President Barack Obama will host Mitt Romney for a private lunch at the White House on Thursday, their first meeting since Obama defeated him in this month’s presidential election.
The encounter follows Obama’s promise, in the aftermath of the bitterly fought November 6 election, to consult the former Republican governor of Massachusetts by the end of the year. It also comes amid Obama’s efforts to work out with congressional leaders a way to avoid a looming “fiscal cliff” that could push the U.S. economy back into recession.
“Governor Romney will have a private lunch at the White House with President Obama in the private dining room,” the White House said of the meeting, which will be closed to the media. “It will be the first opportunity they have had to visit since the election.”
Obama’s talks with Romney will be sandwiched between a series of events this week in which he is making his case to Americans to raise taxes on wealthy Americans while extending tax cuts for the middle class – an approach that his former Republican rival strongly opposed during the campaign.
Obama’s Democrats and their Republican foes remain deadlocked over dramatic, year-end tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff that will kick in unless a deal is struck.
Seeking to make good on his post-election pledge to reach across the political aisle, Obama told a November 14 news conference he wanted to “sit down and talk” to Romney to hear his ideas and see whether they could work together.
Obama said he could envision a future role in public service for Romney but had no specific “assignment” for him.
Romney, in a conference call with donors after the election, was widely reported to have said that Obama won by using targeted initiatives to reward specific constituencies, including African-Americans, Latinos and young people.
Obama, who won a decisive victory after a bruising campaign, had sought to depict Romney as out of touch with ordinary Americans and intent on shielding the rich from higher taxes.
Romney had accused Obama of failed economic policies and wasteful spending to promote big government.
“Don’t get too worked up about the latest polling. While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly,” said Romney campaign pollster Neil Newhouse.
In his “State of the Race” memo, Newhouse argues that there are three sets of numbers that will ultimately affect the way people will vote in November: unemployment trends, how many Americans are looking for work, and how many are on food stamps.
“President Obama is the only president in modern American history to stand before the American people asking for re-election with this many Americans struggling to find work,” Newhouse writes. “The key numbers in this election are the 43 straight months of 8% or higher unemployment, the 23 million Americans struggling to find work, and the 47 million Americans who are on food stamps.” “The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race.”
Following last week’s Democratic convention in North Carolina, a series of national polls showed Obama edging ahead of his Republican rival and a survey in the must-win swing state of Ohio put him five points clear.
Newhouse, however, argued that Romney was still the preferred candidate on the crucial issue of the economy and that all the signs pointed to a tight race in which the former Massachusetts governor had a money advantage.
The message was seen as an attempt to shore up support for the Republican candidate after some disappointing polls and after Obama outraised Romney in August for the first time in four months.
Newhouse said Romney’s supporters were more enthusiastic and that the campaign had crossed a 20 million volunteer threshold as they deploy an all-out “Ground Game” across the key states in the November 6 election.
“Mitt Romney will be the next president,” he said. “The outcome of this race will ultimately be determined in favor of governor Romney because he has the better leadership skills, the better record, and the better vision for where he wants to take the country.
“In short, the combination of having the superior candidate, being in a margin-of-error race with an incumbent president, having a cash advantage, and having an unprecedented grassroots effort and a winning message on the economy ensure that Americans will make a change in leadership in Washington on November 6.”
He results though may not be as bad as they suggest, The Gallup seven day tracking poll of 3050 registered voters, that has a margin of error of 2.0 percent, samples Democrats by about a 8 percent margin based on calculations from the reported data. If the data is properly weighted for the partisan makeup of the electorate, the data from this poll unskewed would show a Romney lead of 49 percent to 44. By skewing the poll, it gives Obama a five point lead instead of showing Romney leading by the same total.
The Gallup tracking poll has Democrats favoring Obama by a 90 percent to seven percent margin while Republicans surveyed in the poll favor Romney by a 91 percent to six percent margin. Independent voters to support Romney by a 43 percent to 42 percent edge. The significance of this is, somewhere along the way the weighting and sampling used by Gallup appears to have changed. The polling output resulting from this change demonstrates an apparent change that may not have happened at all, resulting in the showing of a Barack Obama post-convention “bounce” much larger than what might have actually occurred.
President Barack Obama’s campaign and its Democratic partners raised more than $114 million in August, narrowly beating Republican Mitt Romney for the first time in months as the race for the White House enters its final stretch.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and fellow Republicans raised more than $111 million in the same month, continuing a string of high-dollar hauls that has equipped him well for the last two months of the presidential campaign.
While Obama shattered every fundraising record in 2008 after the becoming the first presidential candidate to opt out of a federal matching funds system, Romney has outpaced him significantly on the fundraising front this year.
That has added to a cash advantage on the Republican side that is helped by the success of outside groups, or Super PACs, that have spent lavishly in support of the Republican candidate.
The Obama campaign appeared to stumble in July, raising $75 million to Romney’s $101 million. That changed in August.
The Democratic incumbent broadened his donor base with more than 317,000 donors who had never given money before, said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in a statement.
“The key to fighting back against the special interests writing limitless checks to support Mitt Romney is growing our donor base, and we did substantially in the month of August,” he said. “That is a critical downpayment on the organization we are building across the country – the largest grassroots campaign in history.”
Romney, the Republican National Committee and state Republican parties reported that together they have about $168.5 million in cash at their disposal. Republicans argued over the weekend that Obama had spent nearly $100 million to “poison” voters’ views of Romney, but polls show a tight race as evidence that they have withstood the advertising onslaught Obama’s campaign launched early in the year.
“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are offering bold solutions to our country’s problems. That is why we are seeing such tremendous support from donors across the country,” Romney’s national finance chairman Spencer Zwick and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus said in a joint statement.
Obama’s advisers say they are confident they spent their campaign cash well by seeking to define Romney over the summer months, but the discrepancy in available funds is a top concern.
The average donation the Obama team collected in August was $58 and 98 percent of donations were for $250 or less. It is the first month Obama’s campaign and its Democratic partners have broken the $100 million monthly threshold this year.
First Lady Michelle Obama made the hard sell on Tuesday that the change her husband Barack Obama championed in his White House campaign four years ago has proven difficult but urged voters to give him four more years to fix the struggling U.S. economy.
“He reminds me that we are playing a long game here, and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once,” she told the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. “But eventually we get there. We always do.”
The popular first lady was the highest-profile advocate for her husband in the first of three days of speeches that will conclude with Obama’s address on Thursday to accept the Democratic presidential nomination to face Mitt Romney on November 6.
Obama’s economic argument got a little tougher on Tuesday. New surveys showed U.S. manufacturing shrank at its sharpest clip in more than three years last month, while exports and hiring in the sector also slumped.
The president is trying to use his convention to recapture the magic that carried him to victory in 2008 but he admitted to a Colorado television reporter that he would give himself a grade of “incomplete” for his first term.
The First-Lady spoke a week after Romney’s wife, Ann, hurled some zingers at Obama in promoting her husband at the Republican convention in Tampa. “For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives,” Michelle Obama said, perhaps a reference to multimillionaire Romney’s past as a private equity executive.
The Democrats even choreographed a swipe at the former Massachusetts governor from beyond the grave, by playing a video of late Senator Ted Kennedy getting the better of Romney during a debate in the 1994 election campaign for Kennedy’s Senate seat.
One of the most exuberant attackers was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who recently made a controversial claim that Romney had paid no income taxes for 10 years, which was shot down by Romney.
Reid took up the tax argument again.
“Mitt Romney says we should take his word that he paid his fair share? His word? Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both,” Reid said.
The Democrats highlighted Obama’s successes during his first term – from ordering the mission that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to the bailout of the auto industry – while reminding voters of the difficulties Obama faced when he took office.
“Four years ago, America stood on the brink of a depression,” said Julian Castro, mayor of the Texas city of San Antonio and a rising star in the party. “Despite incredible odds and united Republican opposition, our president took action. And now we’ve seen 4.5 million new jobs.”
Republicans complain that the Democrats are trying to concentrate on women’s issues and other topics so as to avoid talking about the economy.
“On the first night of President Obama’s convention, not a single speaker uttered the words ‘Americans are better off than they were four years ago,’” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
Obama went into the convention getting high marks from voters on personal attributes but facing doubts about his handling of the U.S. economy, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.
Overall, Romney led Obama 46 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.
With Democrats anxious about the tight race, Mrs. Obama urged party activists to rally around the president.
“We must work like never before, and we must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward, my husband, our president, Barack Obama,” she said.
Obama will make his acceptance speech in a 74,000-capacity football stadium on Thursday night.
Romney is ceding the political spotlight to Obama and staying off the campaign trail for most of this week. He spent Tuesday in Vermont, preparing for the three presidential debates that begin on October 3.
Former President Bill Clinton, who presided over economic boom times in his 1990s White House years, is the main Wednesday speaker.
President Barack Obama enters Convention week tied with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Sunday, leaving the incumbent an opportunity to edge ahead of his opponent at the Democratic National Convention.
With the Democrats set to nominate Obama for a second term this week in Charlotte, North Carolina, the race to the presidential election on November 6 is all knotted up at 45 percent for Obama and 45 percent for Romney among likely voters, the survey found.
The findings were from the seventh day of a rolling online poll conducted for Reuters by Ipsos to judge voters’ attitudes around the political conventions.
A week ago, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said Obama led Romney 46 percent to 42 percent. The Republican’s own convention last week in Tampa, Florida, gave him a small boost, vaulting him into an even position with Obama but no further.
Now Obama, who is to accept the nomination on Thursday, is poised to get his own convention bounce.
While each candidate won overwhelming support from voters in his own political party, Romney was leading Obama among all-important independent voters by 33 percent to 28 percent, the poll found.
Romney’s improvement on key attributes continued on an upward trajectory in the poll. On such issues as he “represents America,” “is a good person,” and “is eloquent,” Romney was essentially tied with Obama. On who is more likable, Romney had improved but still trailed Obama 32 percent to 48 percent, the poll found.
Republicans used their convention to play up the former private equity executive’s family and personal life. For Romney, one of the big tests of the Republican convention was to make him more of a human, make him a little more personable, make him more likable. This they succeeded in doing very well.
There has been no real movement in terms of candidate perceptions on any substantive policy areas such as healthcare, or even on which candidate is better in protecting American jobs. The poll suggested voters are waiting to hear what Obama has to say about the most pressing issue of the campaign, the U.S. economy and 8.3 percent unemployment.
With fewer than 70 days until Election Day, Obama, 51, and Romney, 65, have zeroed in on fewer than a dozen battleground states. After Iowa, the president plans stops over the next few days in Colorado, Ohio and Virginia before flying to Charlotte, N.C., to accept renomination. The five states combined, all won by Obama four years ago, hold 61 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.
Romney will spend this week starting to prepare for his October debates against Obama, campaign strategist Kevin Madden told reporters yesterday. The former Massachusetts governor will huddle in Vermont with advisers including Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a veteran of debate preparation for Republican presidential nominees, to get ready for the three faceoffs, Madden said.
Asked whether the campaign was concerned about the prospect that Romney would surrender the media spotlight to Obama during the Democratic convention if he took a break from campaigning, Madden said: “We’ve spent a good deal of time on the campaign trail. We’ll still have surrogates out.”
The survey said 76 percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track and 73 percent have a similar belief about jobs in the United States.
On the president’s signature issue of his first term, healthcare, 62 percent believe the healthcare system is on the wrong track. Obama led an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system that Republicans deeply opposed.
Interest in the political conventions is high. The poll found 82 percent of registered voters have seen, heard, or read at least something about the Republican convention.
But this dropped to 73 percent among independents and 66 percent among non-aligned registered voters, those who are undecided about how to vote or who say they will not vote.
The rolling poll measures sentiment during the two-week convention season by polling over the previous four days.
For the survey, a sample of 1,441 American registered voters was interviewed online. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for all respondents.
Republican nominee Mitt Romney campaigned in the swing state of Ohio on Saturday, where he likened US President Barack Obama’s promises on job-creation to that of a failing sports coach.
Romney, fresh from being crowned the party’s official candidate for the White House election, unfavorably compared the job pledges made by Obama in 2008 against his subsequent record in office.
“One of the promises he made was he was going to create more jobs, and today, 23 million people are out of work or stopped looking for work or are underemployed,” Romney said at an event in Cincinnati.
“Let me tell you, if you have a coach that’s 0-23 million, you say it’s time to get a new coach.”
Stubbornly high US unemployment, currently 8.3 percent, and a bumpy economic recovery are widely seen as the biggest hurdles to Obama’s hopes of winning the national vote on November 6.
After the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, Romney and his White House running mate Paul Ryan are seeking to maintain momentum as Obama and his Democratic Party prepare for their convention starting Monday.
Ohio is a key battleground state which, along with Florida and Pennsylvania, is considered crucial to the outcome of the election.
Recent polls have shown Obama leading in Ohio, a major coal producer. But Romney is not far behind and is fighting hard — he has visited the state and mentioned it several times this year around his pledge to expand domestic energy production, a tactic he reiterated on Saturday.
“Paul Ryan and I have a plan that’s going to get America working again. It’s going to create about 12 million new jobs in America and about 460,000 jobs right here in Ohio,” Romney said, touting his energy policy.
Obama, meanwhile, left the White House on Saturday and headed to Iowa — the state where his ultimately successful first run for the presidency kicked into life four years ago.
The president was due to speak in Urbandale, close to Des Moines, as part of a four-day trip through swing states in the lead-up to his re-nomination at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
While Romney is hoping for a ratings bounce after the Republican convention, the focus of the political action has now shifted to the White House incumbent.
Obama’s top advisor David Axelrod said Friday that the president would use the Democratic convention to deliver the specifics that Romney’s speech on Thursday, which he said was packed with personal anecdotes and patriotic platitudes, lacked.
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