Sunday, November 20, 2011

CSPAN VIDEO 3 11/20/2011

Various callers discuss their interpretation of the 2012 campaign advertisement released by the Cain campaign, which at one point depicts Cain’s campaign manager, Mark Block, smoking a cigarette.

CSPAN VIDEO 2 11/20/2011

Professor Julian Kantor, University Political Advertising Archive founder, explains the history of campaign advertisements. The advertisement clip shown, depicts Bill Benton’s 1950’s campaign ad for Senate, which is the earliest television ad within the archive.

CSPAN VIDEO 1 11/20/2011

Bill Adair is the editor of, which is a “fact checking” website designed in order to inform voters of the truthfulness of political statements. For example, he confronts some questionable claims that President Obama was sworn into office with his hand on the Qur’an and that he is a Muslim. Mr. Adair explains that the rumor is false and falls under the “Liar Liar Pants On Fire” category of the website rating. He also explains that each candidate has their own page, which exhibits all of the fact checks done on that specific candidate.

Email War

On Thursday, the Boston Globe reported that upon the end of Mitt Romney's tenure as Massachusetts State Governor, 11 high ranking gubernatorial officials had legally purchased their government issued hard drives before Romney left office. The purchased hard drives had contained a majority of the emails and correspondence written during the Romney Administration. According to the Globe report, Deval Patrick, the current Massachusetts State Governor, "has been bombarded with inquiries for records from the Romney era" but "has no electronic record of any Romney administration e-mails" (Jessica Yellin and Senior Producer Ted Metzer).

Consequently, the Globe report provoked a response from the Romney campaign. Gov. Patrick, a long time Obama supporter, has been labelled by the Romney team as "an opposition research arm of the Obama re-election campaign." In direct response to the report, Romney's representatives have fired back by requesting copies of any emails sent between the Patrick Administration and Obama's top political aids. Furthermore, Romney campaign manager Matt Rhodes has accused the Patrick staff of supplying the Boston Globe "with copies of cancelled checks from 2006 documenting the lawful purchase of computer equipment by departing members of the Romney administration. This action was nothing more than a weak attempt to disparage practices that you know were in complete compliance with the law" (Serafin Gomez).

The Democratic National Committee responded with a request for all emails pertaining to the purchase of computer hard drives, including several embarrassing search keywords, such as "flip-flop" and "destroy records" (Jessica Yellin and Senior Producer Ted Metzer). The chair of the DNC, Mrs. Wasserman Shultz,  commented, "Mitt Romney was planning to run for president towards the end of his administration, and the public has the right to know what kinds of communication were going on while he was beginning to plan that campaign. It is absolutely unconscionable, inexcusable that the records of those conversations or any conversations would have been wiped clean of servers"(Jessica Yellin and Senior Producer Ted Metzer).

Romney's communications director, Gail Gitcho, rationalized the purchase of the hard drives by stating that Romney's staff probably did not want their records to be subject to the "oppositions dig, which is what we are seeing happening now." Gitcho summed up the accusations as a slanderous tactic utilized by an administration that will "say and do anything to hold onto their power" (Jessica Yellin and Senior Producer Ted Metzer).  The Romney campaign has asserted that despite the loss of certain hard drives, Romney has archived 700 boxes of public documents–press releases, speeches, and the like (Jessica Yellin and Senior Producer Ted Metzer).

Although Mitt Romney has not officially become the Republican candidate, his nomination is more likely than not. Therefore, the Obama administration has begun allocating resources in order to run against the former Massachusetts Governor. They have attempted to label Romney as a "flip-flopper" who lacks core values and will do anything necessary to win. Mrs. Wasserman Schutz commented in a CNN interview, "Mitt Romney has a very clear track record of trying to reinvent himself, start over, flip-flop on major–issues" (Jessica Yellin and Senior Producer Ted Metzer).

Works Cited: Jessica Yellin and Senior Producer Ted Metzer.
Serafin Gomez.

Cain's Calling

Herman Cain, the CEO of Godfather Pizza turned GOP presidential candidate, has been recognized as a worthy business consultant and the founder of a new flat tax plan entitled "9-9-9." As opposed to his running-mates, Cain's religious values have remained relatively irrelevant throughout his debates and speeches. More recently, Cain has described his participation in the race as a mandate from God.

Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor, has focused in on Cain's religious background, which began in Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta, Georgia. In accordance with many southern religious perspectives, faith in God and hard work are inevitably linked, within the Cain family. Cain described his childhood financial status as extremely poor, or even "po" (Marrapodi). In order to support their family, Cain's mother labored as a maid and his father often worked three jobs simultaneously as a barber, a janitor at Pillsbury and a chauffeur for Coca-Cola executives. In Cain's recently published book, “This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House,” he explains that his family acquired financial stability, allowing them to purchase a modest home.

After years of corporate climbing, Cain became the CEO of Godfather Pizza in Omaha and the head of the National Restaurant Association. Soon after, Cain revisited his childhood church in Atlanta and became a licensed associate minister at Antioch in 2002 (Marrapodi). Cain became a member of the group of pastors referred to as the Sons of Antioch. He stated in an interview with Christian Today, “Like most ministers, I felt called to preach the word of God and minister to the least, the last, and the lost, and minister to His people."

Despite Cain's failure in running for Senate, his spiritual journey soon led him to the presidential race. During a speech in November, Cain expressed to the Georgia Young Republicans that he had never intended to run for president until he witnessed President Obama's “arrogant disregard for the people," which disabled the economy. After a long period of repetitive prayer and contemplation, Cain described what he perceived to be his calling from God, “When I finally realized that this was God saying what I needed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You got the wrong man, Lord! Are you sure?’ Now, you're not supposed to doubt God. But I'm going, ‘I think maybe you're looking at somebody else'" (Marrapodi).

Although the majority of the GOP candidates have expressed their run at the presidency as a "calling," Cain's religious values are exposed in an unconventional light. Candidates have historically expressed their religious morality through their stance on issues such as abortion and same sex marriage. However, Cain's values are expressed through his strong economic policy. Benny Tate, senior pastor of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia has accompanied Cain throughout his campaign expressed, “Herman sees the pressing issues of our day are economic. Herman believes that, ‘By the sweat of thy face thou shall eat bread" (Marapodi). This passage found in Genesis 3:19 embodies Cain's reliance on personal responsibility to solve the current economic crisis within the United States.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cain spoke out to the Occupy Wall Street movement, “Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks. “If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!"

Works Cited: Eric Marrapod.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

CSPAN VIDEO 3 11/13/2011

During the Texas Patriots PAC debate, Herman Cain provides a historical anecdote concerning his experience with GodFather pizza’s healthcare plan and the history of Medicare in the United States. He also explains that long term government projections of budget costs on healthcare plans are often misleading. He expresses his support for the Ryan’s Plan and how Medicare and Medicaid and other health care institutes must be restructured.

CSPAN VIDEO 2 11/13/2011

During the Texas Patriots PAC debate, Newt Gingrich discusses his perspective on providing a premium support Medicare program. He discusses the healthcare issue and providing people with a healthcare plan that they desire rather than one that is forced upon them. He proposes his health care plan that he will implement if elected.

CSPAN VIDEO 1 11/13/2011

President Regan is asked to explain is approach to decreasing the federal deficit and implementing a balanced budget. Regan outlines his policy, which will aim to increase economic growth, influence recovery without inflation, and the reduction of governmental accumulation of gross national products. He also discusses the cutback in government spending as the key to correcting the national deficit. Mr. Mondale then explains his approach to influencing economic growth and decreasing the deficit.


The term “flip-flopper,” in the political sense, refers to individuals who shift their positions or are willing to compromise in order to secure their chair in office.   Although the term has a negative connotation, many strategists agree that compromise is a necessary force in politics. Both left and right wing extremists in congress are often unwilling to cooperate and fail to adhere to “give and take.” The absence of negotiation has facilitated a 9% decrease in public approval ratings of Congress. However, voters insist that they will not support candidates who are willing to compromise on critical issues. In recent history, the 2004 Bush Campaign released an advertisement that depicted Democratic candidate John Kerry windsurfing. The ad narrator read, "In which direction would John Kerry lead? Kerry voted for the Iraq war, opposed it, supported it and now opposes it again. ... John Kerry: whichever way the wind blows" (Julian Zelizer).
Leading Republican candidate, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romey, and President Obama have concurrently been referred to as “flip-flopers.” Perhaps the most common scrutiny of the Obama administration has been his willingness to meet centrists “halfway” and his failure to stand firmly against right wing extremists.
Mitt Romney has also distinguished himself as a flip-flopper due to his willingness to shift his stance on issues in order to secure an election. His rival candidate Rick Perry exclaimed during a Republican debate, "I think Americans just don't know sometimes which Mitt Romney they're dealing with” (Julian Zelizer).
Priorities USA is a pro-President Obama political organization whose leaders have submitted a memo characterizing Romney as a pro-life candidate despite his convenient flip-flop persona. The organizations co-founder, Bill Burton, claimed, “"If Romney wins the presidency, he won't have to 'fake it' ever again. He will be free to push a radical anti-choice agenda that bans abortion, appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe vs. Wade, and fulfill his promise to support legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood” (Foxnews). Burton was also questioned on Romney’s stance concerning the Mississippi “personhood” amendment. The pro-life amendment establishes “personhood” as the moment of conception. Democrats submitted disputed claims, which suggest that Romney has expressed his support for the amendment during a FoxNews interview in October. Burton replied to these statements, “(Romney is) finally being honest about his anti-choice agenda”(Foxnews). Democrats have attempted to distinguished Romney as a candidate willing to alter his standpoints regarding pivotal issues, despite his truly pro-life conservative values.
Without specifically referring the Mississippi personhood amendment, Romney commented that he does believe that life begins at conception. However, while running for governor in Massachusetts Romney vowed to uphold abortion rights. This discrepancy illuminates Romney’s willingness to compromise and flip-flop his stance (Foxnews).
However, perhaps a “flip-floper” is precisely what America needs in order to settle the inevitable stalemate within Congress. For example, President Ronald Regan’s willingness to negotiate with the Soviet Union in 1987, despite his reluctance to do so throughout his presidency, is considered a compromise worth celebrating (Foxnews).  Although Romney’s shifting standpoints and Obama’s tendency to compromise have been ridiculed as misleading attempts to further their political agenda’s, up-front cooperation and open-mindedness may influence the re-birth of America’s dwindling economy.


During Wednesday night's CNBC Republican debate in Rochester, Michigan; Texas Governor Rick Perry may have solidified his standing as the worst debater among the GOP candidates. He responded to a question, "I will tell you: It's three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone: Commerce, Education and the -- what's the third one there? Let's see. ... OK. So Commerce, Education and the -- ... The third agency of government I would -- I would do away with the Education, the ... Commerce and -- let's see -- I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops” (Todd Graham). After the debate Perry attempted to lighten the mood by commenting, "I'm sure glad I had my boots on, because I sure stepped in it out there” (Todd Graham).
Perry’s folly was truly astounding based on the irrelevancy of his answer. He was asked a question concerning his approach to “working with Democrats across the aisle.” However, in an attempt to project a confident appearance, Perry expressed his desire to cut three government agencies, but forgot the last one! His answer was a futile response to Ron Paul’s declaration that, if elected, he would disband five agencies of government.  Perry’s attempt to consolidate and solidify his own policy, to disband “unnecessary” government agencies, backfired upon his nervous blunder (Todd Graham). Perry was asked to recall the forgotten third government agency several times, however he could not summon his answer.
Unfortunately for Perry, debates play an essential role in creating a “buzz” about a candidate. Although Perry later affirmed that the third agency he would abolish is The Department of Energy, his lacking debate skills and unfamiliarity with popular issues will have a detrimental effect on his campaign.
The Texas Governor’s lack of awareness and certainty in former debates may have cast a bad first impression among possible supporters. In response, his campaign expressed their confidence that Perry would redeem himself in more recent debates. However, Perry’s “oops” may have solidified his negative impression and influenced his probable impending failure.
The Perry campaign began backtracking on Thursday by presenting Perry as a human, capable of being mistaken. Perry appeared on the David Letterman show in order to supplement his forgetfulness with comic relief. Perry explained, "Hey, listen. You try concentrating with Mitt Romney smiling at you. That is one handsome dude" (Foxnews). The Perry campaign also created a page on the candidate’s website, which allows viewers to participate in a poll expressing the government agency that they would like to see abolished. Perry has also invited supporters to donate five dollars for every government agency they “would like to forget” (CNN Wire Staff). One conservative blogger named Andrew Sullivan tweeted "Perry collapses. Cannot remember a list of three federal government departments he wants to abolish past the first two. Seriously. And then he says 'oops.' He has all but disappeared inside his suit in this debate and is now basically done” (CNN Wire Staff).
The Perry Campaign submitted a list during the Letterman show of the top ten reasons for his forgetfulness,
10. "Actually there were three reasons I messed up last night. One was the nerves, two was the headache and three was, and three, uh, uh. Oops." 
9. "I don't know what you're talking about. I think things went well." 
8. "Hey, I was up late last night watching `Dancing With the Stars."
7. "I thought the debate was tonight." 
6. "Hey, listen. You try concentrating with Mitt Romney smiling at you. That is one handsome dude." 
5. "Uh, el nino?" 
4. "I had a five-hour energy drink six hours before the debate." 
3. "I really hoped to get on my favorite talk show, but instead I ended up here." 
2. "Hey, I wanted to help take the heat off my buddy Herman Cain." 
1. "I just learned Justin Bieber is my father."

Works Cited: Todd Graham.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

CSPAN VIDEO 3 11/6/2011

Ms. Defrancis, Chief Public Affairs Officer of the American Red cross, discusses how social media is enabling the public in aiding the Red Cross’s mission to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters. Ms. Defrancis talks about the gap between the publics’ use of social media in relation to a disaster, and the ability of disaster response agencies to respond to these disasters in a timely fashion. She closes her argument by suggesting a method to close this apparent time gap.

CSPAN VIDEO 2 11/6/2011

Craig Fugate discusses FEMA’s (Federal Emergency Management Agency) short term and long-term goals for the use of social media tools in times of natural disaster. He discusses the different methods that social media can utilize in expediting communication with the public.

CSPAN VIDEO 1 11/6/2011

Senator Marc Pryor introduces the various speakers and discusses new media and its usefulness in disaster communications.

Church and State in the 2012 Republican Primaries

“Separation of Church and State” is a valued constitutional declaration that has been customary throughout American history. The majority of presidential candidates take a “universal” or “national” religion, lending their policies to a wide range of creeds and denominations. However, Texas Governor Rick Perry has often intentionally presented a strong Christian image in an effort to win over conservative Christian supporters that comprise a large portion of the Republican Party supporters. On the opposite spectrum, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has received endless scrutiny concerning the inherent values instilled in his religious persona. Romney, a faithful Mormon, has effortlessly asserted that, if elected, he does not intend to press his religious values in his policy. However, popular speculation suggests that religious beliefs are inevitably linked to moral values, which comprise the basis of a candidate’s policies. Religion and “faithful voters” will have a significant impact in the 2012 primary elections.
During a speech at Virginia’s Liberty University, Perry addressed secular humanists that value “separation of Church and State” as a vital American tradition. Perry proclaimed, “America is going to be guided by some set of values - the question is going to be whose values, I would suggest … it is those Christian values that this country was based upon. (Dan Gilgoff).
Some close to Perry suggest he views his campaign as a “calling” from God. Kelly Shackelford, an influential conservative activist in Texas, stated that Perry was reluctant to commit to the campaign. However, his beliefs were reaffirmed by what he perceived to be the “Lord’s calling” (Dan Gilgoff).
Perry has expressed his intent to apply Christian values to his policies concerning various conservative hot topics, such as abortion and gay marriage. After taking office in 2000 as Texas State Governor, Perry has signed several laws requiring parental consent to be presented upon any female minors request for an abortion. He has also cut a portion of Planned Parenthood funds and passed a law forcing all women seeking abortions to view a sonogram of the fetus prior to the procedure (Dan Gilgoff). Kelly Shackelford comments, “He has passed 20-odd pieces of pro-life legislation, He was vilified by the media for it, and he didn’t stand his ground [just] because it was a good policy position. It really all emanated from his faith” (Dan Gilgoff).
In response to the pro-life legislation passed by Perry, Planned Parenthood claims, “As governor of Texas, Rick Perry has pursued a single-minded agenda: Take away women's health care, destroy Planned Parenthood, and block women's access to safe abortion care” (Dan Gilgoff).  If elected, will Perry blur the boundaries between Church and State policies that have built the foundation of our legislation?
In the past, Mitt Romney has vehemently attempted to convince voters that his private religious faith will not be a dominant factor throughout his presidency if elected. However, after his election to state Governor of Massachusetts, Romney has downplayed his faith throughout his service. However, during a speech in December 2007, Romney, relating to Catholic president John F. Kennedy, stated, “Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for president, not a Catholic running for president,” Romney said. “Like him, I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith” (Jessica Ravitz).
Romney has asserted that he will not abandon his Mormon faith in order to further his political career. He has expressed that he does not intend to be a “spokesperson” for his faith and that no president should represent “one religion, group, or interest” (Jessica Ravitz). 


Cain Accuser Affirms Her Claims

Republican Candidate Herman Cain’s “campaign train” has been temporarily derailed due to strong allegations of sexual harassment against the candidate during his tenure as GodFather Pizza executive. One of Cain’s accusers, retaining her anonymous identity, released a statement through her lawyer, Joel Bennet, which was delivered to support her claim that, "in good faith about a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances” (Tom Cohen and Alan Silverleib). Bennett’s client, Cain’s accuser, has been married for 26 years and wishes to avoid media confrontation concerning the alleged traumatic series of inappropriate events that occurred during the span of a few months in 1999. The statement was released in accordance with the National Restaurant Association, which Cain headed for a number of years. The current head of the organization, Dawn Sweeny, issued a press release confirming that in July 1999, Bennett's client "filed a formal internal complaint, in accordance with the association's existing policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment” (Tom Cohen and Alan Silverleib). In the past, Cain disputed the allegations and is continuing to do so in light of the current exposure.
Cain’s spokesman, J.D. Gordon, affirmed the campaign’s desire to restore media and public attention on Cain’s political strategy to correct the economic and unemployment problems facing America. Gordon expressed the campaign’s intent to consider filing a lawsuit against Politico, the news organization that released the anonymous allegations last Sunday. The basis of the lawsuit would be in question of the use of anonymous sources. However, Politico executive editor Jim VandeHei expressed to CNN his confidence in the factual and accurate collection of the details delivered in the text supported by the anonymous subject (Tom Cohen and Alan Silverleib).
On Thursday, in an interview with CNN, Cain questioned rival GOP candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry involvement in the recent allegations forged against him. Cain submitted that Curt Anderson, a recent addition to the Perry team and former aide and consultant to the Cain campaign, released the allegations to Politico journalists as a political strategy, considering Cain’s recent rise to the top of the polls. During an interview on Thursday, Rick Perry responded to these claims by declaring himself and his staff as innocent. He stated that anyone involved in his campaign that was found to be “passing rumors” would be fired.
In response to the accusations, Cain expressed his belief that American’s are tired of the slanderous “gutter politics” commonly seen within presidential races and also declared his determination to win the primaries. Recent polls show that despite the scandalous allegations against Cain, his campaign has raised $1.2 million this week from loyal supporters. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Friday morning displayed Cain at the top of the charts alongside running mate Mitt Romney (Tom Cohen and Alan Silverleib).
Tom Cohen and Alan Silverleib report, “According to the poll, 24% of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP now say they support Romney, compared with 23% for Cain. Romney and Cain have been neck-and-neck in most major national surveys over the past month.”

Works Cited: Tom Cohen and Alan Silverleib.