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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Mitt Romney

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December 31, 2012 at 7:00 AM

It’s been epic, see you in 2016

We have filed more than 400 posts on U.S. presidential, state, and local politics over the past 12 months. It’s been an incredible experience as journalists, educators, and citizens. We’re now going to take a break, but we’ll be back in four years for the next presidential rodeo.

On the final day of the South Carolina Republican Party presidential primary, January 21, 2012, Newt Gingrich made several campaign stops — including at this iconic Southern eatery. Photo by David Domke/UW Election Eye.

Nearly one year ago, on Jan. 14, I boarded an airplane with three University of Washington students and headed across the country. Our mission was epic: to spend a week on the ground reporting on the South Carolina 2012 Republican Party presidential primary. It was our first gig for UW Election Eye, a new blog partnership of the UW’s Department of Communication and The Seattle Times.

One week later I had a pretty good idea who was going to win the 2012 presidential election. Arizona congressional representative Trent Franks told me so.

Franks, one of the nation’s most conservative congressional members and a favorite of the tea party movement, was standing by Newt Gingrich’s bus as Gingrich spoke to supporters in his last stop of the state’s primary. A few hours later Gingrich would win his first statewide race in his life — a double-digit victory over Mitt Romney that upended the Republican primary for a time.

Franks was one of the few members of Congress to endorse Gingrich. A former speaker of the House of Representatives, Gingrich does not have many friends in high political places these days. But Franks is one of them, and he was traveling with Gingrich on the campaign trail.

I spoke with Franks for 10 minutes while Gingrich held court inside a restaurant. Franks told me why he supported Gingrich and why Barack Obama had to be defeated. I thanked him for talking with me and turned to walk away.

That’s when Franks surprised me.

He took hold of my arm and said, “Hold on, I’ve got one more thing to say.” I was listening. He stretched out his index finger and said “The 1 percent. We hear a lot about the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Mitt Romney is a caricature of the 1 percent — rich, out of touch, doesn’t understand most of America. If Republicans nominate Romney in the midst of this terrible economic time, we’re going to lose. That’s why I’m here. We will lose if we pick Romney.”

That’s when I knew: If a diehard conservative, a red-blooded Republican who would do anything to get rid of Obama, thought Romney couldn’t win, then Romney almost certainly wouldn’t win.

That moment is one I’ll not forget. It was one of the hundreds of up-close-and-personal experiences, all over America, that defined UW Election Eye.

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Comments | More in Local, National, State | Topics: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, The Seattle Times

November 6, 2012 at 11:50 AM

VIDEO: Possible voter fraud in Pennsylvania — or just voting machine malfunction?

Update: Reports have confirmed that the Pennsylvania voting machine in question has been taken out of commission.  Multiple states across the country have tried to preempt voter fraud this election cycle. Largely driven by Republican legislators, these preventative measures have been decried as attempts at voter suppression, specifically of groups who tend to…

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Comments | More in National, State | Topics: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Pennsylvania

November 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Radio silence: Does the debate over public funding really matter to young voters?

Seattle — Ever since Romney brought up Big Bird in the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, 2012, feathers have been flying. Liberal commentators condemned his desire to cut funding for public broadcasting, arguing that the .0014 percent of the federal budget it takes up is a small price to pay for public broadcasting’s educational returns, while conservatives countered by saying that even this small portion is unnecessary fat, and should be trimmed off the nation’s unbalanced budget.

Ultimately, however, the question is whether young people value public programming enough to make this partisan tiff relevant after the election.

(Photo illustration by Joseph Sutton-Holcomb / UW Election Eye)

Keith Seinfeld is the assistant news director for KPLU. This Seattle-based radio station received $513,392 in 2011 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes funding on behalf of the U.S. government to public TV and radio stations. He said that 45- to 65-year-olds make up the largest proportion of their audience, and that the station often discusses how to connect with millennials during big-picture planning.

“We don’t just want to ride off into the sunset with this baby boom audience,” he said.

KPLU’s aging demographic is typical across the nation. According to an analysis of NPR’s demographic nation-wide, by Arbitron, the average age of the 26.4 million weekly NPR listeners is 49, descending to 40 for NPR.org, and 36 for their podcasts.

It makes you wonder whether the millennial generation (18-35-year-olds) are seriously invested in the programming. In this age of increasingly decentralized independent content, is the centralized, publically-funded broadcast model the bedrock of American media culture, or a fossil?

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Comments | Topics: baby boomers, Barack Obama, Big Bird

November 5, 2012 at 10:00 AM

A European Perspective on the Presidential Race

Some Europeans say that they should be able to vote for President in the United States, because whoever gets elected has a huge impact on the whole world.

SHORELINE — How do people outside the United States perceive the election and the presidential candidates?  Do they follow American politics?  Specifically, do they follow presidential politics?  I thought it might be interesting to get a glimpse of the outside point of view, so I asked.  I spoke with my parents, who live in Finland and are very keen on the news and current events.  I also asked my cousin to report what she observed from Belgium, where she’s lived for many years.

Let’s see what they had to say.

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Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, Belgium, Europe

November 1, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Buzzfeed alleges Romney campaign bought relief supplies at Wal-Mart

The Romney-Ryan campaign suffered a blow today over allegations of another staged photo op, its second in three weeks in the crucial swing state of Ohio. Buzzfeed quotes an anonymous staffer as saying the Romney campaign purchased $5,000 worth of merchandise at an area Wal-Mart to serve as props in a hastily-planned “Relief Rally.” The original…

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Comments | More in National | Topics: Buzzfeed, Mitt Romney, Ohio

October 22, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Monday Eye Openers: Obama Blitzing Swing States, Third Party Debate, George McGovern Dies, and Washington Governor’s Race Intensifies

Each Monday we feature several important stories in US politics — ones that just occurred, are defining moments, or are key markers on the horizon. We call these Monday Eye Openers. Obama Hit Swing States Hard With most polls showing the candidates running neck and neck, President Obama has a two-day campaign blitz planned next week. Starting…

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Comments | More in Local, National, State | Topics: Barack Obama, George McGovern, Jay Inslee

October 19, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Barack Obama scores social media win with #Romnesia

SEATTLE — President Barack Obama’s account popularized a new Twitter hashtag, #Romnesia, and tweeted six #Romnesia tweets in quick succession today, catching the social media world by storm and becoming a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. The first tweet came through at 12:39 p.m. EDT, calling out his presidential rival for switching positions on…

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Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, social media #romnesia

October 19, 2012 at 7:16 AM

Women’s Issues are our issues

The presidential debates have provided sound bites from President Obama and Governor Romney when they discuss women’s issues.  But what do the candidates’ official websites reveal regarding what they believe on issues of equal rights, women in the workplace, or equal pay? SEATTLE — Women make up half of the electorate and their opinions are valued because…

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Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, Binders full of women, Equal Pay

October 17, 2012 at 7:10 AM

What’s in a “Like”?: Social Media and the Election

We hear so much about “the power of social media.” But just how much are we  influencing others when we post or tweet to those already in our audiences?  SEATTLE – You care about the future of your country.  In this closely fought election and in this polarized environment, you are enthusiastically posting every persuasive…

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Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, Binders full of women, Election 2012

October 15, 2012 at 7:01 AM

Monday Eye Openers: Romney and Ryan in Ohio, Obama preps for debate, Clinton hits the road, Arlen Specter dies, and WA Governor race

Each Monday we feature several important stories in US politics — ones that just occurred, are defining moments, or are key markers on the horizon. We call these Monday Eye Openers. Romney and Ryan hammer Obama in Ohio This weekend, Mitt Romney jump-started his campaign by skydiving from 128,000 feet above the earth’s surface. Wait, no—that was…

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Comments | More in Local, National, State | Topics: Arlen Specter, Barack Obama, Jay Inslee

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