMahon November 05, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Don't forget about that House of Reps blocking the Jobs bill....Oh wait...that would be the REPUBLICAN controlled House....

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