Barack Obama

Politics & Government
10:55 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Watching the debate tonight? Play along with 'Debate Bingo'

Keep the blood pressure down, play some Bingo tonight.
WNYC

Our friends at WNYC have come up with a way to keep score at home tonight as you watch the first presidential debate.

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It's Just Politics
7:34 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Just what do politicians do when they're in trouble? Change the subject, of course

There's little doubt by now you've heard, because it sure seems like everybody’s heard, Mitt Romney’s now-famous – infamous – 47 percent comment. It set the political grapevine ablaze this week with discussion and speculation that this is the gaffe that’s sunk the Romney campaign with 46 days to go until Election Day. Much like John McCain’s “Michigan moment” in 2008 when he pulled his campaign out of the state and everyone just kind of declared, "game over."

But there are still 46 days to go and Romney and many of his fellow Republicans are saying: Whoa, not so fast...  It ain't over til it's over. “A lot of folks would just as soon have this election be done now… The fact is elections are held on one day, November sixth, and not before," State Attorney General Bill Schuette, Romney's Michigan campaign manager, said this week.  It's a variation on the classic, "the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day.”

Redirecting the Message

Political campaigns are really about three things: one is identifying your voters, another is making sure your voters get out on election day and the third - which is especially critical to getting out your voters as well as persuading the ones who are undecided - is “messaging.”  Because in politics, “messaging” is a verb. So, for the Romney campaign, the question is, how to pull off that pivot, how to change the subject. And the message of the moment is, "Hey, everybody makes mistakes."

“Well, I think Barak Obama has made a lot of mistakes, too. When he said the private sector is doing just fine. That’s nonsense. When a small businessperson is successful, he said that person didn’t build it. We know that’s not true," Schuette explained, trying to create an equivalency between the two candidates and the two campaigns. Those are things the president said that – taken out of context, certainly – but still were missteps that Republicans have now turned against him. Republicans have also reached back to 1998 when President Obama was still a state senator in Illinois to something he said, that he believes in wealth redistribution, ignoring that he also said he believes in free markets.

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Politics & Government
5:13 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Romney 'Super PAC' to spend in Michigan again

Pro-Romney Restore Our Future Super PAC to spend in Michigan again?
screen grab

Update 5:13 p.m.

A pro-Mitt Romney group will start running ads attacking President Obama’s jobs record in Michigan beginning tomorrow.

Recent polls show the president leading his Republican challenger in Michigan. And the Romney campaign has focused its own TV ad spending elsewhere.

Charlie Spies is co-founder of the Restore Our Future "Super PAC." Super PACS can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals.

Spies says polls suggest Romney is still competitive in Michigan:

“Right now it shows Michigan with a slight Obama lead, but certainly within the margin that it’s competitive. And we’re very optimistic about the upper Midwest…both Wisconsin and Michigan.”

Spies says recent campaign stops in by Vice President Joe Biden and his wife show the Obama campaign is still worried about losing Michigan.

10:48 a.m.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody spoke with Restore Our Future reps this morning.

They confirmed that they will start running a new ad in Michigan markets starting tomorrow.

It's a one million dollar ad buy.

They told Carmody they expect to do a similar ad buy in Michigan next week.

10:09 a.m.

Conservative 'Super PACs' supporting Mitt Romney's presidential run recently pulled their ads out of Michigan.

It was an indication the state wasn't polling well for the Republican candidate.

But Sarah Wheaton over at the NY Times blog "The Caucus" writes some Super PAC money might be coming back.

Despite losing traction in the polls after the nominating conventions, Wheaton says Romney has one clear advantage over President Obama - "outside groups with much more money to spend supporting his candidacy and tactically placing their bets in states where they believe he has a chance to win."

Right now, Michigan appears to be a long shot bet for these groups.

Restore Our Future’s $720,000 investment in Michigan is particularly remarkable. Mr. Romney’s campaign and his other allies seem to have all but given up on the state, even though the candidate grew up there and his father, George Romney, was once governor. The Romney campaign itself, which is running state-specific spots in those states it ostensibly considers to be the most in play, left Michigan off that list.

...But the ability of super PACs to raise and spend freely gives them flexibility to invest in some long shots. And it could also provoke the Obama campaign to spend some precious ad dollars on a state it considers relatively safe.

It remains to be seen how the polls will play out in Michigan after a video of Romney was released of the candidate making some potentially politically damaging comments while talking at a private fundraiser earlier this year. The Romney camp quickly put together a press conference to respond to the video.

Politics & Government
10:17 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Presidential campaigns invited to Great Lakes conference, one shows up

The five Great Lakes.
NOAA

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign did not show up at a conference in Cleveland to discuss the Great Lakes.

Organizers of the Great Lakes Restoration Conference say both presidential campaigns were sent invitations at the same time.

Former E.P.A. director Carol Browner spoke on behalf of President Obama at the conference yesterday.

She touted the president’s investment of one billion dollars for cleaning up and restoring the lakes.

When asked if the president would support permanently separating Lake Michigan from the Mississippi River to keep Asian carp out, she said it’s being studied.

"That process is underway and I have the utmost confidence that the president will take the results of that process very, very seriously," said Browner.

A spokeswoman for the Romney campaign said they couldn’t fit the event into his schedule.

She criticized the Obama administration for not acting more quickly to stop Asian carp.

Politics & Government
8:31 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Vice President's wife to campaign in Michigan this Saturday

Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden
Official White House portrait

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - President Barack Obama's re-election campaign says the wife of Vice President Joe Biden will speak at events in three Michigan cities on Saturday.

The campaign says Jill Biden will appear in Battle Creek, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. It says details on her appearances will be announced later.

The stops come during a planned tour during which the vice president's wife will appear Friday in Minneapolis and Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Politics & Government
2:40 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Stateside: Speaking with Lester Graham from the DNC in Charlotte

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham talks with Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Michigan Radio

Tonight brings the emotional high point of the Democratic National Convention - the speech from President Barack Obama.

All week long, Michigan Radio's Lester Graham has been in North Carolina. He's been covering the convention and the Michigan delegation.

Governor Snyder talked about Republican hopes of turning Michigan to a red state. But the  Democrats in Charlotte will likely have something to say about that.

Graham tells us the delegates in Charlotte are optimistic, but they know they have some work to do to get people to the polls in November.

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Politics & Government
2:18 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Stateside: Gov. Snyder says Michigan could go for Romney

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at a Univ. of Michigan basketball game.
Facebook

Cyndy spoke with Michigan Governor Snyder for Thursday’s premiere show.

The Governor is just back from the Republican National Convention and told Cyndy that he thinks Michigan could go for Republican Mitt Romney in November.

“There are good chances and I told that to their [the Romney] campaign,” Snyder said.

He noted the major sweep for Republicans – both statewide and nationally – in 2010 as an example of the GOP making headways in the state.

Snyder also says he doesn’t plan to say negative things about President Obama during the presidential campaign.

“Public service is a major challenge on anyone,” Snyder said. “We need to partner with the federal government and local government and we want to work in a positive, constructive way. I don’t believe in doing negative activities,and I stick to the positive side of things.”

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

Politics & Government
5:43 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Obama buttons, socks, and cozies: At the DNC souvenir stand

Buttons for sale at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Michigan delegates are meeting and debating and planning at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

But the delegates are also buying stuff.

One of the things you find at these political conventions are souvenirs. 

I pulled Michelle Evans Pejokovich off the cash register for a moment to tell us what they're hawking.

"We have t-shirts, iPhone covers, car magnets, bracelets, bangles, cuff links, t-shirts, tote bags, runway for change," said Pejokovich.

Some of the other items for sale:

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Newsmaker Interviews
3:10 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Get out and vote, say Democrats, Michigan a battle ground state

Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Michigan delegates are at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this week. Michigan Radio’s Lester Graham is covering the event, and gave us his impressions about this year’s convention.

Graham said there’s some concern about whether there is enough enthusiasm to get the vote out for President Obama this year, as opposed to four years ago.

“Michigan Democrats seem to be convinced that if they can get the vote out, they’ll be doing fine, that Michigan will be a blue state again, and that Barack Obama will be re-elected as President,” he said.

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Politics & Government
4:16 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

Biden rallies labor workers in Detroit

Biden takes the stage at Detroit's Labor Day parade
Kate Wells

Vice President Joe Biden took the spotlight at Detroit’s Labor Day parade. It's one more sign that the auto bailout is shaping up as a central theme of the Obama-Biden campaign.

Last week Republican nominee Mitt Romney asked Americans if they were better off today than four years ago. Now comes part of the Democrats’ response: you sure are if you’re an auto worker.

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Politics & Government
4:01 pm
Sat September 1, 2012

Romney campaign commits to Michigan "until the end"

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaking at the RNC in Tampa, Florida
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Romney campaign says it plans to actively campaign In Michigan “until the end”.  But there is one major campaign component that Romney officials haven’t committed to yet.  Four years ago, the John McCain campaign pulled out of Michigan a month before the presidential election. State Republican leaders blamed that decision for hurting GOP turnout in Michigan in 2008.  Katie Gage says that won’t happen this year.  She’s a deputy director for the Romney campaign. Gage says the Romney campaign will be in Michigan “until the end”, with phone banks, local campaign offices and mailings.

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Politics & Government
10:12 am
Fri August 31, 2012

Commentary: Post-conventional wisdom

The Republican National Convention is over. The Democratic National Convention is about to begin. And unless something unexpected happens next week, my guess is that the world will little note nor long remember what anybody did at either gathering.

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It's Just Politics
2:36 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Red state? Blue state? Taking a look at Michigan's (political) identity crisis

It's a "swing-state" edition of It's Just Politics this week. The big political question in the mitten-state currently seems to be "Is Michigan a true battleground - a swing state - in this year's presidential race?" You certainly would not be blamed for thinking so considering all of the campaign love that Michigan got this week.

Vice President Joe Biden was in Detroit on Wednesday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was in West Michigan yesterday campaigning on behalf of fellow Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and, just today, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan visited Commerce Township.

Are we a (politically) fickle state?

This level of attention would seem to suggest that Michigan is a battleground state alongside  those perpetual swingers: Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Colorado. There are certainly reasons to believe why this could be the case, even though Michigan has gone for the Democratic nominee in the last five presidential cycles. But, if you look back even further, the five cycles before that, Michigan voted for the Republican presidential candidate every time.

It would appear that we are a fickle state. Michigan may be blue, but it elects Republicans in statewide races all the time: Governor Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson – just to name a few. And, even while Democrat Jennifer Granholn was governor, Attorney General Mike Cox and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land were both Republicans.

Interestingly enough, Michigan’s record tilts more heavily toward sending Democrats to Washington D.C.. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow are, of course, Democrats. And, in this election cycle, Republican Senate nominee Pete Hoekstra hopes to alter that trend, like Spence Abraham did –albeit for just one term – in 1994.

What do the polls say?

In this year's race, President Obama’s generally been given the edge in most polls in the state, even though Mitt Romney was born in Michigan and his father was governor here. But, just because he can claim "native-son" status, the Romney name does not always equal ballot magic. Romney's brother, Scott Romney, lost his reelection bid to the Michigan State University and his mother Lenore Romney failed in her U.S. Senate bid back in 1970. A former sister in law, Ronna, who ran with the Romney name also lost a Senate race.

A poll was released this week by Foster McCollum White and Associates for the Fox TV station in Detroit that gave Romney a four point lead over President Obama; and a slight lead for Pete Hoesktra over Senator Debbie Stabenow.

But, then, another poll was released this week that put President Obama and Senator Stabenow in the lead. So, it begs the question - which poll is right? The reality is there’s no objective measure for regular folks to use to judge the credibility of a poll. The only reality to compare it to is… other polls.

Is Michigan a swinging state?

So, aside from the polls - the question remains: are we a swing state or not? It would seem if the presidential campaigns didn’t think Michigan was relevant to them in November then they wouldn't be spending so much time here. But, one can argue that there are a whole lot of other reasons why candidates visit a place. Certainly, persuading voters is a big one. Keeping the base energized is another - especially in a year like this when it seems like most people have made up their minds who they want, or who they don’t want in the White House.

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Politics & Government
7:21 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Biden in Detroit: 'General Motors is alive, Osama bin Laden is dead'

Vice President Joe Biden warns that if Mitt Romney is elected President, the country will return to the “failed policies” that caused a near-economic collapse in 2008.

Biden rallied supporters at Detroit’s Renaissance High School Wednesday. It was a stop on a brief campaign swing through Michigan that also included a fundraiser in West Bloomfield.

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Politics & Government
4:39 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Small business owners in Michigan voice support for Romney's middle class plan

Mitt Romney in Holland, Michigan for a campaign stop in June. Today Romney was in Colorado to highlight his plan to strengthen the middle class.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney is refocusing his tax plan to strengthen the middle class. Romney was in Colorado Thursday to outline his plan, which included points that have been previously released.

In Michigan and other states the campaign lined up several small business owners to share their support for Romney.

Tyce Holst owns Taylor Rental and Party Plus, a rental store in Holland that employs 10 full time workers. Holst says the recession forced him to lay off two employees.

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Education
1:22 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Michigan's graduates cope with mounting student loan debt

National student debt
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Students at Michigan's five largest universities sought more loans to pay for college, according to a Detroit Free Press database

These students will join recent graduates around the country whose outstanding private and federal education debts have topped $1 trillion, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. According to the data, as of 2010, students in Michigan have the 11th highest average debt of any state.

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Offbeat
12:04 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Online identity theft scam poses as Obama, lands in metro Detroit

user cohdra MorgueFile.com

If you get an email from President Obama, saying he wants to pay your electric bill, it's best to delete it.

A countrywide email and text message scam in which the sender offers to pay the recipient's utility bills through a new federal program in exchange for sensitive identity information has hit metro Detroit.

And some are taking the bait, reports The Detroit News' Charles E. Ramirez:

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Opinion
1:16 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

The President and the Chief Justice: An ironic history

Charles Brown

Of all of the hyper-partisan episodes in the long political career of President Barack Obama, there is one that strikes me as being historically ironic.

In 2005, the then-junior Senator from Illinois voted against the confirmation of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. as Chief Justice of United States Supreme Court. It turned out to be Justice Roberts whose actions on that court saved President Obama’s signature healthcare legislation.

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Commentary
12:45 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Commentary: The Health Care Decision

Last night I was thinking of a moment in American history not that long ago, when a newly elected conservative Republican President had to choose a new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The president was neither a scholar, a lawyer, nor an intellectual, and his choice filled the legal community with dismay. He picked a former governor and failed vice presidential candidate who had never served a day as a judge.

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Commentary
10:00 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Commentary: Baseball and Politics

You may not have realized this, but the best thing President Obama may have going for him in November is that the Detroit Tigers are having a pretty disappointing season.

That may sound nuts to you, but there is documented evidence of this:  Throughout history, whenever the Tigers have done spectacularly well in an election year, the Republicans almost always win. When they’ve disappointed fans, the Democrats usually triumph.

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