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Now a Target, Lungren Wants Campaign Finance Reform

Photo from Office of Dan Lungren

The New York Times this week ran an article about some GOP incumbents who are not so big right now on the whole Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which has resulted in unprecedented amounts of money flowing into electoral campaigns. One of those disgruntled incumbents is the Sacramento-area’s Dan Lungren, locked in one of the most tightly contested races in the country against Democrat Ami Bera.

From the Times:

An expansive onslaught of negative political advertisements in congressional races has left many incumbents, including some Republicans long opposed to restrictions on campaign spending, concluding that legislative measures may be in order to curtail the power of the outside groups behind most of the attacks…

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over campaign-finance issues, has been a target of negative advertisements. He has drafted legislation that he said would force more responsibility for the tone and messages of the campaign onto the candidates and political parties and away from the third-party groups. The staff of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is also working on proposals…

Lungren said the attacks on him began just months after the 2010 election, with radio advertisements and automated phone calls. They have accelerated into an onslaught of television commercials in what has become the most expensive House race in the country. Lungren’s opponent is Ami Bera, a doctor and Democrat.

“What I’m trying to do is transform the system so people participating as candidates can be held responsible for what is said,” Lungren said of the legislation he is drafting.

He said the 2012 experience could be transformative for other Republicans who have spent the past six months enduring the grim piano music and disconsolate faces of “voters” in negative ad after ad, sometimes against them, sometimes on their behalf but always without their signoff.

“We had to see how this worked out for a cycle,” he said. Full article

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Election Road Trip: Voters in the ‘Real’ Northern California

By Lisa Morehouse

Doug Jenner is a 4th generation alfalfa farmer and cattle rancher in Siskiyou County's Scott Valley. His biggest political concern is increased land and water regulation. (Lisa Morehouse: KQED)

Doug Jenner is a fourth generation alfalfa farmer and cattle rancher in Siskiyou County’s Scott Valley. His biggest political concern is increased land and water regulation. (Lisa Morehouse: KQED)

Up in Siskiyou County on the Oregon border, people say that anyone who calls San Francisco “Northern California” has it all wrong. This is the real Northern California. It’s a sprawling county which is home to the Klamath and McCloud rivers, and the majestic Mt Shasta, but it has barely 45,000 residents. So, here, the answer to the question “What’s government for?” all comes back to people’s relationships with the land.

There’s a phrase some people use to describe what used to dominate Siskiyou County’s economy: red meat and board feet. The first stands for cattle ranching, the second for the timber industry. There are only two lumber mills left in Siskiyou County, but in the north there are still plenty of cattle, tended by people like fourth generation rancher Doug Jenner. His biggest political concern is regulation. As government agencies like Fish and Game seek to protect species like the Coho salmon, Jenner says ranchers and alfalfa farmers who depend on irrigation face more regulations around water and land. Continue reading

Obama, Romney Debate Foreign Policy in Final Debate

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) debates with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. (Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama sharply challenged Mitt Romney on foreign policy in their final campaign debate Monday night, saying, “Every time you’ve offered an opinion you’ve been wrong.” The Republican coolly responded, “Attacking me is not an agenda” for dealing with a dangerous world.

Romney took the offensive, too. When Obama said the U.S. and its allies have imposed crippling sanctions on Iran to halt nuclear weapons development, the Republican challenger responded that the U.S. should have done more. He declared repeatedly, “We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran.”

Despite the debate’s stated focus on foreign affairs, time after time the rivals turned the discussion back to the slowly recovering U.S. economy, which polls show is the No. 1 issue for most voters.

They found little agreement on that, but the president and his rival found accord on at least one international topic with domestic political overtones — Israel’s security — as they sat at close quarters 15 days before the end of an impossibly close election campaign. Each stressed unequivocal support for Israel when asked how he would respond if the Jewish state were attacked by Iran.

“If Israel is attacked, we have their back,” said Romney — moments after Obama vowed, “I will stand with Israel if Israel is attacked.”

Both also said they oppose direct U.S. military involvement in the efforts to topple Syrian President Bashir Assad. Continue reading

Final Presidential Debate 6 p.m.: Webcasts, Fact-Check, Live Blogs

We’re in the final sprint now. Election Day is just 15 days away, and tonight is the third and final presidential debate live from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Bob Schieffer of CBS News and host of Face the Nation will moderate.

His format sounds suspiciously like that of the first presidential debate. Schieffer has picked six topics — although not necessarily to be discussed in this order:

  • America’s role in the world
  • Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Red Lines – Israel and Iran
  • The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – I
  • The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II
  • The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World

Schieffer will open each segment with a question, and the candidates will have two minutes to respond. Then it’s Schieffer’s job to “facilitate a discussion” for a total of 15 minutes on each topic.

The debate starts at 6 p.m. PT.

Here’s the NewsHour Live Stream:

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Obama and Romney and Posey and Cain: How to Watch the Giants AND the Debate

Want to watch the debate and the Giants game at the same time? You may want to take note of how Nick Juliano watches college football. Photo courtesy Nick Juliano.

At 5 p.m. the San Francisco Giants will take the field for what could be the last time this season. (Hey, we’re not hoping, we’re just saying, you know, it’s a possiblity.) An hour later, the presidential candidates will take the stage for what will be the final debate before the election. (And this one we’re pretty sure about).

Two decades ago, in that pre-DVR wilderness, that might’ve created a dilemma for Bay Area residents. Do you turn your television to the Giants game and root the team on to the World Series? Or do you watch the debate and learn more about the candidates vying to lead the free world? Or do you go to a loud, crowded bar and hope to do both at the same time?

Fortunately, those days are behind us. Chances are you have at least two televisions and at least one mobile device that will allow you to watch the game while following the debate, or vice versa, in the peace and quiet of your own home. Here’s where you can find the events on air, online and on mobile: Continue reading

Obama, Romney Tangle in 2nd Presidential Debate

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — An aggressive President Barack Obama accused challenger Mitt Romney of peddling a “sketchy deal” to fix the U.S. economy and playing politics with the deadly terrorist attack in Libya in a Tuesday night debate crackling with energy and emotion just three weeks before the election.

Romney pushed back hard, saying the middle class “has been crushed over the last four years” under Obama’s leadership and that 23 million Americans are still struggling to find work. He contended the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya was part of an unraveling of the administration’s foreign policy.

The president was feistier from the outset than he had been in their initial encounter two weeks ago, when he turned in a listless performance that sent shudders through his supporters and helped fuel a rise by Romney in opinion polls nationally and in some battleground states.

When Romney said Tuesday night that he had a five-point plan to create 12 million jobs, Obama said, “Gov. Romney says he’s got a five-point plan. Gov. Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules.”

Obama and Romney disagreed, forcefully and repeatedly — about taxes, the bailout of the auto industry, measures to reduce the deficit, energy, pay equity for women and health care as well as foreign policy across 90 minutes of a town-hall style debate.

Immigration prompted yet another clash, Romney saying Obama had failed to pursue the comprehensive legislation he promised at the dawn of his administration, and the president saying Republican obstinacy made a deal impossible.

Romney gave as good as he got. Continue reading

Presidential Debate: Webcast, Chat, Fact Check and Live Blogs

In case you’ve been on Mars for the last week (where the SF Association of Realtors wants to send SF Board of Supes candidate Eric Mar, but I digress), by most accounts Barack Obama came in second in the initial presidential debate against Mitt Romney. Tonight is the second of three mano-a-manos; this one held as a town hall with 80 undecided voters, as selected by the Gallup Organization. The debate starts at 6 p.m. PT

The Commission on Presidential Debates says that people will ask questions on foreign or domestic issues. Each candidate will have two minutes to respond, then moderator Candy Crowley of CNN will have an additional minute to “facilitate a discussion.”

Here’s the NewsHour Live Stream:

Debate chat from NPR:

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