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Why aren’t Democrats as excited to vote this year?
July 26th, 2012
03:36 PM ET

Why aren’t Democrats as excited to vote this year?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Fired up. Ready to go!"

Or not.

Turns out that rallying cry for Democrats in 2008 may not apply to this presidential campaign.

A new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows Democratic voter enthusiasm is down sharply from the past two presidential elections.

Only 39% of Democrats say they are "more enthusiastic about voting than usual" - that's down from 61% who felt that way in 2008 and 68% in 2004.

And it's lower than the 51% of Republicans who say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting for president.

Voter enthusiasm often gives a sense of possible turnout but it also reflects voters' expectations of their party's chances of winning.

Translation: Democrats might be less optimistic about President Obama winning than they were four years ago.

When you consider the fact that Republicans are more excited at this point - and that they historically vote at higher rates than Democrats - it's not too encouraging for the Obama campaign.

On the other hand it's possible Democrats may just not be tuned into the race yet and that come Election Day, they'll vote, but won't be excited about it.

Meanwhile in another sign that Democrats aren't that revved up, the party is having some serious fundraising "issues."

For two months now, President Obama and the Democrats have lagged behind Mitt Romney and the Republicans to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

And it's not just the race for president. Nancy Pelosi is having a hard time getting Democratic House members to contribute to the party.

In June, GOP lawmakers gave more than three times as much as Democrats did to their respective Congressional campaign committee.

Here’s my question to you: Why aren’t Democrats as excited to vote this year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Democratic Race • Democrats
What, if anything, should be done about violence in movies?
July 26th, 2012
02:57 PM ET

What, if anything, should be done about violence in movies?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

That horrific massacre in a Colorado movie theater has revived the debate of whether violent films contribute to real-life violence.

Director Peter Bogdanovich talked to the Hollywood Reporter about how movie violence is way over the line.

"Violence on the screen has increased tenfold. It's almost pornographic. In fact, it is pornographic. Video games are violent, too. It's all out of control. I can see where it would drive somebody crazy."

And Bogdanovich knows violence. His first film, 1968’s "Targets," showed a sniper killing movie-goers at a drive-in.

But he now says there are other ways to talk about violence without showing people getting blown up. Bodganovich believes there's been a "general numbing of the audiences" because there's just too much murder and killing on our screens.

He says people have become insensitive to it and that there's a general lack of respect of life.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports how Warner Bros. Studios, which put out "The Dark Knight Rises," has a decades-long history of violent movies.

Starting with gangster films in the 1930s - Warner Bros., which shares a parent company with CNN - is also responsible for films such as "Bonnie and Clyde," "A Clockwork Orange," "Dirty Harry," "Natural Born Killers" and "The Matrix."

There have been alleged copycat crimes after the release of several of these violent Warner Bros. films.

As for the aftermath of the Aurora tragedy, background checks for people wanting to buy guns in Colorado have spiked more than 40%.

And in multiple theaters around the country, screenings of the same "Batman" film have been accompanied by panic, evacuation and gunshots being fired.

Here’s my question to you: What, if anything, should be done about violence in movies?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: On Jack's radar
How much money would it take for you to "feel" wealthy?
July 25th, 2012
03:42 PM ET

How much money would it take for you to "feel" wealthy?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out $1 million still isn't enough money to make some people feel rich.

A new survey of millionaires finds more than one-quarter of them say they don't feel wealthy, but they would if they had an extra $5 million.

The Fidelity Investments Millionaire Outlook Report finds the average millionaire is about 60 years old and has at least $3 million in assets.

The survey also shows 14% of today's millionaires say they grew up wealthy while a whopping 86% describe themselves as "self-made."

And according to this report, millionaires' outlook on the future financial environment is the highest it has been in the survey's history. Let's hope they're right.

Meanwhile, there are a million different definitions for what being "wealthy" means.

I bet it's safe to say Mitt Romney's idea of wealthy is a far cry from your idea or mine. Wealth is relative in many ways. If you are free from financial worry, have enough set aside to secure your retirement and can afford a few luxuries such as vacations, maybe a second home or a fancy car, you may well consider yourself wealthy.

But for the Donald Trumps of the world, too much money is never enough. They are driven continually to amass more wealth, buy another company, make another deal. Sometimes not stopping to appreciate what they have. And the accumulation and management of that kind of money involve tremendous stress and energy.

The saying - "Money can't buy happiness" - is true, but it can buy peace of mind.

Here’s my question to you: How much money would it take for you to "feel" wealthy?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Money
With 8.2% unemployment, why does nobody want 200,000 trucking jobs?
July 25th, 2012
03:40 PM ET

With 8.2% unemployment, why does nobody want 200,000 trucking jobs?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With 8.2% unemployment, here's something that will likely surprise you about America's job market:

Companies say they've had 3 million job openings every month since February - this according to the Labor Department.

But employers say they're having trouble filling these positions because they can't find skilled workers to do the jobs.

Bloomberg News reports that in order to narrow this "skills gap," employers are teaming up with philanthropies, governments and community colleges to train their existing workforce.

Places like hospitals are taking the lead, turning to their own staff to train technicians and nurses. Also, factories and construction companies are stepping up apprenticeships.

Employers say it's not just technical skills that workers are missing - they point to so-called "soft skills" - things like the ability to solve problems, think critically and work in teams.

In other words, a lot of Americans are too stupid to do the jobs that are available. Pretty sad.

CNNMoney.com has another surprising example of jobs going unfilled: there are 200,000 jobs available for long haul truckers that nobody wants.

Experts say the positions are hard to fill since it's difficult and expensive to get certified.

Plus the lifestyle of a trucker isn't easy. Long days on the road often living in the back of a truck, separated from family and friends and working crazy hours.

Still truckers earn an average of almost $40,000. That's $4,000 more than the median wage for all jobs.

You'd think people looking for work would jump at the chance.

Here’s my question to you: With 8.2% unemployment, why does nobody want 200,000 trucking jobs?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

Is it more important for a president to be able to handle the economy or to be likable?
July 24th, 2012
03:15 PM ET

Is it more important for a president to be able to handle the economy or to be likable?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the election just three months away and the economy struggling, a new poll suggests Americans overwhelmingly trust Mitt Romney to get the economy back on track.

The USA Today/Gallup poll shows by more than 2-to-1 - 63% to 29% - Americans say Romney's business background would help him to make good decisions about the economy.

The Obama campaign better take note. This poll suggests the president's strategy of relentless attacks on Romney's record at Bain Capital and his business background could backfire - big time.

With unemployment above 8% for 41 months, Americans might not care about what Romney did 10 years ago. What they care about is someone fixing the economy today. In fact, a lot of voters probably find Romney's business background to be a plus.

Meanwhile, the president has his own strengths over his GOP rival. This same poll shows by a margin of 2-to-1 that voters say Obama is more likable than Romney. By wide margins, voters say the president understands their problems better and that he's more honest and trustworthy than Romney.

Which sets up an interesting dilemma come Election Day:

Will Americans vote for the candidate who they believe can fix the economy - the nation's top issue - or the one they like more?

Here’s my question to you: Is it more important for a president to be able to handle the economy or to be likable?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Should we cut 10 percent of federal workers instead of cutting defense?
July 24th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

Should we cut 10 percent of federal workers instead of cutting defense?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With mandatory federal spending cuts looming on the horizon, some Republicans say we should cut 10% of the federal work force instead of slashing the Defense budget.

Writing in Politico, Congressman Tom Price of Georgia and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of Missouri warn that the planned defense cuts would have "devastating consequences."

They say it would mean layoffs for more than 200,000 members of the military. In effect, downsizing our military to the lowest levels in decades.

They say we could be risking national security if we can't keep up militarily with the rest of the world.

The House Armed Services chairman describes cuts to the defense department this way: "We're past cutting the fat and past the muscle. Now we're cutting into the bone."

Price and Hartzler argue for a House Republican plan that would put off these defense cuts for one year. They would do this by trimming the federal workforce by 10% "through attrition."

In other words, for every three federal workers who leave their jobs, departments could only hire one worker.

It's no secret the federal workforce has long been criticized as bloated and inefficient and could probably stand a haircut.

Meanwhile these upcoming spending cuts all go back to the so-called Super Committee's inability to agree to a deficit reduction plan.

Its failure meant $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts over the next decade. About half are expected to affect the defense budget.

Meanwhile these cuts don't even begin to put a dent in government spending. We are still running annual deficits of more than $1 trillion.

Here’s my question to you: Should we cut 10% of federal workers instead of cutting defense?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Government
In light of the Colorado shootings, what kind of role should gun control play in the presidential campaign?
July 23rd, 2012
04:14 PM ET

In light of the Colorado shootings, what kind of role should gun control play in the presidential campaign?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The massacre at a Colorado movie theater has shaken the nation to its foundation, but it's unlikely to shake up the presidential race.

Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have been relatively silent when it comes to gun control.

The White House says that the president doesn't have plans to push for new gun laws but that he wants to "take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them under existing law." Gee, that's bold.

As for Romney, he signed an assault weapons ban as governor of Massachusetts but has since said he's against gun control.
Romney recently told the NRA that the country needs a president "who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners."

The NRA has an estimated 4 million members, and neither candidate wants to alienate these folks. Also, polls show support for gun control measures plummeting in recent years. Some Democrats think support of gun control is one of the reasons Al Gore lost in 2000.

There are close to 300 million guns in this country. We are the most heavily armed country in the world. It's unlikely legal gun owners will be willing to part with their firearms without a struggle.

On Friday in Aurora, 12 people were killed and 58 wounded, and Colorado police say the suspect bought his guns legally at stores in the Denver area.

And some on both sides of the aisle agree that even the tightest gun control laws might not keep weapons out of the hands of a crazy person who wants them.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the Colorado shootings, what kind of role should gun control play in the presidential campaign?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Guns
"I'd rather ________ than watch another campaign ad."
A screen grab of one of Mitt Romey's campaign ads.
July 19th, 2012
03:51 PM ET

"I'd rather ________ than watch another campaign ad."

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's hard to believe that there's still more than three months to go before the presidential election - and it's already turned into a knife fight.

The airwaves are flooded with negative campaign ads. They come at us from both sides and are loud, obnoxious, boorish, and increasingly lack anything resembling dignity. And most of them are irrelevant.

Coming from President Obama and the Democrats, they take aim at things like Mitt Romney's old tax returns and his time at the head of Bain Capital more than a decade ago.

As for Romney and the Republicans - their attack ads focus on Obamacare, the disappearance of "hope and change" and the economy and jobs, which at least resonates with many people.

One Obama ad features Romney singing "America the Beautiful" off-key while a Romney ad includes the president singing "I'm so in love with you." Childish.

The sad thing is these ads don't address our real problems, like the $16 trillion national debt or the rapidly approaching fiscal cliff. Instead they just fill our airwaves, TV screens and computers with noise.

When asked about negative ads, President Obama told CBS News that he's done "a whole slew of positive ads" talking about education, the tax code and how to rebuild America and promote energy development - but that they're not getting news coverage.

Probably true, but without negative ads maybe the media would pay more attention to the positive stuff. Just a thought.

We recently reported in the Cafferty File that negative ads have skyrocketed since the 2008 race, partially due to the growing involvement of special interest groups like Super Pacs.

And unfortunately for all of us there's no end in sight.

Here’s my question to you: "I'd rather ________ than watch another campaign ad."

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Television
Should the economy prevent President Obama from winning a second term?
July 19th, 2012
03:50 PM ET

Should the economy prevent President Obama from winning a second term?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Storm clouds are gathering for President Barack Obama.

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows Mitt Romney with a 1-point lead over Obama with 4% of voters undecided. And when asked about the economy, the difference is even more glaring. Romney holds an 8 percentage point lead over the president. Just 39% of those surveyed approve of the president's handling of the economy. That's down from 44% in April.

More bad news for the president:

In the crucial battleground of Virginia, Romney has closed a 12-point gap with Obama, and the two are now tied, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll. In 2008, Obama became the first Democrat to win that state since 1964.

Suffice to say that if there is no significant improvement in the economy - and it better start soon - Obama could have problems in Virginia and elsewhere.

The jobs picture remains bleak. Unemployment has been above 8% for 41 consecutive months now. Forty-one months. This morning, first-time jobless claims jumped sharply - up 34,000 from the previous week.

A new Gallup Poll shows Americans overwhelmingly say creating "more or better jobs" is the most important thing the government can do to jump-start the economy. That’s why some of the president's words and actions aren't helping much.

Many took issue when Obama said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Then there's the president's "jobs council." It hasn't even met for six months. The White House says Obama has "obviously got a lot on his plate" while Republicans suggest he's had time in the past six months to attend more than 100 fundraisers and play golf 10 times.

Here’s my question to you: Should the economy prevent President Obama from winning a second term?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Should Sarah Palin be invited to speak at the Republican Convention?
July 18th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Should Sarah Palin be invited to speak at the Republican Convention?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"It's time for Mitt Romney to man up, pick up the phone, and ask Sarah Palin to the dance."

That's a quote from a Daily Beast piece that argues Romney should invite Palin to speak at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, next month.

Palin is complaining to Newsweek that she hasn't been asked to attend the convention yet. She said, "One must remember this isn't Sadie Hawkins and you don't invite yourself and a date to the big dance."

Maybe the Republicans are thinking the downsides to inviting Sarah Palin - anywhere - are pretty obvious:

The former VP candidate and half-term governor of Alaska is a wild card and her off-the-cuff remarks could create headaches for Romney. Palin is polarizing and she could turn off independent voters. Plus she doesn't seem to have much love for Romney so there's always the risk that she could go "rogue."

Never mind all that. Romney might be making a big mistake by not inviting her. It's not like he has this thing wrapped up.

Sarah Palin can do something Mitt Romney can't: fire up the base.

The party faithful went wild when she delivered her "pit bull-hockey mom" convention speech in 2008. And let's face it: Romney could use something to spice up his campaign. So far, electric it ain't.

There are few, if any, other Republicans in 2012 who generate the kind of enthusiasm Palin does.

Plus Mitt Romney was never a tea party favorite. As Newsweek describes it, party activists "feel stuck with a guy served up by Republican elites who speak conservatism with an establishment accent."

Bringing Sarah Palin on board in Tampa might help in this department, too. Her accent is anything but establishment.

Here’s my question to you: Should Sarah Palin be invited to speak at the Republican Convention?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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