Earlier today, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing to consider whether President Obama's pick to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., should be advanced to the Senate for a confirmation vote.
At that hearing, Gen. Dunford informed the committee:
"My assessment today is that Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security"
Which is sort of awkward, because while running for re-election in 2012, Obama mocked Romney for saying precisely the same thing -- flatly joking that "the 1980s are calling, and they want their foreign policy back."
Earlier today, I wrote a lengthy critique pointing out the inconvenient fact that PolitiFact's Lie of the Year -- "The Romney campaign's ad on Jeeps made in China" -- turns out to be true. It involves a lot of complicated back and forth, so I encouage you to read that post if you're not familiar with what's going on. But the thrust of the matter is that the Romney campaign ran an ad saying that Jeep, the recipient of a taxpayer bailout, was going to start producing cars in China.
Last month, PolitiFact selected its "Lie of the Year." Given PolitiFact's dubious record of singling out Republicans for lying far more often than Democrats, you probably could have guessed the winner of this particular sweepstakes was a Mitt Romney campaign ad:
The Romney campaign seems to have committed to a late push into Pennsylvania, to the derision of Team Obama. The latter sees this as a desperation ploy by a foundering campaign, similar to John McCain’s late entrance into the Keystone State in 2008. Is that right?
When I started making election predictions eight years ago, I had a very different perspective than I do today. I knew relatively little about the history of presidential elections or the geography of American politics. I had a good background in political science and statistics. So, unsurprisingly in retrospect, I focused on drawing confidence intervals from poll averages.
For the small school of political analysis that draws its inspiration from the great French 17th-century philosopher René Descartes, the cardinal methodological rule is to begin from what one can know “so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all ground of doubt.” The only important fact about the election contest today that meets this stringent threshold is that someone named either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will be declared president, most likely on November 7.
The New York Times reports today that the "the Obama campaign and Democratic groups have run commercials relating to abortion about 30,000 times since July 2 — about 10 percent of their ads — including one that falsely claimed Mr. Romney’s opposition to abortion extended to cases of rape and incest."
Almost 25 minutes into last Wednesday night’s presidential debate, it was already clear Mitt Romney was doing better than expected, and that Barack Obama was a bit flat. But it wasn’t yet obvious at the end of the debate’s first segment that the debate would produce a decisive winner.
When Mitt Romney stepped on stage at the first presidential debate in Denver on October 3, he had been losing to President Obama on the issue of taxes for two solid months. The Obama campaign bombarded Romney with TV ads claiming he would raise taxes on middle-class families by $2,000 in order to pay for his tax cut for the rich.
The Time cover story last week was headlined “The Mormon Identity.” The cover, featuring Mitt Romney in a stained-glass window, said in smaller type, “What Mitt Romney’s faith tells us about his vision and values.” Newsweek had President Obama on the cover, identifying him as “The Democrats’ Reagan” and heralding the story inside as “What Obama Will Achieve in His Second Term.”
Now, last night, this may have actually been the real Mitt Romney, because he ruled out raising a dime on taxes on anyone ever, no matter how much money they make; ruled out closing those loopholes that are giving $4 billion of corporate welfare to the oil companies; refused to even acknowledge the loophole that gives tax breaks to corporations that move jobs overseas.
October in an election year tends to be a bad month for incumbents seeking reelection. Going back fifty years, we have six decent comparisons to this cycle – 1956, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1996, and 2004. On average, the late September margin in the Gallup poll of registered voters closed by six to seven points in favor of the challenger. Only in the year 1956 did the incumbent expand his lead.
(I’ve excluded 1964 and 1976 because LBJ and Ford were not incumbents in the typical meaning of the word, and 1992 because Ross Perot’s jumping in and out of the race skewed the data.)