Giuliani: Romney is Good, But He’s No Giuliani (We Don’t Understand It Either)

Endorsements are vital parts of a campaign’s method of connecting with voters who would otherwise remain skeptical of a candidate’s performance. They run as supplements to the Big Picture, stumping on behalf of a message that they believe in for the most part (search: Republican candidates’ speeches about Romney before and after Romney became the dominant frontrunner).

And always make sure you put the candidate first and foremost.

The Mayor of America is an exception to the endorsement formula. On CNN’s “State of the Union” this morning, Rudy Giuliani made an implication that, although Romney’s record is admirable, it is nowhere near what he accomplished during his tenure as the Mayor of New York but at least better than Obama’s record as President.
In other words, Romney is stuck in the void between a socialist and… a mayor?

And Giuliani’s explanation for his criticism: “Well, there’s a certain amount of personal ego in that.” When Rudy endorsed Mitt a month ago, did he mention that he would be terrible at the job?

For comparison purposes, let’s put these priorities on a scale of 0 to 10: Obama, 0; Romney, 5; Giuliani, 10. The self-boosting attack, if you could even call it that, reiterates points Giuliani made in the 2008 election, when he strutted his reign as Mayor as a talking point yet was unable to realize Florida only matters in the general election. Once again, the predecessor to Bloomberg brought out the good ol’ unemployment numbers to fight his case.

Immaturity ensued.

“Maybe it was circumstances or whatever, but I had massive reduction in unemployment. He had a reduction in unemployment. He had a reduction in unemployment of about 8, 10, I think it was 15%? I had a reduction of unemployment of 50%.”
Fact check: the only major drop in unemployment under Giuliani came in May 2001, when the rate fell to 5.0% from 7.5%; not exactly “half” unless you see the glass as full all the time.
And, when it comes to Romney’s economic record as Governor of Massachusetts, it seems as if Giuliani can spin anything to fit a story. The unemployment rate under the Bain Capital buddy teetered back and forth while he was in office but maintained a steady decline for the most part; a factoid Giuliani cannot claim about the City, a place that happens to be completely different than an entire state. Also, keep in mind, Romney was a completely different person back then.
Now, he’s predicting that, after he wins, he’ll have the unemployment rate below 6% by the end of his first term.
We hate the election season.

Romney First Election Ad: Most Epic Day One Ever (Well… Sorta)

“What would a Romney Presidency look like?”

That’s what the narrator, who sounds a bit like the Republican nominee himself, asks viewers in the Romney campaign’s first video ad for the general election (entitled “Day One”) that went up on YouTube last night. The advertisement will be shown over and over again in the battleground states (i.e. Virginia, Michigan) to a people who presumably hate the word “swing.”

Most of us have no idea what the answer to that question is; predicting the future is a hard trait to come by for the non-clairvoyant demographic. Our fellow Voice writer Pete Kotz took a wack at it and, apparently, so did Mitt.

Interwoven with gleeful shots of Mitt shaking peoples’ hands and workers that exist somewhere Bain Capital hasn’t found yet, the video takes hypothetical politics to the White House, painting a first day on the job portrait for anyone who’s interested. And, if the video is any indication, he has a lot planned.

In the first 24 hours as leader of the free world, Romney will tackle three main objectives in one fell swoop. Take a deep breath:
1. Approve Keystone XL
2. Pass tax cuts and reform
3. Start the steamrolling of Obamacare
And exhale. Let’s think about this for a second.
Start with Obamacare; the bane of post-modern conservatism and the centerpiece of what will soon to be one of the most ground-breaking Supreme Court decisions in recent history. Notwithstanding the justices’ moods that day, the bill’s existence and future is solely under of the responsibility of Congress, not the President. Legislators passed the bill; therefore, they can kill it.
Political reality: to start measures to repeal Obamacare translates into Mitt twisting the arms of fellow Congressmen for months. And that’s not exciting at all.
The next part – the whole tax reform spiel – inherits a similar fate. Everyone who took civics class or watched Schoolhouse Rock as a kid learned at least one federalist factoid: Congress has power of the purse. That means that the middle class caricatures in this video are subject to the will of the polarized legislative branch, not the one-man team in the bully pulpit.
A President can sure as hell talk about changing the tax code (search: Obama, Buffett Rule, legislative fail) but it’s Congress that has omnipotence in this sector. So political reality: passing tax reform on Day One is laughable to anyone that knows a thing about how the United Stated government actually works, notwithstanding lobbyists, loopholes and everything else that keeps us up at night.
Actually, only one of things can actually be done by a President, regardless if it’s Day One of Day Fifty-Three. That is, of course, the Keystone XL – that metal snake that will run through the heart of America. To pass something of this magnitude, the company behind the project, TransCanada, needs the approval of the State Department and the President. Hence Obama’s sign-off of its southern half in February. The final political reality: eh, it could happen.
During the early days of the primary, the Republican contenders were obsessed with Day One revelations. Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Santorum and Romney would try to trump each others by seeing who could say ‘kill Obamacare’ more times in a single sentence. But that’s because a Day One scenario is malleable and easy to swallow. Those aforementioned political realities go out the window and, in the rules of the hypothetical, the response to “what if?” can be construed to fit anyone’s MO.
And that’s the basis of Romney’s first ad for the general election. Let the games begin.

Romney’s Millennial Problem at Liberty University

Talk about a stiff crowd.

This afternoon, Presidential hopeful (and this week’s same-sex marriage elephant in the room) Mitt Romney gave the commencement speech at Liberty University. The evangelical college is the brainchild and former stomping grounds of Reverend Jerry Falwell – founder of the anti-abortion, anti-gay and pro-stay-at-home-woman “Moral Majority” movement in the early 1980s. So one could only imagine how Romney’s day went after Obama’s little announcement a few days ago.

But, surprisingly, in the heart of the Bible Belt in Lynchburg, Virginia, the possible Mormon-in-chief stuck to his “faith and family values” guns when talking to the future-unemployed Class of 2012. His campaign argued that this was a commencement speech, not a political bit… at a school that was created out of the religious-political complex.

The only mention of the contentious issue came at the junction of democracy and its dialogues: “As fundamental as these principals are, they may become topics of the democratic debate,” he said, “So it is today with the institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman”

This is coming from a candidate who has always had a rough time with the evangelical vote – after Huckabee in 2008 and Santorum this year, it’s evident that the demographic wanted someone other than Romney to represent them. The reasons: his Mormon background (which many rank-and-file members of the Christian sect see as heretical) and his flip-flopping on abortion. That is why Romney tried to connect the religious ties with his audience:
“Central to America’s global rise to leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life,” he said, not mentioning that those “possibilities” are limited to heterosexuals.
But the avoidance of the same-sex marriage issue is an interesting one: one has to remember that those seats at Liberty University were occupied by the Millennial Generation; an age group that overwhelmingly supports the rights of the LGBT community. Romney was speaking to the members of a shifting mindset; regardless if they were graduating from Liberty University, their age identity speaks louder volumes than ever.
Hence why he had to tread lightly with the topic. A similar occurrence happened the day of Obama’s announcement, when Romney tried to focus on the economy instead of answering the obvious headlines that were breaking out everywhere. Same thing happened yesterday in out-of-touch North Carolina: Romney was completely silent on an issue the state had just been all but silent on.
Word of advice to Romney: it’s never good when you have to hush-hush an issue. Especially when you’re speaking to a group of kids going into this job market.

With Donations, Cuomo is Like a Mini-Romney

This is the promo video for the Committee to Save New York, the outrageously-named pro-Cuomo PAC that loves Andrew. The Governor urged the creation of the fundraising committee before he stepped into office and the monies gathered have supported the advertising of his first term’s achievements thus far.

Run by three business-y board members – Rob Speyer of Tishman-Speyer, Kathryn S. Wilde of the Partnership for New York City and Steven Spinola of the Real Estate Board of New York – the Committee to Save New York raised over $17 million last year for the head honcho of Albany. Except it didn’t come from “ordinary, hard-working New Yorkers.”

According to documents obtained by media organizations like The New York Times, only 20 donors contributed to $12 million of that campaign cash slash fund. That’s a check of $600,000 each, if you do the quick math. It’s also the fifth most expensive lobbying effort in Albany’s history. In other words, Cuomo has alot of keesh.

But, of course, the donations were much more disproportionate: one rich fatcat gave a solid $3 million while another $1.75 million. Of course, since the millionaires together are classified as a 501(c)4 non-profit, the hoi polloi cannot find out who or what donated all that money to the guy running the State. The irony of it all: Cuomo’s PAC has an MO on their website that states “the general public needs a voice…” Thumbs up for transparency!
This is all reminiscent of Mitt’s campaign for the White House – one that is basically bankrolled by the super-rich who they think have “insufficient influence” over the pulse of our nation’s beating political heart. Back in the primary days, The Drudge Report reported that 41 donors were basically bankrolling the entire Romney campaign. Cuomo could learn a lesson or two (or 21 more millionaires).
Who is your Sheldon Adelson? Where are your Koch brothers? That is the Great Electoral Rule of this modern age: find the super-rich and you’ll be in the clear. Or least in your position for another term.

France: A Land of Baguettes, Cafe Au Laits and… Socialism!

We knew The Artist was a sign of what was to come. Salut, Sarkozy, c’est la vie.

This afternoon, President Nicolas Sarkozy, head of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, conceded his re-election for a second term to Francois Hollande, the first President-elect from the French Socialist Party since Francis Mitterand left the office in 1995. Sarkozy is also the first incumbent to lose since 1981. Ouch, monsieur.
With a staggering unemployment rate of 10%, Hollande based his message on battling the austerity measures that have hit Europe in the midst of a deep recession. By attacking Sarkozy’s economic record and stewardship of rough times, Hollande was able to come out with a 51% of the popular vote.
You heard it, folks; don’t listen to the Tea Party – the real Socialist isn’t in the White House… he’s in Paris. But Hollande’s election poses an interesting outlier in European politics and its influence could end up back here.
Sarkozy’s defeat is not the first major casualty of the redrawn political landscape of Europe. The coalition government established in 2010 by David Cameron, the head of the Conservative Party in the UK, came off a populist wave against Labor Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s handling of the financial crisis. Greece’s Prime Minister, Georgios Papandreou, stepped down due to popular demand earlier this year and Spain elected Conservative President Mariano Rajoy last year.
But all of these candidates were reactionary politicians, arguing that austerity was the way to go in order to salvage the euro and maintain stability. Hollande, on the other hand, is the first winning European candidate to say otherwise, making him a political fish out of water.
First off, the anti-austerity message comes from a country right in the middle of the tumultuous eurozone. His ideological difference is surrounded by recession-conservative countries like Germany, whose leader, Prime Minister Angela Merkel, has led the austerity measures in Greece and elsewhere; and Spain, where the government has implemented large budgetary cuts to the public’s dismay. Throwing Hollande into that mix is like electing Dick Cheney as a state senator in Vermont.
In our imminent election (6 months from today! Oh… no), at least Romney has a point of reference now when he pulls up Obama’s past “leftist” record. It’s kind of hard to state “I am the Constitution; he is European socialism” when the continent he’s referring to has never been more conservative in its spending.
And it’s France: the country taken off the name “French Fries” in the Bush years for appearing weak out of its unwillingness to join us in our little Iraqi adventure back in ’03. Romney can have a field day with this one.
Until the first mention of “universal healthcare” or “Stalin,” Runnin’ Scared will have its eyes peeled on what is to come out of this new Socialist agenda from Francois Hollande in France. And the world will too.

Live from New York… It’s Mitt Romney?

This has to happen. In what could be one of the most interesting Saturday Night Live episodes in recent memory, it has been reported that Lorne Michaels, the producer of the legendary sketch comedy show, has offered the Romney tent a chance for their candidate to show off his comedic flares in front of a live studio audience.

The proposal is still pending and, with two episodes left at the tail-end of the season that have no hosts assigned, we could have a match. That’s right: Mitt Romney could be an SNL host. Imagine that… it’s hard but try.

Now, the Massachusetts ex-Governor has provided us with a sense of humor already: in his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, he described himself (more accurate then anyone else has, actually) as “the guy in the picture that comes in your photo frame.” And we already know he has the awkward card nailed down and a singing bit akin to Ed Helms’ character, Andy Bernard, in “The Office.”

A Presidential candidate hasn’t hosted the show since 1996 – the last was mega-millionaire Steve Forbes, who ran as a Republican and didn’t even make it to the general election. This hosting gap in time could be attributed to the publicity risk the cherished position holds: not being funny in the eyes of the nation could sink one’s poll numbers.

But, it can also portray a much more human side to voters and Romney is in desperate need of one of those, especially with against a President who has established his comedic credentials once over.

After 2008, SNL set an extremely high bar for future political commentary surrounding an election cycle: Tina Fey’s infamous Sarah Palin impression was, at the time, the most-watched viral video on NBC’s website. It was a highly influential piece of political humor at the time – a point made in a scene in HBO’s “Game Change,” where pseudo-Palin Julianne Moore is seen sadly watching Fey play the part of the Alaskan ex-Governor on television.
Although 2012 has had Herman Cain and Rick Santorum for laughs, the staff recognizes that the election could be a snore-fest; as columnist Maureen Dowd at the Times writes, the Romney/Obama match-up is “a Tin-Man-versus-Spock race.” And Jason Sudeikis’s Romney impersonation is not close enough to the real thing.
Fingers crossed on the Romney tent’s willingness to laugh a little. At least we know one thing for sure: Kid Rock will be on the top of the list for possible musical guest.

Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum: Who Is The Bigger Right-Winger?

In terms of his political views, Mitt Romney has heard it all: flip-flopper, moderate, secret liberal, pseudo-conservative, Etch-A-Sketch; the list goes on and on. Republican voters have had a rather excessively hard time throwing their support behind a guy who influenced Obamacare and was pro-choice at one point in the past millennium.

There is only one group of people that is completely convinced that Romney — not Rick Santorum — is the true conservative candidate. But this group isn’t even voting for him.

Yes, the Obama camp is gearing up for the general election by wildly painting Mitt as more conservative on the issues than Rick.

It is an electoral remainder of the political spectrum come November and the Obama camp is pointing to five specific topics where Romney goes above and beyond on the Reagan Richter scale: women’s health, labor unions, immigration, protecting homeowners and appointing judges. Let’s dive into the respective candidates’ positions on this slew of issues so you, the Runnin’ Scared reader, can decide: who is the bigger right-winger?

Women’s Health

Santorum: Regardless of whether an abortion endangers a mother’s life or not, abortion is ruled out and contraceptives, as we all know, are a “license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

Romney: No one is sure what the candidate has to say about abortion, since it is Friday and, by Monday, it could be different. He has also stayed away from the politically divisive issue of contraceptives but has pledged to eliminate Title X (which Santorum voted for as Senator) as President. Title X is a federal family planning started by President Richard Nixon and provides funds for poor women. Not in Romney’s book.

Labor (Republicans’ ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card)

Santorum: Deemed pro-labor by his rivals for voting against a national right-to-work bill, which would let workers choose whether or not they had to pay union dues. In conservative lexicon, this amounts to “cozying up to the labor bosses.”

Romney: As a Bain Capital veteran, Mitt does not see eye to eye with, as he calls them, “labor stooges.” Therefore, he would not let them pass eliminate if he were President, including card-check legislation and right-to-work bills.


Santorum: Even as the son of Italian immigrants, Rick feels no pain: he is not in favor of any sort of DREAM act, which would give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants’ children. Take amnesty and a Guest Worker program off the list, too.

Romney: Not the son of immigrants, the Mormon candidate would seek to establish a temporary worker program for 11 million illegal immigrants. Hopefully, none of these 11 million illegal immigrants enter Arizona, where the tough immigration law there has Romney’s support, or try to send their kids to college (Romney: anti-DREAM).

Homeowner Protection

Santorum: In a move that is not exactly “free enterprise,” the ex-Senator believes that the government should intervene, as minimally as possible, on the behalf of the people who are suffering from foreclosure. Conservatives, get angry!

Romney: The vulture capitalist has spoken — the housing market must “hit bottom” before the federal government helps anyone. His position is justifiable if you take a look at his houses.

Appointing Judges

Santorum: To remind anyone who was thinking of questioning him, Rick has declared there will no be no one stronger on judges than him. I guess Sotomayor gained his approval: in 1998, on her way to the U.S. Circuit Court, Santorum
voted for the eventual Obama appointee.

Romney: Criticized for appointing “liberal” judges in Massachusetts, Mitt knows he cannot make that mistake again. And he won’t — especially with nominees as “troubling” as Sotomayor.

So there you have it — five issues, ten different views, and two wild and crazy guys who will never settle their differences.


Who Has Two Thumbs and Hates More Primaries? Mitt Romney!

First, there was Iowa and New Hampshire. Then, there was Super Tuesday. At some point, there were other Republican primaries. And tonight, the resilient candidates find themselves in Illinois — a contest that is “make-or-break” for Mitt Romney.

With 54 delegates up for grabs in the state that is home to Barack Obama’s 2012 headquarters, this is the second biggest haul of delegates in the election and a great opportunity for Romney to get crushed.

Now, Illinois is a more moderate state:with the Windy City at its core, the Republican voters want to hear more about fiscal control than birth control. The suburbs outside of Chicago are home to the more affluent conservatives; you know, voters who care about their money being taken away, not their religious freedoms. This area is also home to almost half of the entire statewide Republican vote and these Republicans love Romney.

The ex-governor of Massachusetts, taking note of this ideological difference and support, has campaigned across the Midwestern state, trumping his economic credentials as a firing connoisseur at Bain Capital.

Rather than isolating women voters with extreme talks of contraceptives and hard-core pornography, Romney has been speaking to them on a more advisory level, comfortably warning them that their car pooling trips to the soccer games could be drastically affected by soaring gas prices.

This scenario is actually playing out quite well in Mitt’s favor and the state polls are reflecting this sentiment.

Rick Santorum, on the other hand, is barnstorming across Illinois as the go-to culture warrior alternative, labeling Mitt as a “Wall Street financier” who wants to “run the economy.” Probably not the best idea in a state that has a 9.4% unemployment rate, a number that is 1.1% higher than the national average.

(While getting all riled up about his rival’s shift of attention toward gas prices and beating Obama, Rick let loose another gaffe that really drove this whole not-having-a-job point home: “I don’t care about the unemployment rate. Doesn’t matter to me.” Ouch.)

Rick’s support comes from “downstate” Illinois, where his limited range of demographics may or may not exist. This, of course, includes evangelicals, rural folk, and the voters that describe themselves as “very conservative;” all of which are electoral outliers in a state like Illinois.

This breakdown more or less guarantees a Romney victory in the state, a second-place fail for Santorum, who swears by a brokered convention, and an absolute upset for the candidate who cannot get enough of himself, Newt Gingrich. Ron Paul must be out there somewhere.