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Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 08:33 AM PST

Allen West not going down easy

by Melquiades

The disgraceful Florida Tea Party congressman lost in a tight race to Democrat Patrick Murphy last night (the race has been called by at least NBC News, not sure about others).

But this morning he released the following statement:

"This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome.  Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance.  There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district.  

Late last night Congressman West maintained a district-wide lead of nearly 2000 votes until the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections "recounted" thousands of early ballots.  Following that "recount" Congressman West trailed by 2,400 votes.   In addition, there were numerous other disturbing irregularities reported at polls across St. Lucie County including the doors to polling places being locked when the polls closed, in direct violation of Florida law, thereby preventing the public from witnessing the procedures used to tabulate results.  The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office clearly ignored proper rules and procedures, and the scene at the Supervisor's office last night could only be described as complete chaos.   Given the hostility and demonstrated incompetence of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections,  we believe it is critical that a full hand recount of the ballots take place in St. Lucie County.   We will continue to fight to ensure every vote is counted properly and fairly,  and accordingly will pursue all legal means necessary."


We could be in for a delay of a week or more on this one, folks.

Please just take you ball and go home, Col. West!  You have a Palin-esque career spewing offensive idiocy on FoxNews ahead of you.  Why delay it?


I feel incredibly confident that Obama will win tonight, just as I felt incredibly confident he would win in 2008.  In both cases, that's because of the incredible analysis of Nate Silver (as well as the other statistics junkies out there who run aggregation sites).

Thinking back to 2004, I remember feeling cautiously optimistic about John Kerry's chances, but in large part that was because I bought the spin that undecideds would break for the challenger.  

I don't remember anything close to the sort of aggregation we see on the Web these days.  I was a steady Daily Kos reader back then but the positive diaries I read were never as data-based as the ones we see today.

So I wonder... if Nate had been dissecting the polls in 2004 the way he does now, would he have shown Bush with a strong chance at victory?  60, 70, even 80% or above?


Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 03:22 PM PDT

New Ohio poll: O 49 - R 44

by Melquiades

From The Mellman Group:

With just over a week until Election Day, our recently completed survey shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney in Ohio by 5 percentage points (49% Obama, 44% Romney). Obama’s lead in the Buckeye State is bolstered by a strong performance among the 23% who say they have already voted. In that segment he garners more than twice as many votes as Romney (63% Obama, 29% Romney).
The poll wrapped up on the 25th, so it's a few days old (hence the early voting number at only 23%), but was just released today.

Strong showing for Obama, and a very bleak outlook for Romney.

Key point:

The pool of undecided voters has shrunk to just 5%, but they dislike Romney (13% favorable, 55% unfavorable) and are warmer toward the president (38% favorable, 37% unfavorable).

Below is a blog entry, distributed to the press, by Jeremy Bird, National Field Director for Obama's reelection campaign.

He lays out the significant advantage President Obama is building during the early voting period in several key states.

Bottom line:

In eight days, we’ll know all the numbers. But what we’re seeing so far is a clear lead and strong momentum for President Obama.
Continue Reading

There was a period, starting right around the Olympics and lasting until the first debate, when every day seemed to present some new example of Romney's complete ineptitude as a presidential candidate.

My favorite stretch was that trip overseas where the London Olympics insult gave way to the anti-Palestinian remarks in Israel only to be capped off by the hilarious "Kiss my ass, this is a holy site" remarks (by a spokesman) in Poland.

We had Andrea Saul claiming that Joe Soptic's wife would have been better off if she'd lived in Massachusetts (remember all the right-wing hand-wringing over that one?) and of course Clint Eastwood and the empty chair bumping Romney's nomination video out of prime time.

Then you had the two big ones -- events I personally feel should disqualify Romney from consideration (though 45% of the country appears to disagree): The 47% tape and the knee-jerk response to the Benghazi attacks.

But after the first debate, Romney seemed to get things in order.  Whether it was a renewed sense of confidence or just the end of a string of bad luck, the unforced errors dried up.  The campaign took on a different feel.

Continued below...

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In an interview with The Huffington Post, former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman calls fellow Mormon Mitt Romney out for his silence on Richard "God's Gift or Rape" Mourdock and his secrecy over his tax plan.  He also defended the Obama administration's response to the attacks in Benghazi.

On Mourdoch:

"[If I were Romney] I simply would have said I'm withdrawing my support... You should always be driven by the right thing to do.  And I think the right thing to do is to drop support and ask for the ads to be removed and to move on."
On the tax pan:
"I would've laid out all of the loopholes and deductions that were part of my tax plan.  I'm not in a position to say mathematically if it adds up or not.  We'll have to leave that to the American people. [But] how do you make the numbers add up in the end if you're not going to specify the loopholes and deductions?"
On Benghazi:
"We do ourselves an enormous disservice, certainly [in] our political discourse, by jumping to conclusions before we have any expert opinion or analysis. Presidential leadership would suggest that these kinds of events do happen.  We have diplomats who wear a different kind of uniform overseas and the work they do is inherently dangerous, and we sometimes don't remember that. We're reminded of that in Libya, but when these things happen as they do from time to time, let's let the experts do the analysis and we'll figure out later what happened."
No wonder Republicans never gave this guy more than 1% of the vote in the primary.  He's far too reasonable.
Continue Reading

Tue Oct 23, 2012 at 11:44 AM PDT

"Take our country back!"

by Melquiades

I'm a little slow... just this morning I realized the true beauty of Obama's 2012 slogan - FORWARD.

It is a direct comment on all of the racist "Take our country back!" cries of the Tea Party crowd.

Rather than accept the Tea Party framing of taking their country "back" from some foreign element that has hijacked it, Obama's campaign has interpreted it as "take our country back[ward]" - back to the failed policies that got us here in the first place.

No, they reply, let's take our country FORWARD!

I love that.  Just wish I'd realized it sooner!


Mitt Romney's performance in last night's foreign policy debate was eerily reminiscent of Barack Obama's performance in the first debate.

Romney seems to have gone into the debate with the same strategy Obama used in his worst performance:

- Stay calm, try to look presidential
- Don't challenge your opponent
- Run out the clock

As poorly as that worked out for Obama, I think Romney fared even worse.

(continued below the swirl)

Continue Reading

Despite all the hand-wringing of the past week and a half (including quite a bit of my own), I remain optimistic about President Obama's prospects for reelection for one major reason.

It appears that the chances of Democrats actually gaining seats in the Senate are now greater than the chances of the Republicans taking over.  And that trend has continued even during this post-debate Romney surge.

I find it hard to believe that an electorate itching to vote for Democratic senate candidates will simultaneously turn its back on our Democratic president.

Put another way: How many Kaine/Romney voters are really out there?

Nate Silver posted a blog entry about the Senate prospects this morning, saying "there is little sign, however, that Mr. Romney’s rebound has translated into races for the Senate."

I believe that's because all of Romney's "gains" are tied to voter enthusiasm after the debate -- positive enthusiasm for Republicans, negative enthusiasm for Democrats.

The debate was the first good news for the Romney campaign in over a month and it was entirely unexpected.  That amped up its news value and made it the equivalent of a pitcher of ice water for a party that had spent weeks in the desert.

On the flip side, Democrats were high on our candidate's success, going to sleep at night with visions of flipping Arizona and Texas, and so the debate felt like a two-by-four to the face.

That dynamic showed up immediately in the polls and is taking a little while to dissipate (particularly given the flood of right-leaning pollsters who were thrilled to join the conversation when they saw a chance to further the narrative).

But polls are snapshots, and the underlying fundamentals remain.  We won the battle for new registrations, we are winning in the early vote, and we have the broader, stronger GOTV operation.

The most important thing right now is that we don't lose sight of those advantages but instead work hard to bolster them.  Victory is ahead... it's just hard to see through all the smoke generated by one nasty bump in the road.

But check out those Senate numbers, and tell me which party you think is winning.  


How will the Senate change?

0%1 votes
1%2 votes
7%8 votes
4%5 votes
16%18 votes
33%37 votes
36%40 votes

| 111 votes | Vote | Results


Obama's taking the gloves off on Medicare:

This ad, titled 'Earned,' will run in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia.

Transcript for those who can't play the video:

I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message.

Victims. Dependent.

That’s what Mitt Romney called forty-seven percent of Americans.  Including people on Medicare.

But what about his plan for you? Romney would replace guaranteed benefits with a voucher system.

Seniors could pay six thousand dollars more a year.

A plan AARP says would undermine Medicare.

You’re no victim... you earned your benefits. Don’t let Mitt Romney take them away.


Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP can't be happy right now.  The post-debate narrative just changed...

From the AP:

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years. The rate fell because more people found work, a trend that could impact the presidential election.
More good news:
The Labor Department says employers added 114,000 jobs in September. The economy also created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than first estimated. Wages rose in September and more people started looking for work.
The jobs number is on the weak side, but the big news here is the drop in unemployment... under 8% for the first time in Obama's presidency, and just in time.  In fact this is a 44-month low in the unemployment rate.

shaso points out in the comments:

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +141,000 to +181,000, and the change for August was revised from +96,000 to +142,000.

Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 07:56 AM PDT

Obama's failure to adjust

by Melquiades

It's pretty clear that Obama went into last night's debate with a very clear strategy.

It was this:

a) Stay above the fray.  If Romney was looking at this as an opportunity to sling zingers and create "moments," Obama would do the opposite.  He'd be calm, professional, presidential.

b) Keep the focus on Romney's tax and Medicare plans, pointing out the lack of specifics and the danger to the middle class.

Obama wanted to come out of the debate winning the personality contest (he's the guy you'd rather hang out with) and solidifying specific parts of the Romney narrative.

He clearly didn't want to solidify other aspects of the Romney narrative -- namely, the 47%, Bain outsourcing and tax returns -- because going there would fight against his first objective, to be the most reasonable and likable person onstage.

Not a horrible strategy, overall, though certainly a very safe one.  This was Obama playing prevent defense.  (But, as football fans like to say, the only thing the prevent defense prevents is winning).

The problem is that a different Romney showed up than the one Obama's team expected, and Obama couldn't (or chose not to) adjust his strategy.

Romney flat out lied about his own plans (and Obama's).  He shifted to the center, even claiming he wouldn't cut taxes on the right.  And Obama let him get away with it, only once feebly calling him out with his "never mind" comment.

To stay with the football metaphor, it's as if Obama fielded a short-yardage defense only to see Romney line up with five wide receivers.  And instead of calling a timeout and changing the personnel, Obama kept trying to stop the run.

I certainly hope Obama and Co. learn from this mistake, and history suggests they will.  I want to see him more aggressive in the next debate (and in the next several days of response to this one).

Call Romney out as a liar.  Call him out as a man who will say whatever anybody wants to hear because he has no core beliefs.  Don't be afraid to fight.  That doesn't diminish your stature, it strengthens it.

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