In order for David Perdue, Georgia's Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, to beat Democrat Michelle Nunn in November, he needs to define himself to voters across the Peach State, says Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, who joined Democratic strategist Josh Orton on Newsmax TV’s "America's Forum" on Wednesday.
"He needs to get out there and introduce himself to voters at large," O'Connell advised. "Run his narrative from now until September. He needs people to know who David Perdue is and, frankly, what he needs to do with Michelle Nunn is very simple: tie her to Barack Obama and Harry Reid.
"Nationalize this election, stay on message, and let the pro-GOP political wins of 2014 drag you to victory. Do not get off message, do not get cute . . . and for the love of all that is holy, please do not talk about contraception unless you're for it."
Perdue narrowly beat Rep. Jack Kingston in the Republican primary.
Orton painted Perdue as a wealthy businessman who represents "the type of almost Mitt Romney brand of capitalism."
O'Connell dismissed the characterization, arguing that beating Nunn in the general election isn't rocket science.
"The key here is for David Perdue to stay on message. Do not let Michelle Nunn hide behind her famous last name, and make stands on things that Obama has done that Georgians don't find palatable," he said of former Sen. Sam Nunn's daughter.
"That's the whole key. You actually don't have to do anything. All you have to do is draft the political wins. Do not get yourself caught up in minutiae. That's how Republicans lose."
Watch the video and read more from Melissa Clyne at Newsmax.com
The U.S. immigration crisis has added to the long list of issues that has fired up Republican voters, and could further galvanize the party's base in the lead up to November's Congressional elections, experts said.
Four months before the mid-term elections, the U.S. President Barack Obama administration has been embroiled in numerous scandals, ranging from deaths at government-run veterans' hospitals due to treatment delays to charges of presidential overreach.
To add to those and many other the Republican Party (GOP)'s concerns, a debate over immigration from the U.S. southern border has erupted amid a surge in the number of unaccompanied minors entering the country illegally. The hot button issue represents a bitter divide between the two parties, as Democrats favor amnesty while Republicans regard the border's lax security as another Obama administration's failure.
The issue now tops the list of Americans' concerns, according to a recent Gallup poll, and especially resonates with older, more conservative voters, who tend to vote Republican.
"The longer this southern border crisis drags on, the worse it is for Democrats' hope of holding control of the Senate in 2014," Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua, referring to the very real possibility that Republicans could end up controlling both houses of Congress and render Obama a lame duck.
Indeed, twice as many Republicans cite immigration as a top concern, according to a recent poll, in an election whereby candidates will rely primarily on their base to get out the vote.
"This is an issue that is firing up the Republican base more than it's firing up the Democratic base," O'Connell said.
Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua
GOP strategist Ford O’Connell and Democratic strategist Rick Ungar joined "America's Forum" host John Bachman Wednesday on Newsmax TV to discuss the top political news of the day, including Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren's growing popularity among potential voters.
O'Connell, meanwhile, said Clinton does face a challenge from Warren, and that many Republicans believe she will run for office.
"Rick may not want to hear this, but Elizabeth Warren is the biggest single threat to Hillary capturing the nomination in 2016," said O'Connell. And if Clinton can't "fire up blue collar voters and voters under 30," she may have difficulty defeating Warren.
He said Warren is the candidate most in line with the Democratic Party's base, calling her the "Democrats' version of Ted Cruz," the Texas Republican senator.
Watch the video and read more from Sandy Fitzgerald at Newsmax.com
Since Democrats have shifted further to the left over the years, 2016 White House hopeful Hillary Clinton, a formerly moderate Democrat, is expected to tow the party line to satisfy her Democratic base, experts said.
Clinton, widely viewed as the likely Democratic candidate for 2016, last month kicked off an unofficial public relations campaign with the release of her new book, "Hard Choices," which was followed by nationally televised interviews and public appearances.
But experts said if Clinton wants to avoid a major challenge in the primaries, she will have to lean to the left, as polls show Democrats have moved away from the center in recent years, just as Republicans have shifted right.
"In an ideal world, Hillary Clinton would love to run as a Bill Clinton Democrat. Unfortunately the Democratic Party has moved two steps to the left, and that would not fly today in the way that it would in the 1990s," Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.
He added that Democrats want Clinton to be more in tune with the progressive base, and that's why she is seeing challengers emerge from the party to keep her in lock step with the party base.
Indeed, Democrats are more socially liberal than a decade ago, more supportive of an activist government and more in favor of increased regulation of business, according to a Washington Post op-ed by Andrew Kohut, former president of the Pew Research Center.
Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua
How could someone filled with such promise plunge so far, so fast? How does one go from national icon to national laughingstock?
That’s exactly what has happened to Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee.
Once arguably the GOP’s most charismatic celebrity, Palin is now better known for “thriving in this role of right wing shock jock” as Nicolle Wallace, a former senior adviser for the John McCain-Palin campaign, now puts it.
Even though the majority of Americans want Palin to keep quiet, it doesn’t look like she’ll be drop off the national radar anytime soon.
Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said Palin’s political career is “pretty much over.” But, he said, Palin has realized “she is more powerful as a media personality than a politician … it’s an easier life, you can have more influence and you can make more money.”
Read more from Aliyah Frumin at MSNBC.com
Sen. Rand Paul marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at a ceremony this week honoring the late Maurice Rabb, a renowned ophthalmologist and civil rights leader.
It was part of his aggressive outreach to African-Americans and other nontraditional GOP voters as he works to expand the Republican Party and as he crisscrosses the country laying groundwork for a potential presidential campaign.
It's a community in which he has some fences to mend.
While campaigning for the Senate four years ago, Paul sparked a firestorm for questioning parts of the historic law, especially its underpinnings that place restrictions on private property.
Paul is now considered a likely presidential contender. And as the most active Republican leader in the effort to recruit African-Americans to the GOP, his comments from four years ago have become a thorn in his side.
As Paul works to appeal to African-Americans on the policy front, he'll need to continue sharpening his message skills.
"He learned a very, very valuable lesson: If it's too complicated to explain your position, you're probably in trouble," said GOP strategist Ford O'Connell.
He's tried to clean up and clarify his comments about the Civil Rights Act, and in May 2012, he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he would have voted for the bill in 1964 if he had the chance. He "would have been there marching with Martin Luther King" during the civil rights movement, he said.
From a strategy standpoint, O'Connell said Paul has "gotten a lot better" at talking to the media and it's "wise" for him to be active in appealing to the African-American community, not only for his own political future, but for the Republican Party as a whole.
"His job between now and then is to continue what he's doing with minority outreach and try to bury this every way possible," he said.
Read more from Ashley Killough at CNN.com
Hillary Clinton has an impressive resume - eight years as first lady, eight years as senator, four years as secretary of state and a name recognized worldwide. Her main challenge in the run-up to the 2016 White House race is simply connecting with ordinary Americans, analysts say.
While Clinton came from a middle class upbringing as a small businessman's daughter in Illinois, she has been in the national spotlight since the early 1990s. She and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have earned millions of dollars for speeches and books.
That has opened her up to questions over whether her wealth and status have insulated her from the problems of ordinary Americans, and analysts said her controversial response to a question on that issue earlier this month showed she is rusty in the public relations game.
Others contend that Clinton's wealth could open her up to a challenge from the left wing of her own party, "particularly in this Occupy Wall Street populist era," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.
"If she gets dinged up in the primary ... it could really damage her in the general election," he said, arguing that for Clinton to lose the general election, her Democratic base will have to sour toward her somewhat.
"She's got to find a way to change that narrative," O'Connell said of the perception among some that Clinton's wealth is a barrier in relating to average Americans.
While Democrats view Clinton as empathetic to ordinary Americans, independents are divided over that question, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg survey taken after Clinton made her controversial comments.
Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua