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Friday, June 22, 2012

Trippi and friends talk election 2012 up on Capitol Hill

From left, Robert Traynham, Joe Trippi, Marjorie Margolies, John Zogby, and John Gizzi/ Patricia Leslie

The Great Eight states* will determine the victor in November with special emphasis on the Key Three (Ohio, Virginia, and Florida), and as for the rest of you, forgetabouit. 

But please, send in your cash anyway, and, no, they are not coming.

That was the message, more or less, delivered by Joe Trippi, campaign strategist, at a Tuesday Capitol Hill panel presentation sponsored by the National Constitution Center and the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Trippi said Karl Rove thinks Wisconsin is "on the bubble"  (not defined), and Trippi disagrees. 

But the president's team has "put money on the air in Pennsylvania which tells me they're concerned about it," the prognosticator said.  Challenger Mitt Romney must win the Key Three, Trippi said.

Joe Trippi/Patricia Leslie

If the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the healthcare law, the decision will certainly help the president, according to the consensus on the panel, which, in addition to Trippi, included John Zogby, pollster; Robert Traynham, Comcast Network; Marjorie Margolies, Fels faculty member and former Democratic congresswoman from Pennsylvania; and John Gizzi, Human Events correspondent.

A negative decision will help ignite the president’s base and make it stronger, Gizzi said.

Just 100 people are funding 80 percent of the PACs, Trippi said, and the aggravation is that neither candidate controls the PACs and vice-versa.

The money is "out of control" because the "candidates aren't in control.” 

Said Zogby:  “There's way too much money being spent."

Trippi predicted the Democrats and Republicans will each raise between $1 billion and $1.4 billion.

Zogby said "fewer and fewer people" are impressed by huge money expenditures, and as far as campaign finance reform:  "The average person doesn't give a s---."

On the day the news broke that Marco Rubio was not being vetted as a prospective vice-presidential candidate by the Romney campaign, the panel's general consensus was, Rubio’s out. He would bring no Hispanic voters to the table, said Zogby.

The group largely believes the nominee will be either Rob Portman or John Thune.  Traynham mentioned Tim Pawlenty.

Is negative advertising effective? 

People "hate" negative campaigning, "but it works" said Ms. Margolies, mentioning Congress's low approval rating (about 17%).  Said Zogby: "Negative advertising used to work, but now?" 

The panel spent a large chunk of the presentation time discussing past negative campaigns like those of Thomas Jefferson v. John Adams, George H.W. Bush v. Bill Clinton, and Harry Truman v. Thomas E. Dewey. 

"This is something that happens" [people] said John Gizzi.

Zogby recalled that Thomas Jefferson was called "an atheist and a whoremonger as well as being French!"

John Zogby, left, and John Gizzi/Patricia Leslie

Gizzi said George H.W. Bush's campaign in 1992 was absolutely the worst one, excluding Michael Dukakis's 1988 debacle.  And ever since Bush wrote off Pennsylvania and Michigan, those states have trended Democratic. Who told Bush to forget about California? Gizzi asked. 

Zogby’s latest poll shows the president leading Romney, 47 to 43 percent.

After Obama’s announcement on Friday that some illegal immigrants under age 30 would not be deported,  Zogby said Barack Obama’s  support among Hispanics rose to 67 percent,  to 64 percent among younger Hispanics, and to 99 percent among blacks.

Obama's "fly in the ointment," said Zogby, is the 18-32 year olds, a "growing subsection," AKA the "CENGAs:  college-educated, not going anywhere."  They are not going to vote for Romney, he predicted, but the question is:  Can the Obama campaign get out their vote?

He expects a big turnout this fall.

"The process is broken," Zogby said, but "the process will work its way out."

Traynham said:  "I don't believe the system is broken.  It's the American way." And the "American electorate through social media is much more educated."

Robert Traynham/Patricia Leslie

The average American is "a helluva lot more sophisticated than given credit for," Zogby said, however, Ms. Margolies said later "the American public is not as smart as we think it is," to clapping by one person.  She's not sure the electorate "is an informed public."

When asked about surprises in the race, Traynham, a "big supporter" of Obama, said "how 'off' the president was last unlike him."

Ms. Margolies said "Romney lacks 'it,' whatever 'it' is," and Obama's "not doing any better." That the president's not running away with the election has been "a shock" to her. Romney "doesn't realize what he says is on tape?" He has got to remember to add a 's' to “sport.”

Marjorie Margolies/Patricia Leslie

Traynham described the president as “very professorial and academic,” but Romney "is even worse."  The presumed Republican challenger "has a bad economy working with him, but does he have the right solution?" Traynham asked. 

Gizzi has been surprised by the speed at which the other Republican candidates have flocked to Romney, and he quoted Hailey Barbour who he thought was the first to pronounce:  "Barack Obama is the greatest unifier when it comes to Republicans."

If unemployment "goes back up, I think he's [Obama] toast," Zogby said.
Trippi:  "Greece, Spain, and Italy have more to do with this election that Ohio, Virginia, and Florida." If something bad happens in Europe, "I think he'd [Obama] be in deep trouble." 

Gizzi:  Spain's banks are "very much on the edge of a cliff."

Joe Trippi said the Obama campaign’s information about “millions” of voters is “astounding,” and the Romney campaign is in quick catch-up mode.

The panel agreed that it won’t make any difference in Congress whether Obama or Romney wins in November since Congress is not going to change.  Zogby envisions a new bumper sticker:  "They're creepy, they're dishonest and I vote."

The mostly under-age 30 crowd of about 60 persons filled the room at the Rayburn House Office Building where a reception preceded the discussion which was open to the public. 

*The Great Eight States are: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire,  Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa, but wait, that's nine but “eight” rhymes with “great,” and who’s counting?

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