Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) infuriated Republicans during the campaign with his harsh partisan attacks and now faces the delicate task of mending his relationship with the GOP.
Some Republicans say Reid poisoned his relationship with their party by waging controversial attacks against GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. They were most angered by Reid’s charge that Romney had not paid taxes in ten years, attributing the information to an anonymous source.
Reid said Romney, a fellow Mormon, “sullied” their shared faith after the GOP nominee told a group of donors that 47 percent of Americans suffered from a sense of victimhood and mooched off the government. Reid declared in the closing days of the campaign that Senate Democrats would not work with Romney to pass his “severely conservative” agenda.
One GOP strategist said the pressure to get a deficit-reduction deal is too high to let bitter feelings left over from the campaign get in the way. Memories of Reid’s harsh attacks could complicate progress on other issues.
“When there’s less pressure to get a deal done, some of the stuff he pulled on the campaign trail against Romney could come back to haunt him,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Somewhere down the line Republicans may pick a time to get even with Harry Reid because he went off the reservation on some of that stuff. In politics, what goes around comes around.”
Not a "clear" victory for Democrats, but certainly a broad one. Remember, Republicans still control 30 governors' mansions, a majority of state legislatures and control the U.S. House of Representatives. We still live in a center-right country, but now is certainly a time of reflection for the GOP. They must use this time wisely or else Republicans will find itself on the losing end of future elections. From The Economist:
The Democrats won 50.6% of the votes for president, to 47.8% for the Republicans; 53.6% of the votes for the Senate, to 42.9% for the Republicans; and…49% of the votes for the House, to 48.2% for the Republicans (some ballots are still being counted).
So how do Republicans recover?
They get their first chance this week, when Congress returns to address the fiscal cliff. They need not pre-emptively agree to raise taxes, but they do need to ensure Speaker of the House John Boehner has enough room to negotiate so the blame—if this fails—won't rest entirely on him. Americans understand that he and the president have a complicated relationship, and they don't demand capitulation. But they do demand reasonableness. Republicans must appear reasonable, and they must appear to negotiate in good faith.
For Republicans, the blame game is in full force. It was communications. It was mechanics of the campaign. It was outreach. It was social conservatives. It was economic conservatives. If Republicans kicked everyone out of the party the blamers suggest, there wouldn't be much of a party left.
On the other hand, it can't keep losing female voters by double digits, the youth vote by 20 points, and Hispanics by 40 and hope to win the White House.
[Simply put, the] Republicans' present approach doesn't add up or make sense or portend future electoral success.
Just about everybody agrees Washington is a gridlocked mess. But who’s the man to fix it? After two years of brawling and brinkmanship between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans, more voters trust Mitt Romney to break the stalemate, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows.
Romney’s message — a vote for Obama is a vote for more gridlock — seems to be getting through. Almost half of likely voters, 47 percent, think the Republican challenger would be better at ending the logjam, compared with 37 percent for Obama.
With the race charging into its final week, Romney is pushing that idea. He increasingly portrays himself as a get-things-done, work-with-everybody pragmatist, in hopes of convincing independent voters that he can overcome Washington’s bitter partisanship. The AP-GfK poll shows the race in a virtual dead heat, with Romney at 47 percent to Obama’s 45 percent, a difference within the margin of sampling error.
From Pew Research Center:
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 24-28 among 1,678 registered voters, including 1,495 likely voters, finds that about a third of all voters (32%) say they have been contacted by the Obama campaign (11%) or both campaigns (21%), while about as many (31%) say they have been contacted by the Romney campaign (10%) or both (21%). The survey was conducted before Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S.
Similarly, among voters in the nine battleground states, nearly identical percentages say they have been contacted by both campaigns (51% by Obama or both, 52% by Romney or both.)
As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie copes with the devastation that Superstorm Sandy wreaked on his state, some Republicans fear Christie may have thrown President Obama a last-minute political lifeline by praising the president for his response to the storm.
Christie, a keynote speaker at this year's Republican National Convention, greeted Obama warmly on Wednesday after Marine One touched down on the Jersey Shore so the president could survey the storm damage.
The governor praised the federal government's help in coping with the disaster, saying the job done by the president was "outstanding" and "wonderful."
Conservatives took note of Christie's photo-op with Obama, in addition to what appeared to be a dismissive attitude on the governor's part about a possible visit to New Jersey by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Others suggested Christie embraced Obama in preparation for a potentially difficult re-election bid he'll face in 2013 in a traditionally Democratic state. Christie may face popular Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat.
"I think Chris Christie is doing what is in Chris Christie's best interest," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told The Washington Examiner. "He has constituents to worry about, and he's up for re-election."
While they differ with former Massachusetts governor Romney on many policies and suspect his conservative credentials, they are working independently to help him win over undecided voters in swing states such as Ohio.
Fiercely opposed to the reelection of Democratic President Barack Obama, conservatives are trying to employ technology they used successfully earlier this year in a recall vote in Wisconsin to help Romney overcome Obama's narrow Ohio lead in the polls.
"I'm not doing this for Romney or the Republicans," said Chris Littleton, who is training some 50 volunteers to use the app. "I'm doing this because I'm against Obama."
Independent groups wandering around battleground states pose some risks for the Romney campaign. In the age of YouTube and Twitter, some officials worry that a canvasser could be caught on tape saying something too extreme for mainstream voters.
But asked about the Tea Party efforts, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said: "Voters across the political spectrum are supporting Mitt Romney because they understand he is a leader who can deliver real change and a real recovery."
"The Romney campaign shouldn't really worry about why folks are out there trying to fire the other guy," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell. "His campaign should be happy to have all the help it can get."
U.S. voters have not been quite as engaged in the 2012 election as in the two that preceded it, even before Sandy. However, their stated voting intentions and reported thought given to the election suggest turnout would likely not revert to the lower levels of 1996 and 2000. If turnout does come in lower this year -- that is, it looks more like 1996 and 2000 and less like 1992, 2004, and 2008 -- that may be another effect of Sandy in addition to flooding and widespread power outages.
It was all going so perfectly for President Barack Obama.
He had painted his opponent, former Gov. Mitt Romney, as an out-of-touch rich guy with elevators for his wife's multiple Cadillacs and bank accounts throughout the Caribbean. Romney had no plan—or at least none he was willing to discuss with voters. He was bellicose and callow on foreign policy. And The Groups—women, Hispanics, African-Americans, union members, public employees— were lined up so solidly behind the president he absolutely could not lose.
And then, on October 3 at about 9:04 p.m., Romney took to the stage in Denver and reset the campaign. He was not out of touch at all. He made sense. He had solid ideas, a sense of hope. He connected. He laughed. He seemed confident. The president looked down at his notes. He came across as not wanting to be there. He offered little reason to give him another term.
Mr. Gaffe went from stepping on rakes to stepping up his attacks, and America seemed to fall in line. Now, we're seeing the end games, and they look quite different from what President Obama expected a month ago.
It's so different he felt compelled to put out his own plan—a 20-page coloring book full of warmed-over proposals and ideas with no chance of passage. Who does this? Who interjects this into the conversation now, in the closing days of a campaign when it can't possibly be received positively by any but the most hard-core supporters? Not a confident candidate; that much is certain.
It all turned the night of the debate. But as Fox News' Chris Stirewalt notes, it took more than that phenomenal debate performance in Denver to bring the race to even. In fact, it took a flawed campaign strategy on the part of Team Obama. The Chicago strategy—bury the opponent in negative ads and character assassination, then come on all nice at the end—was found wanting.
If Romney ultimately becomes the 45th president of the United States, the political set will be talking about Obama's flawed campaign strategy for decades. He had a disastrous Plan A—and no Plan B.