Archive for ‘U.S. presidency’

May 31, 2011

Barack Obama president’s re-election campaign might hinge on re-registration of voters that moved …

Obama prospects might hinge on voter registration
May 30, 2011, 8:23 a.m. EDT
Associated Press

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

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WASHINGTON (AP) — In 2008, Barack Obama tapped into a record of nearly 15 million voters who cast ballots for the first time, a surge in registration that may be difficult to replicate next year.

Recent voter registration data show that Democrats have lost ground in key states that Obama carried in 2008, an early warning siren for the president’s re-election campaign. While Republican numbers have also dipped in some states, the drop in the Democrats’ ranks highlights the importance of the Obama campaign‘s volunteer base and the challenge they could have of registering new voters.

“When you look back at 2008 there has to be a recognition that it was a historic election, a historic candidate, a historic moment in time and potentially some type of a ceiling — I’m not sure there is ever a hard ceiling — in terms of voter registration,” said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane. He said the political map in 2012 will likely look more like it did going into the close contests of 2000 and 2004, which hinged on swing states like Florida and Ohio, respectively, than in 2008, when Obama won traditionally Republican states like Indiana and North Carolina.

Obama will have to re-ignite the passions of some Democrats who had high hopes going into his presidency and may be ambivalent about him now. Several states with Republican governors have tried to reduce the number of early voting days and required photo IDs, a move that Democrats say will disenfranchise poor and minority voters. Polls have shown some political independents drifting away from Obama since 2008, meaning Democrats need to register and turn out more Hispanic and black voters, college students and women.

While Democratic registrations ballooned prior to the 2008 election, the numbers have declined in several important states, including:

— Florida: Democrats added more than 600,000 registered voters between 2006 and 2008, giving Obama about 4.8 million registered Democrats to help his cause. Registered Democrats now number 4.6 million in the Sunshine State. Republican registrations have slipped from 4.1 million in 2008 to about 4.05 million in mid-March, the most recent data available. Nearly 2.6 million voters in Florida are unaffiliated.

— Pennsylvania: Democrats maintain a 1.5 million voter advantage in registrations over Republicans, but their numbers have dwindled since Obama’s election. There were 4.15 million registered Democrats through mid-May, compared with about 4.48 million in 2008. Democrats added about a half-million voters to their rolls in the two years prior to the 2008 election. Republicans currently have more than 3 million registered voters, compared with 3.2 million in 2008. About 500,000 Pennsylvania voters are unaffiliated.

— Iowa: Republicans have gained ground in the state that launched Obama’s presidential bid. GOP registrations increased from about 625,000 voters in 2008 to nearly 640,000 in early May. Democrats, meanwhile, have fallen from about 736,000 voters in 2008 to about 687,000 in May. Nonpartisan voters remain the largest bloc in the Hawkeye State, representing more than 762,000 voters.

Democrats’ numbers have also fallen in North Carolina, where Obama became the first Democratic nominee to carry the state since 1976, and Nevada, a high-growth state that has been battered by the recession.

Several Democratic-friendly cities have not been immune, either. Philadelphia had 880,000 registered Democrats in 2008; that number has fallen below 800,000. Denver, where Democrats held their 2008 convention, had about 200,000 registered Democrats in November 2008 — that’s now down to about 120,000. In Mecklenburg County, N.C., whose county seat, Charlotte, is the site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Democrats’ numbers have fallen after major gains leading up to the 2008 election.

Obama officials said voter registration will be a top priority. Obama adviser David Axelrod said the campaign would “mount a major effort and it’s not just about registering new voters but it’s also re-registering people who have moved because there is a high degree of transiency among young people and often among minority voters. We want to make sure that not only new voters but people who have moved are registered again.”

Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman, said the president “has demonstrated a consistent ability to reach new voters and voters who don’t identify as Democrats, so party affiliation isn’t the only factor to evaluate. The campaign’s efforts to expand the electorate to new voters and voters with less consistent voting histories was one reason why the president was elected in 2008, and as we continue our organizing efforts it’s certainly something we’ll take into consideration.”

Finding new voters has been a longstanding goal of Obama, who ran a successful voter registration drive in Chicago when Bill Clinton sought the White House in 1992. Sixteen years later, Obama’s campaign was fueled by a massive grassroots campaign and advocacy groups who registered millions of new voters and then turned them out in record numbers.

In a strategy video released in April, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina noted that Democrats registered about two-thirds of the new voters in 2007 and 2008 in states that allow for party registration. Obama, in turn, won nearly 70 percent of the nearly 15 million first-time voters in 2008.

“That made real differences in very close states across this country. We’ve got to do that again in 2012,” Messina said.

Both political parties maintain private voter databases that allow them to closely monitor registration changes, but public data is more difficult to ascertain. Nationally, more than half the states allow registered voters to indicate a party preference when registering while many states in the South and Midwest don’t provide for a party preference.

Voter registration and turnout were critical to the last president running for re-election — George W. Bush in 2004. Bush’s operation registered an estimated 3 million new voters, helping it drive up vote totals in the areas straddling key suburban regions in Florida and Ohio.

Blaise Hazelwood, who ran the Republican National Committee’s voter registration effort in 2004, said campaign officials pored over Excel charts tracking new registrations on a daily basis and used the mail, door knocking and supermarket stands to find voters in places more inclined to support Bush. She said it would be difficult for Obama’s operation to replicate 2008.

“There’s no way they can get all those voters back,” Hazelwood said.


Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.


Ken Thomas can be reached at



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May 22, 2011

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said early Sunday that he won’t run in 2013 U.S. presidental race because …

Ind. Gov. Daniels not running for president
May 22, 2011, 7:06 a.m. EDT
Associated Press

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of:

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said early Sunday that he won’t run for president because of family concerns, a development that narrowed the Republican nomination field though made the wide-open race even more uncertain.

“In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one,” the Republican said, disclosing his decision in a middle-of-the-night e-mail to supporters. “The interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry.”

A two-term Midwestern governor, Daniels had been considering a bid for months and was pressured by many in the establishment wing of the party hungering for a conservative with a strong fiscal record to run. He expressed interest in getting in the race partly because it would give him a national platform to ensure the country’s fiscal health would remain part of the 2012 debate.

But he always said his family — his wife and four daughters — was a sticking point.

Had he run, Daniels would have shaken up the still evolving race that lacks a front-runner and has been unpredictable in its early stages.

If the governor would have decided to run, a crop of GOP donors and grass-roots supporters had been ready to pull the trigger on a national fundraising and political organization that some aides privately said would rival those of others already in the race. And outside Republican observers had long said that he would be a serious contender for the party nod as a candidate.

Instead, Daniels becomes the latest Republican to opt against a bid as the GOP searches for a Republican to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.

The Indiana governor‘s close friend, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, surprised much of the GOP when he pulled the plug on a candidacy in April; he privately had encouraged Daniels to run instead. A week ago, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the 2008 Iowa caucus winner, bowed out, followed quickly by celebrity real estate developer Donald Trump.

They came after others who decided to sit this one out as well, even as polls show Republican primary voters wanting more options in a race that includes former Govs. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, as well as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and a handful of others.

In the wake of the decisions by Barbour and Huckabee to skip the race, the clamoring among establishment Republicans for Daniels to run — including from the Bush family circle — had become ear-shattering.

“The counsel and encouragement I received from important citizens like you caused me to think very deeply about becoming a national candidate,” Daniels said in the e-mail message.

“If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise,” he added. “I only hope that you will accept my sincerity in the judgment I reached.”

Daniels, himself, had sounded more optimistic about a run in the past week than he had in months, though he never had sounded particularly enthused. And his advisers had been quietly reaching out to Republicans in Iowa and other early nominating states for private conversations.

But, as he talked about a candidacy, he always pointed back to his family as the primary issue that would hold him back.

And as he weighed a bid, the spotlight shown on his unusual marital history as well as his record as governor.

His wife, Cheri, filed for divorce in 1993 and moved to California to remarry, leaving him to raise their four daughters in Indiana. She later divorced, and she and Daniels reconciled and remarried in 1997.

Mrs. Daniels had never taken much of a public role in her husband’s political career.

So it raised eyebrows when she was chosen as the keynote speaker at a major Indiana fundraiser earlier in May.

Both husband and wife were said to be pleased with the reception they got, and advisers privately suggested that the outcome could encourage Daniels to run for president. Even so, Republicans in Washington and Indiana with ties to Daniels put the odds at 50/50.

A former budget director under George W. Bush, Daniels used his time considering a run to also shine a spotlight on rising budget deficits and national debt — even though his former boss grew the scope of government and federal spending during his tenure.

Daniels, a one-time senior executive at Eli Lilly & Co., caused a stir among cultural conservatives by saying the next president facing economic crisis “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues.”

He is looked with admiration in GOP circles for being the rare Republican who won office in a Democratic year — 2008 — in a state that Obama had won. And, since being re-elected, he has leveraged Republican majorities in the state Legislature to push through a conservative agenda.

Daniels made his intentions clear in a characteristically understated e-mail.

It was sent by the governor through Eric Holcomb, the Indiana Republican Party chairman and one of Daniels’ closest advisers, and confirmed by others close to the governor on the condition of anonymity to avoid publicly pre-empting his announcement.

It ended: “Many thanks for your help and input during this period of reflection. Please stay in touch if you see ways in which an obscure Midwestern governor might make a constructive contribution to the rebuilding of our economy and our Republic.”


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May 16, 2011

Mike Huckabee’s exit widens an already GOP open field …

Huckabee’s exit widens an already open field
May 15, 2011, 12:46 p.m. EDT
Associated Press

By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder

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WASHINGTON(AP) — Mike Huckabee‘s decision to forgo a shot at the U.S. presidency
further muddies the field for a worthy Republican challenger to
President Barack Obama, and leaves America‘s social conservatives
without a clear candidate to throw their support behind.

Huckabee on Saturday night became the latest Republican to opt out of
running, declaring that he would stick with his lucrative career as a
television and radio personality over a race that promises to be both
costly and caustic.

By joining Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, South Dakota Sen. John Thune
and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence on the sidelines, the former Arkansas
governor underlined that for all of Obama’s vulnerabilities on the
economy, taking on his re-election machine and potential $1 billion
treasure chest remains a daunting task.

The 55-year-old Baptist minister, who won several state Republican
primaries and caucuses in an unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid,
insisted that he could have captured the Republican nomination, citing
polls that showed he could score strong even in the Northeast and among
the less conservative rank-and-file party members.

“All the factors say go, but my heart says no,” Huckabee, the winner of
the 2008 Iowa caucuses, said on his Fox News Channel show.
“All the factors say go, but my heart says no,” Huckabee said Saturday
night on his Fox News Channel show.

He described the decision as a
spiritual one.
“Only when I was alone, in quiet and reflective moments, did I have not
only clarity but an inexplicable inner peace,” he said. “Being
president is a job that takes one to the limit of his or her human
capacity. For me, to do it apart from the inner confidence that I was
undertaking it without God’s full blessing is simply unthinkable.”

The announcement makes an already wide-open Republican field even more

Huckabee is a prominent conservative who would have been a serious
contender for the party nod with instant support among Christian
evangelicals who dominate the Iowa caucuses and the early South
Carolina primary.

And with him out of the race, there is no clear
candidate out there to for them to rally around.

Onetime House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been making a concerted effort
to reach out to the right. Although he’s been noting his recent
conversion to Catholicism, he’s hampered by two divorces and an
adulterous history.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney must explain
his change of heart over the years on positions on guns, gay rights and
abortion; health care also is a problem for him.

ex-governor, Tim Pawlenty, has had to apologize for backing climate
change legislation.

Donald Trump? Highly unlikely.

With so many social conservatives looking for a home, the void could
prompt 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin or Minnesota Rep.
Michele Bachmann to get in the race.

Palin has yet to say if she will
run, while Bachmann is inching toward a bid.

Several other possible
candidates, including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, are in waiting mode.

The lack of a clear Republican frontrunner reflects Obama’s perceived
strength as a candidate less than a year-and-a-half before the

Despite uneven economic growth and continued sluggishness in
the employment market, Obama will have the advantage of being an
incumbent president with a seemingly unmatchable capacity to generate
cash for his campaign.

And while events could change dramatically
between now and the presidential vote, polls show Obama in a stronger
position now than he was before the mission that killed al-Qaida leader
Osama bin Laden.

Republican candidates were quick to praise Huckabee after his
announcement, making obvious plays for his backers.
“His voters are very independent and they’re going to go where they
believe that America needs to go both in conservative and spiritual
values,” Gingrich said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Huckabee’s is going to remain a very important figure in the
conservative movement and I suspect that he’s going to have a role to
play for years to come.”

Pawlenty said he’d work hard to gain the support of millions of
Americans who have backed Huckabee, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick
Santorum praised the TV host for praying before deciding not to run.

Santorum added that he wanted to talk with Huckabee about fighting for
traditional values even as some Republicans “seek to form a ‘truce’ on
social issues.”

That was a slap at Daniels, who is considering a run and has suggested
that Republicans downplay their focus on cultural issues like abortion
while the nation’s economy is so fragile.

Huckabee praised several potential Republican nominees who, he said,
hold points of view similar to his own.

A notable omission from the
list: Romney.
“There has been a lot of talk about Mitt Romney and me. And we don’t
socialize together. We’re not close, you know, in personal ways,”
Huckabee said on “Fox News Sunday.” ”But I want to make it very clear
today, if Mitt Romney is the nominee for our party, I will support him
because I believe that Mitt Romney would be a better president of the
United States than Barack Obama on any day.”

Had he chosen to run, Huckabee would have been forced to give up the
lucrative media career he’s enjoyed since his unsuccessful presidential
bid four years ago.

In addition to his TV show, he hosts a nationally
syndicated radio program, gives paid speeches around the country and
has even launched a series of animated videos for children on American

“I just somehow believe deep within me that it wasn’t the right time
and it wasn’t to be,” he told “Fox News Sunday” while revisiting the

The former governor said that raising the necessary cash to run for
president wasn’t an issue in his decision, though it may play a major
part for others.

One candidate who wouldn’t have that problem is Trump,
the billionaire real estate tycoon and reality TV star who’s been
toying with the idea of a Republican run.
“Mike, enjoy the show,” Trump said in an on-air message on Fox,
directly after Huckabee’s announcement. “Your ratings are terrific.
You’re making a lot of money. You’re building a beautiful house in
Florida. Good luck.”

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Calvin Ledsome Sr.,
Owner and Founder
Thank you for
visiting, do come back for more news…
Warmest regards,

PS., Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running
The US Government 2013? Make Your Selection Below!