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May 24, 2016 / 16 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

The Mourning After Obama’s Re-Election

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Wednesday morning political quarterbacks are like the Monday sports variety, only you hear from the former two days later. Similar to literary critics, the “I told you so” crowd usually stays above the fray and then comes down only to shoot the wounded.  With such caveats in mind, we assess the Romney loss and the prospects of an Obama second term.

To begin, a few words might be said about precedent or history. In our lifetime, Bill Clinton was elected twice and now Mrs. Clinton is in the cat bird’s seat for 2016. Such omens say as much about the character of the American electorate as they do about the vector of modern American political history.

But history and political memes did not beat Mitt Romney. The challenger and the Republican Party establishment lost this election. There were many mistakes, few of which could be acknowledged before and many of which will probably be rationalized now.  Nonetheless, there seem to have been four flaws in the campaign to unseat a mediocre man who should, by any measure of performance, have been beaten easily. Those flaws include, but, are not limited to; a shallow primary pool, defensive campaigning, race, and apathy.

Romney may not have been a good choice to begin with, but, he did win a primary fight if not hearts. Alas, a significant constituency on the Right still had reservations. Prior to the primaries, Mitt Romney was known as a successful father, husband, businessman, and governor. He was also pegged as a moderate.

And it was moderation, the need to be seen as a nice guy that may explain a defensive campaign where the incumbent managed to define the challenger. Obama made the menace of Romney the grand issue of 2012 – and it worked.

Obama successfully defined Romney as a selfish, avaricious Capitalist. True or not, the mud stuck. The Romney response to insult was defense and the answer on issues, especially foreign policy, was often “me too.” Unless you play like Notre Dame has this year, defense does not win the big games.

Take the economic malaise as an example. Barack cast Mitt as a job eliminator at home and a job exporter abroad. Romney was, in short, the Grinch who would throw American workers to the wolves; in contrast, Obama ran as the hero who saved 200,000 American jobs. The Republican response was lame and incoherent blather about the Chinese, “fairness,” or playing by the rules. A fact attack would have been more helpful.

The GM chairman has been touting China since the automotive bailout; bragging about what Detroit has done for China, the Chinese worker, and Chinese jobs. Indeed, since the bailout, GM has created five to ten times more jobs in China than may have been saved in the US.  None of this factual ammunition was used by Romney, nor were the available video clips of Dan Akerson celebrating the move of GM operations, including advanced research, from America to China.

At the eleventh hour Mister Romney’s domestic message was undone also by weather and, again, passivity. Katrina was famously politicized by Democrats and Media allies and used to beat George Bush to a pulp. Now comes hurricane Sandy and an erstwhile “ally,” Republican Governor Christy, embraces, literally hugs Obama as looters roam neighborhoods still without power or heat on a frosty  voting day. Mr. Christy’s timing and rapture were more than unfortunate. With friends such as those in New Jersey, Romney didn’t need many enemies. Politics is a game of flinches.

Race has always been the invisible elephant of Obama politics. Starting with his first campaign for president, Barack has played the race card like a violin. In front of white audiences, he’s the proud grandson of a white WWII veteran. Yet his demeanor with blacks is something else.

For twenty years or more, he sat in church and listened to the demagoguery of Jeremiah Wright, colleague to Louis Farrakhan, a virulent black racist. If Wright was right for so long, why is he persona non grata at the White house?

Obama has chosen to define himself as a black man, yet has done little to address, no less bridge, the racial divide that he personifies. Black voting statistics reinforce the hold that race has on the black community and other minorities. For Romney, race was an opportunity missed; an opportunity to expose the hypocrisy of American racial attitudes and exhibit courage on a sensitive issue. If Obama chose to define himself as white, given his record to date, he would be “one and done” today.

The reticence of politicians to be candid, about sensitive issues like race, speaks to the most powerful force in American politics; apathy. The challenger’s moderation may be a subtle variant of apathy. In private moments, Romney often exhibits moral courage. His commentary on growing American dependency is an example. Truth, as Harry Truman insisted, is often the best public argument too.

When politicians walk back a fact, however; voters get queasy. “Business as usual” is a message that Romney reinforced by not separating himself clearly from statist folly and the entitlements movement.

In sum, Mitt Romney may not be mean enough for the big leagues. American politics is a contact sport. In many ways, Obama and Romney are similar; each look the part, congenial family men; yet, both are in over their heads. One has a job beyond his abilities and the other is unable to get the job he wants.

There’s not much left to say except congratulations to Barack Obama for pulling another rabbit out of one of his many hats. Alas, the American political horizon is still obscured by smoke. The burn rather than turn crowd gets another four years; and America, like Europe, will continue to dance between inertia and fiscal Armageddon.

And good luck to Mister Romney in his next endeavor. He may want amend that Roman adage: “Moderation in all things.” Mitt might now say; moderation in all things – especially moderation.

Originally published at the American Thinker.

G. Murphy Donovan

Mitt Romney for President

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

I am not a partisan voter. My voting record clearly shows that. Here is my voting record since 1968:

Humphrey (D) McGovern (D) Carter (D) Reagan (R) Reagan (R) Bush (41) (R) Clinton (D) Clinton (D) Gore (D) Bush (43) (R) McCain (R)

I choose candidates based on who I think will be do the best job for the country, for Israel, and for the Jewish people. I do not vote by party.

Although I have finally made my decision – for the first time I am not as sure as I usually am about which candidate will actually be the better President.

The last debate added nothing toward that end. The two candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney remain the same in my eyes. Their views were not made clearer at all on any of the issues that are important to the American people nor to me as a Jew.

I recently wrote that their views on Israel though not identical are both positive – and not all that dissimilar. I also said that for the first time my decision would not be based on that issue. Instead -“It’s (still) the economy, Stupid!” Of course the economy matters to Jews just as much as it does to everyone else. But it is definitely not a Jewish issue.

I do not see any break away solutions by either candidate. The President’s policies have thus far not done the job. Unemployment is still high – as are gas prices. His stimulus polices haven’t really helped all that much. The deficit is soaring . He is also over focusing on environmental issues – by over regulating businesses and preventing more opportunities to become energy independent. That too stifles economic growth. And adds to the deficit

His counter to that is that a divided congress is holding him back from doing more. And that his energy policies are the most productive in history. But that doesn’t explain why he didn’t do more to fix the economy during the first 2 years of his administration when he had a bullet proof congress. Instead he focused on a passing a controversial health care bill that contributes to the exploding deficit.

Romney on the other hand wants to implement a supply side economic policy that lowers taxes for everyone. He says that small businessmen many of whom file individual tax returns would be hurt by the higher taxes the Obama administration wants to impose on them and that would dis-incentivize them from investing the capital they need to grow their businesses and hire new people.

The President countered that Romney’s economic policy does not add up and that it would either explode the deficit even further, or that he would have to cut popular deductions like mortgage interest to make up for the loss.

Romney says that he would go full bore into developing all sources of energy including off shore drilling and do things like extending the Canadian pipeline (which the President rejected).

Obama also claims that he has actually increased oil production under his administration.

Romney would increase the military budget to restore it to the levels that existed before the Obama military budget cuts.

Obama says that the military doesn’t need to be as large and expensive as is used to be – even according the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Increasing the military budget will only grow the deficit.

How the President will grow the economy is still a mystery to me. Platitudes like “the rich must pay their fair share” are meaningless hyperbole designed to appeal to class envy in my view.

He has had four years to fix the economy and he hasn’t done it yet. He still blames Bush saying he inherited this mess from him – and that it was much worse than anyone thought. He touts the fact that in spite of that – the economy has still improved. Though admittedly only slightly. He now claims he needs more time and a willing congress.

Romney says Obama’s polices have failed and it’s time for someone else with a different approach to try. He claims his business experience will help him achieve more private sector jobs and a return to a healthy economy.

Harry Maryles

Major US Paper Endorses Romney, Went for Obama in ’08

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

On Friday, Oct. 26, The Sun-Sentinel, South Florida’s paper of record, formally endorsed Mitt Romney for President of the United States.

Why?

Because it really is the economy, stupid.

While the Sun Sentinel took a chance with Barack Obama in 2008, it is switching sides and endorsing Romney this time. After acknowledging the tough economic environment Obama inherited, the Sun Sentinel‘s editorial board doesn’t find a healthy plan for moving forward, and says that instead, “the president falls back on the tired talking point of increasing taxes for the wealthy.”  While agreeing that everyone wants the tax code to be fair, the problem is in seeing “how raising taxes is going to kickstart jobs in the private sector.”

Most fundamentally, this south Florida paper believes that President Obama squandered the best opportunity anyone could have been presented with to clean up the mess.  In its paper today:

The president had enormous opportunity when he took office, with Democrats controlling both houses of Congress. But he failed to focus on Job One: Jobs.

Instead, he tackled the nation’s health care system, something most people agree needs fixing. No one wants to see people with pre-existing conditions denied health coverage. Insurance costs are taking too big a bite out of family incomes. And employers want their work family to have access to health care beyond the emergency room.

But the way this president went about solving the problem — throwing the ball to Congress with little direction, refusing reasonable compromises, settling on a solution that satisfied few — left this nation bitterly divided and shook our confidence in his ability to solve tough problems.

In these uncertain times, we need a leader who will chart a clear course, sweat the details and get the job done right.

We believe Romney’s past performance is a predictor of his future behavior. He’s proven himself to be a successful businessman. He rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and mismanagement. He worked with a Democrat-dominated legislature as governor of Massachusetts to close a $3 billion budget deficit — without borrowing and raising taxes.

So despite the some disagreements with some of Romney’s positions on social issues, “with our nation facing another fiscal cliff in January — when Congress again addresses the debt ceiling, tax hikes and spending cuts — social issues are not Job One.”

The Orlando Sentinal endorsed Governor Romney for president last week, and it too had endorsed Obama in 2008.  The Tampa Tribune also endorsed Romney.

However, the Tampa Bay Times, which is the largest Florida daily, has repeated its 2008 endorsement of Barack Obama for president.

In dropping Obama for Romney, the Sun-Sentinel becomes the second largest Florida daily to give up on the president in 2012. Last week, the Orlando Sentinel also endorsed Romney, although it endorsed Bill Nelson, a Democrat, to remain as U.S. Senator.  Similarly, The Tampa Tribune threw its support behind Romney, but supported Democrat Bill Nelson for the U.S. Senate seat.

Last Sunday, The Tampa Bay Times, the largest Florida daily, again endorsed Obama in 2012, just as it did in 2008.  Its editorial states:

We wish the economic recovery was more vigorous, and we would like the president to present a sharper vision for a second term. But Obama has capably steered the nation through an incredibly difficult period at home and abroad, often with little help from Congress. The next four years will not be easy for whoever occupies the Oval Office, but Obama has been tested by harsh circumstance and proven himself worthy of a second term.

The Miami Herald also endorsed Barack Obama for president.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The Sheer, Small-L Liberalism of ‘Rabbis for Romney’

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Despite recent polls suggesting Jews may not be voting as a monolithic bloc for the Democratic ticket, at least in this presidential race, it still has to be lonely being a rabbi who has publicly committed to supporting Mitt Romney for U.S. president.  And it must be even lonelier for someone who publicly committed to creating an organization called “Rabbis for Romney.”

But when you talk to the man behind that organization, you discover that not only is he not lonely, he is not a particularly partisan individual. In fact, he’s a registered Democrat, whose sole purpose for starting Rabbis for Romney  is that he didn’t want there to be rabbis united for only one candidate, when he knows that there are Jews who also support Romney.

And while, unlike Rabbis for Obama, Rabbis for Romney does not boast hundreds of members, Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg is confident that the hundreds of hours and thousands of emails he has written has had an impact.  He knows there are people who are just a little bit better informed because of the efforts he and his dozens of volunteers have put in.

Rabbi Rosenberg makes it very clear that he is not a conspiracy theorist and he insists that “the president of the United States deserves our respect,” he explained to The Jewish Press.

The basic policy differences that Rosenberg sees between the choices for president this year are: partisanship, the economy, and the threat Iran poses to Israel and to all of western civilization.

On all three, he sees Romney as the one more likely to be a better leader.  He thinks Romney is more likely to be willing to reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats than Obama has done and would do in a second term with the Republicans.

Romney is someone, according to Rabbi Rosenberg, who not only has many years of experience in the business world, but he actually understands how business works both on the smallest scale, on up to the largest size corporations.

And finally, for someone born in a Displaced Persons camp whose parents were both survivors of the horrors of the Holocaust, it is Rabbi Rosenberg’s belief that left undeterred, Iran will perpetrate another Holocaust on the world’s Jews, and do its best to destroy western civilization in the process. Rosenberg is convinced that Obama will not do what needs to be done to prevent that catastrophe.

What Rosenberg doesn’t believe is that what people see in the presidential debates matters.  “Both sides lie, these are shows, with the players coached by fantastic people.”  As someone who lost virtually his entire extended family to evil, Rosenberg isn’t easily charmed by such shows.  “Anyone who believes either side is a fool.”

When asked how his congregation feels about his latest project, Rosenberg says he “does not discuss it with them.”  He believes the sanctuary is sacred and should not be used for politics.

But deciding to create a group called Rabbis for Romney is not the only time Rosenberg has put his beliefs into action.  He told The Jewish Press that he has volunteered for every war Israel has been involved in, not in combat units, but as a volunteer, for example, in hospitals.

The reason he wants Jews to be knowledgeable about the choice they will be making in this year’s election, is because, while he does “not think Obama is evil or an enemy of Israel,” he thinks “Obama is the wrong man for this time.”  It may sound nice, says Rosenberg, for Obama to try to make peace with extremist Muslims, “but it cannot be done.”  And, despite his promises, “Obama has failed to turn around the economy.”

When asked his position on Obamacare, and whether it isn’t part of Jewish values to take care of everyone, Rosenberg agrees that “it is a mitzvah to help others,” but helping others does not mean encouraging them not to rely on themselves.  When Rosenberg’s father came to America, he was given $13 from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and that’s it.  There was no food stamps, there was no welfare, his father only spoke Yiddish, but he worked hard and Rabbi Rosenberg, the only child of his parents who survived the Holocaust, proudly reveals that he has two masters degrees and two doctorates, and is the author of several books.

When Rabbis for Obama was launched, a long list of members was released, and the claim was that there were 613 members in the group – a significant number, of course, because it corresponds to the number of mitzvot.  But there was immediate controversy about some of the members, a number of whom are not considered to be rabbis according to halacha, and quite a few of whom had ultra-left-wing views, and had engaged in activity that suggested outright hostility to the Jewish State.

Rosenberg won’t disclose the names of the rabbis who have signed on to Rabbis for Romney, he says “there is just too much hostility directed against them by too many Jews.” He told The Jewish Press that he received an email after announcing Rabbis for Romney, that said that he “should have been cremated with the rest of his relatives.”  Still, he is pleased with the numbers who have signed on and with the support he has received from so many.

Rabbi David Algaze of Havurat Yisrael, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, is the co-chairman of Rabbis for Romney.  Algaze recently said in an interview with The Jewish Star, “We clearly deny the impression created by the Rabbis for Obama that American Jews want ‘daylight’ between America and Israel, as Obama declared, or that the social views espoused by these Rabbis are rooted in our authentic tradition.”

Both Rabbis Algaze and Rosenberg acknowledge that the American Jewish community historically supports the Democratic Party, many fully believing it is one of the 613 mitzvot. “However,” Rabbi Rosenberg has written, “this tie pales in comparison to ties of 5773 years. Mitt Romney’s outspoken support of Israel has left no ambiguity. I believe he is genuine. While you may not agree with Mitt Romney’s positions on various issues that matter to you; in this election his support of Israel trumps everything else. He deserves our support. This is our opportunity to end up on the right side of history. Let’s not miss it.”

Given his personal history, perhaps the single greatest organizing principle of Rabbi Rosenberg’s life has been “never again.” But, he says, “Without Israel, ‘Never Again’ is nothing more than a mere slogan.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Crowley’s Interference Saved Obama From Another Shellacking

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Candy Crowley, the moderator of the presidential debate at Hofstra University on October 16,  interfered in this U.S. presidential race in a way no one ever has before and – let’s hope – no one ever will again. Crowley loudly validated President Barack Obama’s version of reality – and contradicted Governor Mitt Romney’s recollection of actual reality – regarding what the president said in the Rose Garden about what happened in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2011.

During the debate President Obama said he called the murder of four Americans an act of terrorism.  Romney said he didn’t.  Crowley said he did.  And Crowley told them they had to move along.

And then the debate did, in fact, move on. And the one opportunity during this debate that voters had to understand what Obama knew, when did he know it, and what did he call it, was lost.

So what did the President say to the American people about the tragedy in Benghazi when he spoke to them from the Rose Garden on September 12?

Obama referred to the violence that killed our compatriots as “an attack.”  He said it three times, “an attack,” and then he referred elliptically – but unmistakably –  to a movie that “denigrated” the religion of Islam, as the cause of that attack.  Four paragraphs into his address, the President said,

Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.  We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.  But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence.  None.  The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.

The words “terrorist acts” were not mentioned until much later, until after the president talked about what happened on “9/11,” the first tragic September 11 in our nation’s history: “Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.”

Not until the tenth paragraph of a 13 paragraph address did the President say anything about terror.  That was when he said, “no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

So, the president repeatedly described what happened to Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Dougherty and Tyrone S. Woods as “an attack,” and he clearly and publicly connected the cause of that attack with a movie, The Innocence of Muslims, that enraged some Muslims because they believed it denigrated Islam.

And while the President may have referred to the the murder of Americans in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, as “an act of terror,” his use of the word “terror” was not used to mean terrorism as we have come to understand that term:  as “senseless violence intended to lead to death because of a difference in world view.”   Instead, the President used the term terror, when he finally did, in his address in the Rose Garden on that day because the violence occurred not during a war, and because it was directed against non-combatants.

Is it fair to make that distinction?

That might depend on what you think the meaning of the word “is” is.

 

Here is the transcript from Obama’s now famous Rose Garden speech:

Remarks by the President on the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya

Rose Garden

10:43 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.  Every day, all across the world, American diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests and values of our nation.  Often, they are away from their families.  Sometimes, they brave great danger.

Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.  Among those killed was our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, as well as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.  We are still notifying the families of the others who were killed.  And today, the American people stand united in holding the families of the four Americans in our thoughts and in our prayers.

The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack.  We’re working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats.  I’ve also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world.  And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.

Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.  We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.  But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence.  None.  The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.

Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya.  Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans.  Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.

It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save.  At the height of the Libyan revolution, Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi.  With characteristic skill, courage, and resolve, he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries, and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya.  When the Qaddafi regime came to an end, Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy, and I think both Secretary Clinton and I relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there.  He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.

Along with his colleagues, Chris died in a country that is still striving to emerge from the recent experience of war. Today, the loss of these four Americans is fresh, but our memories of them linger on.  I have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work that they did far from our shores and in the hearts of those who love them back home.

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.  We mourned with the families who were lost on that day.  I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.  Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.

But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers.  These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity.  They should give every American great pride in the country that they served, and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity.

We grieve with their families, but let us carry on their memory, and let us continue their work of seeking a stronger America and a better world for all of our children.

Thank you.  May God bless the memory of those we lost and may God bless the United States of America.

END   10:48 A.M. EDT

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Prematurely Celebrating Romney’s Victory

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

On Sunday, I wondered why — after watching Obama’s poor performance in the debate, with Romney’s “likability” rate rising and voters long saying he would better handle the economy, their number one issue — voters would still vote for Obama.

After the debate, reports abounded of Republicans similarly celebrating Romney’s performance and feeling better about their chances in November. One Republican activist recently told me “I’m feeling very confident.”

on Sunday, I cited the post-debate polls which surveyed people who watched the debate and the only regular poll which surveyed voters after the vote, by Rasmussen. The Rasmussen poll showed Romney with a two-point lead over Obama – even though one-third of those surveyed had been asked prior to the debate.

Since then, two other post-debate polls have been released and show a bump for Romney: a Gallup poll which has the candidates tied and a Pew Research poll which gives Romney a four-point lead among likely voters. These seem to confirm my and other Republicans’ hopes.

But one factor the challenging party sometimes overlooks in its hatred for its opponent is incumbency. Even if voters get over their love affair with President Obama, they won’t easily vote against an incumbent.

The New York Times FiveThirtyEight blog which deals with election analysis points out that despite the post-debate bump, Obama may still be on track to reelection.

Based on the jobs data it argues that:

If past trends hold, that analysis predicts a very narrow victory for Mr. Obama — by 2.1 percentage points over Mr. Romney, similar to Mr. Bush’s margin of victory in 2004.

Then it puts the post-debate bump in perspective:

Challengers also generally profit from the first debate: in 8 of the 10 election cycles since 1976, the polls moved against the incumbent, and a net gain of two or three percentage points for the challenger is a reasonably typical figure.

At the same time, incumbent presidents just aren’t that easy to defeat. Mr. Obama’s approval ratings are now hovering around 50 percent and don’t seem to have been negatively affected by his performance in Denver.

I’m not saying this is Gospel or that every election must follow past patterns, but I do recall the feeling among Democrats in 2004 of “how can anyone vote for Bush” mirroring our own fears of Obama today.

Daniel Tauber

So Why are Voters Still Choosing Obama?

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Last week’s U.S. presidential debate was a victory for Romney on all accounts, especially if one judges by the closing statements, where Obama couldn’t muster any specific reason why voters should re-elect him aside from the fact that he was trying really hard as president.

Even when Obama wished his wife a “happy anniversary” – which appeared, at least to me, a totally unromantic political move – Romney smoothly countered wishing the President a happy anniversary and joking how “romantic” it must be for the president to be spending his wedding anniversary with Romney.

Looking at polls on how people view the candidates, I’m beginning to wonder why it is that Obama leads Romney in national polls and whether that is going start to change in a big way.

On the economy, which is the top issue among voters, Romney has long maintained an edge against Obama. In a Wall Street Journal-NBC poll conducted in April, for example, 40 percent said that Romney had “better ideas to fix the economy” to Obama’s 34 percent. A Rasmussen poll a few days before the debate, showed that 51 percent trusted Romney on the economy to Obama’s 44 percent.

In “likeability,” Obama has traditionally had Romney beat. In that Wall Street Journal-NBC poll from April voters were asked questions like “who do you think would be better at. . .being easy going and likable?” or “caring about average people?” or “looking out for the middle class?” Obama beat Romney two-to-one or better on each.

But in post-debate polls of people who watched the debate conducted by CBS and CNN Romney did a lot better. In the CBS poll people said they liked both candidates. In the CNN poll, Romney beat Obama on likability 46 to 45 percent. A whopping 58 percent said Romney “seemed to be the stronger leader” to Obama’s 30 percent.

In the April WSJ-NBC poll, Voters said they would choose Obama over Romney 49 to 43 percent. But if the likability gap is closing and people favor Romney on the most important issue, it is hard to imagine why voters would still choose Obama over Romney. And indeed, the latest Rasmussen poll from October 6th gives Romney a two-point lead over the President (49-47 percent). In that poll, one-third of respondents were interviewed before the debate, so if all were interviewed after the debate it’s possible that the gap would be even wider in Romney’s favor.

Since the debate, the New York Times reports that Romney is focusing on his “softer side,” telling personal stories and showing a 10-minute biographical video before rallies. If Romney and his team can succeed and keep that “likability gap” closed, there may be reason to believe that Obama can be beat in November.

Oh, and if you still haven’t seen the debate, here it is:

Daniel Tauber

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