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Surrogates from the Obama and Romney campaigns join the Sunday talk shows to review the first presidential debate.
Is Gary Johnson Putting Oregon in Play for Romney?
A number of conservative blogs such as Breitbart, Gay Patriot Blog and Michael Barone are speculating that the reason why Obama is running ads heavily in Portland, Oregon is that Gary Johnson may be putting Oregon in play, in large part due to marijuana policy issues. And, indeed, polls in several states, including New Mexico and Colorado, indicate that Johnson is drawing more heavily from votes that might otherwise have gone to President Obama, whereas in other states he draws more heavily from votes that may have otherwise gone to Mitt Romney. As a counterpoint, a commenter on one one of those blogs observes that Obama’s campaign is also advertising heavily in San Francisco (it is highly unlikely that they think Johnson is even remotely likely to put California in play).
The speculation about Oregon has made its way onto the LNC discussion list by way of Dan Wiener. Some readers may find ironic, however, that earlier this year Mr. Wiener’s alternate, Dr. Scott Lieberman, wrote to Richard Burke
Steve Newton writes in response to Bruce Cohen’s statement along those same lines:
Gary Earl Johnson is not doing as well as expected: In fundraising, in appearances and in polling.The way for him to become relevant…To become interesting to the media…And American voters…Is to threaten to take a battleground state away from Obama. Libertarians will be thrilled if he uses Marijuana as a wedge issue. Pot smokers are a large enough voting block to swing it in Oregon.I say to the Gary Johnson campaign, the way for you to do something good for the LP and for America, much less for your own efforts is to go hard against Obama in one or two swing states.How about Oregon and New Mexico for starters?Gary! Do America a favor and take down Obama. Or go down trying.
Pennsylvania Libertarians Claim Enough Valid Signatures
From Dr. Tom Stevens on LP State Chairs List and IPR comments:
20,606 We Win!
Although Judge Colins has not made a final ruling and there are still some motions outstanding and another full day of petition signature reviews scheduled at the Philadelphia Board of Elections for Tuesday, October 9, 2012, at the end of the day on Saturday, October 6, 2012, the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party obtained 20,606 valid signatures (5 more than the 20,601 needed), to place Gary Johnson, Judge Gray and the other statewide candidates endorsed by the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania on the General Election ballot this November.
Paul A. Rossi, Esq., attorney for the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, wrote the following in a private update to key LPPA activists:
?At the close of business today (this evening) the total number of stipulated valid signatures on the Pennsylvania nomination papers for the Libertarian Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates was 20,606 (4 more than needed to place all of your candidates on the Pennsylvania General Election Ballot).?
Dr. Tom Stevens, LPPA State Chair, commented:
?We thought the whole idea of holding an election was to give voters a meaningful choice on Election Day. If the only option people have is to vote for the Democrat or the Republican, I say that is no choice at all! Both major political parties are responsible for our current multi-trillion dollar debt and the out-of-control spending. Even though the Libertarian Party submitted more than enough valid signatures, the Republican Party tried to make us cave by threatening us with potential sanctions, court costs and with paying the fees of the battery of GOP lawyers called in to try to short-circuit the democratic process. With little money and an army of dedicated volunteers, we stood up to the challenge, never once considering capitulation. Now, the voters of Pennsylvania will have a real choice and can vote for candidates who support the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights and who will defend our Civil Liberties and every person?s individual right to life, liberty and property ? without exception.?
Big and Small L Libertarians Contemplating Runs for Mayor of NYC
In what is an off year for elections in most states, New York City, with a population that would put it in the top dozen states if it were its own state, will be holding a Mayoral election next year.
An anonymous source writes me via email:
Kristin Davis, who sought the Libertarian nomination for Governor and ultimately ran as the Anti-Prohibition Party candidate in 2010, may also be seeking the Mayor’s office.
Wikipedia cites the following sources:
The link to Davis’ blog goes to this page:
"Mitt Romney, his friends often say, is a private man in a public world. But with just one month left until the election, he has calculated that to win the presidency he must do what for years he has been loath to: share intimate stories about his life," the Washington Post reports.
"So, as the sun set on his rally here Friday night, the Republican nominee, buoyed by his successful turn on the debate stage, for the first time publicly related emotionally powerful anecdotes. Romney told of ministering to the needy in his Mormon church, including a 14-year-old who was dying of leukemia and summoned 'Brother Romney' to his bedside. He also spoke of an old friend who ended up a quadriplegic after an accident and came to see Romney recently, the day before he died."
New York Times: "An adviser said that Mr. Romney decided on his own that he wanted to tell those stories onstage. But the move was also couched in a broader campaign strategy to encourage Mr. Romney to reveal a more caring, personal side of himself, a counter to his reputation as a data-driven technocrat."
In the wake of President Obama's widely panned performance in his first debate against Mitt Romney, the Washington Post says the stakes for Vice President Biden "are suddenly higher than ever. In the Oct. 11 vice-presidential debate he must not only avoid making any gaffes but also try to puncture his Republican opponent's arguments on taxes, entitlement reform and deficit reduction, something Obama was criticized for failing to do last week."
"The pressure on Ryan has risen as well. Romney greatly exceeded expectations, appearing both presidential and in command of the debate stage. Ryan, who has never before debated at the national level, must prove that he is potential presidential material -- while also defending the numbers that Romney put forth last week, especially on tax cuts."
Mark Halperin: "Is Paul Ryan's goal to win the debate or just not lose it?"
Just out: Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power by Seth Rosenfeld.
A New York Times review calls it an "electrifying examination of a newly declassified treasure trove of documents detailing our government's campaign of surveillance of the Berkeley campus during the '60s. Rosenfeld spent 30 years fighting to compel the government to release more than 300,000 pages of documents about the illegal spying program, an effort the F.B.I. spent almost a million dollars opposing."
Americans Elect Super PAC Spends $700,000 on Ads to Boost Independent U.S. Senate Candidate Angus King
And from comments on that same post:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) put out a new ad hammering challenger Todd Akin (R) on the subject of rape victims.
National Journal reports the is airing statewide. It indirectly cites Akin's comment that women rarely become pregnant in cases of "legitimate rape." The ad's narrator states that "it's not what Todd Akin said. It's what he believes."
Ralph Nader: Rigged Presidential ?Debates? Amidst the Supine Media
By Ralph Nader at Nader.org:
The three upcoming so-called presidential debates (actually parallel interviews) between Obama and Romney show the pathetic mainstream campaign press for what it is ? a mass of dittoheads desperately awaiting gaffes or some visual irregularity by any of the candidates. The press certainly does not demand elementary material from the candidates such as the secret debate contract negotiated by the Obama and Romney campaigns that controls the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), the campaigns? corporate offspring.
A similar secret contract between George W. Bush and John Kerry in 2004, obtained by George Farah, executive director of Open Debates (www.opendebates.org) showed just how the two Parties rig the debate process. Both Parties agreed that they would: (1) not request any additional debates, (2) not appear at any other debate or adversarial forum with any other presidential or vice presidential candidate, and (3) not accept any television or radio air time offers that involve a debate format. Were this deal to be between two corporations, they could be prosecuted for criminal violation of the antitrust laws.
This year voters are not allowed to know about the current backroom fix between Obama and Romney.
Farah revealed more. The Bush/Kerry closeout of the voters and the media extended to their agreeing not to ask each other direct questions but only rhetorical questions, and to clear any questions from the audience by their chosen moderator prior to the debates. Of course third party candidates are excluded. In 2000 and 2004, national polls showed majorities wanting me in the debates ? the only way non-billionaires could reach tens of millions of voters ? but the captive CPD and their compliant director, Janet Brown, created other exclusionary barriers.
Nothing seems to motivate the mainstream campaign press into challenging the two Party duopoly, its definition of important questions, or the rancid corporate sponsorship of the debates down to the hospitality parties the corporatists hold at the debate locations in Colorado, New York and Florida this October. The reporters must like the free wine and food.
Nor did the supine press inform the voters of recent written requests by numerous organizations in the Pittsburgh, District of Columbia and Portland, Oregon regions inviting the presidential candidates to debate in these areas (http://nader.org/2012/09/18/ralph-nader-dc-organizations-call-for-presidential-debate/). Heaven forbid that the people strive to shape the presidential debate process and weaken the duopoly?s grip. Imagine a democratic process.
Substantively, the supine press applies its own rules. Rule One is to avoid pressing questions that extend the public?s agenda beyond what the two major candidates are wrangling over. So if they don?t debate pulling back from unauthorized wars, invasions, incursions or other important foreign policy moves they are not asked. Rule Two is to ignore what major civic groups or groups with credible track records propose for the candidates to address. So Obama and Romney are not pressed by the press to expressly respond to many important issues including: what they would do on law enforcement against corporate crime, fraud and abuse, whether they favor a $10 minimum wage that catches up to 1968, inflation adjusted, for thirty million workers, or on their positions on either a Wall Street speculation tax that can raise big money or even a carbon tax.
Union organizing rights, workers? health and safety, and a variety of important consumer protections are scarcely on the press table even when their own colleagues often report on these timely subjects.
When a matter is super-timely and they can interview the nation?s foremost expert on the politics of presidential debates ? George Farah, author of No Debate ? the major media is not interested. They have rejected his op-eds. Apart from local radio shows, he cannot get on national public radio, public TV or the commercial networks. It is not for lack of space and time being devoted to the Presidential campaigns.
I know Farah. He worked for me over a decade ago, right out of Princeton before going to Harvard Law School. He is an interviewers? dream ?speaks crisply, cogently and convincingly.
Maybe reporters should be given ?curiosity training sessions? about what the public needs and wants to know but that the candidates are not interested in discussing.
Maybe columnists should work with the people on the ground instead of just working off clips and dealing with political flaks who restrict access to the candidates. Some columnists could benefit from a sabbatical for self-renewal.
Maybe editors and producers should expand beyond the usual ?talking heads? and give the many important outside voices and movements some deserved coverage.
Our country needs a better performance by the major media that is stuck in routines, ruts and stagnant self-censorship from the national to the local levels. This is especially true of the concentrated television industry that uses our public airwaves, free of charge.
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