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How well do you feel you know Mitt Romney?
August 30th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

How well do you feel you know Mitt Romney?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's been a long journey for Mitt Romney.

After six years of running, on Thursday night he will have what is probably his best chance to convince the American people that he should be their next president.

Although voters believe that Romney is best-equipped to deal with our ailing economy, the nation's top issue, it's been an uphill battle for him when it comes to connecting with these voters.

Over the past few days, other speakers - most effectively his wife, Ann - have made the case that Romney is much more than a rich and seemingly emotionless business executive with good hair.

But a lot of Americans still aren't convinced. They don't believe this guy with $200 million in the bank, offshore accounts and private tax returns understands what it's like to struggle.

With that in mind, Politico has some advice on how Romney can make the best use of his convention speech.

For starters, Romney should "go bold," which means not only pitching his own plans for fixing our problems but revealing some personal details he hasn't before.

That means things like his Mormon faith, his near-death experience in France or even what it was like to shut down a plant at Bain Capital.

Another suggestion is to "go light on the red meat." That's what Paul Ryan is for, as he so eloquently showed the nation Wednesday night.

Lastly, Romney could talk about his relationship with his father, George Romney. By giving some details - and showing some emotion - about what he learned from his father, Romney could show us a glimpse of the humanity that many have yet to see but that those close to him insist is there.

Here’s my question to you: How well do you feel you know Mitt Romney?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

Should politics be put on hold for Isaac?
An uprooted and fallen tree is pictured today in New Orleans.
August 29th, 2012
04:56 PM ET

Should politics be put on hold for Isaac?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's a quandary. On the one hand, there is what's now Tropical Storm Isaac slowing laying waste to parts of the Gulf Coast.

Granted it's not Katrina take two, but there are hundreds of thousands of people without power, one 18-mile stretch of levee in Louisiana has been overtopped, and many people are losing their homes to the flood waters triggered by heavy rains and a massive storm surge.

On the other hand, Washington and the federal government are laying waste to the entire country - and we are fast approaching an election where some far-reaching decisions will have to be made by the voters.

The Republican convention is in full swing in Tampa, having been spared the brunt of Isaac. And President Obama is hot on the campaign trail trying to convince the country he deserves a second term.

The Republicans shortened their convention by a day out of concern for the storm. And next week - when the cleanup will be in full swing - the Democrats will convene their dog and pony show in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The political business of the country is moving forward in spite of a rather large natural disaster impacting millions of our citizens. The temptation perhaps is to jump to the conclusion that the politicians are being insensitive. Perhaps all campaigning should cease out of consideration of the hurricane victims.

But the fact is Isaac ain't Katrina - not by a long shot. And the problems of the country probably deserve our undivided attention, Isaac or not. We're in big trouble here.

Here’s my question to you: Should politics be put on hold for Isaac?

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.

What's the greatest risk Republicans face at their convention?
August 27th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

What's the greatest risk Republicans face at their convention?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With Isaac drawing a bead on the city of New Orleans, the Republican National Convention is no longer at the center of this week's media storm.

Nonetheless, the GOP needs to shine during its abbreviated three-day convention if it wants to recapture the White House.

And while national conventions these days are highly scripted affairs, there's still a little room for a politician to surprise us, in a good or bad way.

Politico takes a look at past conventions and how they've been the breeding grounds for both rising stars and unintended screwups.

Barack Obama's keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention propelled him into the national spotlight and started talk of him as presidential material.

At the other end of the spectrum was Bill Clinton's 1988 convention speech. It went on for twice the allotted time, and delegates didn't pay much attention - except for cheering when Clinton finally said the words "in closing."

As for the Republicans' Tampa convention, there are high hopes for keynote speaker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and the candidate's wife, Ann Romney.

This convention could be the Republicans' last best chance to introduce Mitt Romney to the country on their terms.

New CNN-Opinion Research Corp. poll numbers show that although the race is a dead heat between Romney and President Obama, likely voters believe the president cares more about people and better understands their needs while Romney is perceived as better able to handle the economy, always the most important issue in any presidential election.

And while the temptation might be to try to make Romney seem warmer and fuzzier, he is resisting, saying, "I am who I am." At the end of the day, it's probably easier to be true to yourself than try to be someone you're not.

Here's my question to you: What's the greatest risk Republicans face at their convention?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 5 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

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

Should failing grades on deficit, jobs and economy cost Obama a second term?
August 16th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Should failing grades on deficit, jobs and economy cost Obama a second term?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama has some serious "issues" when it comes to the economy... and that might translate to "issues" come Election Day.

A new Gallup poll shows Americans continue to give the president failing grades on the economy, jobs and the deficit.

The president gets high marks for his handling of "terrorism"– 58 percent... and fair marks on "education" - 49 percent... and "foreign affairs" - 48%. But that's where the good news ends for him.

On immigration, Mr. Obama gets just a 38 percent approval rating... and it's downhill from there.

His worst marks come on "creating jobs" at 37%, the "economy" - 36%, and the "federal budget deficit" - 30%.

It's not hard to see why many Americans feel this way... with unemployment above 8 percent for 42 months in a row now and annual deficits topping $1 trillion dollars.

This poll also shows that the president's ratings on the economy are much worse than those of prior two-term presidents.

President Obama's 36% approval on the economy compares to 46% for George W. Bush, 54% for Bill Clinton and 50% for Ronald Reagan.

The bottom line here is millions of Americans continue to suffer under a weak economy, and if they don't get the sense that President Obama is improving their economic lives, it might be a tough sell come November 6th.

Here's my question to you: Should failing grades on the deficit, jobs and the economy cost President Obama a second term?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 5 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

And we'd 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 • Barack Obama • Deficit • Economy • The Cafferty File
Should President Obama consider replacing Joe Biden on the ticket?
August 16th, 2012
02:33 PM ET

Should President Obama consider replacing Joe Biden on the ticket?

There's a growing chorus of voices suggesting that President Barack Obama should dump Joe Biden as his running mate in light of the vice president's latest mistake.

Biden told a mostly black audience in Virginia this week that Mitt Romney's vision of regulating Wall Street would put "y'all back in chains."

And even though the White House is standing by Biden, a lot of people think those comments were unacceptable.

Former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain told Fox News "it might be wise" for Obama to swap out Biden for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Just today – the White House said it's not going to happen, adding that the one place they wouldn't go "for advice on vice presidential running mates is to Senator McCain."

Obama told People magazine Biden is an "outstanding vice president." The president said people get "obsessed with how something was phrased," even if that's not what was meant.

But Former Democratic Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder said he thinks Clinton would be a better choice. Wilder actually called for the switch back in 2010, and he said if the president had replaced Biden on the ticket several months ago, he'd have a bigger lead over Romney now.

As for Clinton, she has made it clear many times that she's not interested, but it's probably wise to never count a Clinton out.

Legal experts tell The Weekly Standard that it's still possible for Obama to change his running mate. The Democrats have until September 6 to nominate their presidential ticket.

Here's my question to you: Should President Obama consider replacing Joe Biden on the ticket?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

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

Why won't Americans vote Congress out of office?
August 15th, 2012
01:04 PM ET

Why won't Americans vote Congress out of office?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Only one in ten Americans thinks Congress is doing a good job.

With numbers like these... it's hard to imagine how any of our lawmakers will get re-elected in November. But sadly many of them will.

According to a new Gallup poll, Congress gets a 10% approval rating, which ties its all-time low for the past 4 decades.

83% disapprove of Congress.

What's more, Congress' approval rating is down among all political groups... at 9% for Democrats, 11% for independents and 10% for Republicans.

While experts say it's hard to pinpoint exactly why Americans are so negative about Congress, the answer is probably "everything."

There's the economy... including the skyrocketing national debt, the rapidly approaching fiscal cliff, the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts and unemployment topping 8% for the last 42 months in a row.

There is no longer any compromise in Congress. Hyper-partisanship means all Congress does is bicker while accomplishing nothing.

Currently Congress has decided to reward itself with another 5-week vacation, despite all of these problems they're refusing to address.

The country is on the road to ruin, and Congress bears much of the responsibility.

Yet chances are if you check back in after the election, many of these same lawmakers will be right back in Washington.

Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

Here's my question to you: Why won't Americans vote Congress out of office?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 5 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

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

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Filed under: Cafferty File • Congress
Should White House apologize for Biden’s ‘chains’ comment?
August 15th, 2012
12:58 PM ET

Should White House apologize for Biden’s ‘chains’ comment?

By CNN’s Jack Cafferty:

President Obama isn't backing away from Joe Biden's comments about putting people "back in chains," which is pretty remarkable when you think about it.

Speaking to a predominantly black crowd yesterday, the vice president said Mitt Romney's vision of regulating the big banks would quote "unchain Wall Street" and put "y'all back in chains."

Biden said this in Danville, Virginia – a city with a long history of racial tension.

He later tried to clean up after himself by saying he was referring to the Republicans' use of the word "unshackled" when talking about banks. It was too late as he had already caused a firestorm.

Biden has a long history of saying dumb stuff. What's alarming here is the nation's first African-American president is OK with this kind of language.

The president's deputy campaign manager told MSNBC she doesn't think Biden went too far when taken in context. She said, "We have no problem with those comments."

This is the same kind of insensitivity the president showed when he said "If you've got a business, you didn't build that."

Romney is blasting Obama, saying his campaign is all about "division and attack and hatred." The Romney campaign calls Biden's comments "a new low." Hard to argue with that.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani questions whether Biden has the "mental capacity" to handle the presidency.

Often times what Joe Biden says is entertaining and can be written off to be putting his mouth in motion without engaging his brain. But the comment about putting people back in chains is loaded with racial overtones and is a long way from being cute.

It should have been embarrassing for the nation's first black president.

But apparently it wasn't.

Here's my question to you: Should the White House apologize for the vice president's remarks about putting people "back in chains"?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

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

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Filed under: Joe Biden • The Cafferty File
Who ranks higher on the charisma scale, Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan?
August 14th, 2012
01:04 PM ET

Who ranks higher on the charisma scale, Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

They looked like two peas in a pod.

When Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate Saturday morning, some people thought they were seeing double.

Writing for the Daily Beast, Robin Givhan suggests Ryan could easily be mistaken for one of Romney's five sons.

She says that the Republican running mates - in their matching white shirts and black pants - lacked dazzle or texture.

She describes them as "two white guys defined by political expedience, professional uniforms and perfectly pomaded hair."

And it's not just their appearances that are similar.

Politico suggests Ryan could just be "Mitt squared." The writers say it's easy to see why Romney - the 65-year-old "numbers nerd" - wanted Ryan - the 42-year-old "budget wonk" - on the ticket with him.

Like Romney, Ryan isn't the most exciting speaker. It's possible Romney was looking more for a youthful double of himself than for someone to balance the ticket.

Speaking of doubles, consider these two back in high school.

In his Janesville, Wisconsin, high school, Ryan was voted "biggest brown noser" by his senior year classmates.

He was also the prom king and junior class president, not to mention an athlete and in the Latin club - a pretty well-rounded guy.

As for Romney, he attended a boys' prep school in Michigan, the state where his father was governor.

According to one classmate, Romney was in the glee club and the pep club and was chairman of the homecoming committee.

What he didn't do was play middle linebacker on the football team.

Here's my question to you: Who ranks higher on the charisma scale, Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 5 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

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


Filed under: 2012 Election • Cafferty File • Jack Cafferty • Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan
How often do you think about the presidential election?
August 14th, 2012
01:03 PM ET

How often do you think about the presidential election?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Sixty-four percent of Americans say they've given "quite a lot" of thought to the upcoming presidential election.

How can you not think about it? It's impossible to escape it.

According to a USA Today/Gallup Poll, 64% is down from the previous two presidential races, but higher than Americans' engagement in the 2000 election.

These numbers suggest voter turnout will be lower this year than in 2008 or 2004.

Republicans are more revved up than Democrats, with 74% of Republicans saying they think about the election "quite a lot," compared to only 61% of Democrats.

This 13-point GOP advantage is the highest this poll has measured in recent presidential elections.

It's possible that Democrats just haven't tuned in yet and that Republicans are more engaged because of the primaries.

Typically Americans start thinking more about the election as it gets closer - once the conventions, debates, etc. start happening. And interest traditionally really starts to rev up after Labor Day.

If the higher GOP interest keeps up, it could mean higher turnout for the Republicans come November.

It's clear Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan over the weekend has jump-started the party's base.

The crowds at Romney's events have grown larger - perhaps as high as 15,000 at one North Carolina rally - and they've also grown more energetic.

Reminds you a little bit of President Obama's crowds back in 2008. But he's not drawing those kinds of crowds this time around.

Here's my question to you: How often do you think about the presidential election?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

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

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • Cafferty File
How much will Paul Ryan help Mitt Romney's chances of winning?
August 13th, 2012
01:55 PM ET

How much will Paul Ryan help Mitt Romney's chances of winning?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Mitt Romney went "bold"... doing what many conservatives wanted him to do in naming Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Many view the Ryan pick as a game-changing one, with both Republicans and Democrats cheering Romney's choice.

But it's yet to be seen if Ryan will make voters more - or less - likely to vote for Romney.

Ryan's weaknesses are pretty evident. His budget plan of drastic spending cuts includes significant changes to Social Security and Medicare. Try selling that to elderly voters in Florida.

It also gives Democrats ammunition to play on those same voters' fears, that the social programs they rely on could be threatened.

Plus, Ryan has virtually no experience in the private sector - just like President Obama. He has spent almost 14 years in Congress - a career politician at a time when America is sick of Washington.

But - Romney's selection of Ryan also carries plenty of benefits.

For starters, while voters are sick of Washington insiders, they tend to reward politicians who push for real change... see Barack Obama in 2008 or New Jersey's Chris Christie.

For Americans who grasp the critical nature of our skyrocketing national debt... now nearing $16 trillion... Ryan has a lot of appeal.

And if Mitt Romney is willing to embrace even some of Ryan's ideas... Pres. Obama won't be able to touch the GOP on government spending and deficits.

Ryan is also a clear plus for the party's base, many of whom have never really liked Romney. He appeals to crucial independent voters, Catholics and women too.

Most importantly, the choice of Ryan signals a clear choice for voters in November. More government versus less government. Runaway national debt versus painful fiscal responsibility. Ryan is a big gamble for Mitt Romney - but it's a bet he almost had to make.

Here's my question to you: How much will Paul Ryan help Mitt Romney's chances of winning?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

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

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