Presidential Election 2012
News Elections October/November 2012

USA Presidential Elections 2012

Logo Team Romney battles in Nevada amid Obama's advantage in numbers, early voting, November 5, 2012

Roughly 48,000 more Democrats than Republicans went to the polls during the state's two-week, early-voting period. And more than 700,000 votes were cast. Those numbers suggest that if total turnout reaches 80 percent, more than 70 percent of the votes have already been cast.

Even as many political observers - including one conservative columnist - say Nevada is leaning Obama, Romney campaign staffers are not conceding. They believe they will win big on Election Day, and they need to.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was in Nevada doing some last minute campaigning for the man who knocked him out of the Republican primary race. One of his stops was a Romney field office in Las Vegas where he rallied the volunteers who were making phone calls and going door to door.

"Our voters historically vote on Election Day," Perry said. "Their voters vote during early periods, so these early votes don't cause me great consternation."

President Obama won Nevada by 12 points in 2008, but it's been a tight race this time. Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation -- 11.8 percent. Median household income has dropped $9,900 since 2008. And Nevada's housing industry was among the hardest hit during the recession, still ranking in the top five in home foreclosure.

But Democrats have a sizeable registration advantage in large part because of organized labor. The powerful Culinary Union Local 226 helped register 70,000 new voters, giving Democrats a 90,000 edge.

Vinnie Giordano, of Las Vegas, voted early for Obama.

"I feel he wasn't given a fair chance, that we're stuck with some of the things Bush did," he said.

Obama has made 10 campaign stops in Nevada this year including one in Las Vegas last Thursday. He has announced his support for programs to help homeowners hit by foreclosure and his desire to help students get low interest loans.

Romney has made eight trips to Nevada since April. Running mate Rep. Paul Ryan will have campaigned in the state five times when he attends a rally in Reno on Monday afternoon.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports the two campaigns have spent a combined $34 million in Nevada, and there's been no let up in political ads. Each campaign is also busy trying to get their voters to the polls Tuesday. Democrats have concentrated on Hispanic neighborhoods in Las Vegas. Republicans sent teams door to door in the surrounding suburban communities of Henderson and Summerland.

One of the Romney volunteers, Dylan Patterson, flew in from California.

"I know he can get in and grow the economy," Patterson said. "I really trust him on that."

Obama, Romney take long campaign journey into final day, November 5, 2012

1105_romneyobamasplit.jpgPresident Obama and Mitt Romney resume their foray into battleground states Monday morning with Election Day now just hours away.

Romney closed the weekend with stops in Pennsylvania and Virginia, battleground states considered critical in the quest for the 270 electoral votes it takes to win the White House.

“I know how to change the course this country is on,” Romney told a crowd in the suburban Philadelphia town of Morrisville. “It’s something I’m going to do as president of the United States. … Two more days and we can get to work on rebuilding our country.”

His comments were similar to those he made earlier in the day, in Des Moines, Iowa, then in Ohio.

Romney is making a late play for votes in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania, with his campaign and allies putting millions of dollars into TV ads there during the race's final weeks.

The state last voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 1988, but Obama and his allies also began advertising heavily in the campaign's final days.

A poll released Sunday in The Pittsburgh Tribune shows the race for state’s 20 electoral votes locked up at 47 percent in the final week.

The president's team called the Pennsylvania move a "Hail Mary" and a sign Romney still doesn't have a clear pathway to reaching the required electoral votes.

Obama on Sunday also had four stops –  jetting from a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was joined by Stevie Wonder, to a final one in Colorado.

The Obama campaign announced late in the day that the president’s final campaign stop would be Monday in Des Moines, Iowa. He also is scheduled to make stops Monday in Wisconsin and Ohio.

Romney is scheduled to be in Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire and Virginia.

The campaign announced the final event -- a "victory rally" -- will now be held Monday night at  the George Mason University Patriot Center to accommodate an "overwhelming demand" to attend the event.

Both candidates laid out their final arguments to win the remaining undecided voters in the battleground states and urged supporters to do everything they could in the final hours of the 2012 race.

They also pledged to be bipartisan in an effort to appeal to Independent voters, who will help decide the race.

“I want all parties to work together,” the president said at a rally in Hollywood, Fla. “We're not Democrats and Republicans first. We're Americans first.  … As long as I’m president, I will work with anybody, of any party, to move this country forward.” 

The candidates are once again tied nationally with two days remaining before Election Day, according to a Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll released Sunday.

Among likely voters, Obama and Romney are deadlocked at 48 percent. And for the first time this year, they are tied among independents voters, at 46 percent each, the poll says.

 “After all we have been through, we can’t give up now. “I’m not ready to give up the fight,” Obama said during his first event Sunday, an outdoor event in Concord, N.H., where he was introduced by former President Bill Clinton and that was attended by more than 14,000 people.

At practically the same time, Romney argued the president had four years to improve the country and warned that another Obama term might result in more economic decline.

“The same course we’ve been on, will not lead to a better destination,” Romney told a crowd of about 4,400 in Des Moines, Iowa. “Unless we change course, we may be looking at another recession." 

Before the candidates hit the trail, their top campaign officials expressed confidence about victory Tuesday and argued about who had the edge in battleground states and in early voting.

“They are in deep trouble,” Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod said on “Fox News Sunday.” “They understand the battleground states where they’ve been working is not working out for them.”

Rich Beeson, Romney’s political director, said the campaign has found success in a final get-out-the-vote effort that reached out to people who are not core Republicans or vote regularly.  

"We've done a much, much better job of getting our low propensity voters out to vote," he told Fox. "And we've got all of our high propensity voters ready to go vote on Election Day."

On the criticism that the campaign has failed to lock down Republican-friendly Florida, Beeson said: “For them to go down and spend more money down there is a little bit like Barack Obama's government right now. They want to throw money at the problem and hope it fixes it, but at the end of the day, Gov. Romney will carry Florida by a significant margin.”

Obama's campaign has also mobilizing a massive get-out-the-vote effort that officials say has registered roughly 1.8 million new voters in battle ground states.

Obama is closing out the campaign with an apparent edge in some key battleground states, including Ohio. But Romney's campaign is projecting momentum and banking on late-breaking voters to propel him to victory in the exceedingly close race.

New Jersey residents displaced by storm will be able to vote by email, November 4, 2012

Superstorm Sandy_Hein (19).jpgNew Jersey will allow residents displaced by the superstorm to vote by email or fax.

Officials announced Saturday that registered voters can vote electronically.

A resident must submit a mail-in ballot application by fax or email to the local county clerk.

When the request is received, a ballot will be emailed or faxed back. Ballots must be returned no later than 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Ballot applications can be downloaded on the state's website.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno says the effort will help alleviate pressure on polling places Tuesday and further ensure a transparent election.

Officials say electronic voting is also an option for first responders working in the aftermath of the storm.

The option is already open to New Jersey voters overseas and in the military.

Last jobs report before election shows economy in 'virtual standstill', November 2, 2012

jobfair_ny_102512.jpgThe final monthly jobs report before Election Day offered a mixed bag of economic evidence that would surely become political putty for the presidential candidates, with the unemployment rate ticking up to 7.9 percent but the economy adding a better-than-expected 171,000 jobs. 

At the same time, the number of unemployed grew by 170,000, roughly the same amount -- to 12.3 million. 

The October numbers allow President Obama to argue the economy is technically growing under his watch. But they also allow Mitt Romney to argue that the new jobs are not making much of a dent in the unemployment problem. Both campaigns quickly set to work putting their spin on data that, if nothing else, underscores the slow pace of the recovery. 

"Today's increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill," Romney said in a statement. "The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work. ... When I'm president, I'm going to make real changes that lead to a real recovery, so that the next four years are better than the last." 

Former Bureau of Labor Statistics chief Keith Hall told Fox Business Network that at this rate, "we're still talking nine or 10 years" before the economy gets back to normal. 

But Alan B. Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said "today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression." 

Both candidates are expected to address the report at campaign stops Friday, four days before the election. 

The numbers stand as the last major economic report before Election Day, capping what has effectively been a two-year campaign focused largely on jobs -- or the lack of jobs. 

The prior September jobs report came as a surprise, showing the unemployment rate dropping to 7.8 percent, dipping below 8 percent for the first time since Obama took office. However, economists on both sides of the aisle questioned the accuracy of the number, and Republicans continued to claim that job growth is not nearly where it needs to be. 

The October report showed the rate ticking up in part because more people were joining the workforce. The report reflected growth across a number of sectors, including health care and retail and construction. Mining, though, lost 9,000 jobs last month. And average hourly earnings dropped by a penny, to $23.58. 

Obama has said all along that there's more work to do, but has argued that electing Romney would turn back the clock on the recovery. 

"We've made real progress these past four years. But, Colorado, we all know our work is not yet done," Obama said at a Colorado rally on Thursday. "As long as there's a single American who wants a job and can't find one, our work is not done." 

Still, the president said shortly after taking office that failing to right the economy in three years would mean a "one-term proposition." 

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a top Romney surrogate, reminded voters that the 7.9 percent rate is far higher than what the administration initially predicted. 

"He promised sweeping reforms that would boost our hurting economy, including a trillion dollar stimulus package that would reduce unemployment to 5.4 percent and policies to reduce the deficit in half by now," he said. 

Romney has called for a new course, and has described the president as out of ideas. On Thursday, he repeatedly mocked Obama for proposing a so-called Department of Business. 

"I just don't think another Cabinet chair is going to create the jobs that America needs," Romney said in Doswell, Va., part of a daylong swing through the battleground state. 

Romney plans to hit rallies in both Wisconsin and Ohio on Friday. Obama will attend three campaign events in Ohio.

Jay-Z, Springsteen to boost Obama last day before election, November 2, 2012

Obama 2012_Angu (15)1.jpgSome big-name celebrities will help President Barack Obama make his closing case to voters in the most competitive states.

Rock singer Bruce Springsteen will perform and introduce Obama on Monday as he kicks off the last day of the campaign in Madison, Wis. The two will then travel together to Columbus, Ohio, for another event with rapper Jay-Z.

First lady Michelle Obama will meet up with the president, Springsteen and Jay-Z later Monday in Des Moines, Iowa, for Obama's last event of the campaign. It's a nod to the state that put Obama on his path to the White House when he won the Iowa caucuses in 2008.

Obama's campaign says he will return home Monday night to Chicago, where Obama will be on Election Day.

Romney resumes campaigning In Florida, November 1, 2012

Mitt RomeyMitt Romney struck a moderate tone Wednesday with only an oblique criticism of his rival President Obama, as both campaigns deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and its impact on the race.

The Republican presidential candidate spent the majority of his speech outlining his five-point plan to rebuild the American economy without tearing down the president's policies, a typical and necessary occurrence during his stump speech.

Sandy's impact has placed the campaign into a suspended state as both candidates figure out when to proceed as normal. With six days left in the campaign, and the president with a slight edge in many swing state polls, Romney must tread lightly in figuring out when voters are ready for partisan rhetoric.

Wednesday morning, he decided, was not the time. In deference to those affected along the Eastern seaboard, Romney began by asking the 2,000 Floridians in the crowd -- used to receiving help after hurricanes - to return the favor in any way possible. 

"We're going through trauma in a major part of the country - the kind of trauma you've experienced here in Florida more than once," Romney said as he referenced large screens explaining how to donate to the Red Cross at the event. "And so please, if you have an extra dollar or two, send them along and keep the people who are harm's -- who have been in harm's way, who've been damaged either personally or through their property, keep them in your thoughts and prayers."

Romney was joined by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Sen. Marco Rubio, who offered their own condolences to those affected by Sandy, and urged their supporters to donate.

However, Romney did draw a contrast between himself and Obama. Without mentioning the president's name during his 20-minute speech, Romney's only attack came when he offered to bring about "real change", a play on Obama's 2008 campaign slogan.

"Now I don't just talk about change; I actually have a plan to execute change and to make it happen," Romney said as the 2,000 person crowd erupted in cheers.

Romney is resuming a full schedule, making three stops in Florida Wednesday, while President Obama toured Sandy's devastation along the coast with New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Christie, a strong Romney supporter, has been emphatic in his praise of the president's job during this crisis.