WBEZ | Mitt Romney http://www.wbez.org/tags/mitt-romney Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en In Chicago, Obama reprises his presidential victory http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-obama-reprises-his-presidential-victory-103711 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/obama3_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After a long, contentious campaign, Barack Obama won re-election as president of the United States, a victory that became clear after he clinched the necessary electoral votes in the state of Ohio.</p><p>In his hometown of Chicago, Obama declared, &ldquo;We are an American family and we will rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.&rdquo;</p><p>The president delivered his victory speech to throngs of supporters at McCormick Place convention center, not far from the Chicago&rsquo;s Grant Park, the downtown venue where he claimed his historic victory four years ago.</p><p>Obama thanked thousands of supporters, many of whom had to work hard to earn their spots at the convention center rally.</p><p>Glen Kanwit of Evanston said he worked seven days a week focusing on what he called &quot;voter protection,&quot; which comprised of taking calls about the location of polling places and what volunteers needed to take. He came to McCormick Place late because he had worked phones well into Election Day.</p><p>&ldquo;I like my president but we have to play on a fair playing field,&rdquo; Kanwit said. &ldquo;I&#39;m going to keep this up after the election.&rdquo;</p><p>In his concession speech, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney congratulated the president and said, &ldquo;I pray that he will be successful in guiding our nation.&rdquo;</p><p>Congress remained split between the two major political parties, with Democrats maintaining the majority in the Senate. Their position was solidified after they wrested seats from the GOP in both Massachusetts and Indiana.</p><p>With almost 90 percent of the 435 House races called by The Associated Press, Republicans had won 224 seats and were leading in 15 more. For a majority in the chamber, a party must control 218 seats. By night&rsquo;s end, Democrats had won 170 seats and were leading in 25 others.</p><p>Both parties managed to take at least some House seats previously held by the rival party.</p><p>In Illinois, Democrats had much to cheer about as their state&rsquo;s stalwart wasn&#39;t the only one to claim victory. Democrats picked up four U.S. Congressional seats in some of the most contentious &mdash; and expensive &mdash; races in the country.</p><p>In Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, however, voters were less than cheerful ahead of the results. Early Tuesday morning, tech troubles dogged the Chicago Board of Elections website, causing voters to scramble for basic information such as where they should cast ballots.</p><p>Also problematic: reports and claims of long lines and voting irregularities.</p><p>Chicagoan Laura Ormaza said she went to her assigned polling place with her voter registration card. But she said officials told her she was in the wrong precinct and wouldn&rsquo;t let her vote.</p><p>&ldquo;I shouldn&rsquo;t have to yell and argue and fight with someone for my right to vote,&quot; Ormaza said. &quot;It&rsquo;s absurd. It&rsquo;s unheard of.&rdquo;</p><p>Ormaza said she was eventually allowed to cast her ballot, but she was concerned for other voters who were turned away or were not willing to fight.</p><p>Polling snafus aside, races in Illinois were tight and closely watched.</p><p>In Illinois&rsquo; 8th Congressional District, Democrat and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth beat tea party darling Joe Walsh.</p><p>The race attracted significant media attention &mdash; and PAC dollars &mdash; from beyond the state&rsquo;s borders.</p><p>&ldquo;Together, we bring a new attitude to Washington,&rdquo; Duckworth told supporters at her celebration rally. &ldquo;On my first day, I will remind Congress we are here to serve the people.&rdquo;<br /><br />Duckworth was aided by new congressional boundaries, which the Illinois General Assembly redrew to include more minority voters.</p><p>One-term U.S. Rep. Bob Dold conceded to Democrat Brad Schneider in an extremely tight race for Illinois&rsquo; 10th District, which encompasses many of Chicago&#39;s northern suburbs. Polls had consistently shown the race was a toss-up, though later polls predicted a Dold victory.</p><p>In the 11th District, Democrat Bill Foster defeated Republican congresswoman Judy Biggert, who&rsquo;d been the incumbent in the 13 District. The match was inaugurated after Illinois Democrats redrew district boundaries and forced Biggert into a match against a strong opponent. Still, Foster&rsquo;s final lead was far larger than expected &mdash; 58 percent to Biggert&#39;s 42.</p><p>In the 13th District, Republican Rodney Davis beat Democrat David Gill. The Republican incumbent Tim Johnson announced he would not seek re-election.</p><p>In Illinois&rsquo; newly drawn 17th Congressional District, Democrat Cheri Bustos defeated Republican Congressman Bobby Schilling.</p><p>That matchup had been one of the most closely watched in Illinois, as Democrats had considered it an opportunity to pick up a seat in their fight to regain control of the House. Republicans also poured in big money to defend it.</p><p>There were also some unorthodox victories in Illinois that are sure to garner commentary from Illinoisans and outsiders alike.</p><p>For one, longtime U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. handily won another term in the 2nd congressional district, despite being on medical leave since June. His office has said he is suffering from bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues, and is being treated at the Mayo Clinic.</p><p>&quot;Once the Doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years. My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better everyday and look forward to serving you,&quot; Jackson said in a statement.</p><p>On the state level, Democrats retained control of the Legislature, with a potentially embarrassing victory involving Rep. Derrick Smith, who had been expelled after his indictment for bribery charges. He won his seat, despite the fact that major players in his own party &mdash; including Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White &mdash; actively campaigned against him. They had thrown support behind Lance Tyson, a third-party candidate.</p><p>Illinois voters also rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have required a three-fifths vote ― instead of a simple majority ― for any public body to increase public pension benefits.</p><p><em>&ndash; Scott Kanowsky, Tony Arnold, Lauren Choolijian and the Associated Press contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 02:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-obama-reprises-his-presidential-victory-103711 Five things to look for in the election http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/five-things-look-election-103685 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/obama%20campaign%20rally%20AP.jpg" style="height: 448px; width: 620px; " title="President Barack Obama tears up at his last campaign rally ever in downtown Des Moines, Iowa the night before the election. (AP)" /></div><p>1. Virginia closes its polls a 7 p.m. and though the focus these last few days has been almost exclusively on Ohio to win, Virginia might be a greater bellwether early on for how the rest of the night will go. If Mitt Romney wins Virginia, he has a real shot at the presidency (and it will be a very long night). If Barack Obama wins, there will be a giant sigh of relief at McCormick Place. Ohio becomes less necessary to Obama with a Virginia victory; he can even afford to lose the Buckeye state.</p><p>2. Polls close at 8 p.m. in Pennsylvania and Florida. Obama doesn&rsquo;t expect to win Florida&rsquo;s 29 Electoral College votes, but if his get-out-the-vote machine in the center of the state actually motivates Florida&#39;s Puerto Rican voters, he could squeak through.</p><p>A few things to consider in Florida: The ballot has 11 amendments, the longest in Florida history, and voters are taking up to an hour to fill it out&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;which means a lot of folks could get discouraged and walk away from the lines before casting their ballot. Moreover, there are new rules for provisional voting that could invalidate thousands of ballots within 48 hours of the vote; if it&rsquo;s close, Florida might not be settled until the end of the week, if that.</p><p>But if somehow Obama takes Florida, it&rsquo;s pretty much over (even Romney&rsquo;s people believe this). Conversely, if Romney takes Pennsylvania, the night will have gotten pretty ugly for Obama. There aren&rsquo;t a whole lot of places to make up those 20 electoral votes and Ohio becomes imperative for the president. Obama supporters can&rsquo;t be cavalier about Pennsylvania: The polls are within the margin of error and Romney drew 30,000 people&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;the most of the campaign&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;to a rally in the Philly burbs Monday night.<br /><br />3. There are a million things to watch in Ohio, but for me there&rsquo;s one crucial element: Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who&rsquo;s polling about 4 percent. If he does at least that well, Obama will most likely win Ohio, no matter what happens in Hamilton County, Ohio&rsquo;s great presidential harbinger. Johnson, the former GOP governor of New Mexico, is attractive to Ron Paul supporters still smarting from Romney&rsquo;s rebuff at the Republican convention. In other words, Johnson will likely draw many more GOP and independent voters (who have been breaking for Romney) than from traditional Democratic ranks. The other biggie to watch in Ohio is Secretary of State Scott Husted&rsquo;s shennanigans, which may include trying to toss out provisional ballots he deems not properly filed.<br /><br />4. Latinos are going to make the difference in this election, and may even be a factor in Ohio, where 166,000 registered Latino votes could be Obama&rsquo;s margin of victory. Where else? North Carolina and Virginia both have huge new numbers of Hispanic registered voters. Early voting suggests Latino numbers are significantly over 2008, even in places like Georgia. The real sign of the future, though, is Arizona, where the Latino population will likely be a majority in 2016. Right now, though not considered a swing state, the president and Romney are neck and neck in Jan Brewer&rsquo;s back yard, and Arizonans may elect&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;or come awfully close to electing&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;a Latino senator. Arizona may end up being very important in this election, or not at all. But it&rsquo;ll be crucial next time around.<br /><br />5. Keep an eye on Minnesota. Sure, it&rsquo;s been Democratic since forever. It&rsquo;s got a strong libertarian and just plain wacko streak. It&rsquo;s actually got third parties that matter: The Farmer-Labor Party (which usually teams up with the Dems) and the Independence Party. But it&rsquo;s also got a huge evangelical population, about 25 percent of the total. And they will be motivated to vote today: there&rsquo;s an amendment on the ballot to write the state&rsquo;s same sex marriage ban into the constitution. Polls suggest it&rsquo;s an even call on that. Evangelicals prompted by same sex marriage issues are more likely to vote for Romney than Obama. Could Minnesota tip? It may be far-fetched but state polls suggest a presidential race here within the margin of error. Other states with same sex marriage referendums are Maine, Washington and Maryland &mdash; but all three of those appear to lean in favor (these would be the first statewide victories for same sex marriage in more than 30 ballot tries).</p></p> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 10:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/five-things-look-election-103685 Swing state calls, the day before the election http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/swing-state-calls-day-election-103652 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Electoral_College_2012.svg_.png" style="height: 360px; width: 620px; " title=" Electoral college map for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 United States presidential elections, using apportionment data released by the US Census Bureau." /></div><p>We&rsquo;re down to the wire. I&rsquo;m not going to pretend to call this thing in its totality, especially because there are appear to be all sorts of last minute variables with GOP shenanigans in Ohio and Florida. But here are my swing state calls, and you can do the math -- let me know what you think!<br /><br /><strong>Ohio:</strong>&nbsp;Pretty darn close, and the one state I&rsquo;m least confident about. The GOP secretary of state just pulled a Hail Mary stunt and got half of <a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/171011/eleventh-hour-gop-voter-suppression-could-swing-ohio">what he was going for</a>, effectively getting to suppress votes in certain areas. The President might get help here from an unlikely source; Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, is polling near 5 percent, probably stealing more <a href="http://www.policymic.com/articles/18159/presidential-polls-2012-gary-johnson-is-the-x-factor-nobody-is-talking-about-in-this-election/270867">Republican than Democratic votes</a>. I&rsquo;ll say Barack Obama wins here, but I wouldn&rsquo;t stake a Klondike bar on it. The caveat is this: Superstition aside, Obama doesn&rsquo;t actually need Ohio if he holds on to Virginia. He can even lose Florida and Ohio and still win. But that would be the ugliest of all scenarios. <strong>Electoral votes: 18.</strong><br /><br /><strong>Florida:</strong>&nbsp;The second state I&rsquo;m least confident about. Mitt Romney has been ahead here since the Denver debate, but Obama tightened it over the weekend. Gov. Rick Scott is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/04/florida-early-voting_n_2073119.html">spreading mayhem in a way that suggests concern</a>.&nbsp;If the Puerto Ricans along the central corridor of the state show up, Obama could squeak through. But they don&rsquo;t have a great history of making it to the polls. I say Romney. <strong>Electoral votes: 29.</strong><br /><br /><strong>Virginia:</strong>&nbsp;Obama won here by only 14,000 votes, but the Dems have registered more than 100,000 new Latino votes this time. The <a href="http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/politics/Virginia-poll-Obama-48-Romney-47/-/1719386/17267568/-/brnicc/-/index.html">polls say they&rsquo;re tied</a>, but I&rsquo;m going to bet that Latinos aren&rsquo;t properly represented and they&rsquo;re Obama&rsquo;s edge. <strong>Electoral votes: 13.</strong><br /><br /><strong>Colorado:</strong> <a href="http://http://www.denverpost.com/nationalpolitics/ci_21553979/colorado-presidential-election-poll-shows-obama-romney-tied">Tied</a>,&nbsp;but I think the evangelicals for Romney will win the day over the newly registered Latinos for Obama. <strong>Electoral votes: 9.</strong><br /><br /><strong>Iowa: </strong>Obama. <strong>Electoral votes: 6.</strong><br /><br /><strong>Nevada:</strong> Obama. Harry Reid will win the day here. <strong>Electoral votes: 6.</strong><br /><br /><strong>New Hampshire:</strong> Obama. <strong>Electoral votes: 4.</strong><br /><br /><strong>North Carolina: </strong>Romney. <strong>Electoral votes: 15.</strong><br /><br /><strong>Wisconsin: </strong>Obama. <strong>Electoral votes: 10.</strong><br /><br />Two states not considered swing that could be in play are <strong>Pennsylvania </strong>and <strong>Arizona</strong>. Obama leads in Pennsylvania but the gap has been narrowing and Romney&rsquo;s been hitting it this weekend. Romney leads in Arizona but that gap has become razor thin, and there&rsquo;s a Latino, Richard Carmona, running for senate who could drive a higher Latino vote than the polls are suggesting. Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes -- if Romney gets them, the election could be over. Arizona has 11. For Obama, every little bit helps.</p></p> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/swing-state-calls-day-election-103652 'Ode to Joy': Undecided voter finally makes up her mind http://www.wbez.org/news/ode-joy-undecided-voter-finally-makes-her-mind-103578 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/violin2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>53-year-old Bridget Kerans almost didn&rsquo;t have time for an interview before Election Day.</p><p>After all, she&rsquo;s got her job at a suburban library, online college classes, family obligations &ndash; not to mention practice time.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve wanted to do the violin for years,&rdquo; Kerans said once I&rsquo;d finally buttonholed her (and her violin) at a Starbucks in Schaumburg, where she lives. She even played a few notes of &ldquo;Ode to Joy&rdquo; before starting to talk politics.</p><p>Kerans has been one of three undecided voters WBEZ has been following over the past few weeks, to document how they make their final decision about whom to vote for in the 2012 presidential race.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/tracking-elusive-undecided-voter-102766">To recap:</a> Kerans was the die-hard Hillary Clinton supporter from 2008 Democratic Parimary, who never got on board with President Barack Obama.</p><p>In 2012, she has been pretty gung-ho about Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul, a Libertarian icon. She recently emailed me a handmade poster she&rsquo;d taped to her house, featuring a cartoon Paul dressed in a Superman outfit.<br /><br />But during the recent presidential debates on TV, Kerans says she saw something in Republican Mitt Romney &ndash; something she hadn&rsquo;t noticed before.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m looking at the face, I&rsquo;m looking at the eyes. I honest-to-God swear I can see him thinking,&rdquo; she said as we met over coffee earlier this week. &ldquo;The gears are going, you know? &hellip; And he really &ndash; the last time, he made me feel proud.&rdquo;<br /><br />Kearns says she was drawn in by Romney&rsquo;s &ldquo;Five Point Plan&rdquo; to right the economy, which his campaign says would cut back on taxes, regulation and government spending.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a big issue for Kerans, who said she still remembers what it felt like to get laid off when her long-time job was outsourced a few years ago.</p><p>&ldquo;I had to start over again in my forties &ndash; late 40s,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And now, you know, I have to do everything, so you just don&rsquo;t wanna go down that road again.&rdquo;</p><p>Kerans says she&rsquo;s counting on Romney&rsquo;s business experience to help create jobs. And she&rsquo;s also hoping he&rsquo;ll make the GOP more moderate.</p><p>So what happened to Ron Paul?<br /><br />&ldquo;I wish he was the one. I really do. I want him so bad,&rdquo; Kerans said, laughing.</p><p>But not bad enough to write in Paul on Tuesday&rsquo;s ballot, she said. And by the time the coffee&rsquo;s gone, it sounds like she&rsquo;s finally made her decision.<br /><br />&ldquo;Well, it&rsquo;s gotten much easier and it&rsquo;ll be Romney,&rdquo; she said, when I ask who she&rsquo;d vote for if she had to decide just then.</p><p>Now that she seems to have decided her presidential vote, Kerans can spend more time on other pursuits &ndash; like the violin.</p></p> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 17:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ode-joy-undecided-voter-finally-makes-her-mind-103578 Romney's shameless last-minute lie http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/romneys-shameless-last-minute-lie-103545 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6624_AP761363886569-scr.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px; " title="Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney collects supplies for victims of superstorm Sandy at a campaign event in Kettering, Ohio, Tuesday. (AP/Charles Dharapak)" /></div><p>As most of the country focused on Superstorm Sandy&rsquo;s assault of the East Coast, Mitt Romney&rsquo;s campaign hit new shameless lows in Ohio this week.</p><p>In spite of promises to lay off politics for a few days while folks were dealing with Hurricane Sandy, this is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=xl77CapjzsA">loathsome radio ad</a> he&rsquo;s running in Ohio as of Tuesday:</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;"><em>Barack Obama says he saved the auto industry. But for who? Ohio, or China? Under President Obama, GM cut 15,000 American jobs. But they are planning to double the number of cars built in China &mdash; which means 15,000 more jobs for China.</em><br /><br /><em><em>And now comes word that Chrysler plans to start making jeeps in &mdash; you guessed it &mdash; China. What happened to the promises made to autoworkers in Toledo and throughout Ohio &mdash; the same hard-working men and women who were told that Obama&rsquo;s auto bailout would help them?</em></em><br /><br /><em>Mitt Romney grew up in the Auto Industry. Maybe that&rsquo;s why the</em>&nbsp;Detroit News&nbsp;<em>endorsed him, saying: &rdquo;Romney understands the industry and will shield it from regulators who never tire of churning out new layers of mandates.&rdquo; Mitt Romney. He&rsquo;ll stand up for the auto industry. In Ohio, not China.</em></p><p>This is not only a flat out lie, but Romney <em>knows</em> it&rsquo;s a lie. It&rsquo;s a deliberate attempt to play off people&rsquo;s fears about their own livelihood &mdash; a totally baseless fear refuted by Sergio Marchionne, cheif executive of Jeep&#39;s parent companies Fiat and Chrysler, who said in response, &ldquo;I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China.&rdquo;<br /><br />In fact, as Marchionne explained in a letter published in <em>Forbes</em> <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2012/10/30/marchionne-says-it-is-inaccurate-to-suggest-jeep-production-will-shift-to-china/">specifically refuting Romney&rsquo;s claims</a>, the company plans to <em>invest</em> $500 million in the Toledo Assembly Complex, bringing another 1,100 auto jobs to Ohio.<br /><br />&quot;The ad is <a href="http://http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/31/us/politics/2-american-automakers-rebut-claims-by-romney.html?_r=0">cynical campaign politics at its worst</a>,&quot; Greg Martin, a spokesman for General Motors, added. &ldquo;We think creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back in this country should be a source of bipartisan pride.&rdquo;<br /><br />What&rsquo;s the real story here? Romney used this China line at a couple of campaign events last week, but refused to answer reporters&rsquo; questions about it. Then he began to air a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=VQ8P04q6jqE">TV ad </a>with the same theme, which was <a href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/10/misleading-romney-auto-ad-backfires-with-media.php">widely panned</a>.<br /><br />But not even the absolute assurance of Jeep&rsquo;s chief executive was enough to shame Romney into pulling that TV ad. Instead, he doubled down with the radio ad, toughening the language and making a more direct suggestion that Jeep plans to move its operation to China.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s true that Jeep plans to open new factories in China &mdash; to meet Chinese demand for its cars. What that means to Ohio, where Jeep builds a series of unique parts, is that there will be even more U.S. jobs.<br /><br />And the <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121025/OPINION01/210250332#ixzz2AJbzwUQe"><em>Detroit News</em> endorsement</a> that Romney ad cites? Yeah, they really did endorse Romney &mdash; but not without calling him out on how <em>wrong</em> he was on the auto bailout. Here&rsquo;s the part of the editorial Mitt will never reproduce:</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;"><em>Don&#39;t assume that it was a no-brainer for a conservative newspaper to endorse a conservative presidential candidate. We recognize and are grateful for the extraordinary contribution President Obama made to Michigan in leading the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler. Had either of those companies been allowed to go under, Michigan&#39;s economic maladies would have become fatal.</em><br /><br /><em>The president stepped up with the support the two automakers needed to keep themselves and their suppliers in business. We have said in past editorials that while Romney rightly advocated for structured bankruptcies in his infamous &quot;Let Detroit Go Bankrupt&quot;</em>&nbsp;New York Times&nbsp;<em>op-ed, he was wrong in suggesting the automakers could have found operating capital in the private markets. In that article, Romney suggested government-backed loans to keep the companies afloat post bankruptcy. But what GM and Chrysler needed were bridge loans to get them through the process, and the private credit markets were unwilling to provide them. Obama put a rescue team to work and they were true to the task.</em></p><p>I&rsquo;ll say it again: Romney&rsquo;s lying, and he <em>knows</em> it. And he doesn&rsquo;t really care &mdash; what he cares about is scaring auto workers in Ohio enough to flip their vote.</p><p><br />***<br /><br />In other news, on Tuesday, I <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/sandy-forces-presidential-campaigns-change-tactics-103513#comments">mistakenly gave Mitt Romney the benefit of the doubt</a>:&nbsp;I said he&rsquo;d learned his lesson during national crises and was mostly shutting up and collecting Red Cross donations.<br /><br />On the surface, both of those things are true: At an event in Ohio, originally planned as a rally and then renamed a &ldquo;storm relief&quot; some or other, Romney did gather up canned goods and other donations for hurricane victims &mdash; except that the Red Cross, the intended recipient, <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/10/30/romneys_unhelpful_storm_relief/">doesn&rsquo;t actually accept any of the things collected</a>. What exactly will Romney do with that stuff? He hasn&rsquo;t said.<br /><br />Still, he managed to play his campaign video (campaign honcho Stuart Stevens <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/10/30/1112971/romney-campaign-plays-convention-video-at-non-political-storm-relief-event-in-ohio/">can&rsquo;t explain</a> how that happened) and to come off awful <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/10/mitt-romney-sandy-relief-politics.php?ref=fpnewsfeed">rally-like</a>.<br /><br />He is keeping his mouth shut all right &mdash; ignoring any and all questions about what&rsquo;d he do as president with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As a candidate in the primaries, he pledged to get rid of it. <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/10/30/romney-won-t-talk-fema.html">Fourteen times</a>, that&rsquo;s how often reporters directly asked Romney about this Tuesday; they were ignored each and every time.<br /><br />As to FEMA, here&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/109393/hurricane-sandy-fema-infrastructure-government-fugate-romney-obama">the bottom line</a>: But for one botched job (Katrina) during George W. Bush&rsquo;s tenure, when FEMA was run by a man who had no business being its head, the agency has been indispensable in national emergencies.<br /><br />If you have any doubt about Romney&rsquo;s position, here&rsquo;s a <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2012/10/romney-has-a-christie-problem-and-a-fema-problem.html#ixzz2AqX1fdzV">transcript</a> from the debates:</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;"><em>JOHN KING: What else, Gov. Romney? You&rsquo;ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Mo. I&rsquo;ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it&rsquo;s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we&rsquo;re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?</em><br /><br /><em><em>ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that&rsquo;s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that&rsquo;s even better.</em></em>&nbsp;<em>Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut &mdash; we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we&rsquo;re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we&rsquo;re doing that we don&rsquo;t have to do? And those things we&rsquo;ve got to stop doing, because we&rsquo;re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we&rsquo;re taking in. We cannot . . .</em><br /><br /><em>KING: Including disaster relief, though?</em><br /><br /><em><em>ROMNEY: We cannot &mdash; we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we&rsquo;ll all be dead and gone before it&rsquo;s paid off. It makes no sense at all.</em></em></p></p> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 09:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/romneys-shameless-last-minute-lie-103545 Sandy forces presidential campaigns to change tactics http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/sandy-forces-presidential-campaigns-change-tactics-103513 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6620_AP674854432505-scr.jpg" title="Waves from Hurricane Sandy crash onto the damaged Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Monday. (AP/Gerry Broome)" /></div><p>Don&rsquo;t think for a minute that Superstorm Sandy has put the presidential campaign on hold.</p><p>Both President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney&rsquo;s teams have merely pivoted from overtly political to less so. For both efforts, it&rsquo;s crucial to look sympathetic and not opportunistic. And for both, the suspension of normal campaigning has serious risks.<br /><br />For Obama, whose campaign depends on the ground game at this point, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/30/us/politics/millions-vote-early-changing-the-rhythm-of-the-campaigns.html?_r=0">suspension of early voting</a> in crucial East Coast states is a huge blow. Maryland suspended early voting completey, and sites in Virginia and North Carolina were forced to close.<br /><br />He&rsquo;s also been effectively shut down as a campaigner. <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/83016.html">Surrogates</a> such as former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden are carrying the load, particularly in Ohio.<br /><br />The president is, of course, haunted by what Katrina did to his predecessor and has turned the White House into a command center. Calling governors, promising whatever help is needed, Obama&rsquo;s done a good enough job so far to earn <a href="http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/gov-christie-obama-deserves-great-credit-for-storm?ref=fpb">praise from one of Romney&rsquo;s top surrogates</a>: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, where Sandy made landfall last night.<br /><br />Obama signed a major disaster declaration for New Jersey, skipping a bunch of red tape to expedite aid. &quot;I can&#39;t thank the president enough for that,&quot; Christie said. &quot;Cooperation from the president of the United States has been outstanding. He deserves great credit.&quot;<br /><br />In the meantime, Romney has learned the lesson of Benghazi and is mostly shutting up. At an Ohio event, he&rsquo;s <a href="http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/29/14783736-romney-scrapping-events-asks-supporters-to-support-hurricane-relief?lite">collecting donations for the Red Cross</a>, not his campaign (this followed Obama&rsquo;s lead Monday night, when he sent out a fundraising letter for the Red Cross through his campaign list).<br /><br />Tone is crucial for Romney at this point but with the huge blackout, whatever he does might have little impact either way. In the meantime, the blackout means the last minute barrage of ads against the president are also useless.<br /><br />If there&rsquo;s a silver lining for Romney in this, it&rsquo;s that there won&rsquo;t be much viewership for coverage of his <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2012/10/29/romney-fema-hurricane/1667059/">prior comments on disaster relief</a>. You see, Romney is <em>against</em> funding a federal effort, preferring that states tackle natural disasters on their own. (Though nature does not respect state lines, that means that New York would do its own thing, and North Carolina its own thing ... )<br /><br />&quot;Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that&#39;s the right direction,&quot; Romney said at a debate last December. &quot;And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that&#39;s even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?&rdquo;<br /><br />On the follow up specifically about disaster relief, he said this: &ldquo;We cannot &mdash; we cannot afford to [have federal disaster relief] without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we&#39;ll all be dead and gone before it&#39;s paid off. It makes no sense at all.&quot;<br /><br />In other words, to provide federal help during emergencies caused by nature instead of bringing down the debt is <em>immoral</em>.</p><p>As far as Romney&#39;s concerned, that black out might in fact not be so bad afte all.</p></p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/sandy-forces-presidential-campaigns-change-tactics-103513 Mourdock and the meaning of 'moderate' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/mourdock-and-meaning-moderate-103410 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6602_AP625487735492-scr.jpg" style="float: right; height: 450px; width: 300px; " title="Indiana GOP U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (AP)" /></div><p>The whole world now knows that Indiana GOP U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/mourdock-rape-comment-adds-to-election-year-furor-over-social-issues/2012/10/24/efa6a530-1e05-11e2-b647-bb1668e64058_story.html?tid=pm_pop">he believes</a>&nbsp;&ldquo;that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.&rdquo;</p><p>In other words, God has a plan, and it involves that rapist fathering a kid. Don&rsquo;t doubt or question it because, damn it all to hell, it&rsquo;s God&rsquo;s plan.<br /><br />Mourdock opposes abortion with a single exception: cases where the life of the mother is at stake.<br /><br />The kicker? The Democratic candidate, Rep. Joe Donnelly, took a <a href="http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/politics/richard-mourdock-joe-donnelly-spend-day-dealing-with-rape-abortion-comment">more &ldquo;moderate&rdquo; stance</a>, saying that his position allows for abortion in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s a hell of a choice Hoosiers have.<br /><br />My question is: When did these three exceptions &mdash; the holy trinity, if you will &mdash; become a &ldquo;moderate&rdquo; stance on abortion rights? Exceptions for rape, incest and the woman&rsquo;s very life are not actually much of a choice.<br /><br />Back when I was a teenager and more readily in need of safe and legal abortion for myself and my friends than I am now, that position meant you were anti-abortion.<br /><br />I&rsquo;m not actually arguing against religious conviction. I&rsquo;m pro-choice but I totally follow the reasoning that if you believe life begins at conception and anything after that is murder, then the only logical conclusion is that exceptions can&rsquo;t be made.<br /><br />But let&rsquo;s call that what it is: If there&rsquo;s no negotiating, if there&rsquo;s no middle ground, that&rsquo;s an extreme position.<br /><br />Have Republican and religious extremists convinced us that allowing a birthing mother to live if the choice is between her and her unborn child is actually an exception, a kindness?<br /><br />Have these words &mdash; rape and incest &mdash; lost their power? Did we forget what these words actually mean?<br /><br />This is what we&rsquo;re talking about when we talk about abortion without exceptions:<br /><br />If you&rsquo;re a woman and get pregnant because a man forced you to have sex, which is to say, if you get pregnant as a result of sex you did not consent to (and was traumatic), then <em>you have to give birth to your rapist&rsquo;s child, whether you want to or not</em>.<br /><br />If you&rsquo;re a woman and get pregnant because your father/brother/grandfather/uncle/cousin/stepfather/etc. raped you (see above), then <em>you have to give birth to your father&rsquo;s/brother&rsquo;s/grandfather&rsquo;s/uncle&rsquo;s/cousin&rsquo;s/stepfather&rsquo;s, etc., child, whether you want to or not.</em><br /><br />Mitt Romney&rsquo;s own position on abortion in this election cycle allows exceptions in the cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. (Paul Ryan disagrees, in line with his faith and the GOP party platform: no abortions, no exceptions.)<br /><br />Support for these lousy exceptions has allowed Romney to step back from extreme GOP candidates like <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/10/23/todd_akins_militia_ties_exposed/">Todd Akin</a>, who doesn&rsquo;t understand biology, and our own <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/10/19/tea-party-illinois-rep-joe-walsh-one-ups-akin-s-legitimate-rape.html">Joe Walsh</a>, who thinks pregnancy is risk-free.<br /><br />But, for some reason, Romney isn&rsquo;t stepping back from Mourdock. Of all of the GOP candidates running for election, Mourdock is the only one for whom Romney has taped <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/mitt-romney-supported-richard-mourdock-political-ad-17552447">a personal campaign ad</a>, which has already run in Indiana more than 100 times.<br /><br />The Romney campaign said Wednesday that he <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/10/richard-mourdock-john-mccain.php?ref=fpa">didn&rsquo;t agree with Mourdock&rsquo;s views </a>on abortion, but the television spot (which was taped long before Mourdock opened his mouth) is still running in Indiana.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s <em>moderate</em> Mitt.</p></p> Thu, 25 Oct 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/mourdock-and-meaning-moderate-103410 What Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama can learn from television http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/what-mitt-romney-and-president-barack-obama-can-learn-television <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/romney-2012-cleareyesbracelet.jpg" style="float: right; height: 300px; width: 300px; " title="(Photo from store.mittromney.com)" />Being the leader of the free world doesn&#39;t leave a lot of free time, but President&#39;s still manage to participate in the great American past time of plopping down in front of the television and being whisked away to a fantasy land.</p><p>Along those lines,&nbsp;&quot;I think it&#39;s pretty funny that Barack Obama loves combating terror so much that even when he goes home at night, he watches a show about it,&quot; said <em>New York</em> magazine television critic Margaret Lyons at <em>The Paper Machete</em>, on the President&#39;s admitted love of Showtime&#39;s <em>Homeland</em>. However, Lyons thinks Mitt Romney might want to&nbsp;check out <em>Parenthood </em>to &quot;examine his white privilege.&quot; And both candidates should reevaluate their love for <em>Modern Family</em>, because &quot;I&nbsp;hope they don&#39;t think that&#39;s an average family.&quot;</p><p>Read an excerpt below or listen above:</p><p><em>Mitt Romney came under fire[last week] for co-opting the </em>Friday Night Lights<em> slogan &quot;Clear eyes, full hearts, can&#39;t lose.&quot; If you&#39;ve ever watched </em>Friday Night Lights <em>you know that it&#39;s completely antithetical to everything Mitt Romney represents. And another person who knows that that&#39;s true is </em><a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/friday-night-lights-creator-accuses-378606">Friday Night Lights</a><em><a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/friday-night-lights-creator-accuses-378606">&#39; creator and executive producer Peter Berg</a>, who came up with the motto &quot;Clear eyes, full hearts, can&#39;t lose&quot; and wrote a letter to Mitt Romney this week begging him to stop using it.</em></p><p><em>In the letter, Berg compared Mitt Romney to one and only one character in the show, Buddy Garrity, who is like the weird gregarious villain of the series; he&#39;s a car salesman who cheats on his wife and is horrible.</em></p><p><em>But it made me think a lot about what </em>Friday Night Lights<em> can teach us, and what lessons I wish Mitt Romney could have learned from watching </em>Friday Night Lights<em>. The whole show centers on coach and in the first few seasons, they live and teach in Dillon. The football team gets a huge fancy stadium and they have a jumbotron and they travel on luxurious buses, even though they&#39;re high school students. And all of that is supported by Buddy Garrity and his team of Panther boosters. It&#39;s all privately funded and great! </em></p><p><em>Mrs. Coach, in the first few seasons, is the school guidance counselor, and she&#39;s unable to provide services to a lot of her students who are poor because the school is publicly funded.&nbsp;</em><em>So this tells us that when people get to donate their money to whoever they want, they might get to donate it to football jumbotrons; they probably will not donate it to drug counseling available to late literacy learners in high school.</em></p><p>Friday Night Lights<em> focuses on the idea of group responsibility: no one of us is more important than the team. That&#39;s the message of Smash Williams, who is a great football player, but he&#39;s not better by himself, he needs everyone. That&#39;s the message of QB1 Matt Saracen, the hero of our show, who grows from nerd to quarterback with the help and guidance of those around him.</em></p><p><em>If anyone seems like Mitt Romney on </em>Friday Night Lights<em>, it&#39;s probably JD McCoy. He&#39;s the evil dad of the sad quarterback who&#39;s a jerk (because of his evil dad he becomes a jerk. I think that&#39;s how the world works, I&#39;m pretty sure. Also he looks exactly like Mitt Romney).</em></p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a>&nbsp;<em>is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It&#39;s always at 3 pm., it&#39;s always on Saturday, and it&#39;s always free. Get all your&nbsp;</em>The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/paper-machete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Oct 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/what-mitt-romney-and-president-barack-obama-can-learn-television Final presidential debate: Challenging each other face to face http://www.wbez.org/news/final-presidential-debate-challenging-each-other-face-face-103329 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP791253873404.jpg" style="height: 455px; width: 620px; " title="Moderator Bob Schieffer gestures as President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speak during the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP/Michael Reynolds)" /></div><p>President Barack Obama sharply challenged Mitt Romney on foreign policy in their final campaign&nbsp;debate&nbsp;Monday night, saying, &quot;Every time you&#39;ve offered an opinion you&#39;ve been wrong.&quot; The Republican coolly responded, &quot;Attacking me is not an agenda&quot; for dealing with a dangerous world.</p><div><p>Romney took the offensive, too. When Obama said the U.S. and its allies have imposed crippling sanctions on Iran to halt nuclear weapons development, the Republican challenger responded that the U.S. should have done more. He declared repeatedly, &quot;We&#39;re four years closer to a nuclear Iran.&quot;</p><p>Despite the&nbsp;debate&#39;s&nbsp;stated focus on foreign affairs, time after time the rivals turned the discussion back to the slowly recovering U.S. economy, which polls show is the No. 1 issue for most voters.</p><p>They found little agreement on that, but the president and his rival found accord on at least one international topic with domestic political overtones &mdash; Israel&#39;s security &mdash; as they sat at close quarters 15 days before the end of an impossibly close election campaign. Each stressed unequivocal support for Israel when asked how he would respond if the Jewish state were attacked by Iran.</p><p>&quot;If Israel is attacked, we have their back,&quot; said Romney &mdash; moments after Obama vowed, &quot;I will stand with Israel if Israel is attacked.&quot;</p><p>Both also said they oppose direct U.S. military involvement in the efforts to topple Syrian President Bashir Assad.</p><p>The&nbsp;debate&nbsp;produced none of the finger-pointing and little of the interrupting that marked the presidential rivals&#39;&nbsp;debate&nbsp;last week, when Obama needed a comeback after a listless performance in their first meeting on Oct. 3.</p><p>But there was no mistaking the urgency. The two men frequently sniped at one another even on issues where they agree, and reprised their campaign-long disagreements over the economy, energy, education and other domestic issues despite ground rules that stipulated the&nbsp;debate&nbsp;cover international affairs.</p><p>Obama and Romney are locked in a close race in national opinion polls. The final&nbsp;debate behind them, both men intend to embark on a final two-week whirlwind of campaigning. The president is slated to speak in six states during a two-day trip that begins Wednesday and includes a night aboard Air force One as it flies from Las Vegas to Tampa. Romney intends to visit two or three states a day.</p><p>Already four million ballots have been cast in early voting in more than two dozen states.</p><p>On the Middle East, Romney said that despite early hopes, the ouster of despotic regimes in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere over the past year has resulted in a &quot;rising tide of chaos.&quot; He said the president has failed to come up with a coherent policy to grapple with change sweeping the Middle East, and he added ominously that an al-Qaida-like group has taken over northern Mali.</p><p>Anticipating one of Obama&#39;s most frequent campaign assertions, Romney said of the man seated nearby, &quot;I congratulate him on taking out Osama bin Laden and taking on the leadership of al-Qaida. But we can&#39;t kill our way out of this. ... We must have a comprehensive strategy.&quot;</p><p>More than a half hour later, Obama returned to the subject, saying that Romney had once said it wasn&#39;t worth moving heaven and earth to catch one man, a reference to the mastermind behind the 9/11 terror attacks.</p><p>He said he had decided it was &quot;worth heaven and earth.&quot;</p><p>Obama said he had ended the war in Iraq, was on a path to end the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan and has vowed to bring justice to the attackers of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last month &mdash; an assault that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.</p><p>He also jabbed at Romney&#39;s having said during the campaign that Russia is the United States&#39; No. 1 geopolitical foe.</p><p>&quot;Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy you seem to want the policies of the 1980s, just like you want to import the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies in the 1920s,&quot; Obama said.</p><p>Obama was snippy after Romney, criticizing the administration&#39;s Pentagon budget, said disapprovingly the U.S. Navy has fewer ships than at any time since the end of World War I.</p><p>&quot;I think Governor Romney maybe hasn&#39;t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them.&quot;</p><p>Romney offered unusual praise for Obama&#39;s war efforts in Afghanistan, declaring the 2010 surge of 33,000 U.S. troops a success and asserting that efforts to train Afghan security forces are on track to enable the U.S. and its allies to put the Afghans fully in charge of security by the end of 2014. He said that U.S. forces should complete their withdrawal on that schedule; previously he has criticized the setting of a specific withdrawal date.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP193829189869.jpg" style="height: 227px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="President Barack Obama greets members of the family of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney after the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP/Rick Wilking)" />The two men are locked in a close race in national opinion polls. The final&nbsp;debate&nbsp;behind them, they intend to embark on a final two-week whirlwind of campaigning. The president is slated to speak in six states during a two-day trip that begins Wednesday and includes a night aboard Air force One as it flies from Las Vegas to Tampa. Romney intends to visit two or three states a day.</p><p>Already four million ballots have been cast in early voting in more than two dozen states.</p><p>Barring a last-minute change in strategy by one campaign or the other, Obama appears on course to win states and the District of Columbia that account for 237 of the 270 electoral votes needed for victory. The same is true for Romney in states with 191 electoral votes.</p><p>The battlegrounds account for the remaining 110 electoral votes: Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), New Hampshire (4), Iowa (6), Colorado (9), Nevada (6), Ohio (18) and Wisconsin (10).</p><p>The televised&nbsp;debate&nbsp;brought no cessation to other campaigning.</p><p>Obama&#39;s campaign launched a television ad in Florida that said the president ended the war in Iraq and has a plan to do the same in Afghanistan, accusing Romney of opposing him on both. It was not clear how often the ad would air, given the fall&#39;s overall focus on the economy.</p><p>Vice President Joe Biden, campaigning in Canton, Ohio, emphasized differences between the two candidates on the war in Afghanistan.</p><p>&quot;We will leave Afghanistan in 2014, period. They say it depends,&quot; he said. &quot;Ladies and gentlemen, like everything with them, it depends. It depends on what day you find these guys.&quot;</p><p>Romney&#39;s running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, was in Colorado. &quot;We are in the midst of deciding the kind of country we&#39;re going to be, the kind of people we&#39;re going to be, for a generation,&quot; he said.</p><p>Whatever the outcome of the final face-to-face confrontation, the&nbsp;debates&nbsp;have left an imprint on the race. Romney was widely judged the winner of the first&nbsp;debate&nbsp;over a listless president on Oct. 3, and he has risen in polls in the days since. Obama was much more energetic in the second.</p><p>Monday night marked the third time in less than a week that the president and his challenger shared a stage, following the feisty 90-minute town-hall-style meeting last Tuesday on Long Island and a white-tie charity dinner two night later where gracious compliments flowed and barbs dipped in humor flew.</p><p>At the Al Smith charity dinner, Obama previewed his all-purpose fallback to criticism on international affairs.</p><p>&quot;Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden,&quot; he said, a reminder of the signature foreign policy triumph of his term, the death at the hand of U.S. special operations forces of the mastermind behind the terror attacks on the United States more than a decade ago.</p><p>The president and his challenger agreed long ago to devote one of their three&nbsp;debates&nbsp;to foreign policy, even though opinion polls show voters care most about economic concerns.</p><p>Growth has been slow and unemployment high across Obama&#39;s tenure in the White House. Romney, a wealthy former businessman, cites his experience as evidence he will put in place policies that can revive the economy.</p><p>In recent weeks, the former Massachusetts governor has stepped up his criticism of the president&#39;s handling of international matters, although his campaign hasn&#39;t spent any of its television advertising budget on commercials on the subject.</p><p>In a speech earlier this month, Romney accused the president of an absence of strong leadership in the Middle East, where popular revolutions have swept away autocratic regimes in Egypt and elsewhere in the past two years. He has also accused Obama of failing to support Israel strongly enough, of failing to make it clear that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon and of backing cuts in the defense budget that would harm military readiness.</p><p>Yet Romney has stumbled several times in attempting to establish his own credentials.</p><p>He offended the British when he traveled to England this summer and made comments viewed as critical of their preparation for the Olympic Games.</p><p>Democrats pounced when he failed to mention the U.S. troops in Afghanistan or Iraq during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in late August, and officials in both parties were critical of his comments about the attack in Benghazi while the facts were unknown.</p><p><em>Espo reported from Washington.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 22 Oct 2012 21:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/final-presidential-debate-challenging-each-other-face-face-103329 Presidential debate #3 live chat: Foreign policy http://www.wbez.org/news/presidential-debate-3-live-chat-foreign-policy-103304 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RomneyObamaDebates3.jpg" style="height: 299px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>We&#39;re following the debates live, and featuring commentary from Chicago media&#39;s best and brightest, like <em>TimeOut</em>&#39;s Frank Sennett,&nbsp;WBEZ blogger Achy Obejas, PR strategist&nbsp;Veronica Vera, social media guru Scott Smith and DNAinfo&#39;s&nbsp;Jen Sabella. Monday&#39;s&nbsp;debate is the final presidential debate, and the first in the Town Hall format. It will be moderated by&nbsp;Chief Washington Correspondent for CBS News&nbsp;Bob Schieffer&nbsp;at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a class="twitter-timeline" data-widget-id="253146859072266240" href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BEZDebates">Tweets about &quot;#BEZDebates&quot;</a> <script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");</script></p></p> Mon, 22 Oct 2012 12:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/presidential-debate-3-live-chat-foreign-policy-103304