Today finds us only 20 days from Election Day - and the race for the White Office is competing with the Libyan scandal for attention.
As I speculated, the exchange between Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, and Candy Crowley continues to drive focus on the changing stories over the cause of the Benghazi consulate attack which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, diplomat Sean Smith, and former Seals / security professionals Glenn Donerty and Tyrone Woods. This story has new legs as a result of the exchange, the election race, and Monday's third and final debate - which will focus on foreign policy issues. Benghazi will surely be a major subject of the discussion around foreign policy issues.
The President and his team are in real trouble over Benghazi. Not only does this result from the initial 2 weeks of focusing on the obscure You Tube video and a demonstration run amuck as the 'official' explanation for the attack, it comes from continued major missteps and outright gaffes in statements and comments - including the obvious lie around terming the attack a 'terrorist attack' on September 12th as the President and Ms. Crowley did in the debate earlier this week.
The effort of the President, WH, and campaign to downplay and avoid responsibility and accountability for the terror attack on the 11th anniversary of the Sept 11 terror attack has placed all of these elements in a box where they have to continue to lie in an effort to cover-up the original lie. They are now in a position where they cannot intelligently or cogently explain what they were doing without looking even more callous and feckless. The messaging from September 12th through the 25th, which placed blame on the video and a demonstration that got carried away, is now seen just as open lies to the American people for the simple effect of political expediency.
When one has backed themselves into such a corner from lies, and telling even more lies just exposes the pattern of callous lies, the only next step that is left is to go silent. And that is exactly what the State Department is now doing as their spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, is no longer answering any questions in her daily press brief on behalf of the State Department that pertain to Benghazi, Libya, or the changing stories that she herself helped spread to the American people.
Yesterday, none of the questions posed by the reporters attending the daily press brief on SecState Hillary Clinton's decision to 'take responsibility' or additional information on the 'security professionals' who decided to pull two security teams from Libya in August and denied repeated requests for additional security were ignored.
The President himself continues to violate the first rule of hole digging as he is continue to dig in his effort to escape the hole he has placed himself in. Several weeks ago, he termed the deaths of the four Americans in Benghazi as 'bumps in the road'...
...Yes, Comedy Central....
... Although it seems for many liberals, this their alternate source for 'news' when they do not watch MSDNC, this program is just a continuation of the President's focus on fluff interviews [The View, Letterman, Pimp with a Limp, etc] during the campaign as opposed to being Presidential.
Here's one of the exchanges between Stewart and the President...
... where the President, embracing his inner technocrat, tells America that, 'When four Americans get killed, it's not optimal.'
Not optimal?!! We've gone from 'bumps in the road' to 'not optimal'? And this nimrod is supposed to be the greatest orator since Cicero?
After the first debate, the focus of the Obama campaign to the miserable performance of the President was to attack Mitt Romney on Big Bird. Of all of the serious topics raised and discussed, Mitt Romney's 'attack on Big Bird' was the main meme of the campaign. Asinine.
This pattern of absurdity continued in the wake of the second debate. Now the Obama campaign is jumping all over Mitt Romney's answer to the planted question about equal rights and equal pay for women where the challenger described his efforts to ensure more women were brought into his Massachusetts cabinet. This answer included Romney talking about how his team brought to him data on qualified women to interview - which the Obama campaign distilled down to a sound bite of 'binders of women'. [Funny how 'out of context' never applies to conservative words - but always applies for liberals. Ed.]
Rather than address the President's dismal answers to the questions related to his energy policies or economic record or address Benghazi - the new focus of the Obama campaign is Romney's 'binders of women'. Is it any wonder that the Obama campaign is floundering?
Its quite ironic that in his campaign stump speeches in the wake of the debate, the President, knowing his weakness on foreign policy and the war on terror, has dropped all references to 'al-Qaeda being on the run', limiting himself to spiking the football on killing Bin Laden, and focusing more on 'binders of women' in a lame effort to reignite the false meme of the 'war on women'. Even prominent liberals in the mainstream media see this as a losing proposition...
The President's polls are showing that the gender gap is disappearing quickly - and pandering to moderate and independent women by harping on 'binders of women' is not going to work. Not when it's well known that women employed in the White House make well less than men doing the same job. Obama's debate coach, Anita Dunn, left the White House and described it as a sexist workplace - but despite this, the knee jerk reaction of the Campaign is to try to make perception trump reality?
One has to really wonder how this campaign team beat Hillary Clinton in 2008.
Today's new jobless claims number rebounded back to a level that is consistent with the 18 month average range as the Department of Labor reported 388,000 new jobless claims were filed. This is a major increase over last week's bogus numbers - as information that the California state official who under reported California's numbers last week is also a major donor to the Obama campaign. I suppose that it would stretch credibility too much to continue to that blatantly lie about the stagnant economy.
All of this is contributing to continued grim news for the President in national and key state polls. Senior Obama campaign adviser, David Plouffe, is intimating that the President's campaign is going to start reducing ad buys and staffing in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado - all states that are continuing to surge for Mitt Romney, and establish a 'firewall' in Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa in order to hold onto those key swing states and squeak out an electoral win.
The challenge with this is that the Romney October surge is looking more and more less like a debate bounce and more like a real seismic shift in preference that has the legs to carry through November 6th. Gallup is now showing Mitt Romney at the 50% level - the first time any candidate has hit that level in the Gallup daily tracking poll. Karl Rove has a superb explanation about what this means...
On top of this, the Romney has released on of their strongest advertisements which highlights 'The Choice' that this election is all about...
Gallup is not the only poll reflecting bad results for the President. Rasmussen's daily tracking poll is now showing that Barack Obama failed to stop Mitt Romney's momentum in the wake of the 2nd debate - and Romney now has a 2 point lead. Most importantly for the candidate, though, is the 8 point lead in voter enthusiasm that the GOP holds over Democrats and the 9 point lead that Mitt Romney has in independents. In 2008, Barack Obama won independents by 8 points.
Rasmussen's internals also show how the gender gap is narrowing. Among women, Obama only has a 4 point lead (in 2008, he led by 13) and he trails Romney by 10 points among men. Compared to what he did in 2008, Obama is now 19 points behind the 2008 pace with gender and 17 points behind his 2008 pace among independents. This is a huge hole to crawl out of in 20 days.
The choice of 'firewall' states by the Obama campaign is also going to be pressured by the gains that Mitt Romney is making on what were seen by many (but not me) 'safe' states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. A Democrat sponsored poll of 600 likely voters in Michigan has the race in the margin of error - with the President not able to break the 45% mark. Romney leads MI independents by 8 points, so this poll has to have a D+8 or larger sample for Obama to hold a 4 point lead. Will MI vote at levels above 2008?
In Pennsylvania, the latest Susquehanna poll as Romney now leading 49-45. They key here? Mitt Romney is doing better in the suburbs of Philadelphia than has been seen by a GOP candidate in 20 years.
Liberal blowhard, Bob Beckel, speaking on FNC's 'The Five', looks at these numbers, and in particular the Gallup daily tracking numbers, and while he caveat's his prediction on 'if the Gallup numbers are accurate', confirms Karl Rove's observations...
Weekly newsmagazine, Newsweek, has announced that they will cease their print operations effective the end of this year - and move to an entirely digital format for 2013. In the UK, their hard left newspaper, The Guardian, or el Guardian as I call it, is also said to be seriously considering ending its print editions and moving to an all digital format.
These print publications are finding that they can no longer compete in a marketplace where their own biases and bad editorial decisions have damaged their product to the point that consumers no longer see any value in their print editions. Newsweek was sold several years ago by the Washington Post Company for just $1 (and the assumption of its heavy debt load) - which reflected the collapse in their value.
Newsweek tries to blame their decision on the internet and the shifting interests of its customers. But this result shouldn't be a surprise. Their demise started way back in 1998 when the editorial board of Newsweek decided to spike a story - which Matt Drudge then broke on his website, The Drudge Report. That story - the Clinton / Lewinsky affair - created major problems for the liberal President - and Newsweek, the liberal mainstream media outlet decided that it would be better for them, their ideology, and the President if they spiked the story. It told consumers where their focus was - and it wasn't on integrity, ethics, or serving the consumers.
As you look around the mainstream media, and collapsing subscription and advertising models, the pattern is the same. The consumer or the internet gets the blame, but in every case, it's because of the misapplied focus of the decision makers - and the ultimate decision to not provide a quality product for the consumer. It is possible to succeed, look at Fox News, but if one doesn't want to be 'fair and balanced', then one is fighting for a shrinking market of rabid partisans - like MSNBC does.
Today in History
1867 - The United States formally takes possession of Alaska from Russia after purchasing the territory for $7.2 million.
1898 - As a result of the treaty that ends the Spanish-American War, the United States takes formal control of Puerto Rico.
1931 - Prolific inventor, Thomas Edison, dies at the age of 84 in West Orange, New Jersey. During his lifetime, he earned over 1,000 patents.
1942 - In a major shakeup, Admiral William 'Bull' Halsey is named the commander of the South Pacific theater, replacing Admiral Robert Ghormley. The theater is the focal point of the first major US offensive operations against the Japanese - in and around Guadalcanal - as both sides bitterly fight over the island and it's strategically placed airfield. The passive and hesitant Ghormley was replaced by the hard charging and aggressive Halsey in an effort to keep the momentum the US gained from Midway and the August invasion. Over the next 5 weeks, heavy fighting will decide the fate of the US offensive.
1977- New York Yankee outfielder Reggie Jackson earns the moniker 'Mr. October' as he clubs three home runs on three consecutive pitches to propel the New York Yankees to a World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers - 4 games to 2. This is the first Yankee World Series win since 1962.
1989 - Both Hungary and East Germany take major steps today to end the decades of Soviet communist control over their governments and people. The pro-democracy tide gains as Hungary starts to permit other political parties, and the 20 year regime of hard line communist Erich Honecker falls in East Germany.
1998 - A pipeline in Jesse, Nigeria explodes into flames - killing over 700. The fires would burn for over a week before finally being extinguished.