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How can Republicans attract voters other than old white men?
June 20th, 2012
03:52 PM ET

How can Republicans attract voters other than old white men?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If Mitt Romney wants to be president, he's going to need help from voters who aren't old white men.

He's got his work cut out for him.

A Politico piece headlined "Barack Obama's group therapy” describes how the re-election campaign has been reaching out to key voting groups by focusing on issues like the contraception fight, equal pay for women, gay marriage, student loans and immigration policy.

Many Republicans find the president's strategy "very crass." Hey, politics is a crass business.

One GOP pollster told Politico that Romney can win if "Republicans decide that it's OK to look outside the country club for some votes."

For his part, Romney is sticking to his message of the economy, hoping it will appeal to all voters.

The traditional Republican base of white voters is shrinking, and if Romney wants to win, he needs minorities and women.

According to the Politico piece, Republicans traditionally get 87% of their votes from whites.

The problem is, the proportion of white voters in the electorate has dropped from 88% in 1976 to 74% in 2008.

At the same time, minority groups grew from 12% to 26%.

Which explains the Obama camp's targeted voter outreach to groups like women, Hispanics, African-Americans, gays and students.

To be fair, Romney is also doing some outreach of his own.

He'll speak Thursday in Florida to NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Later this summer, he'll address the National Convention of the NAACP.

The question is how much credibility he has with these groups. Marco Rubio or Condoleezza Rice could help.

Here’s my question to you: How can Republicans attract voters other than old white men?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party • Republicans
Is John Kerry a good fill-in for Mitt Romney?
June 19th, 2012
03:29 PM ET

Is John Kerry a good fill-in for Mitt Romney?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

John Kerry will play Mitt Romney in debate preparations for the president.

And it's just perfect: one elite, rich, emotionless Massachusetts politician filling in for another.

The Boston Globe first reported that Senator Kerry has been tapped to mimic the presumptive GOP nominee in debate practice.

That means Kerry will do everything from anticipating Romney's answers and his attacks to copying his speaking style and his posture.

Of course Kerry has lots of experience in presidential debates since he faced off against George W. Bush three times in the 2004 campaign. Most people agreed Kerry won those debates even though Bush went on to win the election.

President Obama's senior campaign strategist David Axelrod says Kerry is an expert debater who has mastered a wide range of issues including Romney's Massachusetts.

Kerry has observed Romney's role in Massachusetts politics going back to 1994, so he should be in a good place to point out Romney's weaknesses while governor, especially his economic record.

Axelrod calls Kerry "the obvious choice." Which may be true in more ways than one.

As the Globe notes, critics blast both Kerry and Romney for being aloof and for flip-flopping on major issues.

Plus, they're both rich. Really, really rich. Romney has an estimated net worth of $250 million while Kerry's is at around $193 million.

Meanwhile John Kerry could wind up playing a larger role in a second Obama term if the president manages to win re-election. There's growing speculation that Kerry could take over as Secretary of State if Hillary Clinton leaves as planned.

As for who will play Obama in Romney's debate practice - no word yet.

Here’s my question to you: Is John Kerry a good fill-in for Mitt Romney?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • John Kerry • Mitt Romney
1 in 5 measures passed by the current Congress approved post office names. How equipped are lawmakers to deal with our problems?
June 19th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

1 in 5 measures passed by the current Congress approved post office names. How equipped are lawmakers to deal with our problems?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's all you need to know about how worthless Congress is:

Of the thousands of measures introduced in the current Congress - only 132 passed.

And about 1 in 5 of those was to approve official names for post offices.

This country is circling the drain when it comes to runaway government spending and deficits - and 20% of the bills that got through Congress were to name post offices.

What's more: a CNN analysis of Congressional records shows that the current Congress has worked just as many days as previous Congresses - they just have a lot less to show for it.

This gridlock means that the important things that need doing are in limbo. We haven't had a budget in forever. There has been no action on the fiscal cliff that is fast approaching at the end of the year. The debt ceiling is going to have to be raised. The national debt and deficits are out of control. And they spend their time naming post offices.

Experts say it hasn't always been this way. They call the 111th Congress "exceedingly productive." That was when the Democrats passed Obamacare.

Of course that was also the spark that started the fire that was the tea party. Republicans swept into power in the house in 2010 - promising to repeal health care reform and crack down on government waste and abuse.

But what they've mostly done is slow the pace of government and turned this Congress into one of the least productive in modern history.

Congress still has 6 months left to redeem themselves. But don't count on it.

Between vacation time and campaigning for re-election, it's unlikely they'll deal with any of the critical issues facing the U.S. today.

Here’s my question to you: One in five measures passed by the current Congress approved post office names. How equipped are lawmakers to deal with our problems?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Congress • Postal Service
What would Chris Christie bring to the GOP presidential ticket?
June 18th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

What would Chris Christie bring to the GOP presidential ticket?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Chris Christie says Mitt Romney should call him when it comes to the No. 2 spot on the Republican ticket.

The popular New Jersey governor tells Newsweek magazine that he's not sure how he'll react if Romney asks him to be his vice president, that it all depends on what Romney says.

Christie adds it's possible he'll say "no", even though he's not even sure he'll get the call.

But Mitt Romney ought to seriously consider Christie. The ever-outspoken, down-to-Earth Christie could help the often-aloof, seemingly removed Romney in many ways.

Voters like Christie's honesty and bluntness – and he connects with them in a way that Romney just can't. Plus Christie could fire up the base, especially those who think Romney hasn't been a strong enough conservative voice.

As Newsweek points out, Christie has succeeded in both identifying and mastering the defining public policy challenge of this era: reining in the cost of government.

His willingness to take on the teachers' unions and public sector workers and cut government spending in New Jersey is what the rest of the country needs to do.

It's just one reason why Christie would be a bold choice. But it might also be one that Mitt Romney is not prepared to make.

That's because Christie comes with risks too. Being outspoken isn't always what you want in a vice president. Just ask Barack Obama.

But if it happens, those vice presidential debates between Christie and Joe Biden would definitely be must-see TV.

Meanwhile, if Christie doesn't get tapped as Romney's No. 2, there's growing buzz he could be the keynote speaker at the Republican convention this summer. Once again, must-see TV.

Here's my question to you: What would Chris Christie bring to the GOP presidential 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.


Filed under: Uncategorized
Why is Mitt Romney refusing to answer questions on Obama's new immigration policy?
June 18th, 2012
12:30 PM ET

Why is Mitt Romney refusing to answer questions on Obama's new immigration policy?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When opportunity knocks, it's a good idea to answer the door, especially if you want to be elected the next president.

Last week, President Obama announced that illegal aliens under the age of 30 who have been here since before they were 16 would no longer be deported and would be eligible to apply for work permits if they meet certain requirements.

In doing so, the president handed Mitt Romney a golden chance to score some points with the beleaguered middle class.

With millions of American citizens out of work and unemployment at more than 8%, it was a gift to Romney. But instead of pointing out these things and suggesting that the few jobs being produced should go to American citizens, Romney was silent. Instead of saying immigration is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with, but not at the expense of giving American jobs to illegal immigrants, Romney was silent.

Instead of pointing out that Obama was violating immigration laws and instead is making his own laws when it comes to illegal immigrants, Romney was silent.

In fact, he was given a second chance Sunday by Bob Schieffer on CBS's "Face the Nation," where he was asked five times about this issue. But the best he could do was refuse to answer, dodging the question in the best political tradition.

If Romney wants to be the next president, he should start speaking out for the rule of law and on behalf of American citizens, especially when the choice is as clear as Obama made this.

Here's my question to you: Why is Mitt Romney refusing to answer questions on Pres. Obama's new immigration policy?

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 • Jack Cafferty • Mitt Romney
How long will we blame George W. Bush for our problems?
June 14th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

How long will we blame George W. Bush for our problems?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's all Bush's fault.

That's where most Americans still put the blame for our economic problems, even though it's been more than three years since George W. Bush left office.

A new Gallup Poll shows 68% of those surveyed say the former president deserves either a great deal or a moderate amount of blame. Thirty-one percent say he deserves not much or no blame at all.

Compare that to the man who has actually been steering the ship for the last three-plus years.

Fifty-two percent say President Obama deserves the blame for America's economic troubles. Forty-eight percent say he's not to blame.

The relative economic blame given to the two leaders is virtually the same as September 2011.

As is usually the case, there's a partisan divide here, although Republicans are more willing to blame Bush than Democrats are willing to blame President Obama.

As for independents, they are substantially more likely to blame Bush than Obama.

With the economy the top issue for November, all this is very good news for President Obama.

Even though Americans have more negative than positive views of the economy – and the direction it's headed – people are more likely to blame the president's predecessor.

It kind of makes you wonder at what point President Obama will own this nation's problems.

Meanwhile all this comes on the heels of another poll that showed President Bush as the least popular living ex-president.

Mitt Romney may want to keep this in mind as he selects his running mate. Several of his potential vice presidents have close ties to Bush, including folks like Rob Portman, Mitch Daniels and, of course, Jeb Bush.

Here’s my question to you: How long will we blame George W. Bush for our problems?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

How high should the retirement age be?
June 14th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

How high should the retirement age be?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Get ready to work well into the golden years.

A new report suggests governments need to raise the retirement age as life expectancies soar.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says that by 2050 the average person will live at least 20 years beyond retirement.

Right now in the United States, the full retirement age is 66. A decade ago it was 65. And in 2022 it will go up again to 67. This is called a trend.

Problem is, governments pay a portion of people's retirement in the form of things like Social Security - and the longer we live, the more it costs to fund our retirement.

Social Security is already in deep trouble.

The trust fund pays out more in benefits than it takes in from workers' payroll taxes. It's estimated there will be a $165 billion shortfall this year and that the program will only be able to pay promised benefits in full through 2033.

Part of the problem is Social Security is an outdated system. Back in the 1930s when it was created, most people didn't live past 60. The point was never to pay Social Security to a retiree for decades.

Plus, experts say that working longer isn't only about paying more into Social Security.

They suggest people in their 60s today are healthier and can be a productive part of our society for longer.

Whether that's true or not, we better get ready to start working longer or move to France.

First thing their new socialist president did was LOWER the retirement age to 60, even though it will cost the government billions of euros a year. Another example of sound European fiscal policy.

Anyway...

Here’s my question to you: How high should the retirement age be?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Retirement
Has the time come for the U.S. to intervene in Syria?
June 13th, 2012
03:38 PM ET

Has the time come for the U.S. to intervene in Syria?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Syria is teetering on the brink of an all-out civil war as the situation quickly goes from bad to worse.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she's concerned that Russia may be sending attack helicopters to Syria. Something that, if true, can escalate the conflict quite dramatically.

She says the U.S. has confronted Russia about stopping its arms shipments to the assad regime. According to the State Department, Russia insists that the weapons they're sending can't be used against civilians and are only for self-defense. What's not to believe?

Syrian forces are reportedly pummeling their own people with attack helicopters, tanks and mortars. On the other side, the insurgents appear increasingly armed and better organized. Like we said: bad to worse.

Meanwhile the UN is out with a report that the Syrian government has used children as human shields and tortured other children whose parents are suspected dissidents. These child victims describe being beaten, blindfolded, whipped with heavy electrical cables, burnt with cigarettes and in one case, subjected to electrical shock to the genitals.

A UN peacekeeping chief now describes the situation in Syria as a civil war. It's estimated as many as 14,000 Syrians have been killed in the 15 months of bloodshed.

Secretary Clinton says there's no easy solution to the mess in Syria. But it's clear that sanctions and isolating Syria haven't worked so far.

As for Americans, they overwhelmingly say the U.S. does not have a responsibility to step in.

A recent CNN/ORC poll shows 61% oppose any American intervention.

33% say the U.S. should intervene - that's up from 25% in February.

Here’s my question to you: Has the time come for the U.S. to intervene in Syria?

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: Syria
Why haven't we done a better job protecting our kids from pedophiles?
Jerry Sandusky carries files into court upon arriving for day 3 of his sex abuse trial, Wednesday in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
June 13th, 2012
03:37 PM ET

Why haven't we done a better job protecting our kids from pedophiles?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

(CNN) - Periodically we are reminded of the horrible national disgrace of child sexual abuse.

A few years ago, it was the systemic abuse of children by some priests in the Catholic Church.

The sins of the church and these priests were covered up for years as the offending pastors were simply transferred from one parish to another when their deviant behavior was discovered.

Little or no thought was given to the children who were scarred for life by these violations at the hands of people they were taught to trust and respect.

Now the eyes of the country are focused on a place called Happy Valley, Pennsylvania. For a lot of kids, not so much.

It's the home of Penn State University, the late legendary coach Joe Paterno and another far-reaching child sex abuse scandal. This time allegedly at the hands of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The testimony of what happened to his alleged victims is stomach-turning.

Again a large, trusted institution became a breeding ground for this most horrendous behavior, and it was allowed to continue even though a lot of people who should have known better did.

There is also a child sex abuse scandal being uncovered at a prestigious private school in New York, Horace Mann.

The New York Times detailed horror stories about three former teachers - all dead now - who allegedly abused male students decades ago. The report also questions whether the former head of the school knowingly allowed this behavior to continue.

Since the piece came out, additional students - male and female - have come forward with allegations of abuse, some naming teachers not mentioned in the original report.

But it's not just Horace Mann, Penn State or the Catholic Church. This stuff goes on all the time at every level of society.

And because children can't vote, don't have any money and can be easily ignored, not enough is done to prevent it.

Here’s my question to you: Why haven't we done a better job protecting our kids from pedophiles?

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: Children
How much trouble is President Obama in?
June 12th, 2012
03:56 PM ET

How much trouble is President Obama in?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If President Barack Obama went to a fortuneteller this week, he might ask for his money back.

In his Washington Post column titled "Pileup at the White House," Dana Milbank writes how Commerce Secretary John Bryson's weekend car crashes - and possible felony hit-and-run charge - are just the latest in a string of bad news for the president.

The list is long.

Stalled job growth, the Wisconsin recall defeat and Attorney General Eric Holder facing a contempt-of-Congress citation over lawmakers’ demands for documents in the "Fast and Furious" gunrunning investigation.

Bill Clinton contradicting the president, Mitt Romney raising more money, Congress squawking about national security leaks they say are coming from the White House and the president himself stupidly saying that the "private sector is doing fine." Really?

Milbank writes that all this adds up to one of the worst stretches of Obama's presidency: "There is a creeping sense that the bottom has fallen out and that there may be no second term."

Milbank says that top officials in the Obama administration privately say they are no longer expecting much economic improvement before the election.

Plus, there could be more bad news for Obama around the bend:

The Supreme Court is expected to rule any day now on the fate of the Affordable Care Act - widely known as “Obamacare” - as well as Arizona's controversial immigration law. Obama has a lot riding on both of these decisions.

With less than five months to go before the election, there's no doubt the president could use some good news.

Working in his favor is the fact that polls show voters like him and he has high favorability ratings, but that might not be enough to prevent him from his own car wreck come November 6.

Here’s my question to you: How much trouble is President Obama in?

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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