- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

“Smaller, simpler, smarter. Believe in America.” That was the official motto of “Office of the President-Elect,” a website launched by Mitt Romney’s campaign in late October 2012. It was publicly visible for a time, but quickly deactivated after Mr. Romney lost the election. Now the public appears to have had a Romney renaissance of sorts. They just might miss him, or the president he could have been. Among registered voters, Mr. Romney bests President Obama in a theoretical rematch, 49 percent to 47 percent, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News.

Mr. Romney also won independents — 49 percent compared to Mr. Obama’s 39 percent. Among women, Mr. Romney received 46 percent of the vote, Mr. Obama 49 percent. The pair tied among all Americans, 47 percent to 47 percent and there were predictable partisan divides. Mr. Romney won 90 percent of Republicans, Mr. Obama 89 percent Democrats. Distinct demographic preferences also emerged.

Mr. Romney garnered support of “whites,” men, those 40 to 65 years old, voters with a high school education or less, those with some college, conservatives, conservative Republicans, voters with annual incomes between $50,000 and 100,000 plus those who make more than $100,000. Voters in the South, white evangelicals, Protestants and Catholics also support Mr. Romney, the poll found.

Mr. Obama won among “non-whites,” moderates, those 18 to 34 years old, liberals, liberal Democrats, those with postgraduate educations, voters in the Northeast and West and those with “no religion.” The pair tied among college graduates and Midwestern voters. And the 2012 reality? Mr. Obama topped Mr. Romney, 51 percent to 47 percent.

Romney fans should not get their hopes up, however. “We are not doing that again,” Mr. Romney told CBS News during a Sunday appearance with his wife, Ann, who reached over and made her husband shake his head “no” for emphasis.

OBAMACARE NEWS: THE BEST OF THE WORST

Many journalists embraced the feel-good pitch for Obamacare without question for years, responding with affectionate coverage that did little to inform an increasingly alarmed public. Do news organizations owe the nation a mea culpa now that health care reform needs reform?

“The past, so-called reporting just proves the American public would have been better served listening to the warnings from tea party politicians than nearly anyone in the news media. These journalists should be embarrassed and owe their viewers and readers a big apology,” Brent Baker, vice president for research at the Media Research Center, tells Inside the Beltway.

The conservative watchdog has issued a Top 10 list of “things the media wish they hadn’t said about Obamacare.” In first place, it’s MSNBC host Ed Shultz, who told his audience in late August: “Make no mistake. Obamacare saves lives and it is good for America. So much of what we see in the news is negative. But you know what? It’s not negative. This is the most positive thing that this country has done since the civil rights legislation that was passed back in the ‘60s.”

After delivering endless accolades, the liberal media finally is acknowledging Obamacare woes, says lead researcher Geoffrey Dickens.

“That’s not what they were predicting about the Affordable Care Act when it was first introduced. Not long ago, they assured viewers that they could keep their health plans if they liked them, predicted Americans would embrace ObamaCare once they experienced it and even claimed it would reduce the deficit,” Mr. Dickens recalls. “They also warned any obstruction of ObamaCare by conservatives would result in the death of children and the end of America as a ‘world power.’”

See some of the reporting, which dates back to 2009, here: Newsbusters.org.

PERRY’S SPECTACLES SPECTACLE

Texas Gov. Rick Perry donned a pair of spiffy horn-rimmed glasses in August, drawing fire from an unfriendly press who say it is Mr. Perry’s shameless attempt to rebrand himself as a serious presidential hopeful. The news media predicts the “hipster cowboy” will fail. Lone Star State observers, have other thoughts.

“Rick Perry is in transition again, wearing glasses, playing the elder and running just a tiny bit to the left of Sen. Ted Cruz and a notch or two to the right of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie,” observes Ross Ramsey, executive editor of The Texas Tribune.

“He looks like a conservative establishment candidate as the jockeying begins for the 2016 presidential race. He is still anti-Washington, still steeped in states’ rights and tea party rhetoric, still quite conservative, but not quite so eager to burn down the castle,” Mr. Ramsey notes.

“He is turning into Cruz’s big brother: It’s the same family, but Perry wants to be the one you trust with the car keys,” he adds.

‘TEA PARTY VICTIM’

Could the 2014 midterms be a repeat of 2010, when the tea party asserted itself? Well, maybe.

Sen. Thad Cochran is in “serious danger of losing the Republican primary” in Mississippi, trumpets a new Public Policy Polling survey of GOP primary voters in the state, revealing that 55 percent of them want a more conservative alternative to Mr. Cochran.

He still leads challenger and tea party favorite Chris McDaniel — a state senator who cites Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater and Thomas Jefferson among his heroes — by 44 percent to 38 percent. The pollster attributes the edge to higher name recognition, but also labels Mr. Cochran as the next “tea party victim.” Among very conservative voters, he garners 34 percent of the vote to Mr. McDaniel’s 51 percent.

“Thad Cochran’s in pretty serious danger of losing the primary next year,” says Dean Debnam, president of the polling group. “Conservatives have really soured on him over the last couple years and are ready for someone new.”

A LINCOLN LOG

An undiscovered account about Abraham Lincoln? Here it is: “Backstage at the Lincoln Assassination: The Untold Story by the Actors and Stagehand of Ford Theater.”

Here’s what the 46 of them witnessed, this according author and historian Thomas A. Bogar: “A famous actor pulls a trigger in the presidential balcony, leaps to the stage and escapes, as the president lies fatally wounded. In the panic that follows, forty-six terrified people scatter in and around Ford’s Theater as soldiers take up stations by the doors and the audience surges into the streets chanting, ‘Burn the place down!’”

Mr. Bogar uses previously unpublished sources, he says, “and the tale is shocking.” The book has just been published by Regnery Books.

POLL DU JOUR

46 percent of Americans say the Democratic Party’s views on issues are “too liberal,” 41 percent say they are “just about right,” 10 percent say they are too conservative.

45 percent say President Obama’s views on issues are too liberal, 43 percent say they are just about right, 9 percent say they are too conservative.

43 percent say the tea party has “too much influence” on the Republican Party, 25 percent say the “right amount” of influence, 21 percent say “too little” influence.

17 percent say the Republican Party’s views on issues are too liberal, 36 percent say they are just about right, 43 percent say they are too conservative.

14 percent say the tea party’s views on issues are too liberal, 35 percent say they are just about right, 40 percent say they are too conservative.

Source: A Washington Post/ABC New poll of 1,006 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 14 to 17.

Theories, queries, leery reactions to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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