Robert Woodward, professor at Drake University, discusses the meedia’s role in Iowan and national politics throughout campaings. Mr. Woodward explains that citizens attain the majority of their knowledge concerning candidates and their policies through information technology and the media. Mr. Woodward also discusses the role of local press and national broadcasts in delivering political coverage and political advertisements to citizens throughout America.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Republican candidate Herman Cain delivers a speech to supporters and media coverage reporters in Roosevelt Park, Detroit in order to back his “9-9-9” plan by discussing his qualifications as a former economic consultant in the early 1990’s. He also introduces his senior economic advisor, the “co-architect of ‘9-9-9,’” Rich Lowrie of Cleveland Ohio. Cain then lays out the five goals of his “9-9-9” plan: simplicity, transparency, efficiency, fairness, and revenue neutrality.
Political Media Reporter Jennifer Jacobs is interviewed via phone regarding the reaction to the 2012 Republican candidates debate in Iowa. She explains that Romney performed well during the debate despite the arguments that ensued between his fellow candidates. Jacobs also discusses the media attraction and the historical background of the Iowa State Fair, which is perhaps the most commonly visited area by presidential candidates.
On October 12 Vice President Joe Biden asserted that violent crime such as murder, rape, and burglary will inevitably increase if Republicans in Congress reject the Obama administration’s proposed jobs bill. Biden’s statements do not interpret any statistical evidence and many Americans, including many non-Republicans regard these statements as arbitrary and “irresponsible” (Fox News).
The legislation in question, backed by the Obama Administration, is a $35 billion bill that would delegate $30 billion to aid state and local governments in ensuring the jobs of 400,000 teachers. The remaining $5 million will enable cities to retain jobs for 18,000 police officers and 7,000 firefighters (Fox News).
Biden responded to Congress’ defeat of the bill during a speech to Philadelphia police officers at the University of Pennsylvania,
“Let me tell you, it’s not temporary when that 9-1-1 call comes in and a woman’s being raped. If a cop shows up in time to prevent the rape, it’s not temporary to that woman,” Biden said with his voice rising. “It’s not temporary to the guy whose store is being held up and has a gun being pointed to his head if a cop shows up and he’s not killed. That’s not temporary to that store owner. Give me a break -- temporary. I wish these guys who thought it was temporary, I wish they had some notion what it’s like be on the other side of a gun or a 200-pound man standing over you telling you to submit. Folks, it matters. It matters.”
These remarks are outlandish and may be interpreted by victims of violent crimes as sponsoring a manipulative political agenda. The Vice President’s comment was an inappropriate and tactless effort to gain support for the Democratic jobs bill.
In response to Congress’ initial rejection of Obama’s $447 billion dollar jobs bill, Senate Republicans are pushing their own agenda. They have cultivated their own legislation in regards to the “jobs issue” which includes tax reform, a balanced budget amendment, a repeal of the federal health care law and lifting prohibitions on offshore drilling (Fox News).
While delivering a speech in Virginia, one stop on Obama’s bus tour to promote his jobs bill, Obama responded to the Republican proposed bill by stating, “Let me repeat, dirtier air, dirtier water, repealing health care and ending rules on Wall Street is not a jobs plan” (Fox News). Recently on his tour, Obama has made remarks in support of the jobs bill every two days, and in a different state every six days.
Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, provides an interesting perspective concerning the Republican Senators decision to fight the Democratic jobs bill. Henry Reid stated that the Republican Senators rejected the bill in correspondence with their political agenda, to elect a Republican president. By rejecting the bill, the crippling jobs issue will not be corrected in any way, preceding the 2012 election (Fox News).
In opposition to Obama’s statement, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell stated on Wednesday that Obama needs to “park the campaign bus, shelve the talking points and focus on jobs” (Fox News). McConnell points out, “It’s completely preposterous at a time when 14 million Americans are looking for a job in this country for the president to be riding around on a bus saying we should raise taxes – on the very folks who create jobs” (Fox News).
Works Cited: Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/19/biden-evokes-sexual-violent-imagery-again-in-push-for-447-jobs-bill/#ixzz1cDcjzt4L
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is likely to remain the dominant nominee for the Republican candidacy throughout the primary elections. However, polls suggest that Romney has not secured his seat as the prevailing candidate just yet. Polls in Iowa reveal, “24% of registered Republicans say they are backing Romney, who's making his second bid for the presidency, with Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host, at 21%. Romney’s three-point margin is within the surveys sampling error” (Paul Steinhauser). The polls results, a three-point gap separating leading nominees, highlights the “undecided” stance of Republican voters.
Yet, many perceive Mitt Romney as the “inevitable candidate” because he is regarded as the “candidate to beat Obama.” Romney has established assertiveness throughout the Republican debates and cultivated a tight knit campaign that has potential to win the presidential election. However, precedent suggests the “most likely to win” nominee is not necessarily accepted as the most appropriate candidate to represent Party policies. In 2004, Howard Dean, Democratic presidential nominee, emerged as the party’s most progressive candidate (Joe Trippi). Dean’s anti-war, anti-Bush stance sat well with Democrats who did not support the Washington Democrats decision to “go-along” with the Bush administration’s Iraq war (Joe Trippi). However, the overall Democratic Party sentiment conveyed Senator John Kerry as the most “likely to win” against Bush. The Iraq war became a major issue during the election, and Kerry’s pro-war stance did not gain him excessive popularity. A poll taken at the 2004 Democratic National Convention found, ““Eighty percent of [delegates] polled said they opposed the decision to go to war against Iraq at the time it began, and 95 percent say they now oppose the war. A majority of 63 percent want U.S. troops out within two years; only one in four say the United States should stay as long as it takes to achieve administration goals” (Joe Trippi).
Romney is currently facing similar adversities and is the subject of Republican voter speculation concerning his campaigns health policy. “RomneyCare” is regarded as the genesis of the highly disputed national “ObamaCare” plan. If Conservative Republicans feel “disenfranchised” by Romney’s proposed health plan and his puzzling stance on abortion, they may display ambivalent and apathetic views toward the GOP’s nominees. Matt Kibbe, president of the Tea Party aligned FreedomWorks, points out that voter turnout may be effected if Republicans do in fact feel “disenfranchised” by the lack of representation concerning their political stance on popular issues, such as abortion and healthcare (Joe Trippi). In September 2004, sixty-five percent of Bush supporters claimed to be “very enthusiastic” about their candidate, whereas only forty-two percent of Kerry supports displayed strong enthusiasm (Joe Trippi). This discrepancy in voter enthusiasm compliments Matt Kibbe’s speculation, that if conservative voters are disenfranchised or unenthused by their candidate, than voter turnout may be significantly effected. One Wall Street Journal/NBC poll revealed, forty percent of Republicans stated that they would vote for Romney “with some reservations.” Also, Public Policy Polling discovered that sixty-nine percent of Romney’s supporters claimed that they “might end up supporting someone else in the primary” (Joe Trippi).
Governor Mitt Romney, the “inevitable candidate,” may in fact become the Republican candidate for the 2012 election. However, the commonly noted cliché, history repeats itself, may have relevance concerning Republican support and voter turnout during the general election.
Works Cited: Paul Steinhauser, CNN Deputy Political Director. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/26/poll-romney-at-or-tied-for-top-spot-in-first-4-states-to-vote/?hpt=hp_bn3.
Joe Trippi, Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/10/24/romney-will-wind-up-as-gop-nominee-but-will-party-faithful-have-regrets/#ixzz1cDGGzQwd.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Republican candidate Herman Cain is said to have answered the GOP supporters calling for a candidate to oppose the front-runner, Gov. Mitt Romney, However, Cain has delivered various controversial comments and interviews that have supporters doubting his competence.
In a recent interview, Cain suggested constructing an electrical fence surrounding the U.S. -Mexico border in order to electrify those attempting to illegally immigrate to the United States. He later retracted this statement and explained that is was a “joke” and that “American’s need to get a better sense of humor.” However, is it appropriate, under any circumstances, for a presidential candidate to make such remarks in a public interview?
Perhaps, for a moment, the most attractive policy under Cain’s belt was his “9-9-9” tax code plan. Recently however, due to concerns that the majority of American’s would pay more taxes under this plan, Cain has modified the plan to exclude a number of Americans living under the poverty line that qualify and to allow several deductions (Associated Press- Foxnews). Unfortunately for Cain’s campaign, those who supported his plan appreciated its straightforward approach to revising the tax code and by modifying its simplicity he may have sacrificed some votes.
Cain has also been scrutinized for failing to deliver a strong pro-life agenda despite his assertion that, as president, he would institute anti-abortion policies. After stating to CNN his pro-life stance, Cain commented, “"the government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to social decisions that they need to make." This statement clearly does not coincide with an anti-abortion agenda. Recently, Cain, when presented with a hypothetical, has also explained that he would be open to negotiating with terrorists in exchange for captive U.S. soldiers. He later retracted this statement and claimed he “misspoke” due to the pace of the interview (Associated Press). During an economic speech in Detroit, Cain comments, “In a couple of instances ... I misspoke because of the pace of the interview. I don't call it a flip-flop. I'd rather come back and explain to people what I really meant. It doesn't send mixed messages. It just shows that I'm willing to correct myself ... if in fact I need to correct myself for clarity. That's what I'm trying to achieve” (Associated Press- Foxnews).
One 60-year-old Gene Carkeet of Memphis, Tennessee stated after attending a Cain rally, “I'm looking for someone that's electable and right now I don't think he fits into that category” (Associated Press-Foxnews). However, many supporters are quick to overlook Cain’s lack of clarity based on the natural “growing pains” that follow sudden national exposure. Kay Godwin, co-founder of Georgia Conservatives in Action, comments, "Look at Romney and Perry at the last debate. They can't even be civil to each other on a stage in front of a national audience," Godwin said. "At his core, Herman has the heart to save this country” (Associated Press-Foxnews).
Works Cited: Associated Press-Foxnews. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/22/cain-stumbling-under-glare-national-spotlight/#ixzz1bec6Xdnp
The Republican Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday exhibited the candidates policies regarding hot topics such as immigration, “ObamaCare,” and the much disputed “9-9-9” plan laid out by candidate Herman Cain.
Early in Tuesday’s debate, as expected, Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” plan quickly became a controversial topic of debate. The opposing candidates boldly outlined their standpoints in relation to the plan and expressed their interpretations of a more appropriate tax code plan. The candidates believed Cain’s plan to be a far too simplistic approach to correcting a complex and intricate dilemma. Paul Steinhauser and Peter Hamby of CNN Newsroom recorded several of the candidate’s retorts,
"You can't change the facts," shouted Santorum.
"Rick, you had your chance. Let me speak," fired back Romney.
"You're out of time. You're out of time," responded Santorum (Paul Steinhauser and Peter Hamby).
Mitt Romney also butted heads with Texas Governor Rick Perry in regards to his immigration policy. Romney, for a second time, was referred to as a hypocrite after stating that his administration would strongly stand against illegal immigration. However, Perry rebutted this statement by exclaiming that Romney had hired illegal aliens to work in his home. Romney quickly explained that upon the discovery of these workers as illegal’s they were immediately disbanded. Soon after, a shouting match ensued and Romney stated, "This has been a tough couple of debates for Rick, and I understand that. And so you're going to get testy" (Paul Steinhauser and Peter Hamby).
Works Cited: Paul Steinhauser and Peter Hamby. http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/19/politics/five-things-learned-gop-debate/index.html
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Part of Michelle Obama’s speech regarding the family values that her and her husband Barack Obama share. They also discuss the importance of instilling these values in their children’s lives and the nations youth. A caller also discusses his appreciation for the Obama campaign.
Callers discuss their reactions to Michelle Obama’s speech during the Democratic National Convention. One woman discusses her decision to change her vote to favor Obama after hearing Michelle Obama’s words on his union policy.
Several democratic representatives discuss their reactions to Michelle Obama’s speech during the 2008 Democratic Convention. Monique Davis, a state representative from Illinois, discusses the importance of portraying Barack Obama as a true family man in touch with hard working Americans. Representative Jack Franks discusses the “Clinton-Obama devide,” and expresses his anticipation to unite Democrats after Hilary Clinton’s address during the Convention.
Despite staggeringly high unemployment rates throughout the nation, the Obama Campaign has reported a large number of healthy financial donations from areas strongly effected by the jobs issue. An Associated Press study exhibits the donations received from Obama supporters in regions with high unemployment rates from the second and third quarters of 2011. The reported funds received were larger than that of Obama’s 2007 campaign.
Regions of the United States with high unemployment rates are generally expected to support the Republican Party due to their focus on the unemployment rate as a central issue in the 2012 campaign. Obama’s campaign raised $70 million this quarter, however the Republican Party reported similar donation figures. Although the Democratic Party would prefer to have received larger donations than the Republican Party, these figures demonstrate the regions with high unemployment as supporting their candidate despite the nations current jobs issue.
Republican candidates campaigns have raised a total of $52 million this quarter. Among the leading Republican candidates, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney comments on Obama’s jobs record, "Right now, America's in crisis," said Romney at an Oct. 11 Republican debate devoted exclusively to the economy. "You want to have someone who's smart, who has experience, who knows how the financial services sector works, who knows how to protect American jobs -- and I do. I've done it" (Fox News). Despite Mitt Romeny’s claims and Obama’s bumpy track record with tackling the nations’ complex unemployment issue, there have been reports of an increasing number of donations received from both Democratic and Republican leaning counties. In the greater Detroit area, recognized for an extremely high unemployment rate of 14 percent, Democratic supports have made substantially larger number donations this year than in Obama’s 2007 campaign- “albeit in smaller amounts when adjusting for inflation” (Fox News).
Campaign finance records exhibit donor’s within the $200- $2,500 range, which encompasses 40 percent of Obama’s fundraising demographic. Fox news captured some of their personal motivations for lending monetary support to the Democratic Party’s campaign, “’I believe in the ideas that he has for the country,’ said donor Barbara Weeda, a 70-year-old retiree from Joshua Tree, Calif., home to San Bernardino county and its 13 percent jobless rate” (Fox News). Another supporter explains, “’How else is he going to get elected than to just dig in and help as much as you can?’ she said, saddened at what she sees as a lack of cooperation in Washington negotiating a jobs bill” (Fox News).
The Obama campaign released a video stating that the 2012 campaign has received donations from nearly 1 million supporters. Fox news displays his words, "’That's a million people taking ownership of this campaign $5 and $10 at a time. Each one of those people has a story about why they gave,’ he said, noting that he's making personal phone calls to random donors to thank them for their support” (Fox News).
Works Cited. Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/16/number-donations-to-obama-up-though-in-smaller-increments/?test=latestnews#ixzz1azHCqGUU
In last weeks Blog, entitled Values Voter Summit, I outlined Christian Pastor Robert Jeffress controversial speech preceding Texas Governor Rick Perry’s address. Jeffress publically regarded Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith as a “cult.” United States presidential candidates have always been scrutinized based on their religious values and traditions. Granted, ones religious values often mirror their moral principles, which may influence their stance on political issues. However, should religion play a substantial role in the election process within a country where church and state are constitutionally mandated to be separate?
Dr. Dewey Wallace, a professor who specializes in “Christianity and religion in America” at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. explains the inherent subjectivity of deeming a religion as a “cult” (Becky Perlow). Dr. Wallace explains, “They even use the term ‘Cult’ for the Mormons, which is a tricky word to use. In my classes, I define a cult as ‘Someone else’s religion.’ No one ever invites you to ‘Join me in my cult on Sunday morning’” (Becky Perlow).
The nation’s reluctance to elect a presidential nominee to office based on their religious views is not a recent issue. For instance, Thomas Jefferson, recognized as the founder of the “separation of church and state” ideology was criticized during his campaign as an “anti-Christian Diest” (Becky Perlow). Dr. Wallace provides another example, “Ronald Reagan became the darling of the evangelicals, and let me tell you something: He was one of our least church-going presidents. As a president, he went to church only about five or six times. I was here all the time and I counted them,” says the grey-haired professor with a smile. “The paper would report he had gone to church somewhere or other… [But] they loved him because he went down to Oklahoma and told them he was against evolution and teaching evolution in public schools… He did things they liked” (Becky Perlow). In various other cases, presidential candidates have abandoned their religious values in order to secure their seat in office. Both Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon were technically unable to take the presidential oath of Office due to their Quaker beliefs, however they both disregarded their values to become president (Becky Perlow).
John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism was also questioned during his campaign for presidency. The Catholic candidate re-asserted his competency during a noteworthy speech in Texas, “Contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me. There are the real issues, which should decide this campaign, and they are not religious issues. For war, and hunger, and ignorance, and despair know no religious barrier” (Becky Perlow).
Works Cited: CNN Washington News Assistant Becky Perlow. http://whitehouse.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/14/friday-reflections-should-religion-matter/?hpt=po_bn2
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Nancy Lord, Libertarian Vice Presidential Candidate, discusses the need for tax reduction and a less powerful government. Albion Knight, Taxpayers Vice Presidential Candidate, discusses his party’s family values and pro-life position and the need to reduce foreign aid. Barbara Garson, Socialist Vice Presidential Candidate, discusses her parties desire to educate people concerning the careers that they truly desire. She also discusses a potential socialist health plans and a free trade agreement.
During the October 7 Values Voter Summit, the First Baptist Church pastor, Robert Jeffress, conveyed to reporters his distain for potential Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s religious views. He expressed the responsibility of Christians to abstain from voting for Mitt Romney because he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or Mormonism. Jeffress described the religion as a “cult” and explained that a Christian demographic would benefit from voting for a Christian presidential candidate rather than a non-Christian candidate. The CNN Political Unit reports Jeffress dialogue during CNN’s "The Situation Room”, “I think Mitt Romney's a good, moral man, but I think those of us who are born-again followers of Christ should always prefer a competent Christian to a competent non-Christian like Mitt Romney. So that's why I'm enthusiastic about Rick Perry." Jeffress then went on to describe the Southern Baptist Convention as officially declaring Mormonism a cult.
Following the event, CNN reporters attempted to record a statement from Mitt Romney’s campaign representatives but received no comment. CNN also contacted Mormon spokesman Michael Purdy who declined the request stating that he would not comment on a “political event” (CNN Political Unit). In an attempt to thwart inquiry regarding these slanderous remarks against Mitt Romney, Texas Governor Rick Perry’s campaign officials stated that pastor Jeffress was not asked to introduce the Governor and that Perry does not support claims depicting Mormonism as a cult (CNN Political Unit). However, Tony Perkins, one of the organizers of the Values Voter Summit, stated that Perry and his campaign were informed two weeks prior to the event and agreed to have Jeffress introduce Governor Perry. Perkins then confirmed that neither the organizers or Perry’s campaign were notified of what Jeffress would say during the Governor’s introduction. Jeffress also stated that his words were not unusual or unexpected because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or Mormonism has historically never been recognized as a sect of Christianity. The pastor affirmed his assertion that responsible Christians and conservatives should not support Mitt Romney by stating, “religion aside conservatives have plenty of reasons, leaving Mormonism out of it, not to be energized by Mitt Romney's candidacy” (CNN Political Unit). Perhaps if questioned, Jeffress would not be averted to outlining the nature of these reasons.
Pastor Jeffress' comments essentially outweighed the remarks of Perry, Herman Cain, Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, all of whom addressed the conservative gathering Friday (CNN Political Unit). However, Governor Perry joined his supporter Jeffress in slandering Romney’s religious and moral values by stating, "For some candidates, pro-life is an election-year slogan to follow the prevailing political winds” (CNN POLITICAL UNIT).
Links: CNN Political Unit. http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/08/politics/perry-response-mormonism/301956-101.html?hpt=po_bn1
In last weeks Blog post I discussed the Obama Administration’s utilization of social networking and technological applications such as Facebook and Formspring. Micah Sifrey, cofounder of the Personal Democracy Forum, studies the changes in technology that alter the political field in presidential elections. Technology and social networking tools have reshaped the playing field for presidential campaigning. In July, a website that specializes in data mining and analytics software named KDNuggets released an unusual ad in the job listing. The ads text read, "We are looking for Predictive Modeling/Data Mining Scientists and Analysts, at both the senior and junior level, to join our department through November 2012 at our Chicago Headquarters," read the ad. "We are a multi-disciplinary team of statisticians, predictive modelers, data mining experts, mathematicians, software developers, general analysts and organizers - all striving for a single goal: re-electing President Obama.” The KDNuggets advertisement has Republicans such as Alex Lundry, a data-mining expert at TargetPoint Consulting, wondering how technologically equipped the Republican candidates campaigns are.
The Obama Administration periodically updates an “Obama” Facebook page with 23 million followers, which provides Obama’s supporters with detailed reports of his recent schedule and whereabouts. His asdministration also utilizes a social networking application on Facebook called “Obama 2012- Are You In? (Micah Sifry). The application provides the Obama Administration with invaluable information regarding personal information such as the users name, gender, birthday, current city, religion and political views. Staff workers within the Obama Administration are also using a social networking tool known as NationalField. This application allows the staff to connect and post their current assignments and achievements regarding the campaign. Micah Sifrey depicts the applications successful communication between all levels of staff and their progress concerning signing up volunteers, knocking on doors, identifying likely voters and dealing with campaign related issues. Users may also share qualitative information outlining the successful questions asked during face-to-face interactions with potential voters. However, the application differs from open-public social networks because NationalFields adheres to a hierarchial social graph; those with a higher level of clearance are afforded a broader view of their state and local coworkers activity. The Republican Party has been merely focusing on keeping their candidates somewhat involved with social networking applications, whereas Obama’s campaign is developing contemporary “social intelligence” that will allow representatives to connect with potential voters and Obama enthusiasts on a more involved level than ever before.
CNN Reporter Micah Sifrey sums up the Obama Administration’s technologically equipped social networking advantage, “Obama may be struggling in the polls and even losing support among his core boosters, but when it comes to the modern mechanics of identifying, connecting with and mobilizing voters, as well as the challenge of integrating voter information with the complex internal workings of a national campaign, his team is way ahead of the Republican pack.”
Links: Micah Sifrey. http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/09/tech/innovation/obama-data-crunching-election/index.html?hpt=hp_c1
Sunday, October 2, 2011
In this video, students from American University answer questions from CSPAN channel viewers. A man from Davenport, Iowa expresses his views on the youth vote and his appreciation for the poll. The student answers and draws on the middle-aged and elderly citizens perception of the youth as apathetic towards voting.
Brent Wilkes talked about the role of Hispanic voters in 2010 midterm elections and civic group efforts to increase Hispanic voter participation. He points out the Hispanic communities responsibility to increase Hispanic voting. He also discusses the tendency of the Hispanic vote to be a “swing vote,” explaining that in 2004 former President George Bush won forty percent of their vote. Wilkes also draws attention to the number of Hispanic voters in important states and areas such as Colorado.