Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has launched a new campaign ad in the final days before the election, featuring former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney endorsing him. Romney urges Idaho voters to “get out and vote,” and says, “What’s happening under Butch Otter ought to happen to every state, and you’re lucky to have this man as your governor.” The ad is running statewide both on TV and radio, Otter’s campaign said, including the Spokane broadcast TV market. Romney’s comments came during a campaign stop for Otter and GOP Sen. Jim Risch in Boise last week; Risch also has a new TV ad out featuring Romney’s endorsement. You can read my full AdWatch story here.
Mitt Romney might have been the biggest name Wednesday at the inaugural Governor's Trade and Business Conference at the Boise Centre, reporter Zach Kyle writes in today’s Idaho Statesman, but Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman broke the biggest news: That H-P’s Boise campus will grow, not shrink, when the company splits.
"As we separate H-P into two companies, we will be consolidating sites," Whitman said. "Boise is a site we want to build on. We want to bring people from other parts of the United States to Boise." Kyle reports that the company recently announced that it will split into HP Inc., which will focus on personal computers and printers, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, which will focus on software and services. His full report is online here. Click below for a report from AP reporter Kimberlee Kruesi on a campaign stop with Gov. Butch Otter and Sen. Jim Risch that Romney made during his trip to Boise; Kyle’s report also includes Romney’s comments at the business conference critical of the policies of President Barack Obama, who beat Romney in the 2012 presidential election.
Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney stumped for Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Jim Risch and Congressman Mike Simpson in Boise on Thursday, the AP reports, saying he was endorsing the three because they are good conservatives and because they were early endorsers of his presidential campaign. Romney said GOP-dominated Idaho is a good example of how conservative principles can lead to economic prosperity. "There are more jobs in Idaho and you see rising incomes," he said. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Romney, who lost to President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, also said he does not plan to run for president again; click below for a full report from AP reporter Nick Geranios.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson's bid for a ninth term got an assist Monday when former presidential candidate Mitt Romney released an endorsement letter. Simpson faces challenger Bryan Smith in next May's Republican primary election. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, lauded Simpson as a "stalwart conservative leader," accusing what he called "outside" groups of interfering in the race by backing Smith. Smith has won the conservative group Club for Growth's support in his bid to unseat Simpson. Like Romney, Smith and Simpson come from Mormon backgrounds. One flashpoint in this internal GOP duel has centered on which candidate likes President Obama's health care overhaul the least. Smith accuses Simpson of not trying hard enough to repeal it, while Romney described Simpson as a lawmaker who has "fought to repeal Obamacare."
Idaho Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, whose touting of a tea party plan to upset the presidential election results through an electoral college boycott got national attention after I wrote about it in my Sunday column, now says she's ready to drop the idea, which experts said was based on a misreading of the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"I floated an idea out there on November 19 about the electoral college," Nuxoll wrote today in a message posted on Twitter. "Our country is a country of opportunity to discuss ideas and effect progress and change. I believe in less government, more opportunity and I will fight for that motto because of my love for this state and country and our exceptionalism. But there is no upside to division in our country now since we are all in this together. Some have rejected the idea, so lets drop it and continue on. To villify me because you don't like the idea is unnecessary."
A state senator from north-central Idaho is touting a scheme that’s been circulating on tea party blogs, calling for states that supported Mitt Romney to refuse to participate in the Electoral College in a move backers believe would change the election result. Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, sent an article out on Twitter headed, “A ‘last chance’ to have Mitt Romney as President in January (it’s still not too late).” Constitutional scholar David Adler, director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, said the plan is not “totally constitutional,” as touted in the article, but is instead “a radical, revolutionary proposal that has no basis in federal law or the architecture of the Constitution.” Adler dubbed it “really a strange and bizarre fantasy.” Nuxoll said, “Well, I guess that’s one lawyer”/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
Question: What do you think of Sen. Nuxoll's radical idea?
A state senator from north-central Idaho is touting a scheme that's been circulating on tea party blogs, calling for states that supported Mitt Romney to refuse to participate in the electoral college, in a move backers believe would change the election result. Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, sent an article out on Twitter headed, "A 'last chance' to have Mitt Romney as President in January (it's still not too late)."
Constitutional scholar David Adler, director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, said the plan is not "totally constitutional," as touted in the article, but is instead "a radical, revolutionary proposal that has no basis in federal law or the architecture of the Constitution." Adler dubbed it "really a strange and bizarre fantasy."
Said Nuxoll, "Well I guess that's one lawyer." You can read my full Sunday column here at spokesman.com.
Associated Press religion writer Rachel Zoll has an interesting story out suggesting that one of the winners of last week's election was the Mormon church, as, despite Mitt Romney's loss, the campaign prompted a new era of both learning about and acceptance of the LDS Church among many who'd previously been critical, including evangelical Christians. Click below for her full report.
A week after losing the election to President Obama, Mitt Romney blamed his overwhelming electoral loss on what he said were big “gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies, including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics. In a conference call on Wednesday afternoon with his national finance committee, Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the “old playbook” of wooing specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives. “In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said/Ashley Parker, New York Times The Caucus Blog. More here. (AP file photo after last presidential debate)
Question: What gift did President Obama give you to vote for him?
Months ago when they became convinced that Mitt Romney would be the eventual Republican presidential candidate, Barack Obama’s campaign brain trust made a critical strategic decision. They decide to attempt to define Romney as an ultra-rich, ultra-out-of-touch corporate raider, the kind of guy who just isn’t like most Americans. The Obama campaign and its Super PAC allies spent all summer, as the favorite catch phrase of politics now holds, advancing that “narrative.” We learned about Romney’s dealings at Bain Capital, his California house with elevators for his cars – a couple of Cadillacs – and his off-shore bank accounts. For weeks it seemed like Romney was playing right into the “narrative.” The pundits talked endlessly of the need to “humanize” the corporate CEO and Romney steadfastly refused to release any more than two years of his very well-to-do income tax returns. … The Denver debate where “moderate Mitt” emerged and grabbed the campaign momentum may well go down in presidential campaign history as the greatest single debate game changer ever/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here. (AP file photos)
Question: Did the Obama campaign brain trust misfire in its strategy toward Republican Mitt Romney?
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?
Just as Mitt Romney and other Republicans had cut into the Democrats’ advantage with female voters, a tea party-backed Senate candidate’s awkward remark – that if rape leads to pregnancy it’s “something God intended” – has propelled the emotional issue of abortion back to the political forefront. It’s put GOP candidates in tight races, from the presidential candidate on down, on the defensive. Divisive social issues are hardly what most GOP candidates want to be discussing in the few days remaining until elections largely hinging on jobs and the economy. Almost immediately after Richard Mourdock’s comment, Republican candidates distanced themselves from the Indiana state treasurer – though by varying degrees/AP. More here. (AP photo of Richard Mourdock)
Question: WWMD (What Should Mitt Do)?
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?
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.
- Weekend Poll: A plurality of Hucks Nation took a "so what?" approach to the "binders full of women" statement made by Republican Mitt Romney in his second debate with President Barack Obama. 150 of 362 respondents (41.44%) said "so what?" when asked what they thought of Romney's controversial comment. 104 of 362 (28.73%) found the phrase offensive. 98 of 362 (27.07%) were amused by the statement. 10 (2.76%) were undecided.
- Today's Poll: Did the University of Idaho do the right thing in firing Vandal football coach Robb Akey?
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.
Both candidates appeared at the Al Smith dinner, and practiced their comic delivery.
Mitt Romney went first:
Followed by Barack Obama:
Influential pastor Billy Graham is signaling to evangelical Christians that they shouldn't hesitate to vote for Mitt Romney because of his Mormon religion, further cementing Romney's strong standing with the key Republican voting bloc. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association this week removed Mormonism from its list of religious cults, the Charlotte Observer reports. Mormons consider themselves Christians, though not all of their beliefs align with mainstream Christian doctrine. The association dropped the label after Romney visited Graham and his son Franklin Graham, who now runs the organization, last week. In his six decades of ministry, Billy Graham has served as a spiritual adviser to several presidents, though he's never formally endorsed a presidential candidate/Stephanie Condon, CBS News. More here. (AP photo)
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?
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?
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has described his disparaging remarks about the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes as "not elegantly stated." Now he's calling them "just completely wrong." The original remarks, secretly recorded during a fundraiser in May and posted online in September by the magazine Mother Jones, sparked intense criticism of Romney and provided fodder to those who portray him as an out-of-touch millionaire oblivious to the lives of average Americans. The remarks became a staple of Obama campaign criticism/USA Today. More here.
Question: Are you OK with Romney's second thoughts on the 47%?
A day after the Twitterverse exploded in reaction to Mitt Romney's vow to fire Big Bird by cutting federal funding to PBS, Sesame Street declined to enter the political fray, turning down requests from TV talk shows for an appearance by the giant yellow avian. But others voiced support on social media and elsewhere, reigniting a debate about taxpayer funding of public broadcasting. One Twitter user quickly created a @FiredBigBird account and sent a manipulated photo of our feathered friend on a Depression-era bread line (caption: "This is now my life"), quickly amassing more than 10,000 followers before the account was suspended/USA Today. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Which "Sesame Street" character would you fire?
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.
- 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?
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?
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?
In a part of Italy where chestnut trees are thick in the Apennine foothills, I once asked a neighbor in the little community where we lived how I might kill a wild boar. This impulse was driven by appetite, mostly — glimpses of those feral beasts on my morning runs that had me dreaming of a blood-red ragu made of local cinghiale.
The answer was, dream on. If you want to hunt in Italy, or most of Europe for that matter, you’d better belong to a private club, with access to a rich man’s estate.
It struck me then, in the kind of epiphany that takes living in another country to appreciate, that the public land endowment of the United States is one of the greatest perks of this democracy. Rich or poor, every citizen of the United States of America has title to an area almost the size of Italy.
JEERS … to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. He just called the Gem State a collection of moochers, victims and tax dodgers. At a fundraiser held at businessman Marc Leder's home at Boca Raton, Fla., Romney said: "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That's an entitlement. And the governments should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." That's you, Idaho — overflowing with low-wage jobs and oozing with needs for "health care, food, housing, you-name-it"/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
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?