#Election2012: Obama Wins 3rd Debate or Did He?







That was some debate.  If it is any indication of how Romney would perform as President, he has a lot to learn.  Apparently, the sun on the beach wore him out.  His body language was awful.  Seated he looked thin and his facial expressions made him look timid.  As the tide shifted in Obama’s favor, Romney broke out in a sweat reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s 1960 presidential debate against John F. Kennedy.

If you’re reading this and voting for the President, I know you liked his performance.  The President looked rested, fit and ready.  You liked it because you wanted the President to retaliate and get back at Romney, for what he did during the first debate.  But the President missed an opportunity to win over more undecided voters by repeatedly cutting Romney off, which isn’t Presidential. It doesn’t provide the best example of how you communicate with people you disagree with.

It will be two weeks before we know how effective this strategy was, more importantly did it win over undecided voters in the battleground states.   Back on the campaign trail, the President now appears confident, while Romney is wobbly, a shift from the first debate where Romney appeared confident and the President was on the ropes.  The President is hitting Romney on his changing views on policy issues, and calling it Romnesia.

The only question left to be answered is who will win the election.  How will undecided voters cast their vote?  CNN’s election map shows the President is closer to the coveted 270 electoral votes needed to win.  But there are scenarios that could leave the number of electoral votes at 269.  That is why all of the battleground states are in play.  Ohio and Florida are important for both candidates.  If Obama wins them he wins the election.  But if Romney can put them in his win column, we could be in for a long night.

So although the polls say the President won last night, we have to wait two weeks to see if he was successful in winning over undecided voters in the key battleground states.  And now we wait.

Click to go to CNN”s interactive 2012 electoral map.    http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2012/ecalculator#_

#Election2012: Time to Be Professorial



Rarely do we see a member of the President’s Club (former US Presidents) publicly criticize a sitting president on foreign policy.  Foreign leaders learn early the need to work together.  This is why at times, we see former US Presidents traveling abroad to carry a message for a sitting president.

Sometimes a new President upon being sworn in changes their campaign position.  President Barack Obama campaigned to shut down Guantanamo Bay but after being elected, left it open.  There’s something about making the most difficult decisions when sitting in the Oval Office that enlighten the President of the impact their decisions have on Americans and the global community.  That’s why tonight a Club member will not be confrontational against a man seeking to join the Club.

The candidates sitting in front of moderator Bob Scheiffer will appear Presidential and exhibit patience while their opponent answers questions.  The Commander in Chief must appear in charge, in control, provide steady leadership, calm and comfort particularly in tough times.  The man that does this best will win the debate.  In other words it’s time to be professorial.

On foreign policy Romney has not always appeared comfortable.  In fact he seems to rush to conclusions and speaks too quickly.  He commented too fast about the Benghazi attack, criticized the London Summer Olympics to the British Prime Minister, and in the last debate, incorrectly said the President waited fourteen days to call the attack an “act of terror.”

Over the past few weeks, he has gained traction and looks more comfortable discussing the economy and creating jobs.  The key for him to winning tonight’s debate are speaking with conviction and confidence while criticizing the President’s foreign policy positions.  He will need to appear thoughtful and highlight how as Commander in Chief he will seek trade agreements that will bolster the US economy.  And how he will strengthen relations with allies and cut aid to countries like Egypt and Libya that allow uprisings like the one in Benghazi that killed our US Ambassador.  What he cannot do is make an “act of terror” mistake that makes him look anxious and uninformed like he did last week.

Obama comes into the debate with an advantage.  He receives daily national security updates, knows the threats.   He can explain his experience working with heads of state, success improving the US image abroad, highlight ending the Iraq war, and getting bin Laden, but he cannot dwell on them.  He cannot be confrontational or cut Romney off as he did in the second debate.

In this format he has his best opportunity sitting next to Romney to explain to the American public, the global community and his opponent why he has made the decisions he has on foreign policy as the Commander in Chief and why they are working.   Emphasizing trade agreements that will strengthen the US economy will go over well with undecided voters, but continuing to give aid to countries like Libya and Egypt without explaining how it helps US efforts to keep the world safe here and abroad will not.  It’s time to be the Professor in Chief.

Obama Wins Debate II






The President won this debate but he will not get the boost former Governor Mitt Romney did in the first one. What he did do is stop his negative slide in the polls.

Unlike the first debate, he was aggressive, confident, assertive and very presidential. But he and Romney were rude, cutting each other off repeatedly. The President did a good job talking about his record and the future. Unfortunately, we are no closer than we were before the debate of knowing Romney’s plan.

What we learned last night is the President can land good one-liners or zingers, and Romney who zinged himself, never looked confident, like he did in the first debate. His aggressive style made him look disconnected and he was defensive much of the night.

Romney said he had a five point plan, the President said it’s a one point plan that provides tax cuts to the top 1%. When Romney defended his position on letting the auto industry go bankrupt, the President was effective countering that Romney’s model without providing bailout money would have cost a million jobs.

On women and immigration issues, Romney faltered. Today, his clumsy reference of having a binder full of women to fill cabinet posts as Governor is one of the most searched items on the internet.

But Governor Romney’s worst gaffe of the night was when he accused the President of failing for fourteen days to refer to the Benghazi embassy attack as an “act of terror”. The President, poised and confident, said “You can continue”, as if Romney was standing over a trap door. Candy Crawley, the best moderator by far of this year’s presidential debates, corrected Romney saying the President did say it was  an “act of terror” the day after the attack.  And the President followed with “Check the transcript.” as if he was releasing the trap door beneath Romney’s feet.

To make matters worse, there’s Romney’s final answer. After losing ground in the polls before the first debate because of his 47% comment, he said last night that he wants to be President for 100% of Americans. The President used that comment to land his last zing of the night. We may soon see an “I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message” commercial with the clip in it.

WIth one more debate remaining don’t expect the poll numbers to move much. Then again, there are two things to watch that could affect the election. If we respond to the Benghazi embassy attack and the data from the November Jobs Report due out four days before the election. So now we wait.

Obama v. Romney II: Why the President Will Win






After tonight’s debate, one thing will be clear, “The President will be more aggressive than he was two weeks ago.”

In tonight’s town hall debate, questions will come from the audience.  This doesn’t go well for the aggressive side we saw from Romney in the first debate that helped him surge in the polls.  Look for the President to come out aggressive but not to attack too hard.


The two candidates are virtually tied in national polls, but Romney has significant ground to gain in swing states. That’s why he will use key words to try to reach undecided voters.  Words like Medicare, Social Security, job growth, the economy, tax cuts, and attack the President on his handling of the Benghazi embassy attack.

But he will be forced to explain how his plan will create faster economic recovery, job growth, tax cuts, bring down the deficit, and regulate or deregulate the financial industry to stave off another economic recession.   All in all he will have to tell the American people why his plan is better than the President’s.  So far he has not.

With questions coming from the audience, it will be difficult to attack the President like he did in the first debate without appearing arrogant.  He will be forced to communicate how his plan will increase job growth faster than what has materialized under the President’s leadership.

With a moderator like Candy Crawley whose job is to insure the candidates fully answer the questions, Romney will have a hard time hitting key words without detailing his plan. If pressed to give more details he will become defensive.

The President will appear strong, rested and aggressive.  But he is in a precarious position.  He can be aggressive but must always appear in control and Presidential. Don’t look for him to be like Biden was a week ago.  Look for the the President to call Romney out on the 47% comment, his math/arithmetic skill level to balance the budget and his business experience.

Tonight, holding on to a small lead in the polls, viewers will see that the President wants to be re-elected.  He will convey why and how his plan will move the country Forward.  If he does this well, and clearly not in a professorial way, illustrates the difference between his and Romney’s plan, he will win the debate and set up an anticipating showdown for the last 2012 Presidential debate on Monday.

Vice Presidential Debate Analysis







From the start Vice President Joe Biden attacked.  Congressman Paul Ryan deflected those attacks and did a great job remaining calm, patient and answering questions.  Biden smiled, shook his head and seemed agitated cutting in several times as Ryan spoke.   But Biden was far more aggressive than President Obama was last week during his debate with former Governor Romney.  Both Ryan and Biden did a good enough to make it difficult to declare a winner.

On foreign policy, Ryan’s comments offered a shoot from the hip policy, one that Romney has been accused of, clearly different from Obama’s steady, calm let’s build support in the international community approach.  It is difficult for a candidate to answer foreign policy questions when your opponent is Biden, who has many years of foreign policy experience and is privy to security reports and briefings.  But Ryan held his own, questioning why it took so long for the Administration to call the Benghazi embassy attack an act of terrorism.  He went further, discussing Iran and their effort to build a nuclear weapon.  While Biden offered information on the Administration’s handling of both, when discussing Iran it seemed there are things he is unable to address, thus left the viewer more engaged on Ryan’s simple answer.

On the economy, Ryan followed Romney’s lead, failing to offer an idea of how they will fix the economy, offering numbers not solutions.  Biden highlighted the President’s accomplishments particularly saving auto industry jobs.  He called Ryan out on Social Security and Medicare, asking Americans, what if we had privatized social security, put your money in the stock market, where would we be now?

Last night’s debate set up the much anticipated rematch between Obama and Romney.  Biden did what the President didn’t last week, attacked!  Now it is up to Obama to step up, clearly define his plan, look Presidential, attack but not too much.

One thing the two debates have shown are, that Obama/Biden spend too much time explaining the past, not enough time on the future.  Romney/Ryan are doing a great job with the elevator pitch, hitting key words like Medicare, Social Security, the economy, creating jobs and tax cuts.  They aren’t fully answering the questions, but they don’t have to if the moderator doesn’t hold them accountable.  They are winning the debates by reaching undecided voters with simple answers and not worrying about the fact checkers.

Let’s hope Candy Crawley and Bob Schieffer who are moderating the next two debates, do a better job keeping the candidates to the debate format and make sure they fully answer the questions.

Vice President Pre-Debate Analysis: The Rumble in the Ville






Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan face off tonight in a debate students in Danville, Kentucky are calling the “Rumble in the Ville”, with stakes higher than they were a week ago.

They represent different campaigns but have similarities.  They entered the Congress at a young age (Biden, Senate at 29, Ryan, House at 28) and both are Catholic.  But tonight, their differences and differing views on the role of government will be front and center.  Both family men are from different generations.  Biden, 69 has white hair, is a father and grandfather of five, while Ryan is a generation plus younger, a fitness enthusiast, father of three, and 43 years old.

Tonight they will try not to rock the boat.  One will try to protect the momentum Romney gained last week, while the other will try to get it back on the President’s side.  Neither has an easy job.  Ryan may have to deflect attention from the bold proposals he’s offered as Chairman of the House Budget Committee that could affect Medicare in the future.   Biden will promote the President’s record highlighting that the unemployment rate is going down,  people are being hired, the housing market is getting strong, that the Administration saved the auto industry and the country is going in the right direction.

Viewers will get something they didn’t get in the first debate, a conversation on foreign policy.  Biden was selected as Obama’s Vice Presidential nominee in 2008, because he has a very strong foreign affairs and national security background.  Look for Ryan to attack the President and Biden for their handling of the Benghazi attacks where US Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens were killed.

Ryan will pivot more tonight than Romney did last week.  And Biden will seek to do what he did at the DNC convention, highlight the President’s record.  This debate will be different than 2008, when Biden was coached to not look condescending or harsh because his opponent was a woman.  Tonight his opponent will be a Washington insider who is a formidable opponent ready to Rumble in the Ville.

Hope and Change






A week after the debate, poll numbers indicate that GOP candidate Mitt Romney is ahead of Democratic Candidate President Barack Obama.  The President’s supporters should not be alarmed by the numbers.   There are still two debates remaining and anything can happen.  And Governor Romney’s supporters should not be celebrating.  Undecided voters are finicky and undecided.  For both camps, getting out the vote is more important than ever.

But voter’s whose primary focus is on the presidential election, should not be complacent and neglect to inform themselves of other national, state and local races.  The Congressional races are in many ways, more important than the Presidential race.  The main reason is the economy.  Unless both sides decide to come to the table to talk and not to argue, markets here and abroad will anxiously fluctuate like they did last year over the debt ceiling debate.

National leaders in Congress play just as important a role to our economic vitality as the President.  The IMF predicts a narrowing of the deficit on the assumption that a political compromise in Congress will be reached.  But if Congressional leaders in the fall do not come to a compromise, our economy will fall again into recession.  Managing Director Christine Lagarde, recently told CBS the U.S. may face a recession in 2013, if Congress doesn’t avert the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic spending cuts and tax increases.

So with Election 2012 upon us, this cliché may hold true, “this is the most important election of our lifetime.”  If we elect people to Congress who bicker instead of talk, another economic crisis worse than the Great Recession will take us in the direction of a real Depression.

To move our nation in the right economic direction, we must focus on candidates for Congress, state legislatures and local elected officials who will work together.  Real Hope and Change rests in the voter’s hand.  Hope and Change is about voters affecting their own destiny.  No matter who wins the Presidential election, your vote will impact our politician’s economic policies.  And it should send a clear signal that we want elected officials from both parties to work together on every level of government, so that all Americans benefit from shared opportunity, shared responsibility and shared prosperity for years to come.