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Posts tagged ‘Republican Party’

Leadership Ratings Help Obama; 50 Percent Approval, Not So Much.

Barack Obama has maintained a sizable advantage over Mitt Romney in trust to handle a major crisis and regained his lead in being seen as the stronger leader, wielding the benefits of incumbency to stay competitive, economic discontent aside, in the razor-close 2012 election.

Obama also has managed essentially an even split with Romney in views of which candidate has better ideas on the size and role of government – another case, as with the economy, on which Romney has been unable to capitalize fully on a vulnerability of the president’s.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

Romney’s held his ground nonetheless, notably with record levels of support within the Republican Party and broad backing in some of its key constituencies, and in the final weekend of the race the contest remains deadlocked, with 49 percent support for Obama among likely voters, 48 percent for Romney in the latest ABC News/Washington Post daily tracking poll.

There’s no clear evidence that Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy has directly helped him; while he holds a 10-point lead over Romney in trust to handle a major crisis, 52-42 percent, that’s the same as it was earlier this fall, long before the storm struck.

Tune in to on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for livestreaming coverage of Election 2012. Our Election Day show kicks off at noon, and the Election Night event begins at 7 p.m.

Still, Obama has improved in a related gauge: This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that he now leads Romney by 6 percentage points among likely voters, 50-44 percent, in being seen as the stronger leader. That re-establishes an edge for Obama that Romney had reeled in to a nonsignificant 2 points after the first presidential debate.

A third result further underscores the difficulties Romney’s experienced in achieving a clear breakthrough. Earlier ABC/Post polling found a broad sense that Obama favors a larger government, while Romney is seen as favoring a smaller one; the latter is a view most likely voters profess to share. Yet asked in this poll who has better ideas about the right size and role of government, it’s a 48-45 percent split, Romney-Obama – not a significant difference, despite Romney’s built-in opportunity.

The economy is another such issue, indeed the key one. Romney opened a 9-point lead in trust to handle the economy the week before last, but his momentum didn’t hold; it’s a nonsignificant 3 points, 49-46 percent, now. And in economic empathy – better understanding the economic problems of average Americans – Obama holds a 6-point lead, again having recovered from a tighter division 10 days ago.

Certainly Obama faces difficulties of his own. His overall job approval rating is steady at 50 percent – passable enough to run competitively, but a good indication of why the contest is so close. There’s a strong correlation to vote preferences: Among likely voters who approve of Obama’s job performance, 93 percent back him for re-election; among disapprovers, 93 percent favor Romney. As a referendum on the incumbent, it’s a squeaker.

That brings it down to turnout (in an election in which 27 percent of likely voters say in fact they’ve already voted) and there Obama has a potential advantage. He holds a 7-point lead over Romney in the share of his supporters who say they’re very enthusiastic about their choice – 69 percent of Obama’s backers, 62 percent of Romney’s. That’s Obama’s biggest lead in strong support, numerically, since just after the conventions.

GROUPS – Romney, as noted, is remarkably strong in his base, with 97 percent support among Republicans; if it holds that would be an in-party high for any candidate in exit polls back to 1976. Obama has 91 percent of Democrats, losing more of them to Romney (7 percent) than Romney’s losses among Republicans (3 percent to Obama). Independents split essentially evenly, but Obama’s support among independents, 46 percent, matches his high.

Romney has 82 percent support among evangelical white Protestants, surpassing John McCain’s total in this group four years ago; their turnout this year is one potentially important element of the race. Among whites overall, it’s Romney by 57-39 percent; that compares to 55-43 percent for McCain vs. Obama four years ago.

The reason Obama won in 2008, while losing whites by 12 points, was his 80-18 percent support among nonwhites, a record 26 percent of the electorate four years ago. He has a similar margin now, 76-21 percent, including 96 percent support among blacks and 66 percent among Hispanics.

Among the many groups worth watching in a race this close, another is white women with college degrees. They back Obama by a 9-point margin in the latest data, while all other whites – less-educated white women, and white men regardless of their education – favor Romney by 60-35 percent. That difference contributes to the gender gap overall – Obama +7 among women, Romney +6 among men, a division, among the many, that keeps the popular vote estimate where it’s been: for all intents and purposes, a tie.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2012, among a random national sample of 2,069 likely voters, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 2.5 points, including design effect. (Question 12j and 13f-g were asked Nov. 1-Nov. 3 among 1,748 likely voters; those results have a 3-point error margin.) The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

Partisan divisions, Democrats-Republicans-independents, are 33-29-34 percent among likely voters; they were 39-32-29 percent in the 2008 exit poll.


By Gary Langer | ABC OTUS News

Obama Silent As His Supporters Promise ‘Riots In The Streets’ If Romney Wins

Obama supporters vow to riot in the streets if he loses to Romney

““Voting is the best revenge.” – Barack Obama 11.03.12

RELATED STORY: Obama’ Supporters Renew Vow To Murder Mitt Romney

A few weeks ago, Twitchy reported on Twitter users threatening to riot if President Obama loses to GOP rival Mitt Romney. With four days to go until Election Day, we decided this is a topic worth revisiting.  The results of our Twitter searches are not pretty, here are a sampling:

Those are just a few of the riot threats posted today (Friday November 2nd). It is reasonable to assume that hundreds more were posted prior to today — all of them ignored by a complacent, biased mainstream media.Interestingly, the threats made today were posted exclusively by supporters of President Obama.
We weren’t able to find even one Republican threatening to riot if Mitt Romney loses.
Granted, most of these riot threats were probably made in jest, but a few may be serious. People who do not respect property rights and have little regard for the rules governing civil society have been known to riot over matters of less importance than a presidential election.

Our advice: Be prepared. source – Twitchy.

by NTEB News Desk

Obama, Romney in search of independent voters.


MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — President Barack Obama won a majority of independent voters in 2008 with visions of a post-partisan administration poised to break the logjam in Washington. Four years later, the gridlock remains and the hunt forindependents is on.

With a week before Election Day, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are locked in a razor-thin race nationally and competing for a rapidly diminishing number of unaligned, independent voters, who could comprise 30 percent or more of the electorate in a series of battleground states.

Romney has pursued independents with a message of economic growth and fiscal restraint, warning that Obama’s policies have driven up the federal debt. Obama says the nation needs balance in reducing budget deficits while maintaining spending priorities.

Both sides say independents could be crucial.


By KEN THOMAS | Associated Press

Will America’s Real ‘Third Party’ Please Wake Up?.


According to the latest polls, only 1 percent of voters will cast their ballot for a third party candidate, which means that all the talk of a protest vote against the two main parties will amount to little or nothing. Yet there is already a viable third party in America. It simply needs to awaken to its calling.

Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of this “third party” as well—although not in those terms—saying that it “must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”

King was speaking of a group of multiplied millions of Americans whose ultimate “citizenship is in heaven” (to use the expression of Paul in the New Testament), a people who are called to go against the grain and challenge the status quo, to be champions of justice and compassion, to lead the way in societal change.

He was (and I am) speaking about followers of Jesus who take their faith seriously and live it out holistically, those who make up the Church from a biblical standpoint (as opposed to Christians in name only). It is this entity that King believed “must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.”

For the most part, though, we have fallen short of this lofty calling (and I say “we” because I count myself among this company of Jesus People, for better or worse), becoming pawns of the political system more than pioneers of political reform, puppets more than prophets.

Rather than us changing the society (note: I did not say taking over the society), society has changed us. The things that would have outraged our grandparents now entertain us, and for a supposedly “heavenly-minded” people, we are as bogged down in materialistic hedonism as almost anybody else. Even among evangelical Christians, recent surveys indicate that 80 percent of our young people are having sex out of wedlock while our divorce rates mirror those of the secular world.

How can we be “the conscience of the state” when we have lost our own conscience? How can we call ourselves pro-family and pro-life with so much immorality (including addiction to pornography), no-fault divorce, and even abortion in our ranks?

What’s interesting is that many skeptics, scoffers, atheists, and agnostics—those who are rolling their eyes as they read this article—actually affirm what I am writing, albeit in a backhanded way.

What I mean is that it is often those who mock our faith who are the first to call us hypocrites, recognizing that if we really believed what we preached, we would be living differently. In fact, society as a whole actually expects us to live differently, and the average American still expects Christians to help the poor, live wholesome lives, and transcend partisan politics.

Of course, there are some Christians who, as the old saying goes, are “too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good,” but that is actually a violation of the teachings of Jesus. (Judaism is less prone to fall into that trap, and we do well to remember that Jesus was Jewish teacher not a member of the Christian clergy.)

A more balanced perspective is this: Because we understand that what happens in this world has eternal implications for good or for bad, we recognize the importance of life in this world and are on the front lines of bringing about positive change while at the same time resisting societal decay. This is part of what Jesus meant when He told His followers that they (we!) are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Would anyone deny that Jesus, who talked much about heaven and hell and the world to come, constantly emphasized the importance of caring for the needy in this world along with reaching out to the marginalized?

Practically speaking, because our first allegiance is to God we will serve our nation as the best possible citizens, and because our greatest affiliation is to proven, biblical values, we will identify with those values first and with a political party second.

Yet all too often, white evangelicals have given themselves to the Republican Party and black evangelicals to the Democratic Party, even when those parties have failed us. It’s time we step higher.

Yes, I will vote on Nov. 6th, primarily backing Republican candidates, and I see voting as both a responsibility and a privilege. But, as I have written several times before, I am not putting my trust in the White House or Congress or the Supreme Court to change America. I am looking to the committed followers of Jesus to be the primary agents of change, the ultimate counter-culture, counter-establishment party.

Simply stated, if tens of millions of American Christians truly followed the teachings and example of Jesus, there would be a groundswell of compassionate and constructive care for the poor, there would be wholesale educational reform, the multiplication of strong families, a new esteem for the importance of every life, beginning in the womb, the reduction of our prison population and even the revamping of our prison system, along with economic growth and a massive increase in philanthropy, among other things.

So, yes, I’m voting on Nov. 6th, but more than that, I’m looking for the third party to arise.



Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience.

Des Moines Register backs Mitt Romney.


Romney in Pensacola, Fla (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

LAND O’LAKES, Fla.—Mitt Romney won a major newspaper endorsement on Saturday, as the Des Moines Register‘s editorial board formally backed the GOP candidate’s bid for the presidency.

It was the first time in 40 years the influential battleground state paper endorsed a Republican in the general election, dating back to its support of Richard Nixon in the 1972 election. The Register previously backed Romney in the 2012 GOP primary.

In an editorial published on the newspaper’s website Saturday night, the Register called both Romney and President Barack Obama “superbly qualified,” citing their service in government and the fact they are both “devoted husbands and fathers.”

But according to the paper, it determined Romney was better positioned to “forge the compromises in Congress” necessary to turn the economy around, create jobs and get the federal budget back on track.

“Romney has made rebuilding the economy his No. 1 campaign priority–and rightly so,” the Register’s editorial read.

At the same time, the paper noted Obama’s “best efforts to resuscitate the stumbling economy have fallen short.”

“Nothing indicates it would change with a second term in the White House,” the paper said. “Barack Obama rocketed to the presidency from relative obscurity with a theme of hope and change. A different reality has marked his presidency. His record on the economy the past four years does not suggest he would lead in the direction the nation must go in the next four years.”

The Register noted that Romney is likely to face the same kind of political opposition that has challenged Obama’s first term agenda. But the paper expressed hope that Romney might be able to forge the same kind of alliances that helped him govern as a Republican in Massachusetts.

“Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation’s fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America–with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed,” the paper wrote.

It’s unclear how the Register’s support will influence the race in Iowa, where polls have found Romney and Obama in a statistical dead heat. Romney scheduled to campaign in the state Monday. He spent two days in the state earlier this week.

By  | The Ticket

Obama comes out swinging after debate – in swing states.


MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (Reuters) – President Barack Obama hit rival Mitt Romney hard on women’s issues as he headed back on the campaign trail on Wednesday after a spirited debate performance that re-energized his bid for a second term.

A day after a much-improved performance in the second of three presidential debates, a revitalized Obama continued sparring with his Republican opponent, making fun of Romney’s comment that he had received “binders full of women” to consider for cabinet positions when he was governor of Massachusetts.

“I’ve got to tell you, we don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented driven young women ready to learn and teach in (science, technology and engineering) right now. And when young women graduate, they should get equal pay for equal work,” Obama, relaxed and smiling in shirt sleeves and a loosened tie, told 2,000 people at Cornell College in Iowa.

With 20 days to go until the election, Obama campaigned in Iowa and Ohio while Romney was in Virginia – all important “swing states” that can go to either candidate on November 6.

In Chesapeake, Virginia, Romney said Obama has failed to help women get well-paying jobs and also accused the president of failing to produce a second-term agenda.

“Don’t you think it’s time for them to finally put together a vision for what he’d do in the next four years if he were re-elected?” Romney asked about 3,500 supporters outside a community college.

Romney scored points of his own during Tuesday night’s debate when he focused on middle class economic struggles and listed promises he said Obama failed to keep from his 2008 campaign.

Both sides claimed victory, but most polls gave a badly needed edge to Obama, who saw his lead in polls contract sharply after a lackluster performance in the first debate October 3.

Voters said Obama outperformed Romney by a substantial margin on Tuesday night, according to a post-debate Reuters/Ipsos survey: 48 percent to 33 percent.

“This will give the president a bit of a bounce and a little bit of an edge, but it’s going to be quite close right down to the wire,” Notre Dame University political science professor Michael Desch said.

The final presidential debate is scheduled for Monday in Boca Raton, Florida.


Obama leads Romney by 47 percent to 44 percent among likely voters, according to Wednesday’s Reuters/Ipsos daily online tracking poll. His 3-point lead was unchanged from Tuesday, with most of the interviews done before the latest debate.

A Rasmussen Reports tracking poll of 11 swing states had Obama leading Romney by 50 percent to 47 percent on Wednesday.

Obama needs strong support from women voters if he hopes to beat the Republican, and he made sure to appeal to them during the debate by bringing up contraceptive rights and his push to ensure pay equity.

Analysts said Obama did particularly well on women’s issues, boosted by Romney’s awkward “binders” statement, which lit up social media. The mock Twitter account @RomneyBinders amassed more than 33,000 followers, and a Facebook page “Binders Full of Women” attracted more than 303,000 “likes.”

Romney, a former private equity adviser, hit back by contending his business experience will help women, and all Americans, by bolstering the sputtering economy.

His campaign also released new television advertisements directed at women.

One outlines Romney’s stance on abortion and contraception, which is more moderate than that of many Republicans. In the ad, a woman directly faces the camera and talks about Romney’s support for contraception as well as abortion in cases of rape, incest or a threat to a mother’s life.

A second, called “Humanity,” features women who worked for Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts talking about his sensitivity to women employees.

Analysts also said Romney bungled on foreign policy when he mischaracterized – and was corrected by the debate monitor – Obama’s initial remarks on last month’s deadly attacks on diplomatic facilities in Libya.

Obama took advantage of the moment to accuse Romney of politicizing the deaths of four Americans.

Polls show the economy is an area in which voters view the two candidates similarly, or give the Republican an edge. But Obama has been helped recently by some positive economic news.

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department said groundbreaking on new homes surged in September to its fastest pace in more than four years, a sign the sector’s budding recovery is gaining traction and supporting the wider economic recovery.

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Chesapeake, Virginia and Jeff Mason, Alina Selyukh, Andy Sullivan, Debbie Charles, Susan Heavey and Patricia Zengerle in Washington; writing by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Marilyn W. Thompson and Doina Chiacu)


By Mark Felsenthal | Reuters

Obama and Romney: Where they stand on the issues.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at where Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney stand on a selection of issues, in brief:


Obama: Supports access to abortion. Health care law requires contraceptives to be available for free for women enrolled in workplace health plans.

Romney: Opposes access to abortion. Previously supported that. Says state law should guide abortion rights, and Roe v. Wade should be reversed by a future Supreme Court ruling. Said he would end federal aid to Planned Parenthood.



Obama: Promises to cut projected deficits by $4 trillion over 10 years, a goal that will requireCongress to raise the capital gains tax, boost taxes on households earning over $250,000 a year, impose a minimum 30 percent tax on incomes above $1 million, and more. First-term pledge to cut deficit he inherited by half will fall well-short.

Romney: Promises to cut $500 billion per year from the federal budget by 2016 to bring spending below 20 percent of the U.S. economy and to balance it by 2020, but vital specifics are lacking. At same time would increase military spending, reverse $716 billion in Medicare cuts and cut taxes. Favors constitutional balanced budget amendment.



Obama: Term marked by high unemployment, a deep recession that began in previous administration and officially ended within six months and gradual recovery with persistently high jobless rates of over 8 percent, until the rate dropped to 7.8 in September, the same as it was in February 2009, Obama’s first full month in office. Businesses have added jobs for more than two years straight while public sector jobs have lagged. Responded to recession with a roughly $800 billion stimulus plan, expanded auto industry bailout begun under George W. Bush, inherited and carried forward Wall Street bailout.

Romney: Lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budget, more trade deals to spur growth. Replace jobless benefits with unemployment savings accounts. Proposes replacing certain provisions of the law toughening financial-industry regulations after the meltdown in that sector. Proposes changing the law tightening accounting corporate regulations to ease requirements for mid-sized companies.



Obama: Has approved waivers freeing states from the most onerous requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law. “Race to the Top” competition has rewarded winning states with billions of dollars for pursuing education policies Obama supports. Won approval from Congress for a $10,000 college tax credit over four years and increases in Pell grants and other financial aid.


Romney: Supported the federal accountability standards of No Child Left Behind law. Has said the student testing, charter-school incentives and teacher evaluation standards of Obama’s “Race to the Top” competition “make sense” although the federal government should have less control of education. Says increases in federal student aid encourage tuition to go up, too. Wants to see private lenders return to the federal student loan program.



Obama: Ordered temporary moratorium on deep-water drilling after the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but U.S. produced more oil in 2010 than it has since 2003 and all forms of energy production have increased under Obama. Achieved historic increases in fuel economy standards that will save money at the pump while raising the cost of new vehicles. Achieved first-ever regulations on heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming and on toxic mercury pollution from power plants. Spent heavily on green energy and has embraced nuclear power as a clean source. Failed to persuade a Democratic Congress to pass limits he promised on carbon emissions. Set goal of cutting oil imports by half by 2020.

Romney: Pledges U.S. will become independent of energy sources outside of North America by 2020, through more aggressive exploitation of domestic oil, gas, coal and other resources and quick approval of Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. Supports opening Atlantic and Pacific outer continental shelves to drilling, as well as Western lands, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore Alaska. Says green power has yet to become viable and causes of climate change are unproved.



Obama: Opposes near-term military strike on Iran but holds that option open if it proves the only way to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Declined to repeat the Libya air power commitment for Syrian opposition, instead seeks international pressure against Syrian government. Chastised Israel for continuing to build housing settlements in disputed areas and pressed both sides to begin a new round of peace talks based on land borders established after 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict. Signed law to expand military and civilian cooperation with Israel. Sought penalties against China for unfair trade but opposes branding China a currency manipulator.

Romney: Appears to present a clearer U.S. military threat to Iran and has spoken in more permissive terms about Israel’s right to act against Iran’s nuclear facilities, without explicitly approving of such a step. Would identify those in Syrian opposition who share U.S. values, then work with U.S. allies to “ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat” Syrian government. But has not proposed direct U.S. arms supplies to rebels. Associates himself more closely with hardline Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pledges more military assistance to Israel. Branded Russia the “No. 1 geopolitical foe” of the U.S. and threatened to label China a currency manipulator in a move that could lead to broad trade sanctions.



Obama: Supports legal recognition of same-sex marriage, a matter decided by states. Opposed that recognition in 2008 presidential campaign and in 2004 Senate campaign, while supporting the extension of legal rights and benefits to same-sex couples in civil unions. Achieved repeal of the military ban on openly gay members. Has not achieved repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages and affirms the right of states to refuse to recognize such marriages. Administration has ceased defending the law in court but it remains on the books.

Romney: Opposes legal recognition of same-sex marriage and says it should be banned with a constitutional amendment, not left to states. “Marriage is not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state.” Also opposes civil unions “if they are identical to marriage other than by name,” but says states should be left to decide what rights and benefits should be allowed under those unions. Says certain domestic partnership benefits — largely unspecified — as well as hospital visitation rights are appropriate but “others are not.” Says he would not seek to restore the ban on openly gay military members.



Obama: Has not pushed for stricter gun laws as president. Signed laws letting people carry concealed weapons in national parks and in checked bags on Amtrak trains. Favors “robust steps, within existing law” to address gun issues, White House says. Voices support for renewed ban on assault-type weapons but has not tried to get that done. Previously backed stronger gun controls.

Romney: Opposes stricter gun control laws. Suggested after the Colorado theater shooting that he favors tougher enforcement of existing gun laws. As Massachusetts governor, vowed in 2002 to protect the state’s “tough gun laws,” and in 2004 signed a Massachusetts ban on assault weapons.



Obama: Achieved landmark overhaul putting U.S. on path to universal coverage now that Supreme Court has upheld the law’s mandate for almost everyone to obtain insurance. Under the law, insurers will be banned from denying coverage to people with pre-existing illness, tax credits will subsidize premiums, people without work-based insurance will have access to new markets, small business gets help for offering insurance and Medicaid will expand.

Romney: Promises to work for repeal of the law modeled largely after his universal health care achievement in Massachusetts because he says states, not Washington, should drive policy on the uninsured. Says he would protect people with pre-existing conditions, though his plan only does so for those who maintain continuous coverage, not a major change from federal protections in effect before Obama’s health care overhaul. Would expand individual tax-advantaged medical savings accounts and let savings be used for insurance premiums as well as personal medical costs.



Obama: Issued directive in June that immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children be exempted from deportation and granted work permits if they apply. Took the temporary step after failing to deliver on promised immigration overhaul, with the defeat of legislation that would have created a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants enrolled in college or enlisted in the armed forces. Says he is still committed to it. Government has deported a record number of illegal immigrants under Obama.

Romney: Favors U.S.-Mexico border fence, opposes education benefits to illegal immigrants. Opposes offering legal status to illegal immigrants who attend college, but would do so for those who serve in the armed forces. Would establish a national immigration-status verification system for employers and punish them if they hire noncitizens who do not prove their authorized status. Would end visa caps for spouses and minor children of legal immigrants. Would honor work permits for immigrants who benefit from Obama’s new policy and promises to put a comprehensive immigration plan into place before those permits expire.



Obama: His health care law improves coverage for beneficiaries with high prescription costs and removes co-pays for a set of preventive benefits. It also cuts Medicare spending for hospitals and other providers by more than $700 billion over a decade. Those cuts are being used to provide health insurance to more working-age Americans, and the government also counts them as extending the life of the program’s giant trust fund. But he hasn’t ruled out increasing costs for middle-class and upper-income Medicare recipients or raising the eligibility age to 67 from 65.

Romney: Introduce “generous” but undetermined subsidies to help future retirees buy private insurance or join a government plan modeled on traditional Medicare. Gradually increase eligibility age to 67. Repealing Obama’s health care law would roll back improved benefits for seniors unless Congress acts to protect them. It also would reverse Obama’s Medicare cuts to hospitals and other providers, which could hasten insolvency of Medicare’s trust fund.



Obama: Has not proposed a comprehensive plan to address Social Security’s long-term financial problems. In 2011, proposed a new measure of inflation that would reduce annual increases in Social Security benefits. The proposal would reduce the long-term financing shortfall by about 25 percent, according to the Social Security actuaries.

Romney: Protect the status quo for people 55 and over but, for the next generation of retirees, raise the retirement age for full benefits by one or two years and reduce inflation increases in benefits for wealthier recipients.



Obama: Wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and ensure they pay 30 percent of their income at minimum. Supports extending Bush-era tax cuts for everyone making under $200,000, or $250,000 for couples. But in 2010, agreed to a two-year extension of the lower rates for all. Wants to let the top two tax rates go back up 3 to 4 percentage points to 39.6 percent and 36 percent, and raise rates on capital gains and dividends for the wealthy. Health care law provides for tax on highest-value health insurance plans. Together with Congress, built a first-term record of significant tax cuts, some temporary.

Romney: Keep Bush-era tax cuts for all incomes and drop all tax rates further, by 20 percent, bringing the top rate, for example, down to 28 percent from 35 percent and the lowest rate to 8 percent instead of 10 percent. Curtail deductions, credits and exemptions for the wealthiest. End Alternative Minimum Tax for individuals, eliminate capital gains tax for families making below $200,000 and cut corporate tax to 25 percent from 35 percent. Does not specify which tax breaks or programs he would curtail to help cover costs.



Obama: Approved the raid that found and killed Osama bin Laden, set policy that U.S. would no longer use harsh interrogation techniques, a practice that had essentially ended late in George W. Bush’s presidency. Largely carried forward Bush’s key anti-terrorism policies, including detention of suspects at Guantanamo Bay despite promise to close the prison. Expanded use of unmanned drone strikes against terrorist targets in Pakistan and Yemen.

Romney: No constitutional rights for foreign terrorism suspects. In 2007, refused to rule out use of waterboarding to interrogate terrorist suspects. In 2011, his campaign said he does not consider waterboarding to be torture.



Obama: Ended the Iraq war, increased U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan then began drawing down the force with a plan to have all out by the end of 2014. Approved U.S. air power in NATO-led campaign that helped Libyan opposition topple government. Major cuts coming in the size of the Army and Marine Corps as part of agreement with congressional Republicans to cut military spending over a decade.

Romney: Proposes increase in military spending. Endorses 2014 end to U.S. combat in Afghanistan, subject to conditions at the time. Would increase strength of armed forces, including number of troops and warships, adding almost $100 billion to the Pentagon budget in 2016. In addition, criticized congressional Republicans for negotiating a deficit-cutting deal with the White House that will mean automatic and massive cuts in Pentagon spending next year if federal budget deal is not reached in time.


Associated Press writers Ben Feller, Matt Apuzzo, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Stephen Ohlemacher, Alan Fram, Dina Cappiello, Ken Thomas, Jim Kuhnhenn and Christopher S. Rugaber contributed to this report.


By CALVIN WOODWARD | Associated Press

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson open to running for president again in 2016.

Gary Johnson (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson would run for president again in four years if he’s not elected in November, the candidate announced during a town hall meeting Tuesday night.

“As long as I’m relevant, I will continue this through 2016,” Johnson said during the meeting, which was simulcast live online.

A former two-term governor of New Mexico, Johnson initially sought the Republican nomination for president in 2011, but he switched to the Libertarian Party in May after struggling to gain traction in state and national polls. Through the Libertarian Party, Johnson’s name will be included on ballots in 47 states on Election Day, and a CNN/ORC poll in early September suggested that he could take as much as 3 percent of the vote.

Johnson has been excluded from the upcoming debates and last month filed an antitrust lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates to gain access. The effort failed, but Johnson plans to answer questions online during Wednesday night’s debate between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, much like he did when he wasn’t invited to most of the Republican primary debates last year.

During the town hall Tuesday, Johnson joked about people who say that a vote for anyone other than Obama or Romney was a “waste.”

“Waste your vote!” he told the crowd. “Vote for me.”

By  | The Ticket

Obama leads Romney among NASCAR fans: Poll.

President Obama poses with NASCAR driver Tony Stewart at the White House, April 17, 2012. (Getty)

Mitt Romney‘s recent slide in several polls, including those in the battleground states of Ohio, Virginia and Florida, is troubling enough for the GOP. But, now the Republican nominee appears to be trailing President Barack Obama among a traditionally conservative constituency: NASCAR fans.

Obama leads Romney 49 to 42 percent among NASCAR enthusiasts, according to a new Zogby poll by JZ Analytics.

As the liberal blog pointed out, Romney was booed at the Daytona 500 in February during a campaign trip ahead of Super Tuesday.

[Also read: Romney says his campaign doesn’t need a ‘turnaround’]

Per the New York Times:

The crowd initially booed Mr. Romney, who occasionally struck a discordant note, as when he approached a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos. “I like those fancy raincoats you bought,” he said. “Really sprung for the big bucks.” And when asked if he was a fan of the sport, he mentioned that “I have some great friends who are Nascar team owners.”

NASCAR fans, though, have been known to boo politicians. Last fall, first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden‘s wife, were booed when they served as grand marshals at a race in Miami.

The online poll of 860 likely voters conducted on Sept. 21 and 22 also found that Obama leads Romney 54 to 40 percent among military families.

Among Catholics, the president’s edge—46 to 44 percent—is within the poll’s 3.4 percent margin of error. But among voters who “never attend a place of worship,” Obama’s lead over Romney is 63 to 26 percent.

[Related: New poll shows Obama leads Romney in swing states]

Among voters who identified themselves as “social networkers,” Obama is ahead of Romney 55 to 33 percent.

Overall, the president leads the GOP challenger 49 to 41 percent, according to the poll. Obama has a head start of 14 points among independents (46 to 32 percent), 33 points among moderates (60 to 27 percent), 36 points among 18- to 29-year-olds (65 to 29 percent), and 42 points among Hispanics (68 to 26 percent).

Of the 103 likely voters who identified themselves as African-American, 96 said they would vote for Obama—with none indicating they would back Romney.

There are a few voting blocs that favor Romney, according to the poll. Among born-again Christians, Romney leads Obama 48 to 40 percent. The former Massachusetts governor held the same lead among rural voters. Among voters who shop at Wal-Mart weekly, Romney is ahead of Obama 46 to 42 percent. And among those sympathetic to the tea party, Romney holds a 75 to 17 percent edge.

By  | The Ticket

Mitt Romney lowers debate expectations.

With just over a week to go before he faces President Obama in their first debate, Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney lowered expectations a hair, noting it is his first time in a presidential debate and his opponent is an “eloquent, gifted speaker.”

“The president is obviously a very eloquent, gifted speaker – he’ll do just fine,” Romney told Fox News in an interview from Dayton, Ohio. “I’ve, you know, I’ve never been in a presidential debate like this and it will be a new experience.”

Romney said the American people will make “their assessment as to who’s the better speaker,” but he believes that regardless they’ll be drawn to his plan for the nation.

“People will make a choice,” Romney said. “I think I have, if you will, the facts on my side. I think the American people will be drawn more to the vision I have for the future of the country, but time will tell.”

The first of three presidential debates is Oct. 3 at the University of Denver.


By Sunlen Miller | ABC OTUS News

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