Tag Archives: Running Mate

Predictions on the VP Debate: Bob and Jack are Back

Jack pushed open the door of the bar and squinted into the dark until he saw Bob.  “Why aren’t you at the Old Ebbitt? I’ve been to half the bars in town looking for you. Are you coming over to Evan’s tonight to watch the debate?”

Bob watched him approach. “The debate? What about the game?”

“We have that covered. Two TVs. Side by side.”

ow.ly/epoEE

“Can I have the remotes?”

“No. And, Evan said not negotiable.”

Bob nodded thoughtfully.”I guess we know who will win anyway, since it’s all in Spin Doctor.”

Jack dragged a bar stool into position and sat next to Bob. “By the way, I have to hand it to you. You nailed it. Watching with the sound off may be one of your best ideas yet.”

Bob shrugged. “You seem surprised.”

“I thought you were just looking for an excuse to hang out in a bar.”

“Right. Like I need an excuse.”

“Okay, smart guy. What about the VP debate?”

“You tell me. You’re the Spin Doctor, after all.”

“I think we go with the sound off again”  Jack waved at the bartender and ordered a Bass Aie.

Bob nodded. “But not because of the visuals. It is possible that listening to this debate, without proper medication, could induce drowsiness.”

“So you don’t think Biden will implode?”

Bob shook his head. “Biden is over rated as an entertainment. He knows how to woo an audience, that’s all. Sometimes he gets caught by another audience that thought he loved them more.”

“What are you talking about? He’s married.”

“Funny. Ha ha. You know what I mean. He can talk to the Economic Club of Chicago and the Brotherhood of Baggage Handlers  and they both will think he’s their guy. Then, they see the news and find out he has a multiple personality disorder.”

“Exactly. And it will be great!”

The bartender slid the bottle of beer in front of Jack, no glass, and another drink in front of Bob.

Bob went on:“No. Think. Tonight the audience is everybody. Tonight he will be buttoned down and buttoned up. No gaffes, no shooting from the lip. Just get out of the debate alive with no headlines. He can’t move the needle so–just don’t blow it.”

Jack blinked at him. “No. I don’t think so. He has absolutely nothing to lose tonight. He’ll swing for the fences. Hold up Big Bird’s lifeless body.  He is going to go for the jugular, be the defender of the President. Even if he goes over the line, he’s not going to lose votes. But, he might energize the base. Right now, the air is coming out of the base. Turnout will be everything.”

“So what are you saying? You have too many metaphors. I can’t follow.”

“Abortion. The women have fled the ticket. This is no time for sweet talk. Immigration, another base issue. And then, a blend of economics aimed at black voters.”

Bob’s pinkish eyes  widened. “The race card?”

“Not saying they will play it. But they might accidentally drop it on the table then quickly pick it up.”

Bob stirred the ice cubes in his glass with the bar straw.

“What do you think?”

“Does Evan have any Glen Fiddich or should I bring my own?”

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Filed under 2012 Election, campaign tactics, Spin Doctor

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

Secret White House Meetings? Has Anybody Seen Joe?

Seems like a good time to reprise a post from a few weeks ago, which has apparently aged like fine wine:
You may have heard the rumors over the past few weeks—the suggestions that Obama might replace Biden on the ticket, perhaps with Hillary Clinton. The recent gay marriage announcement seemed to put more distance between the President and Biden. Just before, the NYT ran a lengthy piece about Sunday night strategy sessions in the Obama campaign, sans Biden. Ominous signs for Biden.

If the President were 75 years old with a heart condition, the choice of Vice President would certainly be more of a consideration. Since Obama is relatively young and apparently healthy does anyone really care who his Vice President is?

The old pols will tell you that the choice of Vice President is seldom a consideration for most voters. Voters react to the choice for President.

Yes, but what if the election is really close?

And, if Obama’s slide in the polls continues, changing VPs could be a Hail Mary pass.

What if Biden makes a really big, unforgivable gaff?

Or, another new embarrassing revelation?

Let’s face it, there have been lots of Biden gaffs. You might have trouble remembering why he was chosen in the first place.

Let me refresh your memory:

Biden was elected back in 1972. Shortly after the election, his wife and daughter were killed in a horrible automobile accident. His two sons were critically injured. Biden was devastated and considered quitting the Senate before he was sworn in. He ultimately did take the oath and perhaps as a reward  was given a seat on the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committee. Both were considered plum assignments.  Prior to his election, Biden had served one term as county councilman, so it wasn’t like they needed his input. One of the youngest senators ever elected, he gained seniority over time and  became chairman of Foreign Relations. Ultimately, he was recognized as a kind of foreign policy expert. When Obama chose his running mate, it was crucial to find someone who could strengthen his foreign policy/commander in chief credentials.  Plus, in person, Biden is a charmer. He ingratiated himself to the young Senator from Illinois and Mrs. Obama, rumor has it.

There is speculation that Biden might run for president in 2016, when he will turn 74. Is that an inducement for Obama to keep him on the ticket or does that undermine the idea that he will have singular loyalty and continue to be the hatchet man?

Biden is a complex character. He can relate to “joe sixpack” to recall another phrase that got him in trouble earlier in his career.  He has people skills, but shoots from the hip. There have been plagiarism allegations and major health issues. You can read more about him in one of the best books on American politics, What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer.
Bill Kristol makes the argument that Obama is already paving the way to elevate Hillary as a way to get a lock on the women vote plus energize the base. But don’t forget that Hillary has baggage, too. Revelations from Edward Klein’s The Amateur  drive a further wedge between the Clintons and the Obamas. Kristol throws out a few other names, Mark Warner, Ken Salazar.  Here’s something I haven’t heard—that team Obama is vetting replacements. Could they do that and keep it quiet?

Bottom line, I think Obama will keep him unless it looks like he has no choice or needs to create some news. To dump him would be a sign of weakness. Dump Biden and bring in Hillary to save the bacon? Pretty hard to stomach unless you are really going under.

What do you think? Will Obama dump Biden? Please let me know by voting in my poll or leave me a comment

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Filed under 2012 Election, Biden, Uncategorized, 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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Filed under 2012 Election, campaign tactics

Biden’s Hail Mary Pass

Last week I blogged about whether Obama would replace Biden on the ticket.

I’m not going to repeat the reasons this was a possibility.

But with his 45 % unfavorable rating higher than his 42% favorable–and  higher than Obama’s negatives– clearly he was/is  in jeopardy.

I don’t know what happened next, exactly. The great thing about writing fiction is that you can connect the dots, even when there may not be actual dots or they may not be connected.

In this case, there are dots.

We know, or think we know that Biden is not in the Obama campaign strategy sessions. That’s because he’s not there to give strategy advice.  He doesn’t need to hear the latest polls or focus group results. He has a job. He knows what to do.  He is a heat seeking missile.

Target?

The disillusioned white voters who, according to the Post, have deserted Obama by a huge margin.

So Obama goes after his base with anti-rich rhetoric.  Michele raises her profile with young blacks, with such harmless, innocent moves as attending a Beyonce concert. And Joe will connect with white, Reagan democrats.

As with most politicians who reach a high level, Biden is actually not stupid. Whether someone wound him up, or whether he figured it out himself, he had to do something about those negatives.

So he’s been out there, giving the populist performance of his life, going back to his roots, talking about his parents and their dreams.

And then yesterday, he pulled out the stops. He went personally nuclear: he talked about the accident in which he tragically lost a wife and child. I don’t know whether he has brought up this extremely sad and moving story over the past  40 years. What I do know is that it made the front page of the Washington Post, and probably went out on AP all over the country (I first noticed it in an UneditedPolitics.com tweet).

I am reminded of the 1988 campaign, in which then Vice President Bush had an image problem. He was regarded by some as a “wimp.” This was incongruous of course with the facts and with his war record, for example, in which he had not just served, but been a hero. His campaign advisors wanted to get the story out, but it was delicate. The candidate was uncomfortable with raising it. Ultimately, they figured out a way to get their spin out, and the press stopped pushing the wimp issue.

You cannot objectively listen to Biden talk about his personal tragedy without being moved by it, or without seeing how it connected with the military families that have experienced loss. It would be easy to be cynical about Biden and his horrific personal experience. But I suggest we dig deeper and look at this man who has worked almost all of his adult life, to be at the pinnacle of American politics—and now, to be mocked, laughed at, reviled—to be one press conference away from standing bravely and applauding enthusiastically  “it’s time to pick a woman.”

What would you do?

You would pull out all the stops and use everything you have, because the one thing you do know is that you are likeable. And if you can get out there enough, you can turn this thing around. You will not be a drag on the ticket. You may not get Obama elected, but you are by God not wind up a laughingstock.

He already pushed the gay pride button. He is very at home with big labor.   So prepare yourself for the performance of a lifetime.

Oh, and if you are a gambler, Intrade now has Biden’s spot as VP  at 92.8%. Any takers?

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

Plot Twist? Will Obama dump Biden?

You may have heard the rumors over the past few weeks—the suggestions that Obama might replace Biden on the ticket, perhaps with Hillary Clinton. The recent gay marriage announcement seemed to put more distance between the President and Biden. Just before, the NYT ran a lengthy piece about Sunday night strategy sessions in the Obama campaign, sans Biden. Ominous signs for Biden.

If the President were 75 years old with a heart condition, the choice of Vice President would certainly be more of a consideration. Since Obama is relatively young and apparently healthy does anyone really care who his Vice President is?

The old pols will tell you that the choice of Vice President is seldom a consideration for most voters. Voters react to the choice for President.

Yes, but what if the election is really close?

And, if Obama’s slide in the polls continues, changing VPs could be a Hail Mary pass.

What if Biden makes a really big, unforgivable gaff?

Or, another new embarrassing revelation?

Let’s face it, there have been lots of Biden gaffs. You might have trouble remembering why he was chosen in the first place.

Let me refresh your memory:

Biden was elected back in 1972. Shortly after the election, his wife and daughter were killed in a horrible automobile accident. His two sons were critically injured. Biden was devastated and considered quitting the Senate before he was sworn in. He ultimately did take the oath and perhaps as a reward  was given a seat on the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committee. Both were considered plum assignments.  Prior to his election, Biden had served one term as county councilman, so it wasn’t like they needed his input. One of the youngest senators ever elected, he gained seniority over time and  became chairman of Foreign Relations. Ultimately, he was recognized as a kind of foreign policy expert. When Obama chose his running mate, it was crucial to find someone who could strengthen his foreign policy/commander in chief credentials.  Plus, in person, Biden is a charmer. He ingratiated himself to the young Senator from Illinois and Mrs. Obama, rumor has it.

There is speculation that Biden might run for president in 2016, when he will turn 74. Is that an inducement for Obama to keep him on the ticket or does that undermine the idea that he will have singular loyalty and continue to be the hatchet man?

Biden is a complex character. He can relate to “joe sixpack” to recall another phrase that got him in trouble earlier in his career.  He has people skills, but shoots from the hip. There have been plagiarism allegations and major health issues. You can read more about him in one of the best books on American politics, What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer.
Bill Kristol makes the argument that Obama is already paving the way to elevate Hillary as a way to get a lock on the women vote plus energize the base. But don’t forget that Hillary has baggage, too. Revelations from Edward Klein’s The Amateur  drive a further wedge between the Clintons and the Obamas. Kristol throws out a few other names, Mark Warner, Ken Salazar.  Here’s something I haven’t heard—that team Obama is vetting replacements. Could they do that and keep it quiet?

Bottom line, I think Obama will keep him unless it looks like he has no choice or needs to create some news. To dump him would be a sign of weakness. Dump Biden and bring in Hillary to save the bacon? Pretty hard to stomach unless you are really going under.

What do you think? Will Obama dump Biden? Please let me know by voting in my poll or leave me a comment:

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Filed under 2012 Election, Biden, Uncategorized, Vice President, 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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Filed under 2012 Election, Vice President, White House