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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

April 30, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Monday Eye Openers: Gingrich Steps Back; Obama Plays it Cool

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich (Photo courtesy of

Gingrich Bids Campaign Adieu…Kinda
Newt Gingrich has not run the most conventional of presidential campaigns. And it seems that Newt isn’t going to be changing his ways, even as he exits the election.

In the wake of multiple primary losses last Tuesday, the Gingrich campaign did not publicly say they were stepping aside, but they did say it was “very clear” that Mitt Romney was the nominee, that Gingrich would campaign as a “citizen,” and that “we’re working out the details of our transition.” There is some talk that Gingrich will withdraw on Tuesday or Wednesday.

In the end, it looks like Newt’s campaign is neither completely dead nor remotely alive. This limbo status prompted John Marshall of Talking Points Memo to question: “Newt Of The Living Dead: Is His Zombie Campaign Finally Over?”

Is Obama Too Cool?

Lately, President Barack Obama has gotten a lot of love and a lot of flak for his increasing coolness factor.

Last Tuesday, Obama went on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and “slow jammed the news.” Basically, while The Roots, the house band on the late night comedy show, played some background music and chimed in on occasion along with Fallon, Obama “lyrically” talked about the costs of higher ed.

Screenshot of video of President Barack Obama.

Screenshot of video of President Barack Obama.

I don’t think the slow jam is going to be a go-to campaign strategy for Obama in the future, but on Tuesday night, it was quite effective. Prior to Fallon, Obama started using the Twitter hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate to promote his efforts to make higher ed more affordable. The hashtag had minor success, but when Obama was on Fallon, use of the hashtag skyrocketed.

Obama had made slow jamming about Pell Grants cool.

Karl Rove, however, wasn’t a fan. American Crossroads, where Rove is a Senior Advisor, released a video featuring Obama’s Fallon appearance, and concluded the video with the tagline, “After 4 years of a celebrity president, is your life any better?”

This line of argument is strikingly similar to one used by John McCain back in 2008. McCain played up Obama’s celebrity and compared him to the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post says in 2008 Obama was able to be both cool and seen as competent since he was coming off of 8 years of George W. Bush’s presidency. Now in 2012, Obama has to contend with bring cool and competent in the shadows of his own time in office.

Legislative Briefs
Last Thursday, the Senate passed the Democrats’ version of the Violence Against Women Act by a margin of 68-31, with several Republicans crossing the aisle in support. The original act gave courts and law enforcement the tools to combat domestic violence, and this new act extends the net of coverage to American Indians and homosexuals.

Ron Paul (Photo courtesy of

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is against CISPA (Photo courtesy of

Two potential VP picks for Romney parted ways on the act. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted against the bill, while Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) voted for it. The act now moves on to the GOP-led House.

Also last Thursday, the House passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) with a bipartisan vote of 248-168. Proponents of CISPA say it will help private companies and the government defend and protect their networks by sharing information about potential security threats.

Opponents see it as an attack on privacy. In a widely circulated statement, Michelle Richardson, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel, says “Cybersecurity does not have to mean abdication of Americans’ online privacy. As we’ve seen repeatedly, once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there’s no going back. We encourage the Senate to let this horrible bill fade into obscurity.” Presidential candidate Ron Paul calls the bill, “Big Brother writ large,” and has said it would turn Facebook and Google into “government spies.”

Follow Lindsey Meeks on Twitter: @L_Meeks

Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, CISPA, George W. Bush


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