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October 29th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Personal History, Family, Friends, Education, Travels

It’s a “Lie”–the Obama Camp Goes There in Their Response to Mitt’s Bogus Jeep Claim

That didn’t take long. The Obama campaign has an ad up, in response to Mitt’s claim-–which the Romney campaign recycled in to a new ad, even after it was promptly debunked-–that Chrysler is moving production of Jeeps from Toledo, Ohio, to China. This all about Romney’s untenable position on the auto bailout-–he never supported it and now he’s trying to obscure his opposition. Worth noting too, as TPM reports, that many mainstream political reporters have been panning their latest transparent malarkey.

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October 27th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Personal History, Family, Friends, Education, Travels

Where Things Stand in Florida as Early Voting Begins

Saturday evening bring this update on early voting in Florida today, from Alex Leary in the Tampa Bay Times

“The Obama campaign seems quite happy after record turnouts were reported in counties across Florida today, the first day of early voting.
The Times‘ Adam Smith reported on Twitter, ‘More than 20k pple voted eary today so far in Hillsborough Co…In 08 biggest single day (11/1/08) was 18,736.’ The Miami Herald‘s Marc Caputo tweeted, ‘Miami-Dade early voting so heavy that by 3 pm 14,745 people voted — more than ENTIRE first day of 08 EV (12,000). 12-hour total: 22,625.’ Gary Fineout of the AP, ‘Leon County – a Democratic stronghold in Fla – had a record turnout for early voting with 5447 votes cast on day 1.’ Democrats typically have an advantage with early voting, but Republicans have been putting a higher emphasis on its turnout effort this time.”

Today is the first day for early voting in Florida. Here is a rundown from OBAMA campaign field director Jeremy Bird on where registration and get-out-the-vote efforts are in the state. Key takeaways from Mr. Bird:

“The Florida electorate—just like the rest of the nation’s—has grown much more diverse since 2008:
• Of the over 300,000 Hispanics who have registered to vote since President Obama was elected four years ago, nine out of ten signed up as Democrats or Independents, and only 10 percent registered as Republicans.
• More than 100,000 African-American and Caribbean-American voters registered since November 2008.
• Among those who have cast mail ballots already, 14 percent are African-American, Latino Democrats, or Latino Independents—up from 12 percent at this point in 2008. Latino Republicans have fallen from 7 percent of mail voters at this point in 2008 to just 5 percent today.
• We estimate minority voters will make up more than 30 percent of the vote in Florida this year, up from 28 percent in 2008.”

Here also are some great photos from around the state taken as polling places opened this morning:

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October 26th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Media, Blogging, Internet

Obama Camp Calls Bullshit on Mitt’s “Major” Speech

To me, it’s kind of funny that less than two weeks before Election Day, any campaign, Repub or Dem, would choose to have their candidate try to give a “major” speech, but then the Romney campaign has often operated by their own book. In Iowa today Mitt gave a speech on the economy billed as “major” which seems to have fallen way short in the policy and news departments. Below is a round-up of progressive and mainstream comment on it, rounded up and send out by the Obama campaign (pasted in below from the campaign’s email to its press list).  The round-up was delivered just ahead of notice the campaign sent out for a conference call with Lawrence Summers and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, in response to Mitt’s speech. The two of them vigorously knocked down the familiar claims Romney made in his speech, which was a recycling of rhetoric and Repub boilerplate.

Shorter Lawrence Summers, paraphrased: Repeating it all over again doesn’t make it add up. Saying it louder doesn’t make it true.

Van Hollen, in Ames, Iowa, paraphrased:  80 business execs yesterday signed a letter requesting the next president make a serious effort to tackle our country’s budget and revenue issues. Only one candidate has a serious s plan for doing so, President Obama. Only his plan is a serious response to the concerns of these business leaders.

The Reviews are in on Romney’s “Major” Economic Speech

Ali Velshi: “They said this was major economic news. There wasn’t a piece of economic news in it.”

Gloria Borger: “This wasn’t so much about, you know, specific policy prescriptions. Nothing new right now.”

Jim Acosta: “Yes, there’s not really a whole lot that’s new inside these remarks here, if you take a look at these remarks in terms of what he said out here today.”

Brooke Baldwin: “I didn’t hear a lot new in the speech. I’m guessing you didn’t hear much new in the speech either.”

Jim Acosta ‏@jimacostacnn Owner of Iowa company where Mitt Romney delivering speech on economy received stimulus funds: http://on.cnn.com/QKbZg9

ThinkProgress ‏@thinkprogress Romney makes closing economic argument at firm that benefited substantially from stimulus funds http://thkpr.gs/ScsELv

Sam Youngman ‏@samyoungman Looking at excerpts from Romney’s “major” econ address. Looks like his stump speech to me.

Ari Shapiro ‏@Ari_Shapiro Romney campaign releases excerpts of today’s “major economic speech.” So far looks a lot like the stump speech he’s been giving this week.

Benjy Sarlin ‏@BenjySarlin So….what’s the news in this major Romney speech so far.

Ali Velshi ‏@AliVelshi I’ll rejoin @SuzanneMalveaux on @CNN after Romney’s econ speech from. This speech isn’t delivering specifics.

Kathie Obradovich ‏@KObradovich Romney about 9 minutes into his speech and it has been uniformly negative in terms of bashing Obama. #romneyia

Molly Ball ‏@mollyesque So far Romney’s big speech on the economy is all about Obama.

Sam Stein ‏@samsteinhp With all the talk of bi-partisanship, has anyone asked Romney campaign if he still looks back at himself as a severely conservative gov?

Justin Wolfers ‏@justinwolfers Turns out that Romney’s “big economic speech” today, was just a placeholder, so that he could go on the attack if the GDP numbers were bad.

Jonathan Cohn ‏@CitizenCohn It’s been a while since I listened to a full Romney speech. Sort of awe-inspiring to hear all of deceptions strung together.

Eric Kleefeld ‏@EricKleefeld Mitt Romney delivers major economic speech, declares substantively that he loves America.

Molly Ball ‏@mollyesque Apparently difference between a Major Romney Address & a regular Romney speech is whether he enters to “Air Force One” or “Born Free.”

Elizabeth Drew ‏@ElizabethDrewOH There Mitt goes again: He will create the 12 million jobs that are going to happen anyway. Who is going to speak up?

Travis Waldron ‏@Travis_Waldron There was nothing major about that speech.

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October 17th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Personal History, Family, Friends, Education, Travels

What the Debate Snap Polls Looked Like this Morning

We are correctly warned by knowledgeable election-watchers not to put much trust in instant polls conducted immediately after debates as they may tend to have screwy samples, but seeing a collection of seven of them all trending in the same direction, confirms what I sensed during and after last night’s tilt between President Obama and Mitt Romney: the president was a big-time winner. Please look at this screenshot I made of a tweet by @MiddleAmericaMS, whom I thank for collecting this info.

Averaging the margin by which PBO won all 7 of these surveys yields a definitive 23-point winning gap.

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October 11th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Media, Blogging, Internet

President Obama to Floridians at 3:35 PM: From “Severely Conservative” to “Severely Kidding”

Just got this fresh videotape from the Obama campaign of the president mocking Mitt’s sudden and false concern for the middle class, Medicare, teachers, and his disavowal of the $5B tax break for the wealthy that’s still on his website. It’s as if PBO says Mitt’s trying to induce amnesia throughout America, about what he campaigned on for the past 18 months, and about what the previous Repub admin did to the country (leading us into an unnecessary war; neglecting an American jewel city, New Orleans; and the worst financial disaster in 70 years).

Videotape and transcript below.


“Now, what does he have to say this new version of Mitt Romney about all the things he’s actually promised to do as president? Tax breaks for outsourcers? Never heard such a thing. Saying we should cut back on teachers? Doesn’t ring a bell. Don’t boo. Vote. Kicking 200,000 young Floridians off their insurance plans. Who me? And when he’s asked about the cost of his tax plan, he just pretends it doesn’t exist. What $5 trillion tax cut? I don’t know anything about a $5 trillion tax cut. Pay no attention to the $5 trillion tax cut on my website. Look, Governor Romney thinks we have not been paying attention for the last year and a half. He is going to say whatever it takes to try to close the deal and he’s counting on the fact that you don’t remember that what he’s selling is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place. So Florida, you got to let him know we remember. We know full well that if he gets a chance, Governor Romney will rubber stamp the top down agenda of this Republican Congress the second he takes office and we cannot afford that future.”


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October 8th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Personal History, Family, Friends, Education, Travels

Romney Advisor, on CNN to Articulate Mitt’s Foreign Policy, Can’t Do It

Romney advisor Tara Wall gets roasted by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien in a preview of Mitt’s ballyhooed foreign policy speech to be given later today. In the 5-minute video O’Brien plays back key parts of the 47% tape, in which Mitt describes what he believes is the futility of dealing with the Palestinians; she then contrasts those surreptitiously recorded  statements with the transcript of today’s speech, where he claims to be in favor of a two-state solution. She asks Wall if she can resolve the obvious contradictions, when things get a little surreal.


O’BRIEN: There’s a range. But let’s talk about Iran for a moment, and when you actually analyze the candidates’ positions, if you look at Governor Romney’s position on Iran and that red line that as you remember Benjamin Netanyahu was drawing in his speech and President Obama’s position – they’re very similar, aren’t they, identical really?
WALL: Well, Soledad, I’m not going to get into the back and forth on foreign policy. I’m not a foreign policy expert. And, again, I think Americans need to understand there is a clear and distinct choice between these candidates relative to their approaches to foreign policy and how we lead, how we have led, how this President has led, how this President failed to lead in a large degree –
O’BRIEN: But if their positions are similar, then – but if their positions are similar, Tara, then there’s not a big difference between the two candidates.
WALL: Listen, Soledad, I’m sure you can find similarities in a number of positions with leaders on a number of different issues. The point being is there is a clear and distinct difference relative to how we lead when we deal with terrorists and when we’re dealing with helping those who want to be free in Democrat societies across the Middle East. I think there are those clear differences that have been spelled out, that we do spell out and the approach that this Governor takes and plans to take relative to cracking down on terrorists and enemies and those who are out to harm us and out to harm our allies.
O’BRIEN: So let’s take a look at peace in the Middle East and the obviously dispute between Israel and the Palestinian territory. So here’s what we know he is going to say in his speech this – later today. He’s going to say, “Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.” And as you well know, this is very contradictory to what we know he was saying in that tape that was leaked – the 47% tape that they talk about. So let me play you a little bit of what he said about this very issue, right, the peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Listen.
ROMNEY: I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I’ve had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.
O’BRIEN: I’m gonna play another chunk of it a little bit later on in that same speech, the one that was recorded surreptitiously. Let’s play that.
ROMNEY: And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues and as I say, there’s just no way. And so what you do is you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain unsolved problem.
O’BRIEN: Okay. So, as you know and you just heard, that’s completely contradictory to what I read you the first time around. “I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.” Those are completely contradictory. Which one is true?
WALL: The fact is, it’s the President who’s failed in the negotiation process. He’s the leader right now of this country and he has failed -

O’BRIEN: And Tara that was an excellent shift but answer for me about Governor Romney. We can talk about the President in a minute.

WALL: That is my answer. Well, no, that is my answer, Soledad.
O’BRIEN: Your answer is about President Obama – a question about Governor Romney is the answer about President Obama?

WALL: I think the Governor has made his position clear relative to where we stand with Israel, and the President is the one who has failed – 

O’BRIEN: He hasn’t, is my point. He hasn’t.
WALL: – that decided to meet with entertainment folks and people like that, rather than Benjamin Netanyahu, and I think that there – again – there’s a clear position here –
O’BRIEN: It’s not. That’s my point. It’s not clear. My point, Tara, hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Just hold on. My point is, it’s completely contradictory. So my question is, which is it?
WALL: In your viewpoint.
O’BRIEN: Okay. Then tell me how it’s not completely contradictory in your viewpoint, but don’t talk to me about President Obama at this moment. Answer the question about Governor Romney.
WALL: We will stand side by side with – we will stand side by side with Israel, and the Governor has made that clear. I’m not going to get into a big foreign policy debate with you here. That’s not – that’s not my position. That’s not my role. And that’s – you know, if you want to talk about that, I suggest you put on a couple of foreign affairs experts and let them go at it and pick this apart the way that you’d like to have it picked apart. But I think we clearly stated –
O’BRIEN: That’s unfair. I’m just asking you about the contradictory message. That’s unfair. I’m only asking you about a contradictory message.

WALL: That’s contradictory in your view.
O’BRIEN: You could explain it then. Alright, Tara Wall, thank you for talking with us this morning.
WALL: Not if I don’t agree with the premise.
O’BRIEN: Or you could explain that even I would take, but apparently we’re not going to get to that either. Thank you for talking with us this morning. We appreciate it.

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October 6th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Media, Blogging, Internet

A Saturday Neighborhood Political Rally

Tweeted this out a few minutes ago.

“Was just at the off’cl opening of the Manhattan Upper West Side #Obama2012 Victory HQ. Local pols Stringer&Inez D. + nabes came to cheer.”

After the exhortatory appeals to work and volunteer to phone bank, to go on bus and field trips to Staten Island, Beacon, NY, up the Hudson a bit, and to Elkins Park, PA, I walked around inside the bright, new office, and met a few people. It’s on the west side of B’way, bet. 102nd St and 103rd, not even a full crosstown block from my home. I made calls to swing states in 2008, and with a month to go before Election Day, I’m about to start again. Now, with the office so close to home, I can go there too!

I didn’t happen to have my camera with me, or I would have illustrated that tweet, and this post on it. As ever, thanks for reading my blog.

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October 4th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Media, Blogging, Internet

The Truth about Pre-Existing Conditions

The Obama campaign assembled this brief video as a fact-check on Romney’s false claim in the Denver debate that under him people with pre-existing conditions would still have coverage. Fact is, only people who’ve had uninterrupted coverage would be able to evade problems over this. Today, Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom told TPM reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro, “With respect to pre-existing conditions, what Governor Romney has said is for those with continuous coverage, he would continue to make sure that they receive their coverage” but that others, lacking “continuous coverage,” would, according to McMorris-Santoro’s summary of Fehrnstrom’s comments, ‘need their states to implement their own laws’ to make sure that residents with pre-existing conditions would not lose coverage. Think about it: ill people, amid a healthcare ecosystem where many seniors would also be paying more for what medicare used to provide free, would now be at the mercy of their often underfunded home states to guarantee their medical care. It would be a disaster and more people would endure untreated illnesses and lingering conditions.