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October 31, 2012

No man hug, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie says he and Obama have a "great working relationship"

President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shook hands and patted each other on the back -- "no man hug" -- as Obama left the storm-ravaged state Wednesday. But Christie embraced Obama, nevertheless, saying they'd spoken 6 times since the weekend and that Obama had "sprung into action immediately."

Obama, Christie said, "has worked incredibly closely with me since before the storm hit...and it's been a great working relationship to make sure that we're doing the jobs that people elected us to do.

"I cannot thank the President enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state," Christie said.

The pair toured storm damage by helicopter and talked with storm refugees at a community center in Brigantine where Obama praised Christie for "working overtime" to get the state back up and running. 

"The main message I wanted to send is the entire country has been watching what's been happening," Obama said. "Everybody knows how hard Jersey's been hit." 

Christie thanked Obama for the trip, saying it was "really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that's going on here in New Jersey and I appreciate it very much.

"We're going to work together to make sure we get ourselves through this crisis and get everything back to normal," Christie said. "Thank you for coming, sir." 

New Jersey's not considered a swing state and residents on the storm-battered island said they were grateful for the presidential attention: "He's not just talking, he's here doing something," said Tucker Smith, a 70-year-old retired NYC firefighter.

Obama releases radio ad featuring Colin Powell

President Obama was taken by surprise when former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed him last week in an interview with CBS News.

This week, the president has released a radio ad highlighting Powell's support.

The ad will air in Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado.

"I think this is an exciting race between two very, very capable men, and I signed on for a long patrol with President Obama, and I don’t think this is the time to make such a sudden change," he said.


Obama heads back out on the campaign trail

After several days devoted to Hurricane Sandy response, President Obama will hit the campaign trail again Thursday.

Obama will head to Green Bay, Las Vegas and Boulder.

Although the president and vice president had taken some time off the trail, other surrogates continued campaigning on their behalf, including Bill Clinton. The former president is in Wisconsin today.

White House message of the day: We're on it

With the president poised to leave the White House at noon to tour storm-damaged areas of New Jersey, a White House official tells reporters the first-responder-in-chief continued overnight to get updates from his team on the recovery efforts.

The update included efforts by state and local officials and private utility companies to restore power, the official said. Obama will get another briefing this morning "on the impacts and the extensive federal support being provided to support state and local recovery efforts." Echoing the president's reelection slogan, "Forward," the official says Obama "continues to direct his team to lean forward aggressively."

The storm poses both risk and opportunity for Obama, who has suspended campaigning in the last week of his final campaign to focus on recovery effforts.

Quinnipiac: Virginia, Florida too close to call, Obama up 5 in Ohio

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are locked in too-close-to-call races in the key states of Virginia and Florida, a new Quinnipiac poll showed Wednesday.

Obama is up by 1 in Florida, 48-47, but that's down from his 9 percentage point lead a month ago. Florida has 29 electoral votes, and 270 are needed to win.

The president's lead also narrowed in Virginia, where he now leads by 2. That's down from 5 earlier this month.

One bit of good news for Obama: He's maintained his 5 percentage point lead in Ohio, which many analysts think could be the key to victory.

The polls were conducted Oct. 23 to 28.

October 30, 2012

Gallup sees turnout lower this year than in '04 and '08

Gallup sees potentially lower turnout Tuesday than in 2004 and 2008.

The polling organization uses a model to assess likelihood of voting. Among its findings: In its daily tracking polls from Oct. 15-28, Gallup found 85 percent saying they are giving a lot or some thought to the election this year, down from 87 percent in 2008 and 90 percent in 2004.

Here's some analysis from Gallup's Jeffrey Jones:

"U.S. voters have not been quite as engaged in the 2012 election as in the two that preceded it, even before Sandy. However, their stated voting intentions and reported thought given to the election suggest turnout would likely not revert to the lower levels of 1996 and 2000. If turnout does come in lower this year -- that is, it looks more like 1996 and 2000 and less like 1992, 2004, and 2008 -- that may be another effect of Sandy in addition to flooding and widespread power outages."

To read the entire analysis: http://www.gallup.com/poll/158435/voter-turnout-likely-fall-short-2004-2008.aspx

President Obama to tour storm damage in New Jersey

President Obama will join New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday to tour storm damage in the state.

The White House says the two will talk with residents recovering from the storm, as well as thank first responders "who put their lives at risk to protect their communities."

The visit comes as Christie -- a onetime potential Obama 2012 rival -- has had nothing but good things to say about Obama's handling of the storm. Christie earlier today bristled at Fox host Steve Doocy when he asked Christie if Romney, whom Christie endorsed, would be touring New Jersey damage.

"I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested," Christie said. "I've got a job to do here in New Jersey that's much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I've got 2.4 million people out of power. I've got devastation on the shore. I've got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don't know me."

Romney camp memo says Pennsylvania's in play

Mitt Romney's campaign is claiming Pennsylvania is within their reach, a contention hotly disputed by the Obama forces.

Tuesday, Romney political director Rich Beeson wrote a memo detailing the Republican's prospects:

"Pennsylvania presents a unique opportunity for the Romney campaign.  Over the past few years we have seen Pennsylvania voting for a Republican senator and a Republican governor, and Republicans win control of the State House in addition to the State Senate.

"The western part of the Keystone State has become more conservative (and President Obama’s war on coal is very unpopular there), and Mitt Romney is more competitive in the voter-rich Philadelphia suburbs than any Republican nominee since 1988. This makes Pennsylvania a natural next step as we expand the playing field."

To read the entire memo:http://www.mittromney.com/blog/memo-pennsylvania

Days before elections, both campaigns headed to...Minnesota?

Both presidential campaigns are rallying supporters in the final days of the election in Minnesota, a state thought to be firmly for the Demorat but could be more competitive.

Former President Bill Clinton and Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan will campaign in Minnesota today.

Obama’s campaign has dismissed talk that Minnesota is tightening, but several polls show it is close.A Star Tribune poll released this weekend showed the president's lead a mere three percent, within the margin of error.

Continue reading "Days before elections, both campaigns headed to...Minnesota?" »

Obama to stay in DC through Wednesday

From the White House: "The President will remain in Washington, DC on Wednesday to monitor the response to Hurricane Sandy and ensure that all available federal resources continue to be provided to support ongoing state and local recovery efforts. 

"As a result, the President will not participate in the campaign events that had been scheduled in Ohio tomorrow."


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

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