Sunday, August 14, 2011

GOP Takes Spotlight Away from Obama Campaign

It was quite the weekend for politics, GOP style. The fun began a bit early with the Thursday night debate and continued into Friday Iowa State Fair appearances shown on C-SPAN and Saturday entertainment before the Straw Poll was all calculated up. Along the way, as the folks in Iowa were beginning to cast their votes, Texas Governor Perry announced his candidacy. In South Carolina.

Then, as the Straw Poll votes were tallied and the results were announced, Governor Perry landed in New Hampshire and gave a speech along the same timeframe. Do not count out Governor Perry in a contest of campaigning plays. He is the winner every time. When the man talks about the gift of persistance, it is not just a throwaway line on the campaign trail.

After his announcement in South Carolina on Saturday, Rick Perry traveled to New Hampshire, where — as Josh Rogers of New Hampshire Public Radio reports — the governor told a house party that he wouldn't go to Washington to be liked but to reduce the role of the federal government in Americans' lives.

The Straw Poll results came in and Michele Bachmann took top spot. Ron Paul placed second and Tim Pawlenty was a distant third.

The Straw Poll is a perfect venue for Ron Paul. He games straw polls with tons of bussed in voters and goodies as rewards. Though it is standard practice in Iowa for the campaigns to buy tickets - it costs $30 per person to vote in the Iowa Straw Poll - and pass them out to supporters, it can be noted that the Bachmann campaign passed out 6,000 tickets and she received 4,823 votes. Ron Paul received 4,671 votes so it was a close race between those two candidates. The Paul campaign claims "everyone does it" as justification for gaming straw polls around the country. It was a rich environment for Paul.

For the first time ever, the Straw Poll allowed write-in votes. Gov. Perry won that with 718 votes, besting Mitt Romney in a surprise development. The amount of votes cast was the second highest ever recorded at 16,892. The enthusiasm was higher than in 2007 and even the Democrats showed up to try to put a little spin in the press. Didn't do much good, though.

Now with all the press the GOP are receiving, President Obama has scheduled a bit of travel to campaign for himself.

President Barack Obama launches a political counteroffensive this week, weighed down by withering support among some of his most ardent backers, a stunted economy and a daily bashing from the slew of Republicans campaigning for his job.

"We've still got a long way to go to get to where we need to be. We didn't get into this mess overnight, and it's going to take time to get out of it," the president told the country over the weekend, all but pleading for people to stick with him.

With his approval numbers sliding, the Democratic president will try to ease their worries and sustain his resurrected fighting spirit when he sets off Monday on a bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The trip is timed to dilute the GOP buzz emanating from the Midwest after Republicans gathered in Iowa over the weekend for a first test of the party's White House candidates. The state holds the nation's first nominating test in the long road toward choosing Obama's opponent.

He just happens to be going to Iowa himself.

The Obama campaign is floundering. Despite a swift and aggressive response team to every GOP event or headline, Obama's poll numbers continue to fall. Sunday it was reported that his lastest favorability numbers is at 39% - tying with the lowest number of former President George W. Bush, the man Obama likes to blame for his own woes.

New data posted Sunday shows that 39% of Americans approve of Obama's job performance, while 54% disapprove. Both are the worst numbers of his presidency.

Obama's approval rating has hovered in the 40% range for much of 2011, peaking at 53% in the weeks following the death of Osama bin Laden.

But Americans' view of his job performance continued to tick downward as the debt-ceiling debate heated up. By the time he signed legislation averting a federal default, he was mired in the low-40% range.

Obama is set to launch something of a counter-offensive on Monday with a three-day bus tour of the Midwest, a trip that includes two stops in Iowa. The White House denied that the itinerary was politically motivated, however.

Yeah, right. Team Obama still thinks we are stupid.

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