Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

9:00 pm – Another bunch of polls about to close, including two key swing states: Colorado and Wisconsin – Paul Ryan’s home state.
9:02 pm – CNN calls Michigan for Barack Obama… Huge political and symbolic loss for Romney.
Electoral College stands at Romney 152 Obama 123.
9:05 pm – CNN Washington Bureau chief Sam Feist teasing a major projection on Twitter.
9:08 pm – Here’s the projection: Republicans will keep control of the House of Representatives.
9:09 pm – CNN’s Dana Bash says Democratic sources telling her Republicans could end up with a net gain of seats in the House after polls on the West Coast close. Some Democrats upset that Obama didn’t do anything to help House Democrats, save for one robocall on behalf of Tammy Duckworth.
9:15 pm – HUGE CALL: NBC calls Pennsylvania for Obama.
With Romney losing Pennsylvania, he has effectively lost his backup plan if he fails to win Ohio.
9:32 pm – Another nail in Romney’s coffin: CBS calls Wisconsin – Paul Ryan’s home state – for Obama.
9:35 pm – Fox News calls the Indiana Senate race for Democrat Joe Donnelly. This is another loss for Senate GOP, caused by Richard Mourdock’s self-inflicted wound.
Fox News calls Wisconsin Senate race for Democrat Tammy Baldwin.
9:42 pm – CBS News calls the Massachusetts Senate race for Elizabeth Warren.
9:44 pm – In discussing Obama voter turnout and wins in Midwest, Jessica Yellin notes that it looks like David Axelrod’s mustache will remain intact.
Political Wire: David Axelrod keeps his mustache with Obama wins in WI, MN and MI… http://politicalwire.com/archives/2012/10/31/axelrod_bets_his_mustache.html
9:52 pm – Another loss for Romney. NBC calls New Hampshire – where Romney has a home – for Obama.
Another round of polls about to close at the top of the hour. Switching to a new thread.

8:00 pm – CNN calls Connecticut, Delaware, Washington DC, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts (Romney’s home state), Maine (3 out of 4 electoral votes) and Rhode Island for President Obama. Oklahoma called for Romney.
CNN exit poll of Florida is now 50-49.
Virginia numbers starting to come in. 5 percent of the vote in and Romney leads 59-40.
8:10 pm – CNN’s Erin Burnett reporting from Columbus, Ohio: 1.8 million people voted early or absentee. Those numbers starting to come in. Per CNN’s Martin Savidge in Cleveland, Obama is currently leading 176k to 72k.
8:14 pm – CNN calls Georgia for Romney. Obama leads Electoral College count 64-56 so far.
8:19 pm – CNN calls Maine Senate race for Independent candidate Angus King. First Republican loss of the night. Bob Corker, Bill Nelson, Tom Carper, Ben Cardin and Sheldon Whitehouse win reelection.
Huge upset in the making in Indiana: Joe Donnelly leading Richard Mourdock in Indiana Senate race 49-45.
8:25 pm – From The Week’s Marc Ambinder: Looks like Hispanic and young voters are slightly larger slices of the electorate than 2008. The Obama coalition appears – appears – solid
8:30 pm – 20 percent of the vote in from #Ohio, Obama leads 59-40 BUT that number will change. Most votes coming from Dem areas of the state.
56 percent of the votes in from Florida, Obama leads 51-48
8:32 pm – Roll Call declares Chris Murphy the winner in the Connecticut Senate race.
8:42 pm – CNN calls Alabama for Romney.
8:49 pm – CNN’s Dana Bash: Massachusetts and Indiana Senate races still too close to call.
8:57 pm – Another round of polls about to close. Starting another thread.

7:30 pm – polls close in West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.
CNN exit polls in North Carolina have it tied at 49. If Romney loses North Carolina, it’s gonna be a short night.
CNN exit polls in Ohio have President Obama up 51-48.
7:38 pm – ABC News calls South Carolina for Romney.
7:43 pm – From the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake: Virginia has delayed reporting of results until 8 p.m., citing crowded polling places.
7:47 pm – From TPM’s Eric Kleefeld: Obama takes 153-vote lead with 99% in. RT @jimgeraghty Vigo County in Indiana has voted for the winner in every race since Eisenhower. FWIW.
7:55 pm – Polls about to close in a bunch of states at the top of the hour. Switching to a new thread.

CNN’s Peter Hamby reports that the Romney campaign’s own final internal poll numbers had President Obama up by 5 in Ohio.

An anecdote from a Virginia voter I met earlier this evening: she went to vote at a polling place at a school in Alexandria at 6 o’clock this morning. There were already about 50 people in line at the time.

Two years and nearly $2 billion spent, it all comes down to tonight…  The first polls have closed in a handful of Eastern states. Buckle up folks, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

In the end, it will be Barack Obama’s firewall vs. Mitt Romney’s inside straight. My former professor Marc Cooper described the outlook for both candidates in poker terms several weeks ago: on the flop, Obama would have three aces, while Romney would have to draw an inside straight on the turn and the river in order to win. Obama simply has more options. The New York Times calculated 512 conceivable victory scenarios for both candidates. Of these, Obama has 431 ways to win, Romney has 76, and 5 scenarios end up with a tie.

Looking at the PBS electoral college map, it’s possible to illustrate some of the scenarios for tomorrow night. My model assumes that Romney has locked down North Carolina and will get a narrow win in Florida. In that scenario, the electoral map looks something like this:

If Obama’s Ohio firewall holds and he wins the state, as most polls indicate, that puts him at 265 electoral votes – five shy of reelection. You will hear this again and again during the next 48 hours: no Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio.

Despite historical precedent, it is mathematically possible for Romney to win the presidency while losing Ohio, but it will be very difficult. The only way Romney can win in this scenario is if he runs the board and wins every remaining swing state: New Hampshire, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, AND Nevada.

Nevada has been looking increasingly unlikely for Romney, but let’s set that issue aside and look at the Ohio firewall map from a different perspective. If Obama wins Ohio, he only needs one more state – Nevada, Colorado, Iowa or Virginia – and it’s game over for Romney.




If Obama wins New Hampshire, he comes up just short at 269 and still needs another state.

What it comes down to is options. Obama has plenty, Romney doesn’t have enough.

Final Prediction:

Obama reelected 303-235, winning every swing state except Florida and North Carolina and the popular vote by 49-48.
Nevada puts Obama over the top once polls close at 10 pm EST.

Final poll numbers are coming out in the few days before the election. There’s a good recap of the numbers by Political Wire here and here. The signs are not looking good for Team Romney, according to Taegan Goddard’s Twitter account:

  • Movement toward Obama in nearly every national poll released today.
  • Latest USA Today/Gallup poll of 12 swing states shows a tie. Romney held a four point lead a month ago.
  • 18 new swing state polls today so far. Romney leads in just 4.
  • Publicly, the Romney campaign is bullish about its chances on Tuesday, as evidenced by surrogates who appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows today. However, when granted anonymity, they tend to hedge their bets:

    CBS News:

    Romney’s advisers know it’s now anyone’s guess. “A knife fight in the phone booth,” is a phrase you hear a lot. One adviser this morning was even more candid: “I’m not saying (Mr. Obama) is definitely going to lose.”

    But the advisers see comparable concern and tension in the Obama campaign, for all of its own outward displays of confidence.

    “We’re the challengers. We always knew we could lose,” one aide told me here in Dubuque. “They never contemplated they could lose.”

    The Associated Press:

    But Ryan’s biggest boosters realize he probably can write his own ticket, win or lose on Nov. 6.

    These Ryan allies spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private proposals they were preparing for him. They insist Ryan is not worried about anything beyond the election and is not planning anything except being a governing partner to Romney.

    They say that if he fails, Ryan’s instincts will be to return to the House — he is running for re-election to his House seat at the same time he’s Romney’s running mate — and resume his role as Budget Committee chairman.

    Some senior Republicans caution it might not be that easy.

    If Romney loses, Ryan will be seen as a leading White House contender in 2016. He will be a national party figure even without being a top member of the House leadership. That could breed resentment among current Republican leaders and perhaps splinter coalitions within the already fractured GOP alliances at the top of the House.

    A return also would make Ryan a leading target for Democrats. For the next few years, Democrats would lay traps in legislation, forcing him to take sides on measures that could come back to haunt him during a presidential bid.

    That is why some of Ryan’s biggest boosters are considering whether it wouldn’t be better for Ryan to resign from the House. He could write a book — “saving America” is a theme often bandied about — or teach at a university.

    After all, on the campaign trail, Ryan is as much lecturer as campaigner. Aides routinely set up giant video screens so Ryan can use visual aids to walk audiences through the minutiae of budget politics. Graphs and charts are as common as yard signs and American flags at some events, with Ryan settling into his role as explainer in chief.

    It’s no accident he embraces the “wonk” label aggressively. It could make him an attractive figure as a guest lecturer or visiting professor.

    Or Ryan could set up an office at a Washington think tank and focus on issues that interest him. That would give him a platform to shape public policy without the frustrations of electoral politics.

    Republicans are also preemptively blaming Sandy for a possible Romney loss on Tuesday. See these comments from Karl Rove in the Washington Post:

    “If you hadn’t had the storm, there would have been more of a chance for the [Mitt] Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy. There was a stutter in the campaign. When you have attention drawn away to somewhere else, to something else, it is not to his [Romney’s] advantage,” Rove told The Washington Post.

    Rove, who served as George W. Bush’s deputy White House chief of staff, said that in the wake of the storm, there are “advantages and a minor disadvantage” for the president as well as a “subtle disadvantage to Romney.”

    “Obama has temporarily been a bipartisan figure this week. He has been the comforter-in-chief and that helps,” Rove said. The slight disadvantage for Obama, Rove said, “is that people in Eastern coastal communities are going to be preoccupied by issues of getting food to eat and having a roof over their heads; some of them won’t be thinking as much about the election.” But he conceded that those people reside in the Northeast, and not in the battleground states most likely to decide the election.

    Anonymous Romney aides to CBS News:

    Campaign sources concede superstorm Sandy stalled Romney’s momentum. For eight straight days, polls showed him picking up support. The campaign’s internal polling, which is using different turnout models than most public polls, had him on solid ground in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Iowa. He had a slight lead or was tied in Ohio, New Hampshire and Wisconsin and was in striking distance in Pennsylvania, a state Republicans hadn’t won since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

    Coming off the pivotal first debate, the campaign pushed the message that the 2008 Barack Obama of hope and change had become the 2012 President Obama of divide and destroy, making the campaign about small things — Big Bird and binders — at a time the nation had big challenges. It resonated with voters in those swing states.

    But then came something very big: a natural disaster that left a path of death and destruction on the East Coast. Suddenly, there was little talk about small things.

    Those leads in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Iowa still hold in the internal polls, campaign sources say, but Romney’s movement flattened out or, as the campaign likes to say, “paused.” Nevada is now off the table, and those neck-and-neck swing states are even tighter.

    Haley Barbour on CNN:

    (CNN) – Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Sunday argued Superstorm Sandy not only wreaked havoc on the Northeast this week, but blunted Mitt Romney’s campaign as well.

    “The hurricane is what broke Romney’s momentum. I don’t think there is any question about it,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    Barbour, a Republican, said the barrage of news coverage surrounding the storm replaced the political debate in the final days leading up to the election. He added, however, he doesn’t blame the media for covering the storm.

    “Any day that the news media is not talking about jobs or the economy, taxes or spending, deficit and debt, Obamacare and energy, is a good day for Barack Obama,” he continued, adding the news “blackout” on those issues has helped the president.

    “Whether it will be good enough remains to be seen,” he said.

    Also, Bush 2004 strategist Matthew Dowd on the three signs a campaign is losing:

    DOWD: …every time you feel a losing campaign, these three things happen. The first thing happens is, don’t believe — the public polls are wrong. That’s the first sign of a campaign that’s about to lose. The second thing, we’re going to change the nature of the electorate, and you’re not seeing it reflected in the polls. And the third thing is, the only poll that counts is Election Day. When you hear those things, you know you’re about to lose.

    Bottom line: if your side is preemptively making excuses or telegraphing the running mate’s backup plans before the election, odds are you’re going to lose. I’ll publish my pre-election predictions in the next day or two.

    Update: From Nate Silver: Between national + battleground state polls so far today: 29 Obama leads, 3 Romney leads, 5 ties.

Support for Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate in the Indiana Senate race whose comments about rape created an uproar, has imploded according to a new poll:

Richard Mourdock’s support has collapsed following his comments about rape at a debate last week, and the GOP nominee in the Indiana Senate race now trails by a significant margin, according to a new independent poll released on Friday.

The Howey Politics Indiana/DePauw University Battleground Poll shows Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly leading Mourdock, the state treasurer, 47 percent to 36 percent. Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning is at 6 percent, and 11 percent of likely voters remain undecided. The poll was conducted Oct. 28-30 by Democratic pollster Fred Yang and Republican pollster Christine Matthews, who surveyed 800 likely voters, for a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points.

In September, the two candidates ran neck-and-neck, with Donnelly ahead by just two points, 40 percent to 38 percent. But now, a significant gender gap has opened up, according to the poll. Men favor Donnelly by two points, 43 percent to 41 percent, a 6-point reversal from September, when Mourdock led by 4. But women now choose Donnelly by an 18-point margin, 50 percent to 32 percent. In September, Donnelly led by 6 points among female voters.

Donnelly has also consolidated Democrats, winning 88 percent of the vote among his own partisans, the poll shows. In comparison, Mourdock wins just 70 percent of Republicans, and Donnelly also leads among self-identified independents, 51 percent to 17 percent.

Overall, just 30 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Mourdock, compared to 49 percent who view him unfavorably. In September, 26 percent had a favorable opinion of him, versus 32 percent who had an unfavorable opinion. Donnelly’s image rating is healthier: 36 percent favorable, and 31 percent unfavorable.

This, along with Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments, were – second only to Mitt Romney’s 47 percent comments – the biggest Republican gaffes in this election cycle. Again as was the case in 2010 (the Nevada, Delaware and Colorado Senate races), the Republicans are blowing what should have been a winnable race by nominating inexperienced or more extreme candidates who have made disastrous unforced errors.

The Indiana Senate race should have been a no-brainer for the GOP, especially in their effort to win control of the U.S. Senate. Longtime moderate incumbent Richard Lugar would have been a shoo-in for the general election, had he not lost the primary to the Tea Party-backed Mourdock. Moral of the story: the Tea Party might be good to win primaries, but aren’t always good for the general, even in a red state like Indiana.

9:00 – Bob Schieffer kicking off the third debate, making his opening statement before introducing Obama and Romney.
Schieffer notes that debate is on 50th anniversary of JFK’s address to the nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

9:04 – First question is about Libya.
Romney won the coin toss earlier, so he gets the first question.
Romney reciting list of issues in MENA in aftermath of Arab Spring – Egypt, Libya, Mali, Syria.
Congratulates Obama for getting Osama bin Laden. “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.”
9:07 – Obama response
Notes he ended the war in Iraq.
Re: Libya – Took leadership to organize international coalition to liberate country under yoke of dictatorship for 42 years, for less than cost of 2 weeks in Iraq.
To Romney: “Your strategy has been one that has previously been all over the map.”
Romney: “My strategy is to go after them.”
“We don’t want another Iraq. We don’t want another Afghanistan.”
“Rising tide of chaos” rushing in in the Middle East

Obama: Hits Romney for saying Russia was biggest geopolitical threat. “The Cold War has been over for 20 years.”
“Every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong.”

Romney: “Attacking me is not an agenda.”
Romney and Obama arguing over SOFA in Iraq.

9:16 – Schieffer question about Syria to President Obama… It’s been one year since you told Assad he had to go. 30k Syrians have died, the war goes on. Should we reassess our policy and find better way to influence events there? Is that even possible?
Obama: Doing everything we can to help opposition… Recognize for us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step. Make sure we know who we’re helping. I am confident that Assad’s days are numbered.
Romney: “We don’t want military involvement. We don’t want to get drawn into a conflict there.”
Romney: “I believe that Assad must go. I believe that he will go.”
Obama praises Romney for supporting operation in Libya, but hits him for “mission creep” comment.

9:23 – Schieffer question: During Egyptian turmoil, there came a point you said time for Mubarak to go. Any regrets about that?
Obama: No I don’t. America has to stand with democracy.
Schieffer question to Romney: Would you have stuck with Mubarak?
Romney: No, I supported the president’s action there.
Romney pivots to the economy, quotes Adm. Mike Mullen saying the deficit is our biggest national security threat.

9:28 – Schieffer question: What is America’s role in the world?
Romney: I absolutely believe America has a responsibility and privilege to defend freedom, make the world more peaceful.
Romney hits Obama for not supporting Green Revolution in Iran.
Obama hits Romney for praising George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Romney pivots to the economy, jobs, small business.

9:38 – Schieffer question to Romney: You want to increase military spending for the Navy. Where are you going to get the money?
Romney: Get rid of ObamaCare. Take program after program that we don’t need and get rid of them.
Obama hits Romney on $5 trillion tax cut and $2 trillion on military spending.
Obama: “The math simply doesn’t work.”
Romney responds by saying he was governor, balanced budgets, ran the Olympics.
Romney talking about size of Navy in 1916. Washington Post factcheck on this talking point here.
Ouch… brutal Obama rebuttal

9:45 – Schieffer question – would either of you be willing to declare an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States?
Obama: “As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.”
Romney: If Israel is attacked, we have their back.
Romney calls for Ahmadinejad to be indicted for his words under the Genocide Convention.
Obama: “We’re not going to allow Iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere.” “That clock is ticking.”
Romney brings up the apology tour…
Obama: “Nothing Governor Romney said was true. This has been the biggest whopper of this campaign.”
Romney: “We are four years closer to a nuclear Iran.”
Romney hits Obama for skipping Israel trip during his tour of the Middle East.
Ouch… Obama hits Romney on Israel trip. – When I went to Israel as a presidential candidate, I didn’t travel with donors and go to fundraisers, which Romney did during his trip earlier this year.
Romney: “I don’t see our influence growing around the world. I see our influence receding.”
Obama: “Governor, the problem is you’ve been all over the map.”
Obama hits Romney for saying in 2007-2008 campaign it wasn’t worth moving heaven and earth to go after Osama bin Laden.

10:04 – Schieffer question: US scheduled to turn over Afghan security in 2014. Key question: what do you do if deadline arrives and it is obvious Afghans unable to handle their security. Do we still leave?
Romney: Warns of dangers of unstable Pakistan with nuclear weapons.
Obama: In position we can transition out. No reason Americans should die when Afghans perfectly capable of taking care of their own country.
Obama: After a decade at war, it’s time to do some nation building here at home.

10:09 – Schieffer: General Allen says Americans continue to die at the hands of groups supported by Pakistan, yet we continue to give Pakistan billions of dollars. Is it time to divorce Pakistan?
Romney: No, it’s not time to divorce Pakistan.
Schieffer: What is your position on use of drones?
Romney: Should use any means to protect our people and allies around the world.
Obama: Notes that his administration supported protest/pro-democratic movements in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

10:14 – Schieffer pivots to next topic, China.
Obama: China an adversary and also a potential partner in the international community if it plays by the rules
We won just about every case filed against China with the WTO.
Romney criticized me for being too tough, protectionist in that tire case. Those workers don’t feel that way.
Schieffer to Romney: If you declare China a currency manipulator on day one, aren’t you risking a trade war?
Obama hits Rommey: “Governor Romney’s right. You are familiar with jobs shipped overseas…”
Romney: “I would do nothing to hurt the American auto industry.”
10:15 – Still 15 minutes to go in the debate, and the Obama campaign is already declaring victory on its Facebook page.
Obama to Romney re auto bailout: “You keep on trying to airbrush history.”

10:29 – Closing statements, Obama goes first.
Romney giving his closing statement.

10:34 – Game over… Now for the final two-week stretch to the finish line.