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Obama backs Ref. 74

OLYMPIA — President Obama gave a thumbs up to Referendum 74, the ballot measure in Washington that would legalize same-sex marriage, supporters said today.

Not a huge surprise, considering Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage earlier this year, a few months after the Legislature passed the law behind Ref. 74 and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed it. So it was generally known he favors the concept.

Thursday he went a step further. Obama campaign spokesman Paul Bell said the president doesn't weigh in on every state ballot measure, but will on this one: "Washington’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally, and that is why the President supports a vote to approve Referendum 74."

Moscow High Schoolers Pick Obama

More than 600 high school students passed through the 1912 Center Wednesday for the ninth biannual Moscow League of Women Voters mock elections. This year Latah County high school students elected Barack Obama over Mitt Romney for president by 26 votes. The past eight times the LWV held mock elections, Latah students have predicted three out of three presidential elections and three out of four gubernatorial elections, organizers said. The school mock elections are held on every general election year and usually involve every school, but this year only high schools in Latah County voted."We used to do all the schools in Moscow, this is the first year we just limited it to high schools," said Karen Lewis, chair of the mock elections. "It's a little silly to watch second graders vote"/Estelle Gwinn, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More to come. (Geoff Crimmins Daily News photo: Volunteer Dick Fredericks, left, helps Moscow High School sophomore Chloe Williams fill out an affidavit to vote in the League of Women Voters of Moscow Mock Election)

Question: What percentage of the vote will President Obama get in the Idaho election Nov. 6?

Obama Masks Outsell Romney’s

It's official. The presidential election is pretty much decided. Not because of savvy angles the candidates worked at the third debate. Not because of boosted campaign funding or icy TV ads. The Halloween mask sales have got this one. According to CNN Money, Halloween masks of President Barack Obama are outselling masks of Mitt Romney at Spirit Halloween stores nationwide by a 60 to 40 percent margin. The mask sales have been an accurate election predictor since 1996, according to CNN. So there you have it. Election over. "It's a spark of hope," said Paula Neils, chair of the Kootenai County Democrat Central Committee, with a chuckle/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: What do you plan to dress up as this Halloween?

Trump Offers $5M For Obama Records

Donald Trump said on Wednesday that if President Obama releases his college records and his passport application, the mega-millionaire developer will give a $5 million check to charities of Obama’s choosing. Trump tweeted a video of himself in which he offers Obama a “deal that I don’t believe he can refuse, and I hope he doesn’t.” The records must be turned over by Oct. 31 by 5 p.m., and the check will be made within an hour after the records are released, Trump said/Katie Klueck & Bobby Cervantes, Politico. More here.

Question: Should President Obama take the deal?

Where Obama and Romney stand on energy policy

Whie I won't endorse a candidate on this blog, you can consider this a bit of an environmental voter guide to the Presidential race. But when it comes to energy policy, I'm not really excited about our prospects with either Obama or Romney - hey, that's just how I swing on the environment -  yet it becomes increasingly clear there are significant differences. Check the below comparison. I do have to take issue with the last section on the Keystone XL Pipeline: Obama endorsed the building of the pipeline's southern half in Oklahoma to the Gulf saying "I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”

However, Romney will buld that Keystone XL Pipeline to Canada himself if he must!

After the jump, you can get into more detail on the above table with sources provided courtesy of Think Progress.

SR Endorses Romney For President

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks while President Barack Obama listens during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP file photo)

SR Sunday Editorial: (President Obama's)  time for solving this crisis – and it is a crisis – has come and gone. He has little leverage with Congress. He hasn’t changed the tone in Washington, and we cannot endure four more years of gridlock. This standoff is not entirely his fault, but he hasn’t figured out how to end it. We believe Mitt Romney could bring a fresh approach unburdened by recriminations. He has extensive management and leadership experience, and worked with the opposite party as Massachusetts governor. The nation needs that Romney, not the one who pandered to the tea party wing of the Republican Party to secure the nomination. If elected, he needs to take on that faction with the same resolve he’s shown challenging Obama. More here.

Do you agree/disagree with the reasoning for the SR's endorsement of Romney? Explain.

Today’s fun videos: Obama, Romney trade jokes at charity dinner

Both candidates appeared at the Al Smith dinner, and practiced their comic delivery.

Mitt Romney went first:


Followed by Barack Obama:

Obama, Romney Pursue Women Vote

Mitt Romney and President Obama spent much of Wednesday battling for the support of women voters — a form of electoral hand-to-hand combat that is likely to persist all the way to Nov. 6. As Time Magazine's Michael Scherer put it, "there was no doubt about the winner of the second presidential debate: Women. Both candidates lurched onto the campaign trail Wednesday with new appeals to shore up support among a key demographic that may decide the outcome in key swing states." And ABC News political analyst Nicolle Wallace said on "Good Morning America" today that "all women are making trade-offs with both of these guys. I don't think men — but particularly women — were attracted to the nastiness in that debate. Women, more than men, are turned off when it gets below the belt"/Michael Falcone & Amy Walter, ABC News. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Why does the media and candidates try to focus on women as a monolithic group that can be pidgeon-holed rather than a widely diverse group that simply shares gender?

Why did debate moderator Candy Crowley dismiss climate change question?

"I had that question for all of you climate change people. We just, you know, again, we knew that the economy was still the main thing so you knew you kind of wanted to go with the economy."

That was Candy Crowley's response as to how she decided which questions to skip and ask. My response was the obvious,  what do you mean "you people"?

Phillip Bump at Grist has a fairly over the top analysis of the statement but there are some good takeaway points about age disparity in climate change believers: When I hear “all of you climate change people,” I expect to hear this coming right after it: “Or whatever kids are into these days.” I see a dismissive wave of the hand, a little smile acknowledging that the speaker is treading into terrain that isn’t her own but that she recognizes as popular.

Gallup: Romney Hits 50%

About half of all likely voters would pick Mitt Romney for president if the 2012 presidential election were held today, while a little less than half would reelect President Obama, according to Gallup's daily tracking poll. In a new poll released Tuesday, Gallup found 50 percent of those polled said they would vote for Romney if the election were held today, and that 46 percent would vote for Obama. The pollster noted that Romney has consistently kept a small lead over the president in the Gallup seven-day rolling average in the aftermath of the first presidential debate at the beginning of October. Romney is widely considered to have been the winner of that debate/Daniel Strauss, The Hill. More here.

Question: Do you plan to watch the 2nd presidential debate tonight?

12 Green Questions For The Presidential Candidates

Round two of the Presidential debates goes down next Tuesday, October 16th at 5:30. If you watched the last one, I hope you shared my disappointment in the lack of environmental questions, especially given what's at stake this election in terms of energy policy and adapting to our changing climate.  Mat McDermott at Treehugger has an intriguing list of "12 Green Questions" to pose to the candidates if he was moderating a special presidential debate on environmental issues.

McDermott doesn't waste time, starting with "Given the forecasts for sea level rise over the coming decades, and the increased risk from natural disasters this brings to our coastal communities and several of the nation's largest cities, what would you have the federal government due to help states and cities prepare for rising seas?" Read the full list HERE

What environment questions would you like the presidential debate moderators to ask?

Today’s fun video: Debate in 120 seconds

If you missed Wednesday's presidential debate (and let's face it, some of us had other things to do last night) you can get enough of it to join in today's water cooler and coffee break discussions with a video from BuzzFeed.

Sorry, but the embed coding has problems, and won't load for all browsers. It seems to be working fine on the BuzzFeed site, however, If you don't see it below, it can be found here.


Poll: Most Tune In To Debate

  • Wednesday Poll: Prior to the first 2012 presidential debate last night, 7f6 of 123 respondents (61.79%) said they planned to watch the event. Only 38 of 123 respondents (30.39%) said they wouldn't. 9 (7.32%) were undecided.
  • Today's Question: Who do you think won the debate?

Obama, Romney Come Out Swinging

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talk at the end of the first presidential debate in Denver Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In a showdown at close quarters, an aggressive Mitt Romney sparred with President Barack Obama in their first campaign debate Wednesday night over taxes, deficits and strong steps needed to create jobs in a sputtering national economy. “The status quo is not going to cut it,” declared the Republican challenger. Democrat Obama in turn accused his rival of seeking to “double down” on economic policies that actually led to the devastating national downturn four years ago – and of evasiveness when it came to prescriptions for tax changes, health care, Wall Street regulation and more. With early voting already under way in dozens of states, Romney was particularly assertive in the 90-minute event that drew a television audience likely to be counted in the tens of millions – like a man intent on shaking up the campaign with a little less than five weeks to run/AP. More here. (AP photos)

Question: Who won the debate?

Obama Slightly Ahead Before Debate

Five weeks before Election Day and two days before the first presidential debate, a set of new polls shows that President Obama has a slight two-point edge over Mitt Romney nationally. While both campaigns have tried to lower expectations for their respective candidate's debate performance, it's clear that conservatives expect Romney to use the debate to alter the campaign trajectory. The polls, meanwhile, show that there are also high expectations for Mr. Obama to perform well in the first debate. In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, Mr. Obama leads Romney among likely voters nationally, 49 percent to 47 percent. The poll shows Mr. Obama with a more comfortable lead in swing states, where he leads among likely voters 52 percent to 41 percent/CBS News. More here. (AP photo)

Question: How do you expect the two major candidates to do in Wednesday's presidential debate?

Jackson’s Pro-Obama Ad Uses F-Word

Boise area blogger Dennis Mansfield posts: Four years ago, Ron Howard produced a clever ad in favor of Candidate Obama. In it he portrayed some of his TV characters - all of who were in support of then-Senator Obama. It attracted millions of views. (Apparently for 2012, the video's been pulled from you Tube. Hmm..) So what do we have this election, instead? Well, Samuel L. Jackson stars in a 4+ minute video on the Internet that has (to this hour) attracted only about 11,000 views. I viewed it on Facebook and deliberated putting it on this blog for you to view. I decided not to. Here's why: Throughout the video the script is inflammatory, base and uses foul language in a way that is unnecessary - even to the point of using a little 8 year-old girl saying "Wake the F- Up" What a comparison of two political ads. More here.

Question: Have you seen any political campaign ads that have riled you up?

H&W Office: Bouma? Obama? Scram!

Gresham Bouma, a Moscow GOP legislative candidate, was incorrectly told he needed to move a campaign rally this week because state regulations banned it, the Lewiston Tribune reports; Bouma was asked to move his rally, which his campaign was filming, from in front of a building housing the state unemployment office and a Health & Welfare office in Moscow. Bouma moved to the parking lot of a local business instead; state Health & Welfare officials expressed concern about their clients' privacy. Click below for an AP report on the incident. But here's a sign Bouma wasn't targeted for his views: The Lewiston Tribune's full article today also included this tidbit: “The office manager initially reported that supporters of President Barack Obama were assembling, apparently misreading Bouma's name on a sign”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise, has AP report. More here. (Photo from Gresham Bouma's Facebook page)


Dead Ambassador ‘Bump In Road’?

Obama has used “bump in the road” before, in reference to unemployment, which was the inspiration for one of Romney’s best ads. Obama’s “bumps” seems to be what other people would call “failure.” The “bumps” include four dead Americans and a disastrous loss of intelligence. (The New York Times reports: “The attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens (pictured) and three other Americans has dealt the Central Intelligence Agency a major setback in its intelligence-gathering efforts at a time of increasing instability in the North African nation.” One official is quoted as saying, “It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss. We got our eyes poked out.”) Had Romney said such a preposterous and grossly insensitive thing as Obama did, there would be calls for him to quit the race; alas, when Obama does it’s not even front-page news for most of the mainstream media/Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post Right Turn blog. More here.

Question: A dead ambassador & intelligence loss in Libya are bumps in the road? Really?

Scouts Spanked For Greeting Romney

Boy Scouts from Troop 315 stand in front Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's jet after he arrives in Salt Lake City. Local Boy Scout troop leaders have been reprimanded after allowing a group of scouts to greet GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a Utah airport this week. Kay Godfrey of the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America says scouts are not supposed to take sides in elections, but noted many troop leaders aren't aware of the policy. Others, however, called the move an overreaction. "This is political correctness at it's pettiest," says Utah Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis. "The Utah Democratic Party is thrilled that a troop of Boy Scouts got an upfront visit with a Presidential nominee, right here in Utah." (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Question: Do you see any problem with Boy Scouts from a flyover state for President Barack Obama to greet the Republican presidential candidate at an airport?

Idaho Among Obama Flyovers

It's easy to figure which five states would be most visited by Barack Obama since he took office as president in January 2009: New York, California, Florida, Virginia and Ohio. This, according to Fair Vote. Can you guess which 7 states besides Idaho haven't been visited by the president? I'll provide this hint. The president has visited 5 states once during his 3 1/2 years in office: Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Oklahoma and Wyoming. Please guess before checking out this link.

  • H/T: SR buddy Gary Crooks

Question: Which 6 states, other than Idaho, have been flyover ones for President Barack Obama?

GOP Senator Blasts ‘47%’ Comment

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said he has a "very different view of the world" than the one Mitt Romney expressed at a private fundraiser, a sign of how dangerous the now-famous "47 percent" comment is to a swing-state senator facing reelection. "I have five brothers and sisters. My father was an auto mechanic, my mother was a school cook," Heller told reporters outside the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon. "I have a very different view of the world and as a United States senator I think I represent everybody. And every vote is important. Every vote is important in this race. I don't write off anything"/Cameron Joseph, The Hill. More here. (AP photo: Mitt Romney greets donors in Atlanta, Ga., today)

Question: Are you part of the 53% who pays income tax or the 47% who doesn't?

Obama on Letterman, Romney in USA Today

The pre-debate debate continues:

President Obama on Letterman last night talked about Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comments.


Romney, in a guest column in USA Today, criticized Obama's policies as creating dependency. Read the column here.

Not sure what all this is about? See the original post here.

Today’s video: Romney’s 47% comment, and his response

In case you're wondering what exactly GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at a fundraiser in May about Barack Obama's supporters, here is the video clip, courtesy of Mother Jones:


Here is his explanation Monday night of how he could've used better words in his "off the cuff remarks", but sticks by the message.


Feel free to weigh in, in the comments section.

Big surprise: Obama endorses Inslee

Democrat Jay Inslee's gubernatorial campaign is all aglow today with President Barack Obama's endorsement of their guy.

Wait a minute. Hasn't Obama been a fan of Inslee's all along. Didn't he wish him well last spring in marking Inslee's departure from Congress to campaign full-time? Didn't he say nice things about Inslee during his May stop at the Paramount Theater in Seattle? 

Yes, but -

"He's been supportive but hasn't officially endorsed," Inslee campaign spokeswoman Jaime Smith said. "Obama is a very popular figure here, so obviously we're excited to use this."

The most recent statewide poll we could find, which was the SurveyUSA poll from the beginning of August, had Obama over Romney 54 percent to 37 percent.

In ticket-splitting Washington, some of that popularity might not carry down the ballot into the governor's race. In 2008, Obama beat John McCain by 17 points, but incumbent Gov. Chris Gregoire beat Republican Dino Rossi by 6.5 points. In 2004, John Kerry beat President George W. Bush by 7 points, but Gregoire beat Rossi by .0047 points, after two recounts and a court case.

Clinton Fires Up Obama Supporters

Former President Bill Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday. (AP photo)

From Teresa Welsh, U.S. News & World Report: Former President Bill Clinton spoke Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, making an impassioned case for President Barack Obama's re-election in November. His speech also served to formally nominate the president as the Democratic candidate. In his nearly 50-minute speech, which deviated from his prepared remarks to include a considerable amount of ad-libbing, Clinton gave a comprehensive review of Obama's first-term accomplishments. He spoke about Obama's job creation, the success of the auto industry bailout, and his healthcare reform. Known for his strong economic record while in office, Clinton made a point to highlight the severity of the economic situation Obama inherited:

President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No president, not me, not any of my predecessors, could have repaired all of the damage he found in just four years.

More here.

Question: What did you think of former President Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night?

Democrats plan Obama watch

Loyal Washington Democrats who didn't get to go to Charlotte for their National Convention, but are dying to watch President Obama accept the nomination and make a speech Thursday, are planning parties around the state to make it a shared experience anyway.

Some will have special guests, like Gov. Chris Gregoire, who will be at a Seattle pizza parlor with U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott.

In Spokane, the setting is more business-like. They'll meet at the party Field Office, 239 W. Main, at 6 p.m. Congressional candidate Rich Cowan will be the special guest.

Judge’s ruling on Obama ballot challenge

OLYMPIA — Here's Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee's ruling on the challenge to Barack Obama's eligibility to be on the ballot that's mentioned in Sunday's Spin Control column.


Judge dismisses birther challenge to Obama

OLYMPIA — A trial judge quickly rejected an effort to keep President Barack Obama off Washington's general election ballot, saying such "birther" allegations have been around for years, and rejected for years as well.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee dismissed the challenge brought Monday by Linda Jordan of Seattle, who tried to block Secretary of State Sam Reed from putting Obama on the ballot, in part because she challenged the validity of his birth certificate. Jordan claimed Obama wasn't a "natural born citizen" as required by the U.S. Constitution.

McPhee devoted six pages of his opinion to dismantling Jordan's claims based on findings in other courts that rejected similar challenges. "I do not usually devote so much time quoting the decisions of other courts in other cases. I do so here to make the point that just as all thhe so-called evidcence offered by (Jordan) has been in the blogosphere for years, in one form or another, so too has all the law rejecting plaintiff's allegations. I can conceive of no reason why this lawsuit was brought, except to join the chorus of noise in that blogosphere."

‘Birther’ claim challenges Obama spot on WA ballot

OLYMPIA — Barack Obama makes jokes about people who question his birth certificate, and his campaign even is selling a coffee mug with the presidential face on one side and a reproduction of the certificate on the other.

Mitt Romney tried to make a joke about birth certificates in Michigan last week. Some people laughed, some people didn't.

But Linda Jordan of Seattle apparently is not joking in court action filed this week in Thurston County Superior Court against the Washington secretary of state, asking the court to keep Obama off the November ballot because, she contends, his birth certificate is forged and he is not a "natural born citizen."

The state Attorney General's office was also serious in its reply today that Jordan's lawsuit is flawed for several reasons, all of which could lead to its dismissal: It doesn't name Obama as a plaintiff; it's a federal issue, involving the U.S. Constitution; the secretary of state doesn't have the authority to check on the eligibility of candidates and toss one off if he or she doesn't measure up.

Beyond that, Deputy Solicitor General Jeff Even says in a court filing, Jordan doesn't provide any proof that Obama isn't a natural born citizen. "She merely claims to have offered evidence of a forged birth certificate — a birth certificate that has never been requested by or submitted to, the secretary of state — and to have offered additional suspicions regarding a social security number."

Hearing tomorrow afternoon before Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee. Some pertinent documents are "submitted for your approval," as Rod Serling used to say.


Johnson: Pen Pals w/Barack, Mitt

I have never met Mitt Romney – or Barack Obama for that matter – but you sure wouldn’t know that by looking in my mail box. Yesterday I received, I’ve lost count honestly, what must be my 13th or 14th piece of mail from Mitt. On the same day I got a letter with Barack’s smiling face peeking through the envelope window assuring me that I could be a member in good standing of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). So far, by my count, Romney is winning the battle of my mail box based on the sheer volume of friendly, but still ominous mail he sends me. And I’m pleased to report we are becoming better and better friends as the bar fight currently passing for a presidential campaign soldiers on to November/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Question: How much direct mail are you getting from the presidential candidates? Do you read the mailings?