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October 31, 2012

The Nashua Telegraph Endorses Mitt Romney

In a rather stunning move, the usually liberal-oriented Nashua Telegraph has endorsed Mitt Romney for president.  Here is their endorsement in full.

Telegraph Editorial

Four years ago, with little hesitation, we endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama to become the 44th president of the United States, saying it was a time for “new leadership, a new approach to governing, a new way of conducting the people’s business.”

So the basic question facing The Telegraph editorial board when it met last week came down to this: Did the former Illinois senator do enough to live up to those admittedly high expectations to warrant a second term?

After several hours of spirited debate, not unlike conversations taking place in kitchens and living rooms across America, we reached a consensus that he had not. Perhaps more importantly, when we identified the key challenges facing the nation – jobs, the economy and the national debt – we concluded he was not the best candidate to meet them.

That person is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and we hereby endorse him to become the 45th president of the United States.

During his many years in the private and public sectors, Romney has demonstrated the critical leadership skills necessary to bring people together toward a common goal.

He did it when he founded a successful investment firm at age 37. He did it when he helped rescue a scandal-plagued Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. And he did it when he worked with an overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature after being elected governor of Massachusetts that same year.

As we noted when we endorsed Romney for the GOP nomination prior to the New Hampshire primary in January, Washington is broken. In order to fix it, it will take a strong leader willing to roll up his sleeves and work directly with the heads of both parties to carve out the best possible solutions.

We believe Romney has demonstrated that he can do that; the president has had four years to demonstrate that he can’t.

To be clear, we didn’t make the decision not to endorse Obama for a second term lightly. Nor do we believe, like many of his critics, that he is without achievement during his time in office.

At the very least, walking into the second-worst economic crisis in the nation’s history, the president and his administration deserve credit for steadying the ship of state through a combination of middle-class tax cuts, a stimulus program and a rescue of the auto industry.

And there can be no denying that House and Senate Republicans did everything in their power to stymie the president’s agenda, even putting the nation at risk of default during the debt-ceiling debacle of 2011.

But true leaders find ways to work around such obstacles, much like Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton did during their terms in office.

True leaders also don’t wait until two weeks before Election Day – in the form of a 20-page booklet, no less – to lay out a specific agenda for the next four years. Coupled with the negative tenor of the campaign, that merely confirms the president and his strategists felt that attacking Romney’s agenda was more politically expedient than releasing one of their own.

Some cynics have suggested, only partly in jest, that Obama-Romney is at its core a contest between a man with no plan and man with a plan that doesn’t add up, a reference to Romney’s own unwillingness to lay out details of how he would balance his campaign promises with his tax-and-spending plans.

Nevertheless, we are confident Romney is the candidate who would tackle the serious issues facing this nation, starting with jobs, the economy and the debt. In the end, we couldn’t say the same about the president.

The Nashua Telegraph editorial board is to be commended for a well reasoned decision that is based on the facts as they see them rather than partisan talking points.  I might just renew my subscription.

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October 30, 2012

The Obama Presidency Encapsulated

Brett Stephens of the Wall Street Journal:

When the history of this administration is written, maybe someone will note the dissonance between the president's hip persona and his retro ideology. Here was a man who promised a "transformative" presidency. Yet when transformation came, it amounted to a two-pronged attempt to impose, from one side, a version of European social democracy by way of ObamaCare, and from the other side a version of Chinese state-directed "capitalism" by way of the stimulus.

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So Much For Obama's Early Voting Edge

Early voting was supposed to give the edge, and the election, to Barack Obama.  The way the theory goes, Obama is banking so many early votes that it will be impossible for Romney to catch up on election day.

Early voting is giving President Barack Obama a lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in battleground states such as Iowa, Obama campaign senior political strategist David Axelrod said.

“The main thing is not to look at the polling but to look at the voting,” Axelrod said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“We believe that we are mounting up a very, very large lead in Iowa based on where those early votes are coming from,” he said, while indications in Florida “are very positive.”

That was David Axelrod on Sunday.  According to a new Gallup poll that came out yesterday, the early vote theory isn't holding up so well.  In a poll of voters who have already cast their ballots, Romney leads.  Significantly.

Romney Leads Among Early Voters, Similar to His Likely Voter Lead

Thus far, early voters do not seem to be swaying the election toward either candidate.

Romney currently leads Obama 52% to 45% among voters who say they have already cast their ballots. However, that is comparable to Romney's 51% to 46% lead among all likely voters in Gallup's Oct. 22-28 tracking polling. At the same time, the race is tied at 49% among those who have not yet voted but still intend to vote early, suggesting these voters could cause the race to tighten. However, Romney leads 51% to 45% among the much larger group of voters who plan to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6.

Readers of Libertarian Leaning already know I've been expecting a blowout for months.  It's now beginning to look like we might go to bed pretty early on election night.

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October 29, 2012

Advantage Romney — 52% to 47%

In a memo to "Interested Parties" Ed Goeas and Brian Nienaber of the Tarrance Group provide their "Key findings from Battleground Week 6 Survey."  In the final paragraph they project that election day will conclude with Romney winning 52% to 47% over Obama.

In sum, this data indicates this election remains very close on the surface, but the political environment and the composition of the likely electorate favor Governor Romney.  These factors come into play with our “vote election model” — which takes into account variables like vote intensity, voters who say they are definite in their vote, and demographics like age and education. In that snapshot of today’s vote model, Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by five-points — 52% to 47%.  While that gap can certainly be closed by the ground game of the Democrats, reports from the field would indicate that not to be the case, and Mitt Romney may well be heading to a decisive victory.

This comes by way of the Weekly Standard where they suggest that a 52% to 47% margin for Romney would significantly improve Republican chances for gaining control of the Senate.  Isn't validation a wonderful thing?  I've been saying for some time now that I expect another Republican blowout like the one in 2010.

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Whatever We Need To Do

During a campaign trip to Denver Obama went on KUSA TV where he was asked twice if Americans under attack in Libya were denied assistance.  He said, “...the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to...  And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe.” 

Question:  Did the president give an order that wasn't carried out?  If he did, Bing West would like to see it.

Surely it is in the president’s best interests to release a copy of his order, which the military would have sent to hundreds in the chain of command. And if the president did not direct the NSC “to do whatever we need to do,” then who was in charge? When the American ambassador is attacked and remains out of American hands for over seven hours as a battle rages — and our military sends no aid — either the crisis-response system inside the White House is incompetent, or top officials are covering up.

I think we're looking at option two — they're covering up.

Update:  It's both, actually.  There is monumental incompetence on display in the Obama administration.  It arises from a combination of stupidity, dishonesty, and sheer arrogance.  And now they're trying to cover it up.  Too late.  It's right out there in the open for everybody to see.

This incompetence is not limited to Obama.  Like Obama, Hillary was supposed to be an intellectual giant.  But there she was telling Charles Woods, "We're going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video."  Woods is the father of Tyrone Woods who was killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  While consoling the grief stricken father Hillary took the opportunity to promote a lie.  She made a political move, using the moment to promote the administration's weak explanation of what went on in Benghazi.  What's smart about that? 

To use the words of Mark Steyn, Obama, Clinton, the White House, they all suffer "the wretched shrinkage that befalls those unable to conceive of anything except in the most self-servingly political terms."  

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October 28, 2012

7-Point Drop

Obama's approval rating as measured by Gallup took a 7-point plunge in three days.

(CNSNews.com) - In the most precipitous decline it has seen in more than a year, President Barack Obama's job approval rating has dropped 7 points in three days, according to Gallup.

In the three-day period ending on Oct. 23, says Gallup, 53 percent said they approved of the job Obama was doing and 42 percent said they did not.

On Oct. 24, that dropped to 51 percent who said they approved and 44 percent who said they do not.

On Oct. 25, it dropped again to 48 percent who said they approved and 47 percent who said they do not.

On Oct. 26, it dropped yet again to 46 percent who said they approved and 49 percent who said they did not.

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October 27, 2012

It's Worse Than We Thought

Readers at Power Line Blog, armed with google, have pieced together events in Benghazi and have come to some distressing conclusions.  It's worse than we thought.

Another reader, Thomas Wictor, weighs in on this point via email:

The Benghazi coverup is much worse than you think. Clearly there were air assets on the scene above the CIA annex and they were denied permission to fire.

Tyrone Woods was painting a target with a ground laser designator (GLD). Those are only used when the air asset is overhead, ready to fire. The jihadis can use cell phones with night-vision capabilities to see the laser beam, which then pinpoints the location of the person using the GLD. As a former Navy SEAL, Woods would’ve known that. He would only have exposed himself if he thought that the mortar squad was about to be taken out. The air asset didn’t fire, and Woods and Glen Doherty were killed by the mortar squad.

Read the whole thing.

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Requests Denied

According to Fox News requests for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and later on a CIA annex a mile away were denied.  Four Americans were killed in the attacks, including the ambassador Christopher Stevens, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, both former Navy SEALs, and, Sean Smith, an information management officer.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down." 

Could that be true?  9News, KUSA in Denver, twice asked President Barack Obama if Americans under attack in Libya were denied assistance during the September 11th terror attack and twice Obama deflected the question.

KYLE CLARK: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we'll all find out after the election?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we're going to bring those folks to justice. So, we're going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn't happen again but we're also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.

KYLE CLARK: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I've said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we're going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn't happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we're going to find out exactly what happened, but what we're also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.

There's an investigation.  It won't be completed until long after the election.  No surprise there.  But somebody in the government gave the order.  CIA director David Petraeus said it wasn't anybody in the CIA

Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”

So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.

It would have been a presidential decision.

But in a desperate bid to save the president's re-election, Secretary of Defense Lean Panetta stepped up to say the decision was his.  Panetta said they did not know enough about conditions on the ground to put troops in harm's way.

"(The) basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place," Panetta told Pentagon reporters. "And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation." 

Panetta was referring to Gen. Carter Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

How can Panetta say they had no "real-time information" about what was taking place?  They had drones overhead with cameras, and they were in communications with the people under attack. It doesn't wash.  Nor does it make sense that Panetta would be the one to make that decision.

With Barack Obama, anything bad that happens is somebody else's fault.  He considers it offensive, even unpatriotic, for anybody to say otherwise.  But as we get close to the election fewer and fewer are going to be able to take the fall for him.  Especially since the election is slipping away from the president. What would be the point?

Early on, Hillary accepted responsibility, but that was when the administration was determined to hang this debacle around the neck of an obscure film maker and a video that insulted the prophet Mohammed.  But that story didn't last, and as more damaging details of the attacks emerged, Hillary was reportedly advised to start looking out for herself.  It was really quite generous of his secretaries of State and Defense to say they'd take the fall for him, but ultimately, President Barack Obama will find that the buck really does stop at his desk.  I'm quite confident that voters will serve notice of that fact on November 6th, even if Obama never admits it himself.

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October 26, 2012

An October Surprise

Word is out that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered more security for the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, but President Barack Obama vetoed it.  This comes from author Ed Klein.

The news broke on TheBlazeTV’s “Wilkow!” hosted by Andrew Wilkow, by best-selling author, Ed Klein who said the legal counsel to Clinton had informed him of this information.

Klein also said that those same sources said that former President Bill Clinton has been “urging” his wife [Hillary] to release official State Department documents that prove she called for additional security at the compound in Libya, which would almost certainly result in President Obama losing the election.

Klein explained that everyone knew what was happening in Benghazi from the CIA to the National Security Agency and that there’s intelligence cables that have not been released.

Wilkow asked, “If everybody knew this including the White House, who would have given the order to go in and save the ambassador?”

Klein, “The President…he should have given the order to use the rapid reaction force…”

Wilkow, “Not Petraeus?”

Klein, “Well it has to come from the president.”

I expect Hillary will deny that there's any truth to this.  If it were true, you then have to wonder why she didn't resign.  

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Who Really Won The Third Debate?

A CBS flash poll taken right after the third debate had Barack Obama the decisive winner over Mitt Romney.  Now in sober light of day, and with 12 days to go to election day, there's time for voters to reconsider that judgment.  Charles Krauthammer doesn't have to reconsider.

Obama lost. His tone was petty and small. Arguing about Iran’s nuclear program, he actually said to Mitt Romney, “While we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing business with the Iranian oil sector.” You can’t get smaller than that. You’d expect this in a city council race. But only from the challenger. The sitting councilman would find such an ad hominem beneath him.

Throughout the debate, Obama kept it up, slashing, interjecting, interrupting, desperate to gain the upper hand by insult if necessary. That spirit led Obama into a major unforced error. When Romney made a perfectly reasonable case to rebuild a shrinking Navy, Obama condescended: “You mentioned . . . that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”

Such that naval vessels are as obsolete as horse cavalry?

Liberal pundits got a great guffaw out of this, but the underlying argument is quite stupid. As if the ships being retired are dinghies, skipjacks and three-masted schooners. As if an entire branch of the armed forces — the principal projector of American power abroad — is itself some kind of anachronism.

“We have these things called aircraft carriers,” continued the schoolmaster, “where planes land on them.”

I have never seen a campaign with as little to offer as Obama's 2012 presidential campaign. He has absolutely nothing.  That fact was brought so sharply into focus by the debate that the Obama campaign, with only two weeks to go until the election, felt compelled to issue a 20-page glossy boiler plate description of his second term.  It was the first inkling of an agenda, and it was just a repackaging of the last four years.  Oh joy...

As an artifact of the diminishment of President Barack Obama, it is hard to top his newly released pamphlet, “A Plan for Jobs & Middle-Class Security.”

The plan purports, first, to be a plan, and second, to outline a second-term agenda distinct from his first-term agenda. It fails on both counts. It cobbles together his current policies with some ill-defined new bullet points to barely cover 20 pages largely devoted to nice pictures of the president.

The style points have been toted up and Obama was declared the winner.  Now voters begin to look at the last debate in terms of its content.  In that light Barack Obama lost it.  How could he have won it when he offered nothing for an agenda?

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