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August 30, 2012

Romney's image improving as he prepares to accept nomination

Mitt Romney's image is getting better.

Last year, according to the Pew Research Center, "the one word that came to mind most frequently when people were asked to describe Romney was Mormon."

This spring, after a string of primaries and caucuses, Romney ws mentioned as rich and no more often than ot her words.

"But while Romney’s wealth remains a defining feature, today it is joined by the words honest and businessman, two descriptions that were offered by relatively few as recently as March," Pew said Thursday.

Romney, nominated Tuesday as the Republicans' 2012 presidential candidate, is to address the party's convention Thursday night.

The latest Pew-Washington Post survey was conducted Aug. 23-26 of 1,010 adults nationwide.

"While people are using different terms to describe Romney, the words remain on balance more negative than positive," it found, though Romney "elicits far more positive reactions from Republicans now than in the spring, but both Democrats and independents continue to say more negative than positive things about him."

To read the full report: http://www.people-press.org/2012/08/29/romney-in-a-word-honest-businessman-rich/.

August 29, 2012

Ryan plans to talk of a new generation, differences with Democrats

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan plans to present himself later Wednesday as a leader of a new generation, ready to campaign as a candidate very different from those nominated by Democrats.

"You are entitled to the clearest possible choice because the time for choosing is drawing near.  So here is our pledge. We will not duck the tough issues – we will lead.  We will not spend four years blaming others – we will take responsibility," he says in remarks prepared for delivery. Ryan is expected to speak around 10:30 P.M.

"We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles. The work ahead will be hard.  These times demand the best of us – all of us, but we can do this.  Together, we can do this."

He also plans to look ahead. "I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old – and I know that we are ready," the 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman is to say.

"Our nominee is sure ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment – to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words.  After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney."

Obama to college students: Republicans don't want you to vote

President Barack Obama Wednesday accused Republicans of wanting to depress the vote among young voters -- a key Obama constitutency.

Campaigning for a final time before challenger Mitt Romney goes before a national audience at his convention Obama told a mostly college-age crowd in Charlottesville, Va., not to let the negativity of the campaigns turn them off.

"There are some folks getting sick of politics, sometimes campaigns seem meaner and smaller," he said, adding that Republicans are trying to tell college students that they were "naive" in 2008 when they believed "all that hope and change stuff.

"What they're hoping, even if you don't vote for them….they do hope you get so discouraged that you just stay home," he said. "That's what they're banking on."

The visit was the last of a two-day college trip Obama took as the Republican National Convention began. He'll be off the campaign trail Thursday as Romney takes the stage in Tampa, but he won't be grounded for long: just before he took the stage in Charlottesville, his campaign sent notice that he’ll campaign Saturday in Des Moines.

Continue reading "Obama to college students: Republicans don't want you to vote" »

RNC might be drawing viewers, but not Obama

President Obama suggested the Republican National Convention would be a "pretty entertaining show," but Press Secretary Jay Carney says he didn't watch the event as it kicked off Tuesday night.

"I was with him and afterward he was working on his briefing books and reading a lot of material, watching sports, but not watching the convention," Carney said. "He had other things to do."

Ryan: Idiot or intelligent? Depends....

No surprise here: Americans are sharply divided in their view of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., who's tonight's featured speaker at the Republican National Convention.

A new Pew Research Center-Washington Post survey found 37 percent describing Ryan with positive terms, with such words as intelligent, energetic, good, honest and smart.

But 35 percent of the words mentioned are negative, like  extreme, idiot, phony and scary. 28 percent of words mentioned were more neutral, like unknown, young and conservative.

"Not surprisingly, most Republicans offer positive words in describing Ryan, while most Democrats volunteer negative words," a poll analysis said. "And a few themes stand out. References to his intelligence are common, with more positive assessments (such as intelligentsmartsharp) than negative (idiotstupid). There are also frequent references to Ryan’s honesty, both positive (honest, integrity, dedicated) and negative (phony, fake, liar).."

To read the full report:  http://www.people-press.org/2012/08/29/paul-ryan-in-a-word-conservative-intelligent/

August 28, 2012

Obama camp on campaigning during RNC and Isaac: "Can't cede a day"

President Obama kicked off a two-day tour of college campuses Tuesday, his campaign downplaying questions about the propriety of campaigning during his opponent’s convention – and with a storm bearing down on the Gulf Coast.

White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed a question of whether the optics of campaigning during a storm were bad, saying "the president is president every day" and noting that he’d be getting briefings on the status of the storm and the federal response throughout the trip.

Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted that the Republican National Convention was proceeding – though it had delayed proceedings a day when it appeared Tampa could be in its path.

"It is important for him to be out there, less than 70 days from the election, making the case for why he’s a better choice for the American people," Psaki said.

Psaki said there was "ample precedent" for presidents and vice presidents to campaign during the other party’s convention. She said Obama campaigned during the 2008 Republican convention, as did John Kerry in 2004.

“There are less than 70 days until the election,” she said. “We know it’s going to be close, and we can't cede a day or time with voters, or time in important states, or time making the argument to our opponents."

Continue reading "Obama camp on campaigning during RNC and Isaac: "Can't cede a day"" »

President Obama on Isaac: Listen to local officials, no time to tempt fate

President Obama cast himself as the emergency management director in chief today, warning those in the path of Tropical Storm Isaac to heed the words of their local officials.

"We're dealing with a big storm and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area," he said in brief remarks from the White House. "Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously."

Obama, like all politicians, is keenly aware of the political lesson imparted by former president George W. Bush, whose languid response to Hurricane Katrina damaged his presidency. Obama noted in his remarks that at his direction, emergency crews have been preparing for Isaac for more than a week.

Obama took no questions after the brief remarks. He departs later today for what his campaign is billing as a two-day college tour with events in the college towns of Ames, Iowa, Fort Collins, Colo. and Charlottesville, Va.

Black caucus members blast ex-Rep. Artur Davis ahead of RNC speech

Fourteen members of the Congressional Black Caucus didn't wait to hear former Rep. Artur Davis's speech to the Republican convention Tuesday to blast the African-American Democrat-turned-Republican from Alabama.

The 14 lawmakers sent a letter to Davis Tuesday charging him with distorting President Barack Obama's record and dismissing his Republican convention speech as an act of bitterness for losing Alabama's Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2010.

"We are writing to express our disdain over several recent comments you have made about the important issues facing voters in November, your total distortion of President Barack Obama's record, and your complete flip-flop on certain core principles you once held dear," the letter states. "Given the magnitude of your recent transformation, we can only conclude that, rather than a true conversion, your actions are a result of a nakedly personal political calculation of simmering anguish for failing to secure the Democratic nomination for governor of the State of Alabama in 2010."

The CBC members who signed the letter include CBC Chair Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, D-S.C., and  Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a civil rights icon.

Davis, a four-term member of the House of Representatives, was a rising star in the Democratic Party. He was a speaker at the 2008 Democratic convention and seconded Obama's nomination.  His star began fading in 2009 when he was the only CBC member who voted against the health care law. Some black caucus members and several members of Alabama's black political establishment thought Davis's  vote was a move to better position himself with conservative white voters in his 2010 bid to become Alabama's first black governor.

Davis alientated some of Albamba's black political leaders by not courting their support. He  maintained he was seeking the support of all Alabamans regardless of race. He lost the Democratic primary by 26 points.

Since his defeat, Davis, who was a fiscal conservative in the House, has taken a sharper turn to the right. During the summer he announced that switched party affiliations and became a Republican. He supports laws requiring photo identification for people to register and vote. In a op/ed piece in an Alabama newspaper, Davis said voter fraud is rampant in Alabama, though he offered no evidence. He moved from Alabama to Northern Virginia and is considering running for the House.  

Survey finds more interest in GOP platform than Romney speech

A new poll says Americans are more interested in what's in the Republican party platform than in the speeches by Mitt Romney or running mate Paul Ryan.

About half -- 52 percent -- of respondents are is interested in the platform, while 44 percent are interested in Romney’s acceptance speech and about the same percentage -- 46 percent -- in Ryan's convention speech.

The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, conducted Aug. 23-26, among 1,010 adults nationwide, found overall interest in the Republican convention comparable to the past two GOP conventions. More than four-in-ten said they are very or fairly interested, compared with 48 percent on the eve of the 2008 GOP convention, and 46 percent in 2004.

Continue reading "Survey finds more interest in GOP platform than Romney speech " »

August 27, 2012

Boehner talks of economy, Ryan, platform

House Speaker John Boehner met with reporters Monday, trying hard to remind everyone that the economy matters most.

He was asked about the convention, and whether 4 day conventions were a thing of the past. Republicans postponed major business scheduled for Monday because Tropical Storm Isaac threatened the region.

"Four day conventions for the future make a lot of sense," Boehner, R-Ohio,said.

He defended the party's positions on women's issues, saying, "there never was a war on women,'' and women, like men, care most about the economy.

He had praised for vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, recalling how Ryan worked for him 22 years ago when Ryan was a college student and worked in the campaign.

But Boehner's message, over and over, was that the convention and the election are about the economy. Don't even worry about what's in the platform, he said.

"Have you ever met anybody who's read the party platform?" Boehner asked. "I haven't meet anybody."

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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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