Tag Archives: Romney

More from Jack and Bob: “Obama Campaign Fails Physics”

Jack and Bob have surfaced at the bar atop the Washington Hotel. Normally, they would lean on the bar, but tonight there is a  storm rolling in from the west, and the sky behind the White House is dark gray. The wind had picked up, and most of the tourists have gone for shelter. So it is quiet and we should be able to eavesdrop from the next table:

 Jack:   “I can’t believe  you predicted Romney’s VP choice three days before he released it. Did you have inside info or were you just kidding around?”

Bob took a sip and frowned.  “I always have inside info. That’s why you’re friends with me, isn’t it?  But didn’t you read what I said? It was obvious.”

Jack:  “Really. Then what happens next? Please predict the final election results.”

Bob: “Funny. Give me a few more days, okay?”

Jack: “What did you think of the VP pick?”

Bob: “Not bad, I’d say.”
Jack: “Not bad? Ten million dollars since the announcement.”

Bob: “That’s what I mean. What did you think? You’re the spin doctor. How was the spin? How did they do?”

Jack:  “As I said in my earlier memo–which, by the way, was spot on–nice of you to mention–It isn’t about the person, you know. That’s not the story.”

Bob: (shrugs, shakes head, refuses to ask, “so what is the story, Jack?”)
Jack: “The Obama campaign failed the physics exam.”
Bob: “Physics?”
Jack: “Yeah. You know, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. VP announcement then  major arms treaty, visit the troops. New Free trade zone. Where’s the news? I read on Monday that a big  chunk of money would go to the drought in the Midwest.  That’s a start. But then, nothing.”

Bob: “Come on. There’s no news this time of year. Dog days of August.”
Jack: “Okay. Pay attention. Even I could figure out roughly when the VP announcement would be. I said it would be Monday or Tuesday. But they were smarter because they jumped it to Saturday. They knew it would reverberate all weekend and possibly take the Obama campaign by surprise.”

As Bob picked up his glass a gust of wind blew his napkin off the table. He made a grab for it and hit the railing: “Was that thunder?”

Jack went on: “But then I thought surely the Obama campaign would be ready for the announcement. They would  flood the week with news and steal the moment. Bury them on Monday and the rest of the week with news, events, creativity.  Take the momentum away from Romney and make news that only an incumbent can make.”

Bob: “No kidding?  When did they do all that? I’ve been out of town.”

Jack: “Exactly. It makes you wonder. Somebody dropped the ball. I wonder if they ‘re hiring Have you heard anything?”

Another gust of wind scattered the bar napkins and swizzle sticks across the floor of the bar. A lightning flash streaked the sky and sheets of rain splattered the edge of the table. Bob drained his glass.

Jack: “I’ll get the check.”

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Filed under 2012 Election, Biden, Spin Doctor, Vice President, White House

Election Predictions–or not– from Jack and Bob!

Since it is August, Jack Abbott has been sailing on the Chesapeake. But after getting a deluge of emails from readers, he agreed to answer a few and arranged to meet his friends, Bob Carson and Evan Brett, at the Old Ebbitt last night. Once again, fictional characters are extremely unreliable and we do not vouch for this information.

Evan: I don’t know if you’ve been following the news, Jack.  But a lot of the questions imply that the direction of the campaign seems pretty clear. So how about a prediction. Who do you think is going to win the election?

Bob: Really? You think you know? If you do, why don’t you stop wasting time on politics and give me some lottery numbers.  By the way, Evan, are you running a tab? Appreciate it.

Jack: Seriously, if you see those good-looking folks on TV making predictions—well, let’s just say, anyone who says they know who will win at this stage in the election is spinning. Not saying there is anything wrong with spinning, of course.
It’s way too early to predict. Too many things still have to unfold before we will have an idea.

Evan: Come on, it can’t be that hard. The conventions, the debates, then the election.

Bob: Evan, are you serious? Is this your first rodeo?

Evan: I’m just asking the questions, Bob. And by the way, these are for Jack.

Bob: Fine with me. I just came for the drinks.

Jack: Well, there are lots of unknowns. We may have an uneventful three months or so. But what about the “October surprise?”  We don’t know if there is something out there, something held back for maximum impact. And if there is a foreign policy crisis, it almost always inures to the sitting president. On the other hand, what if the sitting president is surprised?

Evan: So if you won’t give me a prediction, at least tell me who is in the lead right now. Is Romney ahead or Obama?

Bob:Very funny. Romney has a huge lead with white voters, but lags with women and minorities. He is polling behind in key swing states. But wait–Gallup had them even on July 30. Are any of these polls right? Are they all wrong or are some wrong and others right? Is this the dream where you are in your underwear taking the SAT?

The quality of the polls varies like the quality of Maryland crabcakes. It depends what goes in to them. Sometimes you can read the ingredients and know it’s going to be all wrong. Sometimes it looks okay, but then you can’t always tell the proportions. If you put too many republicans or democrats in there, the crabcake will be off, and so will the poll.

Oh, wait. Was that for Jack, too? What do you think, Jack?

Jack: Good answer, Bob. Evan, do you want another beer?  I know you do, Bob. I’ll get the waiter.

MCL: If you have more questions for these three characters, you could hurry over to the Old Ebbitt to see if they are still there—I doubt it– or you can forward them to me. If you want to know more about these guys, check out Spin Doctor.  And before you leave the site, please take a moment and vote in the VP poll.

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Bob Carson Reluctantly Explains a Few Things about VP Timing

Since I discovered his memo two weeks ago, Jack has been unusually quiet. Fictional characters are extremely unreliable and his motivations are questionable.  He may be working on something for the Obama campaign, since he claims he is neutral. I was able, in his absence, to put a couple of FAQ from readers to his close friend, Bob Carson, who is also entirely fictional. Please pardon Bob’s sarcasm. It’s just the way he is.  This is all I could get from him.

Q. Why doesn’t Romney make up his mind about the VP and just tell us? Everyone wants to know and we are sick of waiting. Can’t he make a decision or what?

A. Stop before you further embarrass yourself. Do you eat the icing on the cake first? Do you eat the pie filling and not the crust? Do you skip dinner altogether and go to the dessert? I was going to ask about foreplay, but let’s stick with food analogies.
Seriously, and I use that word loosely, you have to try to step back and notice what is actually happening here. Although the campaign appears to be slavishly following my memo (see below. I’m not sure they can get Merkel to meet with them but I’m going to make a few calls), I don’t have any actual information. But, did you notice how one day the story was Mitt’s taxes and Bain Capital and the next day, you were wondering if he really was going to choose Condi? Then it was Portman, Pawlenty, Rubio, Jindal, and Ayotte. The main drama and one of the few things they can control right now is the VP choice and timing. Teasing us with the choice is actually a sign they are on the ball.

Q. But that seems so mean to the contenders. Isn’t it unfair to keep them dangling?

A. On the contrary. They are the anointed ones.  The cream of the crop of the nation’s leaders. The moment a choice is made, they will go back to their humdrum lives–but they may never be the same. They will have been elevated to the elite just because they made the list.  Remember, in Washington, the illusion of power and actual power can be hard  to differentiate. Certainly not for amateurs–some who have tried have been blinded.

MCL: Do you have questions for Jack –or Bob– or anyone else in Spin Doctor? I’m not sure his information is reliable, but I will be glad to attempt to get  a civil answer from him. In the meantime, while there is still time, please take a moment and vote in the VP poll. It will help relieve the stress.

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Filed under 2012 Election, campaign tactics, Spin Doctor, Vice President, White House

Romney Campaign Strategy REVEALED by Jack Abbott

Looking at the race with a novelist’s eye has a certain advantage:  I can make things up. I’m going to share something I found in a stack of Jack Abbott’s papers. Jack is the main character and voice of Spin Doctor. Apparently, he just can’t stop spinning. I had no idea he was involved with the Romney campaign, although I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he has been trying to advise the Obama campaign, too. Will they listen to him?  Take a look at his plan:

Game Plan for Victory

Like a horse race, you have been pacing Obama, drawing close in the polls, staying on his heels, and even nosing ahead sometimes. Now you are rounding the far end of the track, preparing for the homestretch, but not quite there. You don’t have to break out, but you have to gather strength. Don’t waste this time and don’t lose momentum. Here’s what you need to do: 

Get Boehner to do something with the House

I don’t have to tell you how much the American people hate Congress. If the House can’t get their act together—get on the same page with you— they are going to drag you down. So get Boehner to hammer the Democrats on key issues over the next few weeks. See if you can draw blood from the Democrats in tight races on these key issues:
Week of July 9th  —  Health care votes

Week of July 16th  —  Defense spending

Week of July 23rd  — Regulatory reform
Week of July 30th —  Tax reform

And please, not just the usual boring talking heads and men screaming at each other on the House floor. We need visuals, some story, and some drama. A dog and pony show. Whatever. Get creative and make it compelling.

Foreign policy cred:  On July 24, head out to the VFW convention in Reno, NV. Friendly audience, perfect venue. Get some visuals with those guys. Advance should be able to put together a lunch or maybe drop by their “health fair” to show your compassionate side and your concern for protecting their benefits. Then, a serious, scathing speech. I don’t care what you say, but figure out a way to look mad and like a statesman at the same time.

Follow that up with a foreign trip. Yes, of course you can drop by the Olympics. Great way to remind everyone how you saved our Olympic ass a few years ago.  I know some of your folks are going to say, ‘Jack are you nuts? Leave the country in the heat of the campaign?’ Trust me, the people you will need in November are turning off the campaign in early August.  

Here’s what I have in mind. Think Michael Deaver. “Morning in America” visuals: Romney shaking hands with heads of state (Please, no bowing). You may be able to dominate the news, mainly because the press will watch you like a great blue heron looking for softshells, hoping you screw up and say something embarrassing. Instead, you will look like a statesman who can go toe to toe with world leaders. Plus we can use the footage for fall spots.

So shake a few hands in London, then pop over to Israel, hang out with Bibi, Shimon Peres, opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) and some Palestinian officials. Have a meeting, a conference on Mideast policy or whatever. Maybe even a fundraiser, to show the depth of your support.Then, if you can get a meeting with Merkel, the only grownup left on the continent, go to Germany. After that, on to— as Rumsfeld would say— New Europe. Specifically, Poland—so you can figuratively moon Putin out of the back window of the plane.

Come back home for more debate prep, to get ready for the convention and the VP announcement. Once you get past the convention, you won’t have much time to cram.  And it isn’t like Obama is going to change his positions or tactics before the debates. Work on your likability.  

I know you have dogs, but consider adopting kittens. Remember, we know you are a nice guy, but a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ll work up something separately on likability.

Naming the VP—timing is everything!
Wait until after the end of the Olympics, August 12th. There will be nothing but dead air in the space between the Olympics and the convention. No news—unless you make some.  So, announce the VP on August 13th or 14th. This will give Rubio two weeks to prepare for the speech of 

his lifetime at the convention.Okay, I’m not going to beat you up over this again. You already know he has led in the NovelPolitics blog’s poll. Of course, I don’t know if you found something on him. And there are a lot of great choices. But, just think of the visuals of Rubio debating Biden. If you want to pick someone else, I can’t stop you. Regardless, you will dominate the news cycle for at least three or four days. Maybe the full two weeks. It’s all about planning—as long as Egypt doesn’t decide to dismantle the pyramids, or Iran doesn’t misbehave. Not to give them any ideas.  
That takes you up to the convention. After that, how about another bus trip? Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio?  I’ll get that part to you in a few weeks.
On reading this, I have to apologize. I don’t think Jack came up with this plan at all. It looks like he pulled it out of various news stories and blogs, and it is the actual plan of the Romney campaign.

Unless. . .

No, that’s just not possible. . .  is it?

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Now What? Who will win the SPIN? Vote in my Poll!

Okay, the ruling is out. I’m not going to regurgitate it here. What do you think about the spin? Will it be the best thing to happen to reinvigorate the Obama campaign or a  Pyrrhic  victory? Will it propel Romney with more angry money? What do you think?

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The Health Care Cliff: Obama at the Edge

When we look back on the 2012 campaign, will the turning point be the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare?

Not only the decision of course, but how the candidates react to it—how will they spin it? The Obama campaign has not exactly been deft in handling touchy matters so far. And the Romney campaign is still untested.
Supreme Court police are said to be ready. Justice Ginsberg predicts it will be contentious. The decision will spring soon–in the next few days.

Most of the impact of the health care law will take effect in the distant future. But efforts to assuage the electorate do not seem to have worked so far.

The most recent Rasmussen has 52% in favor of repeal.

77% of those with health insurance now consider it good or excellent.

“Seventy-six percent think they should have the right to choose between expensive insurance plans with low deductibles and low-cost plans with higher deductibles. A similar majority believes everyone should be allowed to choose between expensive plans that cover just about every imaginable medical procedure and lower-cost plans that cover a smaller number of procedures. All such choices would be banned under the current health care law.”

And there is this one:  “65% angry at government policies.” A bit vague, but ominous.

For the Obama campaign, whatever the outcome, they had better bring the A game, because the polls are opposed to the decision.

An outright win for the Obama administration will set up repeal of the law as the defining domestic issue in the campaign: Repeal vs the imprimatur of the Court’s blessing. How will the Obama campaign try to do what they have been unable to do for the past two plus years?  Surely they have a major media blitz, unlike anything we have seen from them so far. Andy Griffith with guns blazing. Betty White exuding reassurance and calm. Pitches from other popular media personalities. Will it work?

A partial or complete loss for the Obama administration will be more difficult: Opponents will crow that their hand is called. They overreached. The professor didn’t understand what would be allowed under the Constitution, etc.

Proponents of the health law will be quick to brand the justices the “Bush Court” and dismiss their views as partisan.

But the Obama campaign will  have  to convince already hostile or indifferent voters that the remnants will need to be protected from the savages in Congress.

The Romney campaign has a much easier game plan. Win, lose or partial loss, they can be for repeal. The law can continue to be the economic bogeyman. Fear of the law’s impact on our future health is easier to imagine than fear of the status quo—our current system.
Regardless of the decision and your health care views, watch the spin. The best spinners are going to win in November.

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A Word about Polls

Or, why do I retweet Rasmussen so much…

Polls are the lifeblood of democratic (small d) politics. It’s how we keep score.

Interim drama.Short for who is winning?

But different polls often give conflicting results.

If you check out RealClearPolitics.com today, you will find a poll to support your fondest hopes for the November election. Unfortunately, you may also find a poll to reinforce your worst fears.

Here is a timely example:

Gallup June 13 tracking poll Obama 46% Romney 45%.

But wait! There’s a Rasmussen poll, same date, that has Romney up by 4 points, 48-44%.

Which one is right?

I seldom admit this, but I don’t actually know. No one does.
But here is what I think, and briefly, why I tend to follow Rasmussen


First look at the sample.

Gallup polls registered voters. This means, for example, that if you are eighteen you go to get a driver’s license, you check the voter registration box, you show up on the voter registration rolls and you might get called.
But will you actually vote?

On the other hand, Rasmussen polls “likely voters.” Generally, these are registered voters who voted last time. In the last few elections, Rasmussen has been pretty accurate, and this is a big part of his secret sauce. It is more expensive and complicated to poll this more select group.

Many, perhaps most,  of the surveys you see poll registered voters. Some poll “adults” regardless of whether the adult can actually vote.

So what does it mean? Gallup polls most likely include a lot of folks who won’t bother to vote. So they may like Obama better than Romney, but not enough to leave work early, or figure out how to get an absentee ballot or whatever it takes.


I also notice that the Gallup poll was done over  seven days. Rasmussen –three days.

So as events/gaffes take place, Rasmussen will be more likely to reflect them. “The private sector is fine” took place on Friday. The impact would have been felt over the next three days. Did this contribute to Romney’s bump? Possibly. On the other hand, Gallup may feel that using a rolling average shows the trend and smoothes out the little blips and gaffes. But do we really care about week old voter intentions?

If you were alive in 1980, you may remember the seismic change in polls in the last few days of the election. Alas, I am not old enough to remember “Dewey Defeats Truman” but something similar happened.


Perhaps, but not that much when we are talking about samples. Unless the sample is especially small, all the correct statistical analysis would have taken place to calculate the margin of error. So unless the sample size is a few hundred, I don’t worry about it.


No. All polls are interesting. There are many other factors to consider also, too deep in the weeds for this blog.

But read the fine print. Some may be misleading, outdated or wrong.

As for NovelPolitics polls, they are the most select, of course. They represent the views of a relatively small sample of highly informed, motivated and intelligent electorate.

So if you haven’t already, please check them out and vote.

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Filed under 2012 Election, White House

Timing is Everything

The tension is building….

How will the Romney campaign handle the pacing in this story?

We are waiting for him to pick a VP. So come on, make up your mind, right?

Not right. Timing is everything. It isn’t just about who he chooses, but how they play the announcement. And the lead up to the announcement. And the leaks.  Can they keep control of the news story?Let’s face it, the Republican Convention is going to be scripted. There are some unknowns, such as

–        The VP choice

–        Whether Santorum, Gingrich and Paul get to speak—and if they do, will they be given a time slot opposite Ellen or Jimmy Fallon, i.e. too early or too late?

–        Will they say something nasty/memorable/gracious?

More about the convention in a later post. The drama at hand is the VP choice.How will they try to maximize the impact of the decision? What’s the best way to do it?
Obviously, keep it under wraps until just before the convention.
Wait a sec–This is May. How are we going to wait until the end of August?
The campaign spin doctors will tease us with speculation about various choices. Maybe even some trial balloons. As the short listers are interviewed, scrutinized, Romney will get a better idea of how they will handle pressure and the limelight.

So enjoy the highly evolved coquetry of the candidates as they bat their political eyelashes while denying any real chance of being chosen. And strain to look like they are having the time of their lives.

Along the way, we may have a plot twist. Between now and the convention, some bad genie may escape the bottle. A problematic press report that just won’t go away. If that happens, they might reach into their quiver of arrows and pull out the big one. To get the focus on something positive, they could trot out the new VP. They will say they planned all along to do it that way. Of course.

Or, the media bloodhounds will smoke out the truth earlier than planned. If they find a smoking gun connection, an unexplained meeting with the candidate, a candidate who “disappears” from even their own staff for a number of hours (as Palin did in ’08),–then what will the Romney campaign do?

Will they handle it?or fumble?

So much tension… What will happen next?

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Introducing a New Character, the Running Mate

In keeping with our theme, this drama is due to get a new character. Over the next several weeks, the pressure will build to choose a running mate. Behind the scenes, what is going on?

Duh. Background checks. Almost everyone under consideration has run for office, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an embarrassing secret. Or are married to one. Or did business with one.  Finding something juicy might make a good story line, but would not be helpful for the race– of course.

Romney knows that the mere consideration of someone elevates them–gives them national status. And the grateful pol will be obliged to work a little harder in their respective state for Romney’s election, even if they aren’t picked.

So what  will Romney consider? What state could they help with? Ohio, Florida? Are they good in a debate? What expertise can they bring if they were elected?time, Romney knows that the mere consideration of someone elevates them–gives them national status. And the grateful pol will be obliged to work a little harder in their respective state for Romney’s election, even if they aren’t picked.

And more questions/drama:

Will they leak some names to see if anything embarrassing surfaces before the names are released?

Will they release an official list?

When will they reveal the choice? At the convention? Before?

But for now, let’s confine ourselves to the big question:

Who do you think Romney should pick?


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