Well, later this week we’re going to have the first of our debates between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, so both campaigns have been trying their best to say absolutely as little as possible.
But even then, we managed to find a few stories going on that you political junkies would be interested in.
Obama And Romney Lower Debate Expectations
It always happens right before a big debate, but it’s still ridiculously funny nonetheless: in the week leading up to their first presidential debate, the campaigns of President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney are cranking up their spin machine to complete the most important task of all: lowering expectations.
Romney’s staff has cautioned press and supporters that Obama “is a universally acclaimed public speaker and has substantial debate experience under his belt” and to not expect Romney to “win” the first debate.
Of course, Obama’s traveling press secretary wanted to note that Romney has had more debate experience “than any candidate in modern history.”
The truth of the matter is: these guys have been training for these debates for months. They’ve been in preparation for this long enough to make a killer Karate Kid-style montage.
So expect what we should be expecting from these people, one of whom is all but guaranteed to be leading our country next year: we expect them to be the best.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad On His Way Out
The President of Iran made what most think to be his last appearance at the UN, so his speech became much more broad-based, and didn’t mention Israel at all.
Except, of course, in interviews, one of which was with CNN’s Piers Morgan, where he calls homosexuality “ugly” and clarifies his comments about Israel being “wiped off the map:”
“So when we say ‘to be wiped,’ we say for occupation to be wiped off from this world. For war-seeking to (be) wiped off and eradicated, the killing of women and children to be eradicated. And we propose the way. We propose the path. The path is to recognize the right of the Palestinians to self-governance.”
Which, essentially, is Mahmoud realizing that he won’t be President next year (he can’t because of term limits), his Supreme Leader calling him a “showboat” President, and financial sanctions against his country are actually starting to cause some problems. Perhaps being less gleefully antagonistic is the way to go this time.
In the coming weeks, Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be at the forefront of the foreign policy debates both on and off the state between Romney and Obama. Stay tuned to that.
Supreme Court Starts New Term
Tomorrow (Monday) the Supreme Court starts their new term, and there’s potential for SCOTUS to take on some incredibly huge cases before the election.
Oh, what cases? Well, here’s a handy list of what can be on the docket:
- Affirmative action and whether colleges can continue to use race to maintain diversity on campus
- Same-sex marriage: It’s gone through the state level. Now it’s federal.
- Voting rights challenges and voter ID laws
- “Personhood” laws saying life begins at conception
Along with those, some conservatives are pushing SCOTUS to revisit Roe v. Wade, but more likely than not they’ll punt, as pretty much every Court has since the initial ruling was made.
Many believe that the Court is conservatively-dominated, but we frequently forget that it was Chief Justice John Roberts — an appointee of former President George W. Bush — who was the swing vote, and ultimately the opinion writer, of the decision that ultimately affirmed President Obama’s health care law as constitutional.
Regardless of who wins the election, SCOTUS will definitely want to make one big decision before the end of the year — but will they do so before the election? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Bill Clinton On The Campaign Trail For Obama
A week from today, former President Bill Clinton will be heading to Los Angeles with President Obama for fundraising and campaigning in the aftermath of the first debate between Obama and Mitt Romney.
Unlike last election, Mr. Clinton has become Obama’s biggest surrogate. After the 2008 Democratic primaries wore off, and Obama making good on his promise to put his wife Hillary in his cabinet, it seems as though the former President has completely jumped on board with President Obama’s campaign.
Particularly after Clinton’s well-received DNC speech, Clinton’s been put in a much larger role in the fight to re-elect the President. While on “Access Hollywood,” Michelle Obama noted that a oft-reported video of Obama and Clinton embracing as evidence of their, and yes, she said this, “bromance.”
It’s also a little odd seeing the former President on the campaign trail in much a large role, especially considering Hillary’s expected resignation as Secretary of State by the end of Obama’s first term. When she wasn’t invited to speak at the DNC, she went out and called the move “inappropriate,” as it’s generally expected for an incumbent President to invite his Secretary of State to speak.
So, former President Clinton is expected to be involved in a lot more events between now and Election Day, but thus far, they’re keeping quiet on his schedule.
No reports on whether or not he has interns.
Early Voting Has Begun
In some parts of the country, you’re already able to vote. In Iowa, a number of people are already doing their in-person voting, and pretty soon another battleground state, Ohio, will have their early voting underway.
Of the battleground states, only New Hampshire and Virginia lack large-scale early voting.
The debates can definitely change some minds in Ohio, which is about as split down the middle historically as you can be. It’s a must-win for Romney, barring some surprising upsets, and he’s currently down in the polls outside the margin of error in the Buckeye State.
And speaking of polls, we’ve been noting this for a while, but the polls will finally start to stabilize and be a bit more representative of the decision voters are going to make. Keep an eye on RealClearPolitics’ averaging of all major polls as the debates commence.
Remember: the popular vote means dick-all in our presidential election!
President Obama Bails On Meeting With Any World Leaders; Goes On The View
That was a long headline, but it pretty much says it all. On the day of the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama and the First Lady instead decided to go on The View.
The sit-down was scheduled to pre-empt the Romneys who were planning to go on the show. After Romney’s infamous “47 percent” video, which included such gems as calling the hosts on The View ”sharp-tongued women,” the women on the show were all too eager to let the Obamas upstage the Republican nominee.
Of course, that’s entirely at the expense of Obama declining to meet with world leaders, as was traditionally done by every president since the UN was pretty much established. Instead, he sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who seems to be more and more preparing for her 2016 run and becoming less concerned with the dealings of the president’s campaign.
The President of Libya spoke with Mrs. Clinton, saying ““Madam Secretary, I also seize this opportunity to reaffirm that what happened on 11th of September towards these U.S. citizens does not express in any way the conscience of the Libyan people, their aspirations, their hopes or their sentiments towards the American people.”
Meanwhile, President Obama was talking about his 20th anniversary with Michelle, which happens to land on the same night as the first debate. He made a speech on Tuesday to the UN, but that’s really been his only interaction thus far.
He was supposed to attend a reception for world leaders, but a campaign adviser privately noted that his re-election took precedent, saying that “if he met with one leader, he would have to meet with 10,” and just didn’t have the time to devote to… you know, governing the country.
Distraction of the Week: Scarborough’s Laughing Fit On Air
Well, everyone’s been getting up in arms about what Joe Scarborough did after showing a clip of Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, with Romney awkwardly changing a chant to make sure they weren’t just calling out Paul Ryan’s name. (Lest they forget who the presidential nominee is.)
So, here’s the video. We think it’s just people saying stuff and things.
Some people have noted that the crowd was chanting “Romney” — reporters and attendees both say that — and so MSNBC may have been misrepesenting the edited video.
Ugh. Just stop it, guys.