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What will it take to get young voters excited again?
July 17th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

What will it take to get young voters excited again?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Young voters are not nearly as excited about this presidential election, and that could doom Pres. Obama's chances for a second term.

A new Gallup Poll shows only 58% of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 29 say they will "definitely vote" this fall.

That's far below the national average of 78% for all registered voters.

It's also at least 20-points below the percentage of young people who planned to vote in the fall of 2004 and 2008.

Young voters were one of the key voting blocs in Obama's 2008 victory over Sen. John McCain. They overwhelmingly support the president again this time around, but they historically show up to vote in lower numbers than other groups.

There's a growing sense that the outcome of this election could come down to turnout, and if that's the case, the relative lack of interest among the youth is not a good sign for the president. Of course it's still only July, and Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have more than three months to fire up this group.

This poll also shows the percentage of blacks who say they will definitely vote is similar to the national average this year. However, Hispanic registered voters – who overwhelmingly back Obama – are another one of the groups with the lowest expected turnout. Only 64% of Hispanic voters say they will definitely vote. Again, not a good sign for the president.

But back to young people:

The outcome of this election will be enormous for our country. We're facing many critical problems, including high unemployment and a runaway national debt.

Those younger than 30 have a huge stake in all of this because whether we elect Obama or Romney could have a big impact on what kind of America they inherit.

Here’s my question to you: What will it take to get young voters excited again?

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.

Why has government become so financially irresponsible?
July 17th, 2012
03:25 PM ET

Why has government become so financially irresponsible?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It didn't used to be this way.

Our government - local, state and federal - didn't always spend money like a drunken sailor and run up astronomical debts.

In recent weeks, three california cities - Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Beranrdino - have declared bankruptcy.

Scranton, Pennsylvania is so cash-strapped that it has cut the pay of all municipal workers to $7.25 an hour - minimum wage. Scranton's mayor wants to raise property taxes by 80% to try to close a $17 million budget deficit and prevent bankruptcy.

And there will likely be more cities forced to declare bankruptcy because of toxic economic conditions.

High unemployment along with foreclosures and plummeting home values means less tax revenue.

The Los Angles Times reports that tax receipts in some areas have shrunk more than 20% over the last three years - and soaring pension costs top funding levels by as much as a $3 trillion debt nationwide.

Meanwhile our federal government is nearly $16 trillion in the hole - that's more than a $5 trillion increase since Pres. Obama took office.

CNSNews.com crunched the numbers and found that the National Debt has now increased by more than $64,000 per federal taxpayer in the last three and half years under President Obama. To pay off the entire $15.8 trillion national debt it would cost every taxpayer in the country $194,000.

In the meantime neither Democrats nor Republicans are doing anything meaningful about the so-called fiscal cliff as we get closer and closer to the edge.

Here’s my question to you: Why have we become so financially irresponsible?

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: Finance • Money
How much would Condoleezza Rice as v.p. help the Romney campaign?
July 16th, 2012
02:52 PM ET

How much would Condoleezza Rice as v.p. help the Romney campaign?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Mitt Romney might have a shot at a game changer that actually works in his favor.

Speculation has been rampant for the last several days that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice might be on Romney's short list for vice president.

Unlike Sarah Palin, who all but destroyed John McCain's chances, Rice might be just what the doctor ordered for Romney.

She's smart, has foreign policy credentials that are unquestioned and would certainly make the race a lot more interesting than it is now.

Romney is getting his nose bloodied by President Obama's incessant pounding on Bain Capital and his tax returns. Unable to seize the initiative and make the race about the economy, which by any measure should make Obama unelectable, Romney needs a spark.

Rice would immediately tap into African-Americans and women, two areas where Obama holds substantial leads.

Whether she would agree to be on the ticket remains a question. She has said she is not interested. But if your country comes calling ...

Anyway, barring putting Chris Christie on the ticket, you gotta love the idea of Rice. She would erase the memory of Palin and immediately energize the race.

With the start of the Summer Olympics fast approaching, Obama and Romney are going to be hard-pressed to get media coverage.

Rice would help in that department, too.

Here’s my question to you: How much would Condoleezza Rice as v.p. help the Romney campaign?

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.

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Mitt Romney • Republican Party
Does the public have the right to look at a candidate's tax returns?
July 16th, 2012
02:50 PM ET

Does the public have the right to look at a candidate's tax returns?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some Republicans and Democrats have finally found a topic they can agree on: Mitt Romney's tax returns.

Romney is coming under fire from both sides of the aisle for releasing only two years of his tax returns.

President Obama and the Democrats are trying to turn it into a major campaign issue, suggesting there's something in those returns that Romney - who's worth more than $200 million - doesn't want Americans to see.

And it's not just Democrats. Alabama's Republican Governor Robert Bentley, conservative columnist Bill Bristol and former George W. Bush aide Matthew Dowd all say Romney should release additional returns.

Some Republicans think the sooner Romney makes this stuff public, the sooner the issue will go away.

President Obama has released 12 years worth of tax returns - they're all posted on his campaign website. And Mitt romney's father - George Romney - also released 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in 1968.

For his part Romney is standing his ground. He told the F-word network today that his rivals want to "make a mountain" out of the issue. Romney said he will release only two years of tax returns which is what John McCain did in 2008.

If the IRS is OK with Mitt Romney's tax returns and no laws have been broken, one could make the argument that it's nobody's business.

Romney says all of this is a distraction from the real issues of the campaign.

And that's the whole problem for Romney. The more the focus stays on tax returns, Romney's wealth, his offshore investments, etc. the less people are focused on the economy.

And the economy is an issue where President Obama is vulnerable.

Here’s my question to you: Does the public have the right to look at a candidate's tax returns?

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.

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • Tax Returns
How wrong was the late Joe Paterno when he said the Sandusky scandal didn't tarnish Penn State?
July 12th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

How wrong was the late Joe Paterno when he said the Sandusky scandal didn't tarnish Penn State?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

See what this quote reminds you of:

"This is not a football scandal and should not be treated as one. It is not an academic scandal and does not in any way tarnish the hard-earned and well-deserved academic reputation of Penn State."

Sounds a little like the Catholic Church, right?

But in this case the voice belonged to the late, once-great Joe Paterno, who wrote that in a letter before he died.

Paterno achieved legendary status as the coach of the Penn State football team.

Yet he was busy like other key officials on campus turning a blind eye to a pedophile on his staff - who had been given carte blanche by Mr. Paterno and the administration at the university to prey on young boys.

A newly released, scathing investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh reveals that those key officials knew about Jerry Sandusky for 14 years and they did nothing.

Kids were raped. Kids' lives were ruined.

And these holier-than-thou football coaches and school administrators turned a blind eye rather than jeopardize one of the most successful college football programs ever.

The money and the prestige of the football program were more important to Joe Paterno and his bosses than the ruined lives of young children who were molested, sodomized, raped and otherwise abused by Jerry Sandusky - a high-ranking member of that football program.

Sandusky is going to rot in prison for the rest of his life, which is exactly where he belongs.

And had Joe Paterno lived, he should have gone to prison with him.

But to the end, Paterno lived in denial.

Here’s my question to you: How wrong was the late Joe Paterno when he said the Sandusky scandal didn't tarnish Penn State?

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: Penn State scandal
Do you have a problem with Mitt Romney's money?
July 12th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

Do you have a problem with Mitt Romney's money?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

One in five voters has a problem with Mitt Romney's money.

According to a new Gallup Poll, 20% of those surveyed say Romney's net worth of over $200 million makes them less likely to vote for him for president.

Most Americans - 75% - say Romney's wealth makes no difference.

While only 4% say his money makes them more likely to vote for him.

Democrats and independents make up most of those who say they're less likely to support romney because of his riches.

Most of these Democrats probably won't be casting a ballot for Romney anyway but when it comes to independents, we all know how important they are - especially in swing states.

Voter income plays a role in all this. Nearly 30% of those making under $24,000 say they're less likely to support Romney because he is rich.

Romney's money has become a campaign strategy for President Obama and the Democrats. Call it class warfare.

They've been highlighting Romney's wealth, how he made many of those millions working for the venture capital firm Bain Capital, and how he's yet to release all of his tax returns for the last decade.

President Obama, who is also a multi-millionaire, wants to convince Americans that Romney can't relate to poor and middle class Americans - and that his policies as president would mostly help the wealthy.

Of course this is America and it's no crime to be rich. There's also an argument to be made that as the economy keeps sputtering along, a businessman in the White House wouldn't be the worst thing for this country.

At this point it's unclear if poverty and high unemployment will prevent Americans from voting for a rich guy. A very rich guy.

Here’s my question to you: Do you have a problem with Mitt Romney's money?

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.

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Money
Is it time to do away with national political conventions?
July 11th, 2012
03:45 PM ET

Is it time to do away with national political conventions?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the Democrats and Republicans prepare to host their national conventions in the coming weeks, some wonder if it's even worth throwing these big pep rallies anymore.

For starters, the Democrats are facing numerous problems when it comes to their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Some Democrats aren't even going to attend, saying they'd rather stay home and campaign instead.

The Democrats are millions of dollars behind Republicans in fundraising for the convention - Since President Obama is refusing corporate donations.

Pres. Obama carried North Carolina four years ago, but he has major problems there this year. Voters amended the state constitution to outlaw gay marriage. The unions are steamed because there are no unionized hotels in Charlotte. There is a sexual harassment scandal rocking the North Carolina Democratic Party, and the state has a very unpopular sitting Democratic governor.

It's probably no coincidence that the Democrats have already shortened their convention by a day.

But it's not just the Democrats. Some Republicans are also skipping their party's convention in Tampa.

The fact is these political conventions are expensive, 4-day long parties - and they still get tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding. Not exactly a top priority for most of us taxpayers when you consider all the other places that money could go.

Plus it's not like there's any surprise or drama when the candidates and their running mates are generally known long before the conventions.

Former Mississippi governor and RNC chairman Haley Barbour told Politico he would prefer 3-day conventions instead of four:

"Nobody would know the difference besides some bartenders and restaurateurs in the host city."

Here’s my question to you: Is it time to do away with national political conventions?

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.

What does race have to do with achieving the American Dream?
July 11th, 2012
02:44 PM ET

What does race have to do with achieving the American Dream?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out the American Dream may not be for everyone.

A new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that a family's race, economic background and neighborhood play a role in economic mobility.

The study finds that while 84% of Americans have higher incomes than their parents did at the same age, those born at the top and bottom of the income ladder are likely to stay there.

When it comes to race, African-Americans are less likely to top their parents' income and wealth than whites are. And blacks are more likely to be stuck at the bottom of the ladder or fall out of the middle.

This study couldn't even measure black mobility in the upper income levels because the number was too small.

Meanwhile here's another piece to the wealth inequality puzzle:

Recent Census Bureau data shows that white Americans have 22 times more wealth than blacks. Twenty-two times.

In 2010 the median household net worth for whites was about $111,000 compared to less than $5,000 for blacks.

Whites also have 15 times more wealth than hispanics.

This wealth inequality is due to many factors including the implosion of the real estate market along with higher unemployment rates among minority groups.

Statistics like these are one of the many reasons why President Obama is such an historical figure.

He is america's first ever African-American president - with a background that certainly wasn't privileged. But Mr. Obama is the exception, not the rule.

And the rule is, if you're born poor, you're probably going to stay that way.

Here’s my question to you: What does race have to do with achieving the American Dream?

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: Race
How motivated are you to vote in November?
July 10th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

How motivated are you to vote in November?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While President Obama and Mitt Romney are neck-and-neck in the polls, it appears the president's supporters are more fired up to hit the voting booth.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows 75% of Mr. Obama's supporters say their vote is "for" him while 23% say they're voting against Romney.

Compare that to only 37% of Romney's supporters who say their vote is "for" Romney, 59% say they're voting against the president.

There was a similar trend back in 2004. President Bush's supporters were firmly behind him, while most of John Kerry's supporters were voting "against" Bush.

This poll also shows President Obama benefiting from an enthusiasm gap - although it's shrinking.

More than half of his supporters back him "very enthusiastically" compared with 38% of Romney's supporters.

Of course it's not all roses for the president. When it comes to the #1 issue of the economy, 54% of all adults and 60% of independents give Mr. Obama negative marks. He also gets negative ratings on health care and immigration.

Plus, two-thirds of Americans think the country is seriously off course and a majority have not approved of the president's job performance in this poll for more than a year.

Nonetheless in what's shaping up to be a tight race, motivating voters could make the difference between who wins and who loses.

This poll suggests most voters have already made up their minds and are unlikely to change candidates.

And to try to get you motivated, the campaigns will bury you under TV ads, E-mails, phone calls, you name it in the three and a half months remaining.

Here’s my question to you: How motivated are you to vote in November?

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.

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election
What kind of 'change' did President Obama deliver?
July 10th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

What kind of 'change' did President Obama deliver?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Barring some cataclysmic surprise as election day nears and people decide who they're going to vote for, it will likely come down to what it always comes down to - the answer to that eternal question: How am I doing?

In 2008 President Obama won by promising to change America.

And he has. Trouble is some people think he's changed it for the worse.

Mitt Romney remains pretty much an unknown, except for his time as governor of Massachusetts.

He wants lower taxes, fewer regulations, more defense spending, and an end to what he calls the "kick in the gut" of 8.2% unemployment.

The wild card for the winner of the presidential election is Congress.

The Democrats control the Senate. The Republicans control the House. And unless that changes, it's doubtful whoever wins is going to get much done.

But one thing's for certain: This is not the same country President Obama took over when he was inaugurated in January of 2009.

Our standard of living continues to decline and our National Debt has passed the point of no return

The middle class is rapidly disappearing and the hope that President Obama spoke of along with change is increasingly tough to come by.

The fact is the U.S. may have changed forever. And not for the better.

Here’s my question to you: What kind of "change" did President Obama deliver?

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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