October 5th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Better for candidate to stay off campaign trail or risk a mistake?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's being called the "year of the missing candidate."

Politico reports how with only a month to go before the midterms, candidates in some key statewide races are missing in action on the campaign trail.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/05/art.odonnell.jpg caption="Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell at the Values Voter Summit on September 17."]
They're skipping debates, ducking out on public events, refusing to publicize the ones they hold and opting out of national television interviews all together.

This includes everyone from newcomers like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Rand Paul in Kentucky to incumbents like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or Texas Governor Rick Perry.

The reason why: these candidates are worried that if they do step out in public, they'll do or say something stupid that will come back to haunt them.

They're gambling that in the long run it's better to get some bad press for staying away from the campaign trail than to be caught on tape in some "gotcha" moment.

Political observers are stunned at the lengths to which some candidates are going, like refusing to release public schedules to local reporters or running away from cameras and shouted questions. Some wonder if going forward, candidates in state races will be as tightly guarded as presidential candidates.

Then again - you can't totally blame these politicians when you take into account the rise of what's called the "tracker culture." Opponents send staffers with camcorders to their events to record every single word a candidate utters. Make a mistake and you turn up in your opponent's campaign ad to be seen over and over again.

Here’s my question to you: Is it better for a candidate to stay off the campaign trail or risk making a mistake?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections • Polls
September 30th, 2010
04:30 PM ET

Most important issue to you in midterm elections?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's no secret the American people are fed up with Washington, the politicians who make a living there on our tax dollars, and their inability to act on the issues that really matter.

Only three in 10 Americans say things are going well in the country today - according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll.

And you can bet, when these disillusioned voters cast their ballots for the midterm elections, they'll have many issues weighing on their minds.

This same poll shows 49 percent of those surveyed say the economy remains the top problem facing the country.

That's followed by 11 percent who say the deficit, 10 percent who say education, and nine percent who say Health Care and the Wars.

Other issues lower down on the list include: Illegal Immigration, Terrorism and Energy.

When asked what the most important economic problem is, people overwhelmingly say unemployment. No surprise there, with a national unemployment rate hovering just below 10 percent.

Other economic issues people worry about include Taxes, Housing, the Stock Market and Inflation.

These midterm elections are shaping up into some very interesting contests. With the anti-incumbent mood at record levels, people seem to be looking for something - anything - different... which has translated into big victories for the Tea Party.

Many Americans are unhappy with President Obama's policies, which could mean big losses for the Democrats. You don't need to look any further than the president's signature issue of Health Care.

Fewer than one in five Americans say the new health care reform law will help them personally; and almost half of the country wants Congress to repeal most of the major provisions.

Here’s my question to you: What issue is most important to you in the midterm elections?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections
September 29th, 2010
04:54 PM ET

Why would you vote for any incumbent?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's no wonder the Tea Party has the traction it does.

House Democrats voted Wednesday to adjourn so they can go home and campaign for the midterm elections. There is no budget, there is no decision on what to do about the Bush tax cuts that expire January 1. There is no willingness to confront any of the pressing issues they are paid to deal with.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/09/art.voting.jpg caption=""]
You see, our lawmakers are cowards. They don't want to have to vote before an election. Could be bad for them. To hell with the American people. At the end of the day it's all about them.

They're getting ready to leave town - again - and won't be back for five weeks.

Before heading out, the House is expected to vote on a measure to keep the federal government operating through December 3. That's necessary because they never bothered to pass a budget.

Here's the problem: Large majorities of Americans disapprove of Congress and only one in four people trust the federal government to do what is right always or most of the time. But when they enter the voting booth, they re-elect the same people over and over: the people who are taking this country right down the drain.

This year there are signs that the midterm elections might be particularly brutal for the party in power, the Democrats. Experts think the Republicans have a decent chance of picking up the 39 seats needed to take control of the House. The experts also say Republicans have an outside chance of gaining 10 seats to control the Senate.

Things are bad for the Democrats all over, but especially in the Midwest.

One Republican pollster says that part of the country will be a "killing field for Democrats this year."

Here’s my question to you: Why would you vote for any incumbent?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections
September 28th, 2010
04:54 PM ET

Pres. Obama vs. Sarah Palin in 2012?


Supporters hold up signs during the DNC (L) and RNC (R) back in 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Sarah Palin could be President Obama's savior. When it comes to the 2012 presidential race, a new poll suggests that Obama could lose - unless he's running against Palin.

The Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll shows that a majority of Americans are considering voting against Obama. Forty-four percent of those surveyed say they will vote to replace Obama, and 13 percent say they'll consider voting for someone else. Only 38 percent say he deserves re-election.

Voters are down on the president for lots of reasons, but especially his policies. By double digits, they disapprove of his new health care law, and they trust congressional Republicans to create jobs more than Obama. This is despite the fact that a majority of voters like him personally.

Obama's best hope of winning a second term just may be Alaska's dropout governor, Palin. If the election were held today, voters say, they would back the president over Palin by a 9-point margin.

Support for Palin is weak in the Midwest and the Northeast ... and almost 60 percent of voters say her actions since since resigning as governor have made them less likely to vote for her for president.

Female voters are especially negative about Palin. Fifty-four percent have an unfavorable view of her. No other Republicans tested in this poll had such high negatives among women.

It's not likely the Republicans would be dumb enough to nominate Palin after what she did to John McCain's run for the White House, but when it comes to politics, nothing should surprise us anymore. And if it happened, well, just imagine if the woman who helped bring down McCain's campaign would help re-elect the Democratic sitting president.

Here’s my question to you: If President Obama runs against Sarah Palin in 2012, who would you vote for?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


September 13th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Should Rangel, Waters ethics trials be postponed until after elections?


FILE PHOTO: Maxine Waters [LEFT] (D-CA) speaks as Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), and Rep. Charles Rangel [RIGHT] (D-NY) listen during a news conference on Capitol Hill (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As long as we keep re-electing the same vermin, this is the kind of garbage we get that passes for government.

The Hill newspaper reports that watchdog groups expect the ethics trials for Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel and Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters to be delayed until - you guessed it - after the November election.

One group suggests that holding ethics hearings right before the midterms "overly politicizes" the ethics process.

But what about the voters? Don't they have a right to know whether or not their lawmakers are guilty of ethics charges before voting for or against them?

The way it works is the ethics committee must provide the member charged with all the evidence it plans to present in a trial - at least 15 days before the trial starts. So even if the committee gave Rangel and Waters their evidence this week, the trials couldn't start until the beginning of October... right around when Congress will likely leave town - again - to go home and campaign.

Meanwhile, the ethics panel investigated Rangel for almost two years before accusing him of several violations... including not paying taxes on a Dominican Republican villa and improperly using his office to raise millions of dollars for an education center named after him.

Two years!

Waters is accused of using her position to help a bank - where her husband owns stock - win millions of dollars in federal bailout funds.

Both lawmakers insist they are innocent and will fight the charges in a public trial. Waters has already won her primary in California and doesn't face a serious challenge in the general election. Rangel still needs to win tomorrow's primary here in New York.

Here’s my question to you: Should the ethics trials of Reps. Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters be postponed until after the November elections?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections • Ethics
September 2nd, 2010
04:40 PM ET

Why have voters fallen out of love with the Democrats?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to the midterm elections, the question now seems to be: "Just how bloody will things get for the Democrats?"
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/02/art.dnc.jpg caption="A file photo from the 2008 Democratic National Convention."]
Each day brings more bad news. And here's the latest: a new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows Americans think Republicans in Congress will do a better job than Democrats in handling seven out of nine key issues.

They include: terrorism, immigration, federal spending, the economy, Afghanistan, jobs and corruption in government. The two parties are essentially tied on health care; and the only issue where Democrats score higher is the environment. Not exactly what's going to bring people to the polls this November.

Republicans need to win 39 seats in order to win control of the House - and some experts are predicting they could win as many as 51. Some even think Democratic control of the Senate is at risk - but that's more of a long shot.

And it's not just about Congress. Democrats are at risk of losing the governorships of some states that usually lean left, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and maybe even President Obama's home state of Illinois.

So with Democrats poised to get a beating in 60 days, and with everybody saying: "It's the economy, Stupid" - the president has chosen this time to give another go at peace in the Middle East.

A noble cause, for sure. But for decades, American presidents have tried and failed. A column in the Daily Beast called "The Peace Talks Charade" suggests the situation is in the same place it was three years ago under President Bush. And neither the Israelis nor Palestinians have the confidence in Mr. Obama's ability to broker a deal.

Here’s my question to you: Why have voters fallen out of love with the Democrats?

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.

Filed under: Democratic Race • Democrats • Election Process • Elections
August 17th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Voters want deficits addressed, so why does Washington ignore them?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Voters are fed up with our lawmakers' inability to take action when it comes to reducing the $1.5 trillion federal deficit. And as The Wall Street Journal reports, it's the voters who appear more willing to take drastic steps to do something about the nation's mounting red ink.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/09/art.voting.jpg caption=""]
The newspaper talked to voters in Virginia, a swing state, who say they're willing to make the tough cuts - from a national sales tax, to budget cuts, to higher medicare co-pays and deductibles.

The voters get it even if the federal government doesn't. And Washington really doesn't get it. Our leaders worry about being attacked in an election year if they suggest spending cuts or tax increases.

The American people just want their leaders to lead on this issue. Is that too much to ask? That's why they were elected.

One independent voter in Richmond, Virginia told the Journal, "I wish the politicians would be hard-[blanks] and be like, 'You know what? It's going to be horrible for the next few years, but you've got to shut up'."

Wouldn't that be refreshing? Meanwhile we await the results of Pres. Obama's bipartisan deficit reduction commission - which are conveniently scheduled for release after the November election. And when the recommendations finally do come; most, if not all, of them will have to be approved by Congress. Which will likely render the entire exercise meaningless.

Some are suggesting a popular uprising is the only way to get our country back on track. A piece on InfoWars.com suggests "without a revolution, Americans are history."

Here’s my question to you: If voters want the deficits addressed, why does Washington continue to ignore them?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Deficit • Election Process • Elections • Washington
August 3rd, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How early is too early for presidential campaign to begin?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Right now, it's all about the 2010 midterm elections... or is it? As soon as the polls close on November 2 and the winners are announced, the focus will shift to the presidential race of 2012.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/03/art.hat.jpg caption=""]
Even though that may seem far away... for some, the presidential campaign has already begun.

Potential Republican hopefuls are already logging multiple visits to key early states - like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.... he's set to make his fifth visit to Iowa next week... he's also made three trips to New Hampshire.

Pawlenty insists he won't decide whether or not to run until early next year. Maybe… but in the meantime he's working it.... big-time. Meeting local politicians, shaking hands with voters, making speeches about how to fix the country, talking about his blue-collar background, raising money for his political action committee... you get the idea.

And Pawlenty is not the only one. Far from it.

According to Radio Iowa, since the 2008 presidential race ended, the following politicians have been to Iowa multiple times: former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Also, former Governors Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and George Pataki have each been once.

It could very well be one of this crop who hopes to unseat Pres. Obama.

For the rest of us, this means before you know it… we'll be bombarded daily with polls and television ads and fund-raising pleas and debates... and all the wonderful things that go along with a presidential campaign. Wolf is positively giddy in anticipation.

Here’s my question to you: How early is too early for another presidential campaign to begin?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


March 26th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Started thinking about your 2012 vote?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here in the Situation Room, it's never too soon to start thinking about the next big election... So here goes:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/26/art.vote.jpg caption=""]
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll - taken before the health care vote - shows Americans are split right down the middle on whether Pres. Obama should be re-elected in 2012.

47 percent of registered voters say they would vote for him... while 47 percent say they would back an unnamed Republican.

It's worth pointing out that at the same point in Bill Clinton's first term - he was trailing an unnamed Republican by 15 points... yet he went on to win two years later.

The poll also shows a majority - 54 percent - believe that Mr. Obama will be a one-term president.

What's interesting is a lot of the same gender and generation gaps that we saw at the polls in 2008 still hold true: Pres. Obama has a significant advantage among younger voters and women... yet he loses among men and older voters. And, in what might be keeping some Democrats up at night: Independents currently favor the Republican by 11 points.

Among Democrats - more than three in four say they want the president re-nominated in 2012... Of course, there are some still holding out hope that Hillary Clinton will make another go at it... which would be something to watch.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side - no clear front-runner, with three potential candidates - Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee - all within a few points of each other at the top of the pack.

Here’s my question to you: Have you started thinking about who you will vote for for president in 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections
November 4th, 2008
04:50 PM ET

Change the way we elect the president?


Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Record turnout is expected today for voters lining up to choose one new president as well as 35 new Senators, 435 Congressmen and 11 Governors.

For some, casting a ballot today means waiting in long lines, sometimes in cold, wet weather. Damp ballots were actually to blame for delays at a handful of polling places in Virginia and North Carolina today.

For others, voting means dealing with polls that didn't open on time.-did this day sneak up on some districts? Or broken or malfunctioning voter machines. At least three precincts in Kansas City received the wrong registration books. New ones had to be printed, holding up lines there.

Some people got their votes in early– more than 30 states allowed voters to cast their ballots either through the mail or at the polls ahead of Election Day. An estimated one-third of all voters took advantage of this, but that process wasn't exactly seamless either.

Watch: Cafferty: Change election?

The last 2 presidential elections were shrouded in controversy. In 2000, the Supreme Court in effect appointed our president, and in 2004 there were strong suspicions that some voting machines had been tampered with, affecting the outcome. And a lot of Americans don't trust that the election results this time around will be legitimate either.

Here’s my question to you: How would you change the way we elect our presidents?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process
newer posts »