- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 4, 2012

An unusual speculation on the election outcome emanates from a small campus in Buffalo, N.Y.: agitated America could end up with President Mitt Romney and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, insist Canisius College political science professors Michael Haselswerdt, a Democrat, and Kevin Hardwick, a Republican. The race is so close that there’s a viable chance that the presidential candidates could split the electoral votes evenly, 269-269.

‘“If that happens, the House, which I believe will retain the Republican majority, will decide the president,” explains Mr. Hardwick. “The Senate, which should retain the Democratic majority, will decide the vice president. That means that Joe Biden would be vice president for the next four years under President Mitt Romney. We would have the ‘Odd Couple’ on steroids.”

It’s happened three times. In 1800, the protocol broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Jefferson won. In 1824, it decided a four-way race that ultimately elected John Quincy Adams. And in 1876, it decided the infamous Samuel J. Tilden vs. Rutherford B. Hayes race. Hayes won.

“It’s more possible this time than it has been in a long time,” adds Mr. Haselswerdt, who says that electors would have until Dec. 17 to vote in their respective states. Congress would vote on its first day back in session, on or around Jan. 6.

“To think that Congress would have to make that decision, when its approval rating is now inching into the double digits, is pretty wild,” the professor observes.

THE RUSHED YEAR

After years of vigorous campaign maneuvers among Democrats and Republicans, Election Day looms in a mere 24 hours. But whatever happened to 2012? Here’s how quickly the rest of the year will unfold in the next few weeks, right up to that biggest day of presidential pomp and circumstance. That is, of course, unless there’s a recount.

In 17 days, it’s Thanksgiving. In 34 days, Hanukkah begins. Christmas Day dawns in 50 days, and in 56 days, it’s New Year’s Eve. Last but not least, Inauguration Day will be along in 77 days — or 1,848 hours.

THE LAST HURRAH

Before they retire with family and allies to await the results of the election, here’s where the two principle stars will be on Monday: President Obama: Madison, Wis.; Columbus, Ohio. He will be in Chicago on election night. Mitt Romney: Sanford, Fla.; Lynchburg, Va.; Columbus, Ohio; Manchester, N.H. Mr. Romney will be in Boston on election night.

LAST HURRAH No. 2

Fresh from a debate Sunday evening attended only by journalists and moderated by Ralph Nader at the Busboys and Poets eatery in the nation’s capital, third party hopefuls go to their final encounter Monday night, broadcast live from the Washington studios of Russia Today television. Libertarian hopeful Gary Johnson and Green candidate Jill Stein will sum up their campaigns and hope for the best. See their big finale streamed online at freeandequal.org and rt.com.

“Political debates should not be rationed,” says Mr. Nader.

FORESCORE

“President Obama is trying to convince you the last four years were a success. He calls the plan ‘forward’ — I call it ‘forewarned.’ With the right leadership, America is going to come roaring back. We’re Americans. We can do anything.”

- (Mitt Romney, in a speech to 4,000 Iowa voters in Des Moines on Sunday.)

PAPER TIGER

Thirty major newspapers that once endorsed then-candidate Barack Obama have switched to Mitt Romney — including the New York Daily News, The Tennessean, The Des Moines Register, the Orlando Sentinel, the Albuquerque Journal and the Wisconsin State Journal. Does it really matter? Well, uh, yes.

“Newspaper endorsements don’t mean as much as they used to, but they are still coveted and can influence older voters and independents,” points out National Review contributor John Fund. “The fact that so many have decided the incumbent president needs to be fired is yet another example of elite liberal disillusionment with the past four years.”

BIBLICAL EPIC

Roiling drama continues over early voting in the Lone Star State, leading to strong legal posturing and much discussion. Kay Hill, a Texas grandmother who lives in Williamson County, was told by local poll walkers last week that her “Vote the Bible” T-shirt could be “offensive” to other voters and advised she could not cast her ballot until she retired to the ladies restroom and turned her shirt inside out, thus covered up the words.

Election official have refused to back down or apologize to Ms. Hill, advising her that her shirt was considered “electioneering” within 100 feet of a polling place. Her case has been taken up by Texas Values, and Austin-based Christian interest group. “The county had an opportunity to do the right thing and apologize, but now Ms. Hill is left with no choice but to file her complaint with the secretary of state’s office,” says Jonathan Saenz, president of the organization.

“It’s politically naive to say ‘vote the Bible’ doesn’t mean to vote Republican,” Williamson County Elections Supervisor Rick Barron told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper.

“Electioneering only prohibits supporting or opposing a candidate, measure or political party. The Bible is not candidate or a ballot measure,” counters Mr. Saenz.

POLL DU JOUR

• 95 percent of likely voters for President Obama are enthusiastic about their choice; 94 percent of Mitt Romney supporters feel that way about him.

• 62 percent of likely voters say Mr. Romney’s performance in the debates will affect their vote Tuesday; 37 percent say it is not a factor.

• 49 percent say Mr. Obama’s handling of the Superstorm Sandy response will affect their vote; 49 percent say it is not a factor

• 50 percent say Mr. Obama best understands the economic problems Americans face; 44 percent cite Mr. Romney.

• 49 percent trust Mr. Romney the most to handle the economy; 46 percent trust Mr. Obama the most.

48 percent of likely voters support Mr. Obama; 48 percent favor Mr. Romney.

Source: An ABC News/Washington Post poll of 1,809 likely U.S. voters conducted Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.

Hue and cry, assorted noises, sighs to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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