Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Team Obama: Romney ‘unsteady’ at the final presidential debate

    BOCA RATON, Fla.--President Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe went on the attack against surrogates for Republican challenger Mitt Romney who said the president was too aggressive during the final presidential debate Monday night.

    "This is a debate about who should be our commander in chief, so if they're going to whine and talk about attacks in a debate about strength and who's commander in chief, it's a remarkable thing," an energized Plouffe told reporters here after the debate, which focused on foreign policy. "It's actually an absurd thing to do. They're saying he was petty, he attacked too much. ... If you can't sit there and take that from a political opponent, how are you going to deal with the people who want to do America harm?"

    Plouffe was responding to comments relayed to him by reporters who had spoken to Romney surrogates who had suggested Obama's aggressive style at the final debate may have hurt him.

    Obama's top advisers declined to say whether the

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  • BOCA RATON, Fla -- Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who played the role of Republican nominee Mitt Romney in debate practice with President Barack Obama, hinted that he may have changed his strategy after the first debate, but he declined to elaborate on the details.

    "I was chosen from binders of senators and I learned my job well enough that when I went home my dog was growling at me so obviously I changed something," Kerry told reporters in the "spin room" before the Monday's presidential debate here. "We'll see how it works tonight. We'll see how it happens, but I'm not going to go into the whole process."

    Kerry's "binders" comment was a shot at Romney, who in the last debate said he was brought "whole binders full of women" while he was seeking to hire women on his staff during his tenure as governor of Massachusetts.

    Kerry added that Obama "could not be more anxious to defend the decisions that he has made and lay out his vision to where the country needs to go."

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  • Tension on the trail: When reporters are kept from voters at campaign events

    The report Monday from Canton, Ohio, that reporters were kept from voters at a rally for Vice President Joe Biden is the latest example of the difficulties inherent in a national campaign with thousands of moving parts. It wasn't the first time journalists have had trouble gaining access to voters at events and, when it happens, it can cause serious consternation among campaign staff members who make it a point to let reporters roam as freely as possible.

    At presidential campaign rallies, national staff, Secret Service agents and local volunteers usually strike the right balance between protecting reporters' rights to  move around while ensuring the event is safe and secure. But sometimes there's very real tension out on the road. I learned this first hand.

    At an airport rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan last Monday in Cincinnati, Secret Service agents barred members of the press from mingling with voters before the event. Like Biden's staff this week, Mitt

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  • It’s the money, stupid: Debate host city a familiar place for Obama and Romney

    BOCA RATON, Fla.—When President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney arrive here for the final presidential debate Monday night, they will both be in a place that has played a significant role in funding their campaigns.

    There's a unique reason why South Florida is such a must-stop on the trail: Not only is Florida a crucial state, but the communities surrounding Monday's debate site at Lynn University together serve as one of the most important political fundraising hubs in the nation. South Florida is one of the only places where in a single afternoon, the candidates can rally with swing voters and then go on to host a multimillion-dollar fundraiser on the same block.

    They can't do that in California or New York, the two other big moneymakers that everyone assumes will support Obama in November. In those states, Obama and Romney drop in for a fundraiser and pass on a public rally. Here, they do both.

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  • Obama and Romney tied in Florida: Poll

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.--A new CNN/ORC poll of likely voters in Florida shows President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney statistically tied in this battleground state.

    The state survey, which was conducted after the second presidential debate and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, showed 49 percent of likely voters supporting Romney here, compared with 48 percent for Obama.

    Both candidates are campaigning hard for the state's 29 Electoral College votes, which could be crucial to securing victory in November.

  • Obama on debates: He’s getting ‘the hang of this thing’

    MOUNT VERNON, Iowa—Speaking publicly for the first time since his second national debate with Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama—who began a campaign swing here in a small college gym—joked about his "improving" performance on the debate stage with the Republican nominee.

    "Now, as many of you know, we had a second debate [Tuesday] night. You know, I'm still trying to figure out how to get the hang of this thing, debatin'," Obama said before a crowd of about 2,800 people, most of whom were students. "But we're working on it. We'll keep on improving as time goes on. We've got one left."

    The third and final debate with Romney will be held in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday and will focus on foreign policy. Obama's first debate in Denver, Colo., earlier this month was widely considered a win for Romney, but on Tuesday night Obama appeared significantly more alert and aggressive with his challenger.

    The gym where Obama spoke on Wednesday was sweltering. Attendees waved campaign signs that read

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  • Obama senior adviser questions polls

    David Plouffe (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

    MOUNT VERNON, Iowa—President Barack Obama's senior campaign adviser moved to dispel the notion that GOP nominee Mitt Romney took votes from Obama in October, and questioned two national polls showing growing support for the challenger.

    Speaking to reporters on the press charter bus while leaving the presidential debate at Hofstra University on Long Island late Tuesday night, Obama adviser David Plouffe said most of the uptick in support for Romney came from voters who were going to support him anyway.

    "What's happened here is Romney's picked up some. That is almost all gains that we knew he was going to get," Plouffe said. He added that Romney's first debate performance probably influenced voters in October. "So he captured a bunch of Republican-leaning independents. This is the race we expected all along.

    "He's not taking votes away from the president," Plouffe went on to say.

    Both national and battleground state surveys suggest that Romney has moved to close the gap with the

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  • Romney treating Ohio as a must-win state

    Mitt Romney in Portsmouth, Ohio (Ty Wright/Getty Images)

    CINCINNATI, Ohio—Mitt Romney seems to have gained an extra kick in his step since his first debate with President Barack Obama earlier this month, and the new burst of energy was ever apparent during his most recent swing through the crucial state of Ohio.

    "There is a growing crescendo of enthusiasm," Romney declared at a rally in Lancaster on Friday night, where he joined his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, for the first time since the vice presidential debate. "There is more energy and passion, people are getting behind this campaign."

    Romney had been running a campaign that hardly gained more than 25 percent of Republican national support during the primaries. It withstood a summer of pundits declaring Obama the easy victor and a brutal September filled with stories about how he once spoke derogatorily about 47 percent of the country's population. Now, this postdebate leg makes all of that seem like ancient history. Surveys taken both nationally and in Ohio show Romney quickly

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  • Mitt Romney visits Rob Portman's 'haunted' hotel

    LEBANON, Ohio—Mitt Romney joined a long list of presidential aspirants to visit the Golden Lamb Inn on Saturday, a historic hotel owned by Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman long rumored to be haunted by ghosts.

    Built in 1803, the site is the oldest hotel in the state. At least three people have died on the property, and locals say some of them never really left. A recent Yahoo News ghost-hunting expedition at the hotel found it to be creepy and mysterious after midnight, and quite possibly a genuine host of the supernatural.

    On Saturday evening about 10,000 people gathered outside the hotel to catch a glimpse of Romney. An Ohio state flag hung from its roof, where three armed guards watched over the crowd. Romney stood on a stage set up in the street with Portman, who touted the hotel but didn't mention the rumors of ghosts.

    "So much of the spirit of America and the history of America has come through these doors," Portman said before he introduced Romney, who went on to give a version

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  • Romney: ‘We need to win Ohio’

    LANCASTER, Ohio--Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney emphasized the importance of the battleground state of Ohio at a Friday evening rally here, telling the crowd that the state is vital for him to secure the presidency.

    "We need your help. We need to win Ohio," Romney said in his closing remarks. "You've got to get your friends to help us win Ohio. If we win Ohio, we take back America, we keep this country the hope of the Earth."

    With 18 Electoral College votes, Ohio is indeed a crucial part of the path to victory for both the Republican and Democratic candidates. The state supported President Barack Obama in 2008, President George W. Bush in 2004 and 2000 and former President Bill Clinton in 1996. No Republican presidential candidate has lost the state and gone on to win the election.

    Romney and Obama are pouring significant resources into Ohio and spending a lot of time campaigning here.

    Standing in front of an American flag draped over Lancaster City Hall, Romney joined his

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