Targeting Your Message, Money And Mobile

The top stories of 2012 tell us that a candidate’s own voice is still the most important communication channel for any campaign to master. The consistently articulate candidate has a formidable tool to push back against negative messaging. For those candidates who can’t stay on message, don’t have a message or have that special talent for mangling the message, there is an inexhaustible supply of aspiring videographers looking for the next “gotcha” clip.

Now that you’ve seen what happens to experienced candidates with debate coaches and media handlers, you may want to think twice about your of-the-cuff remarks at the local diner. In the live-streaming media environment, public events and even many private moments are just a YouTube upload away from worldwide broadcast.

Read more from Steve Pearson and Ford O'Connell at Campaigns & Elections


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Immigration Reform A Top Priority For Obama After Fiscal Cliff

If Republicans think President Obama is going to railroad them on the "fiscal cliff," just wait - because he plans to push immigration reform early in 2013. My advice to Republicans is don't want for Obama's to make the first move on this issue, but take control of immigration reform and make it a GOP issue. The Los Angeles Times' Brian Bennett has more:

As soon as the confrontation over fiscal policy winds down, the Obama administration will begin an all-out drive for comprehensive immigration reform, including seeking a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants, according to officials briefed on the plans.

While key tactical decisions are still being made, President Obama wants a catch-all bill that would also bolster border security measures, ratchet up penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants, and make it easier to bring in foreign workers under special visas, among other elements.

Senior White House advisors plan to launch a social media blitz in January, and expect to tap the same organizations and unions that helped get a record number of Latino voters to reelect the president.

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Florida's Charlie Christ Becomes A Democrat

Clearly Charlie Christ is a political opportunist and Florida Democrats are signaling that they will stop at nothing to defeat Republican Governor Rick Scott. The Tampa Bay Times' Adam C. Smith has more:

It was just a matter of time. Charlie Crist is becoming a Democrat.

He did so during a Christmas reception at the White House, where President Barack Obama greeted the news with a fist bump for the man who had a higher profile campaigning for Obama's re-election this year than any Florida Democrat.

The widely expected move positions Crist, 56, for another highly anticipated step: announcing his candidacy for governor, taking on Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and an untold number of Democrats who would challenge him for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Crist has been registered with no party affiliation since the spring of 2010, when his Republican candidacy for U.S. Senate was fizzling against Republican upstart Marco Rubio. Since losing that race, he has been steadily inching toward the Democratic Party, first when his wife, Carole, switched her affiliation to Democrat and later when he threw himself into Obama's re-election campaign, earning a prominent speaking slot during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

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Obama's Selfish Data Play

[Democrats] are finding what Republicans have long known — that, in Obama’s world, politics is not a team sport. 

“[They are] reflexively unhelpful,” said one Democrat strategist of the Obama team.

But Why? Why wouldn’t President Obama help a Terry McAuliffe or help Democrats defend any of the 20 Senate seats up in 2014? There seem to be two basic reasons: He wants to use his lists, which measure everything from political preferences to TV viewing habits, to further his legislative agenda, and he wants to become a kingmaker.
Evidence of the first came this week when top campaign aide Stephanie Cutter sent an email to supporters asking for stories on how a $2,000 tax increase — which would occur if we go over the fiscal cliff — would hurt their lives. Evidence of the second came in Charlotte, N.C., when Bill Clinton delivered the most effective speech of either convention on behalf of President Obama. 
You see, the president wants to identify candidates who would be not only Democratic officeholders but Obamacratic — loyal to him and his ideas. And Bill is hoping Hillary can fit that bill. 
It may not end this way. President Obama may become that team player. He may share the data and otherwise help candidates from coast to coast. But don’t be surprised if that doesn’t occur.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at The Hill

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"Will DeMint's Exit Impact The Tea Party?"

Having served as a Heritage Foundation intern and as a reporter who covered Jim DeMint, this is a big win for The Heritage Foundation and the conservative movement.

DeMint’s departure will certainly create a void in tea party Senate leadership, but there are enough qualified replacements (Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Ted Cruz) waiting in the wings to take up that mantle of leadership.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at Politico's "The Arena"

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21 States Reject ObamaCare Exchanges On Cost, Rules

From Investor's Business Daily:

ObamaCare's subsidized insurance exchanges are supposed to be up and running in little more than a year, putting a key piece of the federal health care law into action.

But it's unclear that will happen, especially with a growing number of states saying they don't want the cost and regulatory headaches.


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Obama Has No Intention Of Cutting Spending

Believe it or not, the word of the week is not "cliff." Or "fiscal." It is "unserious."

Both sides in the negotiations over how to avoid the fiscal cliff—President Obama and House Republicans—have called the other side's proposal "unserious." There is always some posturing in these types of negotiations, and some of the rhetoric surely falls into one of the above categories. But the fact is, President Obama's proposal clearly shows he is not serious about reducing spending.

As House Speaker John Boehner said on Fox News last Sunday, 10,000 baby boomers retire every day. They know a nation that borrows 42 cents of every dollar it spends no longer can credibly promise them a public pension and reasonable healthcare. They may disagree on how to fix this, but they know the present situation is untenable, and more taxes and more spending are not the answer.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report

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Poll: Republicans Likely To Shoulder Majority Blame If Country Goes Over 'Fiscal Cliff'

From The Washington Post:

A majority of Americans say that if the country goes over the fiscal cliff on Dec. 31, congressional Republicans should bear the brunt of the blame, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll.

While 53 percent of those surveyed say the GOP would (and should) lose the fiscal cliff blame game, just 27 percent say President Obama would be deserving of more of the blame. Roughly one in 10 (12 percent) volunteer that both sides would be equally to blame.

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Why No Talk Of Clinton-Era Spending Levels?

As we careen towards the "fiscal cliff," all we hear about is Clinton-era tax rates. Let's talk Clinton-era spending levels. From Investor's Business Daily:

Talk of Clinton-era tax rates ignores the fact that the former president, working with a GOP Congress, cut spending as a share of GDP and produced four balanced budgets by focusing on growth, not spending. Under Clinton, federal spending averaged 19.8% of GDP. In contrast, spending under Obama over the past four years has averaged 24.4% of GDP. Revenues from Clinton-era tax rates were actually used to pay down the national debt and produce four successive budget surpluses. Obama's tax increases will simply fund new spending.

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Bush Tax Cuts Narrowed Budget Gap

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