Friday, September 28, 2012

Howey/Depauw Poll Holds Heartening, Harrowing Snapshot for Democrats

The latest Howey/Depauw/Battleground poll shows that the Indiana Senate race is extremely close, but the race between other candidates may be slipping away from the D's.

In the poll, Democrat Joe Donnelly leads Republican Richard Mourdock, 40-38, in the race for Richard Lugar's U.S. Senate seat.  Libertarian Andy Horning pulls seven percent in the poll.  The results of the poll are well within the 3.5 percent margin of error.  Fifteen percent of polled Hoosiers remain undecided.

For Governor, the poll says that John Gregg trails Mike Pence by 13 percentage points, 47-34 percent.  Rupert Boneham is polling at a solid five percent.  

Finally, in the race for Indiana's 11 electoral votes, the poll says that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney leads President Barack Obama, 52-40 percent.

The poll was a bipartisan effort combining the efforts of a Republican and Democratic pollster.  It featured interviews with 800 Hoosiers.  

So, what does it mean?

Despite all the efforts by Richard Mourdock, various PACs and Super PACs and by the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, people just don't like the Indiana Treasurer.  Republicans just can't totally support their party's standard bearer who is trying to redefine himself as someone more towards the middle of the political spectrum.  The problem is, he went so far right to defeat Richard Lugar in the Primary, it's hard to get back more to the center now.  Joe Donnelly, the PACs, and the Super PACs behind him are reminding people of that almost every day.  

Horning at seven percent shows that he's a real factor in this race.  He can really swing this thing if he continues to poll at this level on Election Day.

In the race for Governor, I'm actually fairly heartened that the margin is only 13 percent in this poll.  If Gregg can sharpen his attack a bit on Pence and force the Congressman onto the defensive, he can close the gap.  Entering October, it's going to be tough, but with Pence at 47 percent, he's still south of 50 percent.  Boneham at five percent is interesting. 

Finally, recent polls showed Indiana was more in play than previously thought for the Presidential race.  If this poll is correct, it looks like Obama has been wise to not spend money in Indiana.  The 12-point margin with Romney at 52 percent tells me that, no shocker, Indiana is fairly red this year when it comes to POTUS politics.

As these races start to come more into focus, it's imporatant to remember that polls are just a snapshot of a race.  They are just one picture.  That said, Brian Howey's sponsored polling data is usually pretty good.  I think this is a valid look at the race here in Indiana.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Any Port In a Storm for GOP

Not sure where this Todd Akin picture came from,
but it says it all.
The Republican Party is doubling down on Representative Todd Akin despite his controversial comments about rape a few weeks ago.

As you might know, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee as well as a number of other leading Republicans are now rallying behind the embattled candidate after he failed to leave the race like he was asked to by leaders of both parties including GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney.

Now, Akin is embarrassing the Republicans all over again.  Earlier today, Akin told reporters that his opponent, Senator Claire McCaskill was "more ladylike" in her 2006 campaign.  It's a chauvinist and sexist comment by the gaffe magnet.

Already, as the Huffington Post reports, Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, is calling for the RSCC to withdraw its support from the race over the latest controversial comments by Akin.

I guess that Republicans will support anyone that says anything as long as they are Republicans.  Sure, we have our idiots on this side of the aisle, too, but Akin should know better.  I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that this guy's not fit to be a U.S. Senator and should have stayed over in the House.  It's a lot easier to be a sexist jerk over there where you're more anonymous.

Jon Stewart on Mitt Romney's Declining Election Hopes

On Tuesday night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart showed in perfect fashion why Mitt Romney is failing as a Presidential candidate and why Barack Obama is surging despite a few missteps and bad conditions for an incumbent.  It's quite a piece.  Enjoy...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Updated Electoral Prediction Map as of 9/26/2012

Given recent polling data, I've now added Florida and Virginia to the Obama column raising his total from 290 to 332.  Romney gets 206 instead of 248.

I assign the following states for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden:

California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine (All Congressional Districts), Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Wisconsin, Vermont, Virginia

I assign the following states for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska (All Congressional Districts), North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming

Oh Deer!

I know that I've been a little video-happy this week, but I think this one is too good not to share.

Many of us Barack Obama fans have noticed that our campaign signs tend to get vandalized.  I have even gone to the length to booby trap my signs so that someone might get some nasty stuff on their hands if they try to pull them up.

Maybe I'm accusing the wrong culprit.

All I can say to that one is, "Oh Deer!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Changing Tactics Show Desperation

Scary Harry Reid??
Richard Mourdock is desperate to get elected.  In fact, he's so desperate now that his latest attack on Joe Donnelly is pushing the Tea Party panic button and invoking the name of the Senate Majority Leader.  

On his Facebook page, where I've been banned from posting, Mourdock is saying this:

The math is clear. Harry Reid needs a Joe Donnelly victory to stay in power. 
Partner with me this week to raise $100,000 before the final fundraising deadline on September 30th. We can take back the Senate and kick Harry Reid out of power.
Later, he added:

Harry Reid needs to win Indiana’s Senate seat to stay in power. It’s why Reid’s Super PAC has spent $508,000 on TV ads. 
We need to keep fighting, and I am asking you to partner with my campaign to raise $100,000 by the final fundraising deadline on September 30th.

In bogey man/woman circles, there are only three other people that can draw the ire of the right as much as Harry Reid can:  Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton.  I suppose you can give an honorable mention locally to Andre Carson, but this is a badge of honor now for Joe Donnelly.  Apparently, he's drawn  Harry Reid into the race here in Indiana, and I didn't know he was on the ballot.

The problem is that Mourdock's pushing of this as an issue shows how little he has to go on.  His attempts to paint Blue Dog Democrat Joe Donnelly as a raving lunatic socialist that bows at the altar of Obama just aren't working as the polls are showing this race as a dead heat or swinging towards Donnelly.  He's clearly trying a new attack to try to rally his troops and raise some money.

Lara Beck, a Democratic strategist, was on television this weekend on WRTV-6, and she brought up a great point.  She said that Mourdock's campaign seemed to have a great plan to win the primary, but he didn't have a plan to win the General Election.  Obviously, Donnelly did, and he's running a perfect campaign so far.  She's absolutely correct.

This latest grab for straws is more like a grab for a cork to put in the bottom of his sinking ship.  Mourdock's  got his base.  He needs to find a way to talk to the middle of the road undecided voters.  The folks that have scratched before to elect people like Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh to the Senate all these years.  Problem is; Mourdock doesn't know how to talk to them.  That's fine with me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

SNL's Seth Meyers Perfect on Election Analysis

This election is becoming more and more about Mitt Romney than President Barack Obama.  SNL's Seth Meyers absolutely hits the nail on the head in this commentary from Weekend Update urging Obama to just play it cool and let Romney implode.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ninth District Fight About to Hit Airwaves

Shelli Yoder
Rep. Todd Young
Ninth District Congressman Todd Young has had a fairly quiet two years in Congress thus far.

He’s done what he’s been asked to do by the Republican leadership, and he was rewarded with a redraw of his former swing district to make it pretty safe for a GOP candidate.

Young isn’t taking his new district for granted, though. On Monday, according to an e-mail from his campaign, he will be releasing a new television ad. I'd like to show you the ad, but, instead of doing what most candidates do, Young is actually asking people to make a donation to his campaign to sneak preview the new spot.  Sorry, Mr. Young, I'm not that anxious to see the spot.

While I’m rooting for Shelli Yoder to win in this district, it’s definitely an uphill climb, and, while I disagree with Young and his policies, I have to hand it to him that this is a fairly innovative way to raise some cash that can directly be put back into the campaign.

I’m sure that there will be some individuals that actually take advantage of the “pay to play” new ad promotion from Young, but I wonder how many. Perhaps a better way would have been for Young to say that he had filmed the ad, but it needs support to get it up on the air and keep it there rather than give the date it was supposed to start running.

Regardless of the tactics, this is a fairly innovative way to raise some quick campaign cash from your strongest supporters. Of course, for Young, this would be the Tea Party right of the party.

Young is definitely right about one thing.  In his e-mail, he said that the ad campaign is more expensive this time around.  He's correct.  The new Ninth District runs from just south of Indianapolis all the way to the Ohio River.  It includes two major TV markets, Indianapolis and Louisville.  Yoder will have to continue to raise some money to get ads up on television.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Tonight, Facebook and Twitter are blowing up over a seemingly innocuous version of Barack Obama's campaign logo that happens to (gasp) resemble the American Flag.

It never fails to amaze me how ridiculous things get here in the silly season of politics.

Ok, let's get ridiculous.  I am calling out Mitt Romney for being a Frenchy or a Dutchman or one of those there Girl Scouts.  Just ask some of the Republicans like Rep. Bob Morris in the Indiana General Assembly about those GIRL SCOUTS.  He'll tell you all you want to know!

So, this is the picture that really describes this latest dustup.

Is Folksy Always the Right Touch for Hoosiers?

John Gregg
I'm probably going to make some people mad here, but I always have to say what's on my mind.  I think a course correction is needed in the John Gregg for Governor ad campaign.

The latest ad by the Democratic nominee for Governor features John standing with an umbrella talking about Mike Pence wanting to spend the state's Rainy Day Fund.  At the end of the ad, it's revealed that it's John's two sons on the roof with a hose "raining" down on Dad.  It's another folksy ad that has John at his "two first names runnnin' for Governor" best.

I get that Gregg is having fun, and I salute him for that.  It's important to enjoy the campaign.  While Gregg is smiling and having a good time, Pence is advancing the political football down the field three and four yards at a time with a solid and professional ad strategy.

In his latest spot, just like many of his others, is well-produced showing a workman-like Pence talking in a variety of settings to a variety of Hoosiers showing diversity talking about his plan for Indiana.  The ad, to me, works very well on a number of levels.  Despite my personal feeling about Pence's views and readiness to be Governor, I have to hand it to him and his campaign.  Pence definitely looks and sounds the job.

Pence's ads are a stark contrast to the Gregg ones which are easy to like, but they are starting to wear thin.  For those of us that don't want to see four years of Mike Pence (before he runs for President), I am quite concerned and alarmed.  I don't know what kind of shot John has at this thing, but I don't know that he's doing himself a lot of favors with these spots.

I was on his side after the "Hobo" and "Clip & Curl" ads, but I'm starting to wonder with these last two.  I think "Two Kinds" was a good spot, but there are lots of ways that point could have been made.  This latest spot comes off as cute but borderline silly, and there's important information in the spots.

It is nice to smile at a political ad, and that may be what the Gregg campaign is going for.  It's a non-traditional approach.  Gregg still hasn't provided much of a reason to select him over Pence in the spots only reasons why someone shouldn't vote for Pence.  I think he's going to have to get a sharper edge at some point as well as find a way to get his own resume out to the people.  We still haven't seen a bio ad from Gregg, and that may be necessary.  We still haven't seen anything from Libertarian Rupert Boneham up on the TV airwaves.

Maybe this will change soon. In politics, it's possible to fix an ad campaign, and I don't know what Gregg has up his sleeve.  With less than 50 days left now, time's growing short.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is Riggs a Good Fit?

Troy Riggs

Troy Riggs is Indianapolis’ new public service director as of October 29, and he’s saying all the right things in the early going about trying to get more police on the street. The question is: how is he going to do it.

Riggs, who Mayor Greg Ballard's Administration found doing a similar job as the Indianapolis Public Safety Director in Corpus Christi, TX, seems well-qualified for the job having served as a police officer, police chief, and assistant city manager. He will have to use all his considerable skills to find money and budget space for his plans to increase the force.

A quick web search finds that Riggs is familiar with a police department like IMPD. He was the commanding officer of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department. Indianapolis, as you may remember, used Louisville as a model for the merger of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and the Indianapolis Police Department in 2007.  Beyond his work with IMPD, Riggs will oversee several other areas such as IFD and Animal Care and Control.  He was over those areas when he was in Corpus Christi as Assistant City Manager.

If you want to know what kind of ship Riggs may run, this 2010 piece in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times may give you a clue. It appears he’s a reformer like Straub but has accomplished his work in a much different manner. Rather than the caustic and abrasive personality of Dr. Straub, Riggs seems, from this piece at least, to have a different way of doing things.  You can read his official bio on the City of Corpus Christi's web page here.

Riggs' appointment probably won't make everyone happy, and he has a lot of fence mending to do.  Hopefully, Indianapolis has found a Public Safety Director that is willing to manage but let others lead.  When Riggs takes office in late October, we'll see how quickly things change or stay the same.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Neck-and-Neck Senate Race Has a New Wrinkle

Richard Mourdock
And the hits just keep on coming for Richard Mourdock.

A poll, released yesterday, showed that Joe Donnelly is leading Richard Mourdock by three points, 45-42.  The margin of the internal Donnelly campaign poll is within the margin of error of 3.5 percent.  Other polls show Mourdock with a similar lead or a dead heat.  It's close.  That wasn't the biggest slap in the face to Mourdock this week, though.

Joe Donnelly
Yesterday, as Indy Politics reported before, the Huffington Post and other media outlets reported that Senator Richard Lugar has no plans to campaign for Mourdock this fall.  That could actually help Mourdock with his base.  Lugar is borderline hated by many in the Tea Party crowd who see him as a liberal Republican despite his strong conservative credentials.

Sen. Dick Lugar
It will, however, not help Mourdock's current strategy to reinvent himself as a bipartisan negotiator who can work across the aisle.  If you doubt this is his plan, then look at some of his recent ads.  We've seen the ad with Becky Skillman, and we've laughed through them as she has tried to portray Mourdock as a team player.  We've seen him backtrack off his calls to end Medicare and Social Security.

These developments add intrigue to a campaign that's going to be tight for the next two and half months until Election Day.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Last Week Revealed Much About 2012 Race

President Obama in the Oval Office

If you needed any confirmation, last week in world events provided a big picture look at not only the current Presidential race but the way these two major party candidates will deal with a major crisis.

First, the race for the White House.  Mitt Romney's desperate statement showed that he thinks he's behind on foreign policy matters, and he's already throwing Hail Marys.  His ridiculously erroneous statement criticizing the sitting President was poorly thought-out and extremely ill-timed.  It drew widespread criticism not only from Democrats but Republicans as well.  Desperation must be setting in on the Romney sidelines.

Mitt Romney
In the crisis management department, Romney also gets low marks.  Instead of a measured response that we got out of the President, you got Mitt Romney with his hair on fire.  I would guess that he would have pulled out the nuclear football and launched a full scale strike on Libya and Egypt.  Ok, that's an exaggeration, but you simply can't, as President Obama pointed out in an interview, "shoot first and aim later" when it comes to diplomacy in the Middle East.

This current situation shows that it's time for leaders.  President Barack Obama is a leader.  Mitt Romney is an opportunist and is only concerned about scoring political points.  The choice for President has never been so clear.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fired Up and Ready to Go!

Indiana Delegates Zach Adamson, Karen Horseman,
Lori Morris, and Regina Pilotte rock the convention hall.
Editor's Note:  City-County Councillor Zach Adamson sent me this excellent piece about his experiences at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.  

By Councillor Zach Adamson

Now that things have finally calmed down, I’ve gotten my email back to manageable numbers, the phone calls have all been returned, and all the laundry’s been washed and put away, I’ve got a moment to write a few lines about the amazing experience so many of us had at the Democratic National Convention last week.

The first thing I want to do is put a big thank you out to the Indiana Democratic Party. We saw several examples how stressful this could have been, but at least for me, the team from IDP was super organized and super accessible. Thanks to Jordan, Peter, and Jen for doing everything possible to make the very hectic event run as smoothly as possible.

And hectic is was!

As was written in the Indy Star, the Republicans had meetings. The Democrats had caucuses; and lots of them. The schedule was grueling, especially for us folks in Indiana who at the time, were not a swing state (but I hear after this amazing convention, it’s a mere 4 point spread for the President). I’m told we were lucky. Some states had their hotel as far away as South Carolina. The bus left the hotel every morning at 7:00 a.m., and the driver did not wait for anyone. Our morning briefing and pep rally and credential distribution went on while we ate.

There were so many great caucuses to attend it was often difficult to decide, but time became a bigger factor and we often had to skip some just to make it to other ones. Unfortunately, I had to skip more than I got to attend. Apparently, it helps if you schedule time to eat too.

After the caucuses were over, the convention would gavel to order. Most of these proceedings were on TV and have been talked about at great length, so I won’t talk about that, with one exception. As an LGBT Latino who is also Catholic, there were 3 things I’ll not soon forget. First, how amazing it was to witness the evolution of our party, and I believe, humanity, when we overwhelmingly affirmed our platform to include, not just support, marriage equality, but also unequivocal opposition to any attempts to circumvent the equal protection and application of the law by amending the US and/or any state constitution to enshrine marriage discrimination.

Next was the prominent role of Latinos in the leadership and events of the convention. One of the caucuses that I could make, because they usually started closer to 11 or 12, was the Latino Caucus. They were PACKED. Literally a bursting at the seams, filled to capacity caucus. The speakers they sent to address the full house were an all star cast, from the First Lady to several of President Obama’s Latino cabinet. I’m so proud, not just for my party for doing the right thing (not to mention the smart thing) but I’m also proud of the Latino community for having such a strong and vigorous presence.

Si, Se Peude!

And then there was Sister Simone Campbell. The executive director of Network. You’ll know her from the “Nuns on a Bus” tour. Being more involved in politics over time, more and more I’m finding Catholic Democrats are coming out of the closet. While Sister Simone never once says who she, or who you, should vote for. However, she does point out what I’ve waited to hear for years. She points out without saying it, you can’t say you are pro-life and have a disregard for the well being of your fellow man and “Together we understand that an immoral budget that hurts already struggling families does NOT reflect our nation’s values. We are BETTER than that!” Do yourself a favor and watch her here.

In closing, I’d also like to thank the city of Charlotte and the police officers who came in from all around the country to make sure the event was as safe as it was historic. Some of you who know me might have seen a post I did on my Facebook page when our bus broke down on the interstate. Two police officers, who were riding on the bus, got on their radios and within 20 minutes, we had a sheriff’s car, a fire truck and a new bus ready for us. While we waited, the officers repeatedly asked how we were doing and if we needed anything. The entire trip was an example of professionalism and the people of Charlotte should be very proud.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Romney Attack Proves He's Not Ready to Lead

Gov. Mitt Romney
If Mitt Romney loses the November election, yesterday may have been the statement that sealed the deal.  

On Tuesday, a couple of flashpoints in the Middle East exploded into violence when the U.S. Embassies in Libya and in Egypt came under attack by extremists angered by an internet video produced in the United States.  In Libya, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three members of his staff were tragically killed when a building they were taking cover in came under attack.  It was a real moment.  The first time that a U.S. Ambassador was killed in the line of duty since 1979.

When Mitt Romney's campaign released a statement, they decided to light up the President on foreign policy by using a set of fact that simply weren't true.  The statement also politicized the death of a United States diplomat.  

Let's think about this for a second, an American Ambassador and members of his staff are dead, and Mitt Romney uses the deaths to advance his political agenda. Yep, that just happened.

I almost hesitate to politically analyze this, but I guess I have to.  What the heck was the Romney camp thinking?  At times like this, you want your guy to look professional.  You want him to step to the microphone and make a statement that does no harm and only soothes the soul of a country.  If I were writing Romney's statement, it would have looked like this.

Ann and I are deeply saddened by the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff members.  They died in service of our great nation, and their sacrifice is an example of the dangers our diplomats and their staffs face each day across the globe.   I stand with President Obama in strongly condemning these attacks.  

Instead, Romney accused the President of sympathizing with the attackers. It’s a new low for political discourse.

What is done on foreign policy is fair game in the race for the White House, but you certainly don’t use the death of a U.S. Ambassador as a chance to attack the President. That’s absolutely wrong.

I have to wonder who in Romney's campaign thought that this type of response was appropriate.  There's no doubt that this strategy will appeal to the Richard Mourdock wing of the party, but it’s sure to turn independents off and anger Democrats even more.

Romney's camp thought they found an opening, but it ended up being just another embarrassing gaffe on the foreign policy front.  The more I think about it, the more I believe a President Romney would be an absolute disaster for our country's foreign interests.  He doesn't even understand how basic things work.  No wonder he's losing.

A Moment to Vent

Yours Truly
Photo by Wilson Allen
This post is personal, and I'm going to talk around some things here.  For those of you that I know personally, you will know what this is about.  For others, it may seem like I'm dancing around an issue.  That's ok.  I just want to let you, my readers, know why I feel I haven't been on top of my game here on the blog for the last few weeks.

It's nothing overly serious, honestly.  There's just been a lot going on in my family life.  Much of it isn't pleasant.  A lot of it doesn't need to be printed here on the internet for consumption of others.  I had an "emo moment" and I posted a bit about it last night on Facebook only to take down the post nearly immediately after it went up.

I've just found out a lot about family over these last few weeks, and I have had to redefine my relationship with some folks that I had kind of written off and others that I thought I could count on.  Things have been strained and difficult on one hand, but they have been rewarding and strangely good on another.  It's all foreign to me, and I now know I'm no different than many of you that have to deal with these issues or worse in your own families.

I think through all of this, the blog has suffered though.  When I started this blog, I wanted it to be an outlet for the political creature that I am.  It has provided that function in my life now for over four years.  I am proud of this blog, and I'm proud of what I write.  It's also humbling to hear so many people say they enjoy what I write.  It's also fine when we disagree.  I appreciate the haters, too.

After four years, I'm still committed to this blog, and I enjoy writing it.  It's just that politics hasn't been as close to the top of my mind as it used to be.  I apologize if the product here ha suffered at all.  I'm going to do some heavy lifting and move some things around in my brain and try to get rededicated to blogging especially as this important election season comes to a close.

I've made the decision that there are some things in life you just can't control.  The only thing you can control is yourself.  It's so cliche, and it's so overly simple, but it is fact.  We make decisions, and we are held accountable for them.  I can only make my own decisions, and I cannot control the way others think or feel.  Each of us lives with our own decisions and their consequences.

So, with that off my chest, I'm ready to get back to writing here and doing a better job.  I hope that this is all a shock to you to find out and that you didn't notice the blog product slipping, but I sure did.  I'm sorry.

As always, even if you disagree with me, thanks for reading my blog.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Memoriam: Ambassador Chris Stevens

As I'm sure you've heard by now, Ambassador J Christopher Stevens was killed in service in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday.  To honor him, here are his own words.

Ambassador Stevens is a hero who apparently died while trying to help others escape radicals.  President Barack Obama today condemned the attack then eloquently spoke on the Ambassador's service.

I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.  
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants. 
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya's transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.

The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also released a statement:

I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack. 
This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya. President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government's full cooperation. 
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind. 
In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.

Libya's leader, President Mohammed Yussef Magariaf,  has apologized for the attack and has pledged help to track down Stevens' killers.  Also dead in the attack were three members of the Ambassador's staff.

After condemning the attacks, President Obama vowed to hunt down Stevens' attackers.   "We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act, and make no mistake, justice will be done."

Obama Should Thank Clinton, Kerry, Michelle Obama for Convention Bounce

Of all the speeches of the convention season, one laid out the best case for the election of one candidate over another, and that was the speech of President Bill Clinton on Wednesday night last week at the Democratic National Convention.

The speech beat the NFL's kickoff football game in the ratings, and tons of people tuned in to watch the now so-called "Secretary of Explaining Stuff" lay out the case methodically and over 49 minutes deconstruct almost every argument the GOP put forth in their convention.

So, when Barack Obama took the stage on Thursday, he had the luxury of accepting the nomination by giving a workman-like speech that looked forward and not backward.  Clinton had already done it.  Another elder statesman of the party also helped the President.  That was Senator John Kerry.

Kerry gave a sterling speech that showed exactly why Obama has been an extremely solid President on foreign policy.  Again, even though the speech was not seen by as many people as President Clinton's was, this opened the door for President Obama to look forward and not backward on foreign policy.

Of course, the speech with the most heart was the eloquent speech of Michelle Obama.  Obama's speech was well-written and excellently delivered.  She managed to tell the story of the President as well as the story of her family.

CNN released a poll on Monday that showed just how big of a bump it was.  President Obama led 52-46 in that poll.  He also leads now by 20 on the question of being, "in touch with the problems facing middle class Americans today."  Before the convention, he led by six.  It's quite a big jump.

These three speeches, in my view, made the difference.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Let's Change Rhetoric Today

Eleven years ago, on a day much like this one here in Indianapolis today, life changed in an instant.

For most of us that were alive on 9/11/01, we remember where we were when we heard the horrible news that the United States was under attack by terrorists determined to shake our souls and our spirits.  Here we are 11 years since that awful day, and it's hard to remember what life was like before it.  Our lives are now measured in before 9/11 and after 9/11.

I can't, to this day, watch video of 9/11 for very long without changing the channel or turning it off.  It takes me back to that very dark place I was in on that day.  For me, that feeling lasted a few weeks.  I had nightmares about falling buildings and felt depressed about life.  After a while, life returned to some sort of normalcy.  For many people closer to the situation, they confronted this tragedy in a way they couldn't avoid and life would never be the same.  Every night, there's an empty spot on the couch or in the bed.  A spot that used to be occupied by someone who boarded a plane or went to work on 9/11/01.

This morning, I heard local radio host Greg Garrison attack the sitting President of the United States on his radio program with the same old right wing rhetoric about Barack Obama's professors and friends.  It's the old "pal-ing around with terrorists and extremists" rhetoric that the right has been using ad nauseum since 2007 on Obama.  Then, on the very next segment of his show, Garrison tried to emote a tear out of his audience by describing how Richard Mourdock appeared misty-eyed as the Columbia Club's flag was raised then lowered to half staff.

I have no doubt that Greg Garrison and Richard Mourdock are both patriotic people, but this day shouldn't be about political rhetoric.

This day should be about those people that went to work that day and never came home.  This day should be about the firefighters and the police officers that charged into that building knowing what fate they might meet.  This day should be about the thousands of soldiers wounded or killed in battle overseas protecting this country.  This day should not be about petty political discourse we've been hearing for going on five years about the sitting President of the United States.

We can get back to politics tomorrow.  Let's use this day to talk about what a bright future we have and how out of the ashes of 9/11, our country emerged unified.  Let's talk about what it will take, beyond politics, to get to the point where we move together arm and arm and see things move forward.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Some things came up that made it impossible to post.  I will return to posting Wednesday

Dems Hitting "Four Extremes" Hard

Republican Indiana State Senators Pat Miller, Scott Schneider, Brent Waltz, and Mike Young are all being targeted for defeat by the Democrats in November.  That much is clear.  John Barnes, Tim Delaney, Mary Ann Sullivan, and Mark Waterfill are the Democrats that match up head to head with them.

The Indiana Senate Democrat Committee has set up a website at to highlight some of the more extreme views of the four Republicans.  A web ad also explains and highlights the views Dems find questionable.

Pretty much the ad takes the four extremes on over valuing social issues over more economic issues.

The ad is creative, and it shows the Dems are really going hard for these seats.  Can any of the seats be turned blue?  That's a big question we shall get the answer to over the next two months or so.

Friday, September 7, 2012

No Headline Needed

Obama Ends DNC Convention on Winning Note

President Obama
President Barack Obama summed up the last four years of his life in a few simple words during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.  He talked about how four years ago, he was a candidate, but this this time, Obama said, "I'm the President."

Obama's speech wasn't as soaring as his 2004 masterpiece famous for preaching middle ground and political cooperation.  His speech wasn't like the 2008 "Hope and Change" speech.  It was the speech of a sitting President with a rousing ending.

Along the way, it was an honest speech.  President Obama talked about the disappointment that sometimes the pace of things isn't as fast as you would like it to be.  He quoted Lincoln,  "And while I'm proud of what we've achieved together, I'm far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, 'I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.'"


President Obama finished the speech with a rousing ending, "Yes, our path is harder - but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer - but we travel it together. We don't turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth."

That sums up where we're headed, and it provided a great exclamation point on a speech that mostly looked ahead and not behind.  That mostly looked at what we can do together and not what we can do alone.  This was a well-delivered and well-crafted speech that now launches this campaign down the road.

The Democrats pulled off a great convention.  If there is no bump out of this convention, then there's no such thing as a post-convention bump.  We have two months to go.  Now, it's time to close the deal here in September and October.

Tonight's other major speeches were by Vice President Joe Biden and 2004 nominee John Kerry.  Kerry's speech took on Mitt Romney on foreign policy.  He was excellent.  Biden gave a workman-like speech.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

President Clinton Goes Full Mile in Defense of Obama

President Bill Clinton
In a speech that went 20 minutes longer than it was supposed to be, POTUS 42, Bill Clinton, gave a rousing and complete endorsement for POTUS 44, Barack Obama, to be reelected for four more years in the White House.

President Clinton's speech was filled with too many applause lines and numbers to write out here in this blog post, but his message was summed up at the end. Clinton said, "If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama."

Clinton's speech was full of details and was almost like a college lecture than a convention speech.  It's a complicated thing, but the Obama people need to get on the phone and pick Clinton's brain about how they can continue to get this message out.  They need to feature the former President in ads and on the campaign trail.  He's a huge asset.

In 48 minutes, President Clinton made President Obama's case.  Now, Obama just needs to put a nice big bow on the convention later tonight in accepting the nomination.  Thanks to the heavy lifting by POTUS 42, Obama can now give a speech that looks forward to the next four years.

On a side note, President Clinton briefly and indirectly mentioned the 2012 Primary Race between Richard Mourdock and Richard Lugar.  His point was that Lugar was cast aside simply because he was a moderate.

Kudos also to last night's other featured speaker, Elizabeth Warren.  Her speech was solid and was an excellent national introduction to a really remarkable woman.

Obama and Biden are up tonight as the convention comes to a close.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Chance to React, Finally: Michelle Obama's Speech

If Michelle Obama was on the ballot, the election would have ended last night.

In a speech that challenges some of the best convention speeches of all time, Michelle Obama weaved a wonderful tale of love and showed a different side of President Obama in describing their relationship.

It was a speech full of wonderful imagery and amazing rhetoric.  I honestly spent the first few minutes of the speech trying to figure out where she was going.  I was transfixed as she recounted tales from her Chicago upbringing and the early days with the President.

She brought it all home telling us that the man she met over 20 years ago is still the same man that we see in the White House today.

It was a real, wonderful, and amazing speech.

Last night at the DNC was actually full of great speeches.  It had just about everything.  Julian Castro gave a great keynote which had to resonate with many Latino families across the country.  The image of his mother working hard so that he was holding the microphone at the DNC rather than a mop was something I took away.  Castro was also hard on Mitt Romney, but he wasn't over the top.

Other highlights from speeches I saw.  Tammy Duckworth gave a passionate and beautiful speech.  Deval Patrick whipped up the crowd, and Pete O'Malley redeemed himself after a struggle to answer questions on Sunday talk shows.  Cory Booker was strong, and we met Lilly Ledbetter.  Kal Penn made a surprise appearance and Ted Strickland let the red meat fly on Romney.  There were also some ordinary Americans that gave great testimonies.  Last night was the night Democrats embraced the term Obamacare because only in a Republican America would it be bad to have your name associated with the word care.

All-in-all, it was a great night for the Democrats.  I can't wait to see President Clinton's speech in a couple of hours.

I close with two of the poignant video presentations.

First the beautiful piece to introduce the First Lady.

Then a tribute to Ted Kennedy.

Voter ID Advocates Mixing Issues with DNC Requirements

The latest outrage nontroversy created by the right and the advocates of voter ID centers around the requirement that DNC attendees show state-issued IDs to gain entry.

Again, voter ID advocates fail to show anything but fear as the reason why they are imposing these rules on the electorate when there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud anywhere in the United States.  We have evidence as to why you need to show ID and match up to the person that enters the convention hall.

The evidence is from the Republicans' own convention.  A Code Pink protester got past security and was catcalling Mitt Romney's big speech from the hall when they were tossed.  There is also a long history of shenanigans when lax security and a large number of people get together, let alone when they are people like the Vice President, the President, the First Lady, Members of Congress, etc.

Evidence shows us that voter ID is not necessary because there's less than one percent voter fraud over the past 12 years in the U.S. in Presidential Election years.  Then again, I wouldn't expect the Republicans and their supporters to understand that.  The mere fear of voter fraud is enough to get 19 states to act.  That's not all.  Republicans are letting their hand show when they talk in public about how voter ID laws will elect Mitt Romney.  Voter ID laws do nothing to clean up voter registration or absentee issues.

One is safety and security.  One is an electoral strategy.  You decide which is which.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Romney Speech Sets Bar Low for Dems This Week

Mitt Romney
Last Thursday night, Mitt Romney had a chance to capture the American public's interest with his speech to accept the GOP nomination.  Instead, many people ended up talking about Clint Eastwood and an empty chair, Chris Christie being one of the only reasonable people in the party, Paul Ryan's speech full of deceptions and Marco Rubio's speaking ability.

We heard a speech from Mitt Romney that rambled and did not have a single identifiable focus.  It was not a speech that offered anything new besides a jobs plan that he says can create 12 million jobs by following five simple steps.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's not that easy.  Mitt Romney's speech inspired no one but his hardcore base, and it has set the bar incredibly low for this week's Democratic National Convention.

The Republican National Convention did nothing for the GOP's brand.  I would argue that it hurt more than it helped because it fractured the party along the lines of Romney vs. Ron Paul.  Instead of embracing the Paul supporters, the RNC further alienated them.  That's a price that could be paid in November, for sure.

In the 24-hour news cycle, conventions do little good.  In fact, it's the gaffes and guffaws that play much bigger.  We've seen a meme begin with people talking to furniture, thanks to Clint Eastwood.  We've spent time fact checking Paul Ryan's speech that included more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese.  The only Republican response to that scrutiny has been to point out that Ryan didn't lie, but that he didn't tell the whole truth.  When I used to do that to my grandmother, I'd be asked to pick a switch.

Well, it's all over now.  The post-convention bump is gone for Romney as quick as it came.  We're back to where we were a week ago with more jokes about chair speeches.

Thankfully, the American people are smarter than that.  As the President goes to work this week, all he needs to do is reestablish a why.  He needs to ignore Romney and highlight a message of positivity and honesty.  Tell us the truth.  Things aren't where they need to be.  The President must sketch out a road map to get us back.  He needs to establish the why.  Once he does that, this election will be over because Romney has no why.

I predict that this week, President Obama will strengthen his position for reelection.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Senator Portman Subtly Attacks Biden "Family Man" Credentials

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama
Ohio Senator Rob Portman said this about Paul Ryan, "Paul's a close friend, a great family man, and he's got a reformer's heart. Contrast this to Joe Biden. Vice President Biden has told people out of work to 'just hang in there' — so much for 'hope and change."

Is this a fight we're really about to have?  A fight about whether Joe Biden stands up as a family man to Paul Ryan?  Is this somehow a dig at his family values?

In 1972, Joe Biden's family was nearly wiped out.  His wife and daughter were killed in a car accident, and his sons Beau and Hunter were critically injured.  Biden has commented publicly about contemplating suicide at that time.  After the accident, Biden is famous for commuting by train home to be with his boys EVERY DAY from Washington back to Delaware.

I have no doubt that Paul Ryan is probably a good family man, and Senator Rob Portman might be, too.  Somehow lobbing criticisms that Joe Biden is not is ridiculous.  Joe and his second wife, Dr. Jill Biden, seem nothing but happy.  The two sons that survived that horrible car accident have grown and Dr. Biden and Joe have added a daughter.  When he was in the Senate, Joe still commuted back to Delaware by Amtrak train.

Yes, Vice President Biden is known for a malapropism from time to time.  His comments on the campaign trail are perfectly fair game.

I, however, will stand beside Joe Biden against anyone that would criticize him for the things he's done for his family these years.  Vice President Biden has been tested more than most in this regard, and he has passed this test with flying colors.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

In Memoriam, Joh Padgett

Joh Padgett
You know, there are those people in your life that are characters in a book that you may or may never write.  One person that I knew that fit that description was Joh Padgett.

Joh lost his battle with a myriad of health problems this past week at just the age of 40, but it wasn't because he didn't fight his hardest to win.

Anyone following Joh on Facebook knows that it was a rough and tumble battle with the Grim Reaper, and Joh got in more than a few good shots before he could fight no more.

While my interactions with Joh were largely on Facebook and in the social media realm, I still recall my few meetings with him.  A tireless advocate for the legalization of marijuana, Joh knew how to light up a room with his unique wit and charm.

I initially paid my respects on Facebook to him when I learned of his death.  Today, I went back to see what others were saying.  It's amazing how someone's Facebook site can turn into the best memorial for them.  Post after post of people telling Joh how much he meant to them and how much he brightened their lives.  But, like the Michael Jackson song, Gone Too Soon says, "Here one day, gone one night."

Life is short, my friends, and Joh Padgett's was shorter than it should have been.  That said, it's clear from the many comments from his friends that he LIVED it.

My lessons from Joh include living life with a positive attitude no matter how bad you feel or how much things put you down.  Love and live a cause and use your time here to speak up and not fade into the background, and, whenever you can, brighten someone else's day in whatever way you can.

If you do those things, people will probably remember you as someone they will never forget.

Here's to you Joh!  Gone too soon but never ever forgotten.