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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.

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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.

Where is the U.S. headed if more than 100 million people get welfare?
August 9th, 2012
01:52 PM ET

Where is the U.S. headed if more than 100 million people get welfare?

 

By CNN's Jack Cafferty

More than 100 million people in the United States of America get welfare from the federal government. 100 million.

According to the Weekly Standard, Senate Republicans say that the federal government administers nearly "80 different overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs."

This figure of 100 million people does not include those who only receive Social Security or Medicare.

The most popular welfare programs are food stamps and Medicaid, with the number of recipients in both these programs skyrocketing in the last decade. Food stamp recipients alone jumped from 17 million in 2000 to 45 million in 2011.

And these 100 million people on welfare include citizens and non-citizens.

In fact, a new report by the Center for Immigration Studies finds that 36% of immigrant-headed households get at least one form of welfare. That's compared to 23% of native-born American households.

Immigrants from some countries rely on welfare more than others: more than half of those coming from Mexico, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic get welfare.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is accusing President Obama of loosening welfare requirements.

A new ad charges the president with gutting the 1996 welfare reform law that requires recipients to work in order to collect benefits.

But President Obama's campaign, the White House and former President Clinton - who signed welfare reform into law - are all pushing back against the Romney ad calling it false and misleading.

Here's my question to you: Where is the U.S. headed if more than 100 million people get welfare?

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: Cafferty File • Economy • Jack Cafferty
What does it mean if almost half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets?
August 9th, 2012
01:49 PM ET

What does it mean if almost half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out the golden years aren't so golden anymore for a lot of people.

A new study finds that many Americans die with "virtually no financial assets.” For more than 46% of us, that translates into less than $10,000.

The study - put out by a nonpartisan outfit called the National Bureau of Economic Research - finds that many Americans spend their golden years dependent on the government.

Researchers say many older Americans have no housing wealth and rely almost entirely on Social Security.

Since many seniors have so little in financial assets, they are unprepared to deal with unanticipated financial needs, such as major health-related expenses. Things like entertainment and travel are out of the question.

All this raises more questions about the future of Social Security.

If the government were to reduce benefits for seniors, it could directly affect the day-to-day lives of millions of older Americans who rely on these payments just to get by.

This study also highlights a connection between health and wealth, finding that healthier seniors are likely to have more assets than those who aren't as healthy. And, no surprise here, wealthier seniors are likely to live longer than poorer seniors.

One more thing to remember: Marriage might help you out in old age. According to the report, single seniors had a significantly lower median wealth than continuously married senior citizens. For some of us, that would seem to be counter intuitive.

Here's my question to you: What does it mean if almost half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets?

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 • Economy • Jack Cafferty
As the election gets closer, are you more or less confident in the U.S. economy?
August 8th, 2012
11:46 AM ET

As the election gets closer, are you more or less confident in the U.S. economy?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty

With less than three months to go before Election Day, Americans are becoming less confident in the economy. Not good news for President Obama.

According to Gallup's economic confidence index, July was the second monthly decline in a row. This after economic confidence improved during the first five months of the year.

This index measures the current economic conditions and the country's economic outlook. Americans were more pessimistic about both of these things during July.

A whopping 59% say the economy is getting worse. That's the lowest rating of 2012.

Americans' declining economic confidence is likely due to several factors including weak jobs reports, lower-than-expected GDP growth and Europe's ongoing economic problems.

Meanwhile, a new report suggests the shaky economy is hitting baby boomers especially hard. An AARP survey shows high economic anxiety – extending far beyond the issue of jobs – for pre-retirement voters aged 50 to 64.

No surprise there's a lot of worry about retirement:

– Only one-third of these boomers are hopeful or confident they will reach their financial goals.

– Almost three-quarters think they'll have to put off retirement.

– Half don't think they will ever be able to retire.

Pretty sad.

Many baby boomers are left with smaller pensions than they expected, more expensive health care... and the stress – and cost – of caring for older relatives.

The AARP also recently reported that more than 3 million Americans over the age of 50 are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure due to the housing crisis.

Here's my question to you: As the election gets closer, are you more or less confident in the U.S. economy?

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: 2012 Election • Jack Cafferty • Politics • White House
Who's the worst person Mitt Romney could pick to be his running mate?
August 7th, 2012
12:30 PM ET

Who's the worst person Mitt Romney could pick to be his running mate?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's possible that Mitt Romney could do worse than Sarah Palin.

In a piece on the Daily Beast, Michelle Cottle writes that picking a "dull white guy" for vice president could damage Romney big-time.

She definitely has a point. After the debacle that Palin was for John McCain in 2008, camp Romney has vowed to pick the anti-Palin. Cottle describes this as someone who is "safe, steady, hyperqualified and without a roguish bone in his - yes, definitely his - body.”

It's why folks such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley seem to have lost favor in the veepstakes while others, such as U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota seem more likely to get the nod.

But as time ticks down on Romney's choice, some Republicans are getting nervous about what will happen if Romney goes with a safe pick - a buttoned-down, cautious, boring white guy … sort of like himself.

Some conservatives are now calling on Romney to "go bold," urging him to pick U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Rubio or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

By selecting a vanilla-flavored vice president, Romney risks confirming the worries of many in the Republican Party that he lacks enthusiasm and vision.

Cottle writes that after all this time worrying about another Palin, a greater danger to the GOP might be a VP who is "so dull that no one even cares what he says to Katie Couric."

But Romney just might be headed in that direction. Two of these less-than-thrilling VP contenders, Portman and Pawlenty, will hit the campaign trail for him in key battleground states this week. Yawn ...

Here's my question to you: Who's the worst person Mitt Romney could pick to be his running mate?

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 • Jack Cafferty • Mitt Romney • Politics
How much do the two major political parties really care about you?
August 7th, 2012
12:25 PM ET

How much do the two major political parties really care about you?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's election time and politicians will do - or say - anything to get your vote.

Starting with President Obama and Mitt Romney all the way down the line, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want you to believe that they feel your pain.

But it's an open question if any of them really do.

Ron Paul was the rare candidate who actually connected with voters these past two election cycles. He attracted a ground swell of support from people who were looking for some real answers. But it was never enough to propel him to the next level.

As for most of us, the two major political parties - Democrat and Republican - often seem interchangeable.

And a new poll suggests that the vast majority of voters are staying loyal to the party they supported four years ago, with just a little switching sides.

The Gallup Poll shows 9 percent of 2008 Obama voters have switched to supporting Romney this year, while 5 percent of McCain voters have switched to Pres. Obama.

The groups most likely to either switch presidential preferences - or be undecided - include: Hispanics, Asians, independents, political moderates, Eastern residents, those with a high school education or less and unmarried men.

Pollsters say that because loyalty to the president is slightly less than loyalty to the Republican candidate is the reason the race appears to be tighter now than in 2008.

The deepening mystery is why after continually being disappointed by both parties so many people continue to support them. What is wrong with us?

The list of problems the country is mired in suggests the two major parties are the problem, not the solution.

Here's my question to you: How much do the two major political parties really care about you?

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: Cafferty File • Politics • Uncategorized
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