WASHINGTON -- Richard Nixon knew a thing or two about presidential politics. He was on a national ballot five times. And he had one bottom line. "It's always about Ohio," he would say in that ominous baritone.No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio, which is why Mitt Romney's campaign is busy disparaging a new Washington Post poll that shows President Barack Obama pulling out to an 8 percentage point lead there.
An ad placed by the socially conservative group Government Is Not God in the Sarasota, Fla., Herald-Tribune and other newspapers in Florida and Ohio claims President Barack Obama will "force Christian schools to hire non-Christian teachers." Is that accurate? William Murray, the group’s chairman, said the ad was a prediction that states "what we believe Obama will do in a second term" based in part on his current policies. We are fact-checking the ad because it is a representation of Obama's actual policies and proposals. The ad even says ...>> More
President Barack Obama is a Christian, but a political action committee called Government is not God says his religious sympathies lie elsewhere. The group paid for ads in newspapers across Florida and Ohio that warned, among other things, that if Barack Hussein Obama is re-elected, he "will move America to force courts to accept Islamic sharia law in domestic disputes." We asked the man behind this ad, William Murray, to provide some supporting evidence. Murray cited an item from an anti-sharia group that claimed that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is "pro-sharia." The evidence ...>> More
By all accounts, this was the Republicans’ election to win: an economy stuck at a level insufficient to generate enough jobs or income gains; a somewhat disillusioned Democratic base; and a stunted generation of young adults who supported Barack Obama last time by a margin of 71-29 and are unlikely to do it again.Yet Obama’s lead keeps widening. It’s worth unpacking why.The most obvious reason, of course, is the sheer clumsiness of Mitt Romney, God’s gift to the Democrats. If a computer had been asked to generate a candidate guaranteed to alienate...
The repercussions from 9/11/12—the day the roof fell in on the Obama administration’s Middle East policy—continue to rumble across the diplomatic and political landscapes. Before that day, much of the country’s political and media establishment had been studiously ignoring signs of trouble in the Middle East or, when problems were too serious to ignore, studiously refraining from drawing conclusions about the overall state of US policy in the region.The anti-American riots that have been rocking the Muslim world since 9/11 have shaken the establishment...
President Hosni Mubarak did not even wait for President Obama's words to be translated before he shot back. "You don't understand this part of the world," the Egyptian leader broke in. "You're young."Mr. Obama, during a tense telephone call the evening of Feb. 1, 2011, had just told Mr. Mubarak that his speech, broadcast to hundreds of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo, had not gone far enough. Mr. Mubarak had to step down, the president said.Â
Having been severely stung by criticism over their presidential nominee's and their speakers' lack of mention of the Afghanistan War and of the U.S. military during the recent Republican National Convention, GOP hawks are now "urging Mitt Romney to separate himself from President Obama on Afghanistan and back an extended presence for U.S. troops in the country."
While president Obama continues to deliver on his promise to end the Afghanistan War, while an overwhelming number of Americans support such a course and while even Mitt Romney has publicly, albeit reluctantly and "evolvingly," agreed with the withdrawal plans, GOP defense hawks apparently see in prolonging the Afghanistan war -- our nation's longest war already -- a winning campaign strategy. This is a war that continues to cost our nation dearly in lives and treasure. A war where, "getting it right" in Afghanistan -- whatever that means -- is more important than the lives we are losing and the treasure we are squandering over there, and they are telling Romney that he needs to distance himself from "the Obama administration's goal of pulling all American forces from Afghanistan by 2014."
My personal belief is that such a war strategy -- shamelessly, at this point in time, more a political strategy -- will backfire badly on Republicans and will become just one more nail in the coffin that is presently the Romney campaign.
But those are just my words.
Some words, however, can have a tremendous impact.
Take the words in a letter written by U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Matthew Sitton, an Army Ranger who served with the 82nd Airborne Division, in Afghanistan.
Those words are having a significant impact for several reasons.
First, Sergeant Sitton, 26, while on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan was killed there by an IED on Aug. 2, less than two months after writing the letter.
Second, the e-mail letter was sent to none other than U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, (R-Fl), the senior Republican in the House of Representatives and the chairman of the influential House Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee.
Finally, and tragically, Sitton's letter pointing out the dangers and mistake of sending troops on foot patrols in fields that were known to be full of IEDs, where "every time they went into this field, someone lost a leg or an arm or their life," pretty much predicted the soldier's own death.
In his letter to Young, Sitton said:
I feel myself and my soldiers are being put into unnecessary positions where harm and danger are imminent. There is no end state or purpose for the patrols given to us from our higher chain of command, only that we will be out for a certain time standard....We are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives.
Sitton's letter has contributed to a change of heart and possibly to a change in policy on the part of an 81-year-old Congressman who thus far has consistently voted against troop withdrawals from Afghanistan "or even for setting a timetable for troop withdrawal."
Last Monday, Young said during an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, "I think we should remove ourselves from Afghanistan as quickly as we can. I just think we're killing kids that don't need to die."
As the longest serving Republican member of Congress and as chairman of the powerful House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Young's change of heart should say something to the Romney campaign as it will carry some weight with fellow Republicans and with the American people.
Last Wednesday Young said, "I have been very careful not to substitute my judgment for that of military leaders in the field managing the mission. I really believe that. But I also believe that we are not carrying out our commitment to protect our troops the best we can."
"I don't think we should put our soldiers at risk any longer," he said. "The president wants to bring them out piecemeal by 2014. Logistically, I am not sure how long it would take, but I think we should start moving them out quickly and safely and leave a combat force that has authority to use whatever force they need."
In addition to changing his views on Afghanistan, Young is also looking into the IED danger. He has called for a hearing next week to "ask the agency in charge of protecting troops against IEDs to explain why so many are still dying and suffering horrific injuries despite an annual budget of nearly $3 billion."
While Sitton's letter has certainly been a catalyst in changing Young's heart on Afghanistan, Young has always been an advocate for our wounded warriors and he frequently visits them at Veterans Administration hospitals to check on their care.
But Young is not the only Republican having second thoughts on Afghanistan.
Young told the Tampa Bay Times that he has talked with his Republican colleagues in Congress about his new position on Afghanistan and he believes they feel the same way he does, "but they tend not to want to go public" about it.
According to the Stars and Stripes, Republican Congressman Tom Rooney said that after learning that the training of Afghans by coalition forces has been suspended, "I no longer know what our mission is anymore ... right now I am on Bill Young's side of this issue. I have never been before."
It may thus be that the words of a fallen Army Ranger -- a hero who leaves behind his wife, Sarah, and their 9-month-old son, Brodey -- may have a greater impact on the course of a war than the words of a presidential candidate, of generals, of pundits and, hopefully, of Senator Lindsey Graham.
Photo: U.S. Army
When the National Republican Senatorial Committee unleashed a new attack ad against Sen. Jon Tester last fall, it stuck to a familiar template—tie him to the president. As a narrator portrayed the rural lawmaker as a consummate Washington insider, an image of the Montana Democrat patting President Obama on the shoulder flashed across the screen. The Tester camp was predictably outraged, but not for the reasons you might think: Its ire centered on a doctored photo of the senator, seeming to show him with a left hand bearing all five fingers. A childhood meat grinder accident in the...
Only six weeks to go in the presidential campaign, and the public opinion surveys have developed a case of the jitters. Last week, one respected poll reported that President Obama had opened an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney, but another reported that the race was dead even. Other surveys were scattered in between. What's a poor voter supposed to believe?I consulted three smart pollsters — one Democrat, one Republican, one nonpartisan — and they all offered the same advice: Calm down. It's not as crazy as it looks. Yes, Obama has taken a lead, but only a...
Mitt Romney and his campaign bus will roll through the Buckeye State early this week, but given the state of the race in Ohio he might be wise to park it here until Election Day – weekending, perhaps, in neighboring battlegrounds.No Republican has won the White House without carrying Ohio, and polling in other key states suggests it is unlikely Romney will be the first. On the other hand, the last Democrat to win the presidency without this Midwest swing state was John F. Kennedy. President Obama doesn’t seem willing to try and break that pattern either: He has been to...
A huge boost of economic stimulus sparked a stock rally just 2 months before the election. This should swing the race to the incumbent. Also: Investing for the Fed's largesse.We're less than two months from Election Day. We've haven't watched the debates. There are hands to be shaken and babies to be kissed. The campaign rolls on in earnest.
Ten days after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the White House's official story about the incident appears to be falling apart. In the days following the killing of the U.S. ambassador and two ex-Navy SEALs, President Obama and top State Department officials portrayed the attack as a spontaneous reaction to an Internet video depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad as a lascivious brute. The protests, White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week, were "in response to a video""a film""that we have judged to be reprehensible and...
President Obama’s position inched forward in the FiveThirtyEight forecast on Thursday. His chances of winning the Electoral College are 76.1 percent, according to the forecast, up from 75.2 percent on Wednesday. Mr. Obama’s projected margin of victory in the national popular vote also increased slightly, to 3.4 percentage points.By and large, the story that Thursday’s polls told was the same one as on Wednesday. Mr. Obama continues to get very strong results in state polls that use industry-standard methodology, meaning that they use live interviews and place...
The Obama campaign raves about how it "saved the auto industry" "” that is, the government's bailout mainly of General Motors "” and so preserved millions of jobs.But if it was such a success, why is the bailout losing so much money "” and why do current GM managers want nothing to do with Washington as they try to save the company?
Last week, Muslim mobs took to the streets to murder the American ambassador in Libya and three of his staffers. American embassies were attacked from Egypt to Yemen.Embarrassed White House press secretary Jay Carney and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice insisted that these assaults were just reactions to an insensitive video that disparaged Islam and was circulating on the Internet. As embassies burned, we were assured that there was no animosity directed at America in general, or at this administration and its foreign policy in particular.
A campaign ad for Mitt Romney accuses President Barack Obama of failing to confront China to protect American manufacturing jobs. "Under Obama, we've lost over half a million manufacturing jobs," the narrator says. "And for the first time, China is beating us. Seven times Obama could have stopped China's cheating. Seven times, he refused." We’ve looked before at claims about manufacturing job losses and gains under Obama, finding it True that the United States has created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years. (That’s right ...>> More
Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama is failing American families with policies that have led to less income and more debt. Less family income, that is, and more national debt. "Under Obama, families have lost over $4,000 a year in income, says the narrator of a new campaign ad. "And the national debt is now $16 trillion and growing." The ad then shows clips of Romney promising to reverse those trends. Here, we’ll check what has happened to household incomes under Obama. Tracking ...>> More
NEW YORK -- President Barack Obama is chiding Republican Mitt Romney for referring to supporters of the president as victims who depend on the government. Obama says anyone who wants to be president has to "work for everyone, not just for some."
Appearing on the "Late Show" with David Letterman, Obama offered his first comments to the Romney remarks that have roiled the Republican presidential nominee's campaign.
A secret video of Romney's remarks at a May fundraiser showed that he said 47 percent of people will vote for Obama no matter what and they "believe that they are victims." Romney added that his job is "not to worry about those people."
Obama says "there are not a lot of people out there who think they are victims" or entitled.