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Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich’

DEBATT | Inför deras första debatt har Barack Obama och Mitt Romney gått inför att skapa låga förväntningar kring deras egen debattskicklighet.

Strategin går naturligtvis ut på att överraska väljarnas med att de gjorde bättre ifrån sig än väntat när det väl är över.

“Governor Romney he’s a good debater, I’m just okey”, poängterade t.ex. Obama under ett kampanjevent i Las Vegas under förra söndagen.

Och Romney spelade samma spel i en intervju med Fox News i vecka som gick.

”I don’t know how to raise or lower expectations,” sade Romney. ”The president is a very eloquent, gifted speaker. He’ll do just fine. I’ve never been in a presidential debate like this and it will be a new experience.”

James Fallows, nationell korrespondent på tidskriften The Atlantic, har tittat närmare på debatternas betydelse för utgången av ett presidentval och de två kombattanternas olika styrkor och svagheter.

Mitt Romney is far less effective as a big-speech orator than Barack Obama, and in many other aspects of campaigning he displays what appear to be laboriously studied moves rather than anything that comes naturally. But debates are and have been his strength. He grew up enjoying “big, boisterous arguments about everything around the dinner table,” according to his campaign strategist and main debate-prep specialist, Stuart Stevens. “He loves the dialectic of arguing the different sides, and he’s most uncomfortable when no one is disagreeing with him.” He will enter this fall’s encounters with very recent, successful experience in a very wide range of formats and challenges.

In none of the Republican-primary debates was Romney judged the big loser; in many he was the clear winner, and as the campaign wore on, the dominant image from the debates was of a confident Romney, standing with a slight smile on his face and his hands resting easily in his pockets, looking on with calm amusement as the lesser figures squabbled among themselves and sometimes lashed out at him.

Civics teachers won’t want to hear this, but the easiest way to judge “victory” in many debates is to watch with the sound turned off, so you can assess the candidates’ ease, tenseness, humor, and other traits signaled by their body language. By this standard, Ron Paul, with his chronically ill-fitting suits, often looked cranky; Rick Santorum often looked angry; Rick Perry initially looked pole­axed and confused; Jon Huntsman looked nervous; Newt Ging­rich looked overexcited—and so on through the list until we reach Mitt Romney, who almost always looked at ease. (As did Herman Cain, illustrating that body language is not everything.) Romney looked like the grown-up—the winner, the obvious candidate—with or without sound. “He is as good as it gets in debating,” former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who was the first major contender to drop out of the Republican race, told me. “He is poised, prepared, smart, strategic—tactical, too.”

[…]

Romney is very strong as a debater but has also shown two repeated weaknesses: a thin command of policy details, and an awkwardness when taken by surprise.

When the subject is one he’s prepared for, he rarely falters. When it’s not, or when an exchange goes on longer or in a different direction than expected, many of his ad-libbed responses turn out to be mistakes (“I’ll bet you $10,000!”). Thus the Romney team has the impossible challenge of trying to imagine every question or attack line that might come up in debates with Obama, while the Obama team tries to imagine what Romney’s might have missed. This kind of chess game is always part of debate preparation, but it is unusually important this year, because the gap between Romney at his best and at his worst is so wide.

[…]

“The history is that challengers tend to profit, particularly in the first debate,” David Axelrod, Obama’s chief campaign strategist, told me in June. “Just the act of being on the stage with a president is an elevating thing.” This sounds like a small matter, but through the years, analysis of debate reactions has shown that the public takes a candidate more seriously after seeing him, for the first time, on equal footing with an incumbent president.

[…]

In this year’s debates, Barack Obama’s most inspiring and powerful message as a candidate will no longer be available to him. Four years ago, “Change we can believe in” suggested that things could be different and much better with him in charge. Now even his most fervent backers doubt how much better things are likely to get in a second Obama term. His critics put the same point more harshly. “This time, the president won’t have the luxury of making stuff up and speaking aspirationally,” Tim Pawlenty told me on a campaign swing through Pennsylvania with Romney in June. “He actually has to defend his record and attach facts to it.”

One more factor is working against Obama in the debates. When the economy is bad and an incumbent is beset, the challenger’s task is simplified. He doesn’t need to belabor the case against the incumbent. Reality has already done that; everyone knows what’s wrong with the president they have now. All the challenger has to do is say: “Look me over. I’ll be okay in this job. You can feel comfortable with me.” This is what Ronald Reagan did in 1980, and Bill Clinton in 1992. Meanwhile, the incumbent has to work twice as hard, in order to make two arguments at once. He must prove something about himself: that, while battered, he’s still energetic, visionary, and up to the job. He must also prove something about his opponent: that he is bad for the country, unready, and overall worse.

And he must do all this without seeming defensive or tense; while appearing easily in command to those who see images without hearing words; and, in Obama’s uniquely straitjacketed case, while avoiding the slightest hint of being an “angry black man.”

[…]

If economic trends are bad enough—or, improbably, good enough—to turn the election into a runaway, we might look back and say that the debates didn’t matter. But in what gives every sign of being a close, bitter, expensive, and mostly negative contest, the way these men interact onstage could make a major difference.

Övrigt: Se även Fallows video “Romney the Debater: His Strengths and Weaknesses”. Inför valet 2008 gjorde Fallows en liknande analys som ovan i essayen ”Rhetorical Questions”. (Tidskriftsomslaget ovan är The Atlantic, september 2012.)

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USA | Rick Santorums tillkännagivande att han inte längre tänker fortsätta sin valkampanj kommer att göra livet lite lättare för Mitt Romney.

”We were winning in a very different way because we were touching hearts. We were raising issues that, well, frankly, a lot of people didn’t want to have raised.”

Så sammanfattade Santorum sin kampanj. Men skall man vara noggrann tillkännagav han inte formellt att han drar sig ur valkampanjen utan bara att han tillsvidare skjuter upp (”suspends”) valarbetet.

I vilket fall som helst bör Newt Gingrich och Ron Paul knappast kunna utgöra något riktigt hot mot Romney.

Vad dessa två möjligtvis kan göra är att skada Romneys möjligheter att besegra Barack Obama genom att förlänga valkampanjen och fortsätta med den hårda retoriken. Vilket i sig inte är ett osannolikt med tanke på allt ont blod som flutit under valkampanjen.

Det finns inget demokraterna skulle önska sig mer än ett fortsatt inbördeskrig bland republikanerna. Varje attack riktat mot Romney tar Obama närmare att bli återvald.

Brian Knowlton, International Herald Tribune, skriver:

Rick Santorum said his daughter’s illness prompted him to halt his fight for the Republican nomination, making Mitt Romney the near-certainty to challenge Barack Obama. Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who had risen from the bottom of the Republican presidential polls to become the prime challenger to Mitt Romney, suspended his campaign on Tuesday, almost certainly making Mr. Romney the party’s nominee for the election on Nov. 6.

[…]

 ‘‘We were touching hearts,’’ Mr. Santorum said. ‘‘We were raising issues that frankly a lot of people didn’t want to have raised.’’

He said that he wanted to be a ‘‘witness’’ of what Americans were living through, and help be an ‘‘interpreter’’ to provide them a voice.

[…]

By suspending rather than formally ending his campaign, Mr. Santorum can continue to raise money, file for federal matching funds and keep himself available in the wings, should something unexpected derail the Romney campaign.

Despite a succession of earlier primary victories that had kept his hopes alive, Mr. Santorum’s prospects of winning the nomination had grown increasingly slim, and his campaign faced both personal and political challenges.

Bella, 3, who suffers from a chromosomal disorder, had been hospitalized twice — most recently over the weekend — and Mr. Santorum was also facing the possibility of losing the primary on April 24 in his home state, where polls show a tight race.

[…]

Analysts said that his full-throated criticism that Mr. Romney would be a weak candidate against Mr. Obama — because he had supported an Obama-like healthcare program in Massachusetts — had been some of the most telling arguments leveled against the former governor.

Mer: Läs också Joe Kleins förvånansvärt respektfulla beskrivning av Santorums valkampanj på hans blogg In the Arena. Bild: Urklippet och citerade texten från International Hearald Tribune den 11 april 2012.

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USA | Mitt Romney bygger en stor del av sin image på att han som framgångsrik affärsman vet hur man skapar nya jobb.

En ständig fråga i valkampanjen är därför om Romney under sin karriär skapade fler jobb än han rationaliserade bort.

Randy Johnson, som 1995 förlorade jobbet i ett av de företag Romney omstrukturerade, bedriver en kampanj för att underminera Romneys presidentambitioner.

Naturligtvis har demokraterna välkomnat honom med öppna armar. Mer oväntat är att samma kritik har framförts av republikanen Newt Gingrich.

Paul M. Barrett har skrivit i Bloomberg Businessweek om striden. 

Randy Johnson organizes steel workers for a living. Before that he worked in a paper factory where he served as union steward. He has waved picket line placards, bellowed through bullhorns, and taken people out on strike. Along the way, he became Mitt Romney’s worst recurring nightmare.

[…]

 “Let me show you something,” Johnson says, rising to get his “Romney box,” a copier-paper carton he’s kept since 1994.

[…]

The box contains records of a long-ago chapter in the history of Bain Capital, the Boston investment firm Romney led from 1984 to 1999. Back in 1992, Bain acquired a manufacturer called American Pad & Paper, or Ampad. Bain then used Ampad as a vehicle to buy and restructure similar companies. Following standard “roll-up” strategy, Bain closed factories and laid off workers in anticipation of selling off a leaner, more profitable company via an initial public stock offering.

[…]

On and off since 1994, when the former Massachusetts businessman made his first run for public office, seeking to unseat Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Johnson has haunted Romney. During the hard-fought Senate race, Johnson led a “truth squad” of Marion workers who drove overnight to Boston to confront Romney. Kennedy’s campaign, recognizing a gift from the political gods, made a series of television commercials starring the unhappy Marion workers. The ads helped Kennedy pull out of a temporary slump and defeat Romney. In 2002, when the Republican ran for governor of Massachusetts, Johnson popped up again to remind voters about Marion. Better prepared, Romney weathered the attack and won the statehouse, vowing to improve the Massachusetts economy based on his business expertise.

Now, as Romney battles to become the Republican Presidential nominee, Johnson is working with the Democratic National Committee to plague the politician yet again. Once an aggrieved line worker avenging what he considered an injustice, he is, many years and several campaigns later, a seasoned operative fluent in the language and tactics of political combat. Democrats, for obvious reasons, seek him out, and he seems happy to be sought. Since late last year, the DNC has shepherded Johnson around the country in a preview of President Barack Obama’s populist-tinged fall campaign. Johnson has visited Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and Florida, talking to journalists and schmoozing state Democratic chairmen. In January, when Romney told an audience in Nashua, N.H., that he “enjoy[s] firing people,” Johnson cracked to reporters: “That’s not news to me. Mitt Romney fired me and everyone at the plant.”

[…]

Romney maintains his business career generated employment on an impressive scale. “The jobs created at Bain Capital by companies that we helped start or that we helped manage, those companies today employ well over 100,000 more jobs than those that were lost,” Romney told Bloomberg TV on Jan. 7.

Asked for data to back up that claim, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul points to comments the candidate made in Greer, S.C., on Jan. 12: “There are a number of businesses that we helped start which collectively … added well over 100,000 jobs. Staples (SPLS), Bright Horizons children centers, Sports Authority, Steel Dynamics (STLD). Those four alone added well over 100,000 jobs. And then the press has also reported on businesses that lost employment and that was a few thousand jobs that were lost. In each case, where there was job loss, there was an effort on the part of the management team to try and preserve the business to have a brighter future.” To this, Saul adds: “These experiences give Mr. Romney the unique skills and capabilities to do what President Obama has failed to do: focus on job creation and turn around our nation’s faltering economy.”

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Bloomberg Businessweek den 27 februari – 4 mars 2012.

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KONFLIKT | I en intervju i Esquire ger f.d. presidenten Bill Clinton sin syn på Barack Obama, Mitt Romney och de republikanska presidentkandidaterna.

Charles P. Pierce och Mark Warren intervjuade Clinton. Först Clinton om varför det politiska klimatet har blivit alltmer konfrontativt.

One of the real dilemmas we have in our country and around the world is that what works in politics is organization and conflict. That is, drawing the sharp distinctions. But in real life, what works is networks and cooperation. And we need victories in real life, so we’ve got to get back to networks and cooperation, not just conflict. But politics has always been about conflict, and in the coverage of politics, information dissemination tends to be organized around conflict as well. It is extremely personal now, and you see in these primaries that the more people agree with each other on the issues, the more desperate they are to make the clear distinctions necessary to win, so the deeper the knife goes in.

[…]

ESQUIRE: What forces created such a narrow field of Republican contenders for the presidency in this election cycle?

CLINTON: Well, there are all kinds of reasons why someone like Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour or Chris Christie wind up not being candidates. I think governors in general — maybe not some of the new Republican crop that got in trouble quickly, but that generally, the conservative Republican governors tend to be more oriented toward trying to work with Democrats and getting things done. But it’s been building up since the mid-seventies — this rage against the government — and frankly, on at least two occasions they were richly rewarded for the just-say-no thing. They won the Congress in 1994 and 2010 by just being against everything and saying the sky was gonna fall. And since the people didn’t feel better by the time of the election, it worked. One of the reasons people stay with a strategy like that is it works. And then when it seems not to be working, they tend to change.

Of course, public opinion has a lot to do with this. That means people should really take care when they vote, and pay more attention to what people say they’re going to do — instead of just how they feel about how things are going.

With someone like Newt Gingrich, it’s a different kettle of fish. Because as a private citizen he was for certain important health-care reforms and believed in climate change and believed there had to be a strong reaction to it. And now he’s just like Romney. Neither one of them can say what they believe to be true and get nominated. Romney’s still trying to figure out what he did as governor of Massachusetts and still appeal to this driving vituperative energy.

Övrigt: På hemsidan finns en redigerad version av en intervju som gjordes med expresident Clinton den 30 november och 16 december 2011. Hela intervjun var införd i februarinumret (2012) av Esquire. På hemsidan kan man också se gamla tidskriftsomslag från 1933-2011.

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USA | Rick Santorum tog hem Louisiana med 49 procent av rösterna. Mitt Romney fick 27 procent.

Segern ger Rick Santorum det alibi han behöver för att hänga kvar ett tag till i republikanernas presidentvalskampanj.

Han har under senare tid kommit under ökad press att dra sig ur valkampanjen för att göra det möjligt för Romney att koncentrera sig på Barack Obama.

Howard Kurtz, The Daily Beast, skriver:

It was an impressive performance, with Santorum winning every income group except those earning more than $200,000 a year, who went for Romney, according to CNN exit polls. He even won a plurality among those who say the economy is the most important issue, usually a Romney strength, CBS found. Romney won among those who placed the most emphasis on electability in November.

[…]

The outcome adds to the list of states where Romney has performed poorly, despite his frontrunner status, and suggests he was kept off balance by the flap over a top aide comparing his campaign to an Etch a Sketch. (Only 18 percent in a CBS exit poll said the toy story was an important factor in their vote, but it erased Romney’s message for days.)

Bild: Ett urklipp från framsidan av The Times-Picayune den 25 mars 2012. Tidningen publiceras i New Orleans, Louisiana.

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USA | Sheldon Adelson har pumpat in 11 miljoner dollar till en super-PAC som stödjer Newt Gingrich. Och det är bara början.

Tills nu har han undvikit media. Steven Bertoni har dock lyckats få en eftertraktad intervju i senaste Forbes.

I den antyder han bl.a. att han kan tänka sig stödja Mitt Romney eller Rick Santorum om Gingrich inte skulle lyckas bli republikanernas presidentkandidat.

Sheldon Adelson plays as stubbornly in politics as he does in business. So the criticisms that he’s trying to personally buy the presidential election for Newt Gingrich are met with a roll of the eyes. “Those people are either jealous or professional critics,” Adelson tells me during his first interview since he and his wife began funneling $11 million, with another $10 million injection widely expected, into the former speaker’s super PAC, Winning Our Future. “They like to trash other people. It’s unfair that I’ve been treated unfair—but it doesn’t stop me. I might give $10 million or $100 million to Gingrich.”

[…]

So with Gingrich looking increasingly unviable, does that mean he’ll throw his largess behind another candidate? “If Ron Paul is chosen I certainly wouldn’t do that.” […] I know Romney; I like him. I know Santorum; I like him. … The likelihood is that I’m going to be supportive of whoever the candidate is. I just haven’t decided that yet and will wait to see what happens.”

Whomever he supports, Adelson claims he won’t pay for mudslinging. “I don’t believe in negative campaigning. […] “Money is fungible, but you can’t take my money out of the total money you have and use it for negative campaigning.” Of course, that stance ignores the fact that an avalanche of negative ads against Romney won Gingrich South Carolina, and that Adelson’s $5 million injection was the dominant source of his funding. “That’s what everybody says, but that doesn’t mean it’s true,” the billionaire says, waving his hands dismissively. “Most of what’s been written about me in this is untrue.”

Övrigt: Läs Bertonis huvudartikel – ”The billion dollar bet – i Forbes. Se även en intervju med Bertoni med anledning av intervjun med Adelson. Tidskriftsomslaget ovan är Forbes den 12 mars 2012.

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USA | Årets presidentvalskampanj kommer att bli den dyraste, och mest negativa, i modern tid. Anledningen är att det finns mer pengar i omlopp än någonsin.

Och med mer pengar i systemet följer som ett brev på posten att kampanjteamen (och allierade organisationer) kommer att producera än mer politisk reklam för TV och Internet. Mängden reklam med negativ vinkling kommer därmed också att öka totalt sett.

Joe Hagen skriver i tidskriften New York:

In 2008, while Obama ran on the “hope” brand, the Obama campaign spent more money on negative ads than any other campaign in history, much of it under the radar—for instance, a radio ad that ­micro-targeted independent women and claimed McCain was against stem cells for medical research, even though he supported it.

[…]

TV ads are still the keystone of a negative campaign—but now they’re part of an arsenal rather than the whole war. When I visited Romney’s headquarters, Stuart Stevens showed me a research report on the projected impact of TV in the 2012 election that found that less than half of those between the ages of 18 and 44 got their video content primarily from live television. With DVRs and social media blunting TV’s impact, the report says, the campaign should reduce the frequency of TV and push into “engagement-based” advertising and media like Facebook or online videos.

But in recent years, the reaction of these campaign pros to media fragmentation has simply been to run more, not fewer, TV ads to try to break through. Whereas it used to take eight replays of an ad to see movement in polling numbers, they reason, it now requires a dozen or more. In South Carolina, the super-PACs ran ads up to 22 times a day.

[…]

Twitter, barely a factor in 2008, is now the ideal delivery system for oppo, because information can emerge from the margins through a lower-tier agent, often anonymously, and get amplified on much bigger platforms, and quickly.

[…]

That means the new rule for negative campaigning is emerging, the same one that applies to TV advertising in a fragmented cable spectrum: repetition, ad nauseam. “For instance, the flip-flopping angle with Mitt,” explains Rodell Mollineau, president of pro-Obama super-PAC American Bridge 21st Century. “You can be another organization that puts out the fifteenth press release on that, and sometimes you need to just have twelve, thirteen, fourteen of the same thing, knock it into the people’s consciousness.”

[…]

And if a candidate doesn’t go negative, he’s liable to be inundated by his opponent’s attacks—and unable to make a positive case. “A good hit buys you a little bit of room,” says Devorah Adler [Obamas research director 2008], “and that’s really all you need.”

Övrigt: Texten och tidskriftsomslaget med Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich och Barack Obama är från New York den 30 januari 2012.

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