During an announcement Friday in the Rose Garden at the White House, that his administration won’t seek the deportation of most young illegal immigrants but instead grant them work permits, President Obama was interrupted, some called it heckling to disrespect the president, by a right-wing blogger media watchers said engaged in “stunt journalism.”
The practice of media disrupting candidates or orchestrating one candidate’s backers to confront or otherwise disrupt another candidate’s event or talk is nothing new. It dates back to the early years of the nation. But even though it’s not new, doesn’t mean its helpful or healthy to national debates voters should engage in to help them decide who is the best candidate for the job, or in the alternative, who will do the least harm.
“First time I have ever seen a President interrupted during a statement in the Rose Garden,” wrote CNN’s Steve Brusk. A former Bush spokesman tweeted, “Reporters don’t interrupt presidential statements. Period.” “When I heard someone interrupted the President I immediately wondered if it was Neil Munro. Most unprofessional reporter I’ve ever talked to,” Karen Tumulty said.
Same state, same time
For the first time, President Obama and Mitt Romney were in the same state at the same time yesterday. The president spoke in left-leaning Cleveland while Romney spoke in right-leaning Cincinnati.
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Amalgamated national polls at Real Clear Politics have Obama +0.8 percent ahead of Romney, while in Ohio, Obama is up +1.8 in amalgamated polling.
When Mitt Romney comes to Newark, Ohio, this Sunday, he should expect to get a taste of the hostility the president experienced today in Washington. A call to arms went out Friday to the president’s backers to confront the Republican candidate on his call that taxpayers will be helped if fewer teachers, police and firefighters are on the job, while simultaneously giving more tax breaks to the already wealthy.
Obama in Cleveland
“Governor Romney and his allies in Congress believe deeply in the theory we tried during the last decade, the theory that the best way to grow the economy is from the top down,” President Obama said yesterday in Cleveland. “If we eliminate most regulations, we cut taxes by trillions of dollars, if we strip down government to national security and few other basic functions, then the power of businesses to create jobs and prosperity will be unleashed and that will automatically benefit us all,” adding, “If you agree with the approach I just described, if you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney.”
Clarifying his vision going forward, the president said his investment will be in education, energy, innovation, infrastructure, and a tax code focused on American job creation and balanced deficit reduction.”
Ohio, a perennial battleground state won by the president in 2008 that now shows him ahead of Romney by low single digits, is the third stop on the Romney’s campaign bus tour of swing states.
On a conference call with reporters Friday, Vice President Joe Biden and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman spoke from a conference of mayors in Orland, Fla.
The vice president complimented Coleman on his job as a big city mayor with language eerily similar to what former President George W. Bush said to his federal emergency management director as waters from Katrina hurricane flooded New Orleans.
“You’re doing a heck of a job in Columbus,” Biden told Coleman. The question, Biden told reporters, is not about “whether we need to move faster or create jobs but how to do it.”
“You don’t grow the economy unless the middle class grows,” he said, adding that the 2012 presidential election will be the clearest choice Americans have had in a couple generations.” Biden left the call, causing some reporters to express their disappointment.
Romney in Cincinnati
While the president took nearly an hour to make his talk in Northeast Ohio, Romney spent about15 minutes in Cincinnati in Southwest Ohio to tell the approximately 200 people who gathered at a manufacturing company there that the economy cannot recover under Obama’s governance.
After stopping for a bit of Graeter’s ice cream, a Cincinnati favorite, on his way to his speaking venue, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Romney said, “You may have heard that President Obama is on the other side of the state, and he’s going to be delivering a speech on the economy. He’s doing that because he hasn’t delivered a recovery for the economy. And he’s going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better. But don’t forget, he’s been president for 3½ years. And talk is cheap. Action speaks very loud,” according to Alexis Simendinger at Real Clear Politics.
Romney’s press shop ladled out follow-ups to yesterday’s even in Cincinnati. “He’s going to be saying…that he wants four more years. He may have forgotten he talked about a one-term proposition if he couldn’t get the economy turned around in three years, but we’re going to hold him to his word,” Romney said in his short talk. Romney left Ohio to be in New Hampshire Friday.
In a conference call with reporters, Senior Romney Adviser Russ Schrieffer said, “Our intent is to go to places that are off the beaten track and not really look at it as where we need to pick up votes in each state. We want to win each of these states but it’s not quite as calculated as that.”
Romney has twice said that “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,” so he should expect some of that sauce coming his way. In addition to the parallel “Romney for President of the 1%” tour Obama backers want to convene Sunday in Newark, a small, Republican-leaning county seat east of Columbus, Romney and his staff should expect to see airplane banners with messages from the 99 percent flying during the event, which is one stop on his six-state bus tour designed to win the support of small town folks in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan.. The former Massachusetts governor should also not be surprised when another bus—dubbed the “Romneymobile”—shadow the real bus he’ll be riding in.
“This is how we’ll get our message out to the media and make the choice clear to swing voters,” an email from MoveOn.org, a progressive, liberal organization. “It’ll be a fun event and we’ll provide signs that you can print out to bring with you!”
It will only get worse
As June winds down, leaving only four more months until voters cast their ballots for president in November, the level of hostility between Democrats and Republicans is high but promises to escalate further as billions more in attack ads carpet bomb voters. The shout outs from unfriendly reporters or flash mobs that gather to confront, heckle or otherwise disrupt campaign events may have the unintended or intended effect of further exacerbating the already high level of cynicism eligible voters have to registering to vote or casting their franchise if are registered.
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