Let the countdown begin. Voters are just six months away from hitting the polls. With a torrent of campaign events and media appearances, there is a flurry of developments and spin-doctoring that is crying for analysis and reality checks.
We'll begin with primary results from yesterday. What do they portend for the presidential contest? Plus, in the past week, we've heard two senior members of the Obama administration make clear statements supporting same sex marriage. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was asked in a television interview whether he believed gay couples should legally be allowed to marry. Duncan said, "Yes, I do." His comments come after Vice President Joe Biden said he is "absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.'' How do these statements square with President Barack Obama's position? Can the Obama campaign benefit from a mealy-mouthed position on gay marriage?
The Mitt Romney campaign may have gone off-message yesterday, too. The Republican National Committee held a roundtable to highlight the GOP's campaign for Latino votes. However, when its director of Hispanic outreach was asked to explain the party's immigration policy, Bettina Inclan had difficulty and stated, "[Romney] is still deciding what his position on immigration is." What is he waiting for? Or did Inclan misspeak?
Finally, the war on/for women has extra ammo. Last week, the Obama campaign introduced #Julia to constituents. She's a graphic representation of the American everywoman. In a slideshow on the campaign site, you can click through Julia's life from birth to the golden years – from Head Start to Social Security. It is supposed to show how Democratic policies help women and contrast them with Republican policies that hurt. Romney jumped on Julia in a campaign stop yesterday: "Julia progresses from cradle to grave, showing how government makes every good thing in her life possible.
The weak economy, high unemployment, falling wages, rising gas prices, the national debt, the insolvency of entitlements – all these are fictionally assumed away in a cartoon produced by a president who wants us to forget about them." What will win over the female electorate?
Jonathan Wilcox, Republican Strategist; former speech writer for Governor Pete Wilson
Matt Rodriguez, Democratic strategist; former senior Obama advisor in 2008, now runs the Los Angeles office for the Dewey Square Group.