Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quick Hits - October 16, 2012

President Barack Obama dominates Presidential Debate....

Huge Turnaround for President Barack Obama in Debate Victory....

Overnight polls reflect massive surge for President's Reelection....

Chris Matthews rushed to hospital, collapses on air after massive tingle renders him unconscious...

Oh, sorry, just was looking at some of the first drafts I've obtained from reporters assigned by the Washington Post, New York Times, the LA Times, and MSNBC to cover tonight's second Presidential debate.  Just like for the first debate, the majority of the mainstream media have already written the bulk of the stories they will file on the debate - just leaving a paragraph or two of specific quotes to fit their preconceived meme.

I will note that as they write these stories, they are hoping that they will actually be able to file these stories as opposed to having to deep six them about 20 minutes after the first debate started.

The first debate was October 3rd, two week ago tomorrow.  Rather than getting just a bounce from his big debate win, Mitt Romney is the beneficiary of a real move that is not only persistent these two weeks, but giving all of the example of a tipping point being crossed.  Current polls are showing growing strength as the GOP candidate is expanding his lead in the daily tracking polls, among women, among seniors, and in the crucial swing states.

Even the PPP Poll for the Daily Kos and  the SEIU, a notoriously hard left biased poll, is showing growing strength for Mitt Romney.  Their latest poll has Mitt Romney up by 4 over the President - 50-46.  In swing states, Romney leads by 3, 50-47 and in traditionally red states, Romney leads 56-40.  Surprisingly, in blue states, Romney only trails the President by 8, 52-44.

This poll has the unique status of having the pollster sending out a statement that they believe their own poll is an 'outlier' - and ask Democrats to wait another week (and another poll) before they start to panic.

Dick Morris, the former Clintonista, is looking at the trend over these past 13 days, and is seeing what were thought to be safe Obama states following the leaners and moving towards being contested.  Among the states that he thinks are now in play and can go either way include Connecticut, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

RealClearPolitics is now showing from their system of averaging polls, the once 90+ point electoral point lead that the President held in the summer over Mitt Romney now down to a narrow 10 point gap - and about 150 electoral votes in the 'toss-up' category.  In Pennsylvania, which I have contended has been in play for sometime, the President's once 12 point lead is now down to just 4 points - at the margin of error - and that poll is based on a D+8 sample size (1 point higher than the 2008 Democrat turnout).

All of this indicates that the candidate with the heaviest load on his shoulders is Barack Obama.  Even a weak draw in the debate will probably set off the last steps of momentum moving towards Mitt Romney.  Yet, with this, the President also cannot over compensate and act like Al Gore or Joe Biden in a desperate move to push harder on the candidate.

This is going to be a huge challenge.  Not only has the President dug himself a huge hole, but Romney's performance in the last debate effectively invalidated the tsunami of negative advertisements and characterizations that the Obama campaign sent his way.  If Romney remains cool and collected, like Paul Ryan did against Joe Biden, then the President will, I believe have a near impossible task to drastically change the 'likability' factor.

The townhall format also will make it difficult for a debater to directly attack his opponent.  Complicating the President's task - he has a dismal record, on either domestic or foreign policy (beyond getting Bin Laden), that will be hard to protect and facilitates counterpunching by Mitt Romney.  In past cases when this was the situation, one of the steps of the incumbent was to try to present the case for what they will do for their second term.

However, this is even more of a challenge for President Obama since he has said little if anything different that he intends to do in his second term.

My prediction is that this debate will not be a gamechanger.  While another strong Romney performance mixed with a dismal Obama performance will effectively end the race, I suspect the President will not act like Joe Biden, and eek out a weak draw.  While he will be empathetic with the audience, he will have a hard time spinning his record or vision - particularly in the wake of Libya.

Mitt Romney has been campaigning for the last couple of weeks in Ohio using townhall style venues, so he has some tried and tested material to go with a stronger comfort level.  I think he will surprise many with his own ability to show empathy -- and counter that false meme the Obama campaign has tried to promote.

Ultimately, the Romney momentum will not be stopped from this debate - and it will continue to gather speed as we close to Election Day.  What will be telling, over the next week, will be to look closely at the mainstream media and their message.  I suspect that we will see some of the sycophants start to turn on him -  highlighting the President's lack of leadership capabilities and blaming the challenges we face on the President personally in order to protect the progressive agenda.  Behind the scenes, I believe that there are already talks taking place within the DNC, within the Senate Democratic Leadership, how they will 'turn the tables' on a Romney administration and do unto them what the GOP did to Barack Obama.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out yesterday evening on the growing scandal around the terror attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th.  Her message -

"I take responsibility for Benghazi,....BUT....."

This is a statement that is intended to 'end' the scandal - with the impression being presented that Hillary Clinton is throwing herself under the bus in an effort to 'save' her boss, Barack Obama.  But the problem with the statement is that, as an exercise of damage control, it's far too little, far too inconclusive, and far too late to really address the growing number of questions resulting from this terror attack.

If the SecState offered this statement on the 12th-14th of September, it probably would have blunted a fair amount of the questions, particularly those which have come out over the President, SecState, US Ambassador to the UN, and others initially saying the attack was a demonstration gone bad done in protest of an obscure video allegedly insulting to Mohammed.  Now admitting the terror attack was a terror attack would poke a huge hole in the Administration's claim around the 'Arab Spring' as well as their 'reset' towards Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, or their 'defeat' of al-Qaeda as evidenced by the killing of Osama Bin Laden - but the arrogance of the Obama team is probably such that they would have felt they could have spun this with the complicity of the mainstream media.

What Hillary Clinton has done was not all that different from what Janet Reno did for her boss when she took responsibility (but not accountability) for the Waco disaster.  Hillary can now appear 'big' - and this will help if she does run for President in 2016.  She is on record that she intends to leave her position if Obama is reelected - so she doesn't have to worry too much about her own accountability.  That's going to be shuffled off to the unnamed 'security professionals' who denied enhancing security for the consulate or Ambassador, who removed 2 security teams just 1 month before the attack, and ignored the threats as well as the 9/11 anniversary.

Where those in State didn't fail, as Susan Rice did today in an interview with the Washington Post, the blame will be laid at the feet of unnamed intelligence officers who failed to 'connect the dots' or clearly differentiate a terror attack from a demonstration and gave State such bad information.

Hillary will ultimately hold a chit for a favor that Barack Obama and his team now owe her.  Susan Rice will hold a chit for being the loyal soldier shilling lies to the American people on half a dozen Sunday morning news shows 5 days after the attack - and parlay that into a promotion to be the SecState of a 2nd Obama term.  (Sorry, John Kerry, your contribution to Obama's miserable first debate means you will remain in the Senate working on the Foreign Relations Committee).

Hillary did what she did for purely political reasons - and this runs counter to her argument from 2008 'that the buck stopped in the Oval Office'...

What will be unanswered are pretty much all of the questions that were being asked and unanswered yesterday - or earlier today...

I hope there are Libya questions asked in tonight's debate....but also really doubt either Gallup, the plants in the audience, or Candy Crowley will let that happen.

Tomorrow - a debate recap and scorecard.  Coming up, next Monday, the third and last Presidential debate followed by my last detailed look into the state of the race.  [As I look back at my previous posts, I am seeing that I am not too far off from where the trends are pointing today.]

Today in History

1793 - Nine months after the execution of her husband, King Louis XVI of France, Marie-Antoinette is beheaded via guillotine.

1854 - An obscure lawyer and Congressional candidate in Illinois delivers a strong speech against slavery, calling it 'immoral'.  Abraham Lincoln was campaigning in favor of the abolitionist movement - and taking a firm stand against permitting the spread of slavery beyond the states it was already in place.

1859 - Abolitionist John Brown leads a party of armed men in a raid against the Federal Armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia.  He intended to steal arms and use them to spark a slave revolt and ultimately end slavery.  Brown was captured by Federal troops and convicted of treason and murder.  He would be hanged on December 2, 1859 for his crimes - but be prophetically predicted a Civil War as being inevitable to end slavery.

1934 - Chinese communists break through the lines of the Nationalist Army which encircled them in southwestern China and commenced their 'Long March' - a trek which would take 368 days and cover 6,000 miles.  Led by communist leader Mao Zedong, more than 85,000 troops started the march.  When it ended, about 4,000 remained.  Mao would rebuild his forces and reluctantly join with the Nationalist forces to combat the invading Japanese.  Once the Second World War ended with Japan's defeat, the Communists resumed their war with the Nationalists, seizing control of mainland China in 1949 and establishing the People's Republic of China.

1946 - 10 High ranking Nazi officials, convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Nuremberg Tribunal, are hung for their crimes.  Herman Goering, one of the officials convicted for his crimes, avoided the hangman by committing suicide the day before the hanging.

1964 - The People's Republic of China joins the nuclear club as she detonates a nuclear weapon.  China is the 5th member of the club.

1991 -George Jo Hennard drives his truck through a window in Luby’s Cafeteria in Kileen, Texas, and then opens fire on a lunch crowd of over 100 people, killing 23 and injuring 20 more. Hennard then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. The incident was one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history.

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