Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Obama Spicy As Green Chile In Round Two; No Back Down From Mitt, Plus: The Showdown In Roswell; How GOP Support Is Helping Jennings, And: Recreational Sex On The Campaign Trail  

President Obama stopped the bleeding last night, but for a moment there we thought there might be blood on the debate floor. The second presidential debate held in a town hall format with undecided voters was that aggressive.

Both Obama and Romney came out swinging--no soft jabs here--and when it was over voters in flash polls and media pundits  declared Obama the winner, but on points. Romney was not knocked down. Far from it, but Obama may have done just enough for him to rally the Democratic base and recharge his campaign for another term.

The line of the night may have come when a frustrated Obama being pressed by Romney said he didn't know the details of his personal pension plan but it wasn't as big as Romney's. With that, the economic divide that so threatens the middle class of the American nation was summed up. It could be what your grandchildren read about this election (And a rowdy presidential debate that may have forever changed the rules of engagement).

How can it be, given the lousy economy and Romney's always persuasive dissection of exactly what is wrong, that Obama isn't already on his way to the showers? Our feeling is that voters are not assigning enough blame to Obama. They instinctively see the recession/Depression as a global phenomenon and are unwilling to place the blame on one man's shoulders--even a president's.

NM Republican analyst Bruce Donisthorpe called the presidential clash "a spirited tie." But in the important matter of rallying the Democratic base--depressed beyond the reach of Prozac after Obama's performance in debate number one--this time it was different. ABQ Dem State Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas expressed it on his Twitter account with a New Mexican flair:

Two men entered. One man leaves. Obamanos!!

Obama supporter and veteran NM field organizer Steve Cabiedes declared:

Obama shows up for the gunfight with.... a gun!

Is that the kind of energy Obama's performance generated in swing states like Ohio and Colorado? The dramatic answer to that question will come in the days to follow.


We asked former ABQ City Councilor Greg Payne, a longtime Republican political consultant who recently registered as an independent, to assess last night's debate action:

...The real turning point was the exchange over Libya...Romney questioned the president's concern over the assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans, accusing the president of jetting off to fundraisers in Las Vegas and Colorado instead of caring about the situation there.

Obama delivered a velvet hammer, reminding Romney--as he looked straight at him--that those were "his people" that "he'd sent there" that he was "the Commander-in-Chief" and "the suggestion that anybody in my team ...would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, governor, is offensive," Obama told Romney. "That's not what we do."

The final Obama hit was at the end over Romney's "47%" remark. "But I also believe that when he [Romney] said behind closed doors that 47% of the country considered themselves victims?.. Think about who he was talking about. Folks on Social Security who've worked all their lives. Veterans who sacrificed for this country..."  Obama did what his supporters wanted him to do in Denver and knocked that one out of the park.

The first debate in Denver flipped the momentum 180 degrees for Romney. This one brought it back 90 for Obama. If we've learned anything it's how incredibly fluid this election actually is. Nothing can be taken for granted by either side. Every electoral vote in every battleground state is going to count.  And so will the last debate. 


The crack in the state GOP is canyon-sized down in Roswell. Governor Susana and her political adviser Jay McCleskey are having trouble taking Tim Jennings out because so many Republicans like the veteran senator who also happens to be the Senate President Pro Tem.

Guys like Harvey Yates Jr., the former chairman of the NM GOP, are openly supporting the 62 year old lawmaker. And that GOP support can also be found up here in ABQ.

Longtime GOP businessman Tom Tinnin, who turned in his resignation from the Board of Finance to Governor Martinez in protest of the down and dirty racino lease deal at the Downs of ABQ, has donated $1,000 to Jennings and he sweetens the pot for the Senator with this letter of praise:

Senator Jennings is one of those who stands out from the crowd. Fair,  candid, to the point, all the cards on the table, upfront, no hidden  agendas, describes Senator Jennings. Did we always see eye to eye on the  issues we discussed?  Of course not.  Did we have a healthy and open  dialogue? Absolutely!  Did I leave our meetings knowing that I just met  with someone that was listening, not arbitrary, and was making every  effort to find common ground and not play political games?  A resounding  yes!  This man should to be sent back to Santa Fe once again to  represent District 32. How we select out representatives should not be  based solely on party affiliation, but the standard should begin with  character.  Senator Tim Jennings has character, the best interest of his  constituents, and much more.

Those are pretty kind words from an R for the Democratic President Pro Tem of the Senate. But remember Jennings has that leadership position by virtue of a coalition with the GOP state Senators. All of them voted for Jennings and with the support of half a dozen so of the Dems, Jennings became president to the 42 member Senate.

There is plenty of grumbling among state Republicans about all the money the Guv and Jay are sending to fight Jennings. They think it could be better spent in the R effort to take over the state House. But there is also a lot of fear in the GOP and few are willing to speak out. But if Jennings and Sanchez are victorious, Susana and company may have some brave Republicans on their hands.

Don't say we didn't tell you. 


The Guv's spinners better start practicing for Election Night now because the Senior Alligators we are consulting see Jennings and Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez--who is also getting a several hundred thousand dollar pounding--to retain their seats.

The two leaders, however, don't seem poised for landslide wins--not surprising considering the negative campaigns waged against them--but our analysts say the foes of the Senators will have trouble growing once they hit the 45% mark. 

The GOP vote, combined with independents is expected to take Pirtle and Sanchez opponent David Chavez to that mark, then it will be like pulling teeth. For Sanchez, his identity in the community, combined with a strong showing for Obama in Valencia County form a firewall for him. For Jennings it is Republican support that should make Pirtle's climb much above the 45% mark a challenge.


Here's another of the multitude of hit pieces in the Jennings-Pirtle race (click to enlarge), with this one showcasing Jennings' position on driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. But 27 year old Cliff Pirtle, a farmer who is a tea party sympathizer, is trying to turn into a giant killer. Reader Greg Lennes says he's been doing some research and he comes with this:

Cliff Pirtle works for his father Paul Pirtle as a partner. The list of federal subsidies to the Pirtle Farms can be found here. It shows Pirtle & Sons received nearly $600,000 in federal farm subsidies from 1995 through 2011.

 Lennes says that's hypocrisy:

Mr. Pirtle wants "working Americans to rely less on government services." However, Mr. Pirtle is dependent on his father and federal subsidies--a bit hypocritical!

And, of course, this info is already being used against Pirtle in that no-holds-barred, win-or-die-trying showdown in Roswell.


Have any of the major NM candidates said anything yet that has really engaged voters? You know, had folks talking about it at the office? Not really. The campaigns have been saccharine like. But there was one statement that came close and has brought in the email. It came from ABQ GOP congressional candidate Janice Arnold-Jones and it went like this:

“Is it my obligation to pay for your recreational sex? No, it’s not,” Arnold-Jones said, referring to a moderator’s question about whether limits should be placed on insurance coverage of women’s reproductive services, such as birth control and abortion.

And that caught the attention of the bleacher seats. Here's Dem Michelle Meaders with a sharp retort:

Isn’t it interesting that Janice is a long-time Navy wife, which means she has gotten lots of federally-paid services, including health care, for years.  And she only has two kids, which means that like 98% of sexually active American women, she used contraceptives.  In the CD1 health care debate at the Unitarian Church on Sept. 19, she said she didn’t want to pay  for other people’s “Recreational Sex.” In other words, for thirty years of marriage. Who gets to say how much of a couple’s sex is recreational, instead of procreative?  I thought not having unwanted children was “personal responsibility.”

New Mexicans may not realize how good our health care coverage is here, compared to the rest of the country. Yes, we have the biggest percentage of people with no health coverage. But for those who do, state law already covers parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): not charging women more than men for health insurance (only 8 states have this), drug coverage must include contraceptives, and others.  These would be lost in most other states if the ACA was repealed. 

As for Janice's contest with Dem Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Oct. 1 cash on hand totals for the campaigns tell the story: 

Campaign finance reports showed Lujan Grisham with cash-on-hand of almost $379,000 at the end of last month and Arnold-Jones had $53,500. 


Animal Protection Voters of New Mexico come with their traditional campaign endorsements on behalf of our four-legged friends. The group offers a joint endorsement in one of the state's hottest contests for the NM House. They give the nod to both Dem Marci Blaze and Republican Paul Pacheco who are battling for the seat in the northwest corner of the ABQ metro.

It's hard to believe that Marci and Paul--who are so far apart philosophically--can agree so much on a topic that they are both endorsed. Srill, it's  certain the voters will place one of them in the dog house come Election Night. (No groaning, please.....)

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