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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Tax Returns
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.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Money
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.

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Filed under: 2012 Election
Whom do you trust more to turn around the economy: President Obama or Mitt Romney?
July 9th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

Whom do you trust more to turn around the economy: President Obama or Mitt Romney?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Mitt Romney is coming under fire from some conservatives when it comes to the economy.

Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard says that Romney won't be able to win in November if voters don't think he has a clear plan to fix the economy.

Radio host Laura Ingraham also took a swipe at Romney - wondering why he's taking vacation when "we have a country to save."

The Wall Street Journal, now owned by Rupert Murdoch, says Romney needs to get more specific about how he would do a better job than Obama:

"The Romney campaign thinks it can play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it's Mr. Obama's fault."

In fairness to Mr. Romney some of this griping is coming from conservative quarters that weren't thrilled with him in the first place.

Romney has a plan for jobs and economic growth laid out on his website.

And the likely Republican nominee has talked about how he would do things like lower tax rates, lift the barriers to the Keystone Pipeline, curb some regulatory policies that he says have driven up energy costs and repeal Obamacare.

Meanwhile what about President Obama? With another grim jobs report for June, unemployment is stuck at over 8% and job growth is weak.

If unemployment stays where it is - or goes higher - before November, it might be tough for the president to convince millions of unemployed Americans that he can feel their economic pain. Plus the national debt and annual deficits are out of control on his watch.

A recent CNN/ORC poll shows Americans just about split down the middle when it comes to who would better handle the economy.

Here’s my question to you: Whom do you trust more to turn around the economy: President Obama or Mitt Romney?

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 • Economy • Mitt Romney
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