$6 billion presidential race back on
Fri, 02 Nov 2012 6:04p.m.
By Patrick Gower
By Political Reporter Patrick Gower
The most expensive presidential race in history is back on - and the candidates are back at full pelt.
About $6 billion is going to be spent on trying to win just a handful of swing seats still up for grabs - that’s half as much again as Disney just paid for the rights to Star Wars.
Today it was Wisconsin in President Barack Obama's sights, worth 10 electoral points and polling almost neck-and-neck.
Obama has hit the ground running in Wisconsin - after the storm caused a three-day hiatus from campaigning, the president had no time to lose.
The game plan seemed to be the best form of defence is offence.
“What [Romney] is offering sure ain't change,” Obama says. “Giving power back to the biggest banks isn't change. Leaving millions without health insurance isn't change.”
Green Bay is home to the iconic Green Bay Packers American football team, but some Green Bay fans are unhappy with Obama.
One of those is Jeff Christianson. He's a factory worker in Janesville struggling to make ends meet on US$30,000 a year, and was stood down from his job today on no pay. There wasn't enough work because of transport delays due to superstorm Sandy.
“It’s screwing you one way or the other,” Mr Christianson says. “It's definitely a dog fight right to the end.”
The storm's only temporary, but the grim clouds of the economy seem permanent to some people. The big employers in the area are closing. Steve Hill is also out of work and it's beating him down.
"There ain't nothing here since [General Motors] left,” he says. “The whole thing [has] been like a cesspool - just like going down the toilet.”
Yet these guys will still vote for Obama, reluctantly, and only as the lesser of two evils.
“You go Republican and he cuts $700 billion in Medicare and everything else,” Mr Christianson says. “Your kids and grand kids are going to be like $50,000 in the hole before they are even out of kindergarten.”
Another Janesville resident Robert Dillon says lots of people are confused.
“Right now a lot of Americans don't even know who to believe, or what to believe, so we're just going Democrat.”
But apathy and discontent aren't Obama's only enemies here. The polls are so close, partly because Wisconsin is home to popular Republican Paul Ryan - Mitt Romney's running mate.
Ryan's also from Janesville. For now he's little known outside of the States, but Ryan could be vice-president in just days.
His mansion was behind Secret Service barricades, but his neighbours were home so we decided to ask them what he’s like. Turns out he was there for a Halloween dinner last night.
Neighbour Kathy Cullen attended the dinner.
“We had beef stew and we had some wine, and just a lot of good talk,” she says. “We talked a lot about the polls, we talked a lot about what to expect and about being ready for Tuesday.”
Ms Cullen is voting Romney - she says Obama has failed when it comes to the economy.
“I think people are looking at their own pocketbooks, their own opportunities to work, their own opportunities to let their children have educations. And we just can't continue to borrow money. We can't continue to borrow money from China, which we're doing. I would say that 40 percent of every dollar that we have in debt we owe to China - and I don't like that.”
And Romney was on attack today too, dusting off Obama's campaign slogan. Change you can believe in has become "real change" for Romney and he seemed like saying it.
“But you know what, it's going to change. We need real change,” he says. “For real change we are going to have to take a different course. And we are going to have that on November 6.”
These men of Wisconsin definitely want change, they just don't really believe either candidate can truly deliver it.
So with four days to go, Obama's focus is now almost solely on the battleground states. While the major nationwide polls are still virtually neck-and-neck, America's electoral system means it’s swing states like this that could really swing it for either candidate. The most critical is Ohio, which is almost a winner-takes-all state. So both Obama and Mitt Romney are heading there tomorrow, in what really will be a decisive battle for the keys to the White House.
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3/11/2012 9:08:53 a.m.
Fair NZER wrote:
Who says democracy is always fair...no money, no show, are you convinced now, eh?
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