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Ten things we’re told could influence the presidential election–but won’t

Posted by James McPherson on September 13, 2012

While President Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney seems to be widening and Romney seems to be sinking stupidly into dishonest John McCain-style desperation, and despite the fact that I’ve been predicting an Obama victory for some time, I do recognize that there is time for the electoral picture to change. Perhaps the debates will swing things in Romney’s favor, if he doesn’t offer to bet Obama $10,000 or if he suddenly becomes the anti-war candidate that Obama once pretended to be.

Or if Obama suddenly starts referring to Romney as “John” because he forgets which tall, stiff, rich Massachusetts flip-flopper he is debating. (Romney’s practice opponent has done this gig before, pretending to be John Edwards, Al Gore and Obama).

With the possibility of an electoral shift in mind, I offer the following list of ten things that media folks and others (I’ve fallen into one or two of the traps myself) often suggest will make a difference in presidential elections–but which, in fact, almost certainly won’t matter  in this or any future presidential election:

1) Your vote. I’ve discussed this at length elsewhere, so won’t go into detail here. But your presidential ballot has virtually no chance of affecting who becomes president. Still, you should turn out to vote: Cast a protest vote for president, and recognize that your ballot might mean something in a local election where fewer people vote.

2) Public opinion polls. At least those measuring the popular vote, since it’s the electoral vote that matters (ask Al Gore). And if we look at the Rasmussen poll (which I chose because it is considered one of the most politically conservative), we see that Obama has a big lead in the electoral count. According to Rasmussen, only seven toss-up states remain–Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, Missouri and Colorado–and if Obama claims ONLY Florida, or Ohio and ANY ONE of the other six, or ANY THREE of the seven, he wins the election. By contrast, Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll would give you the impression that the election is close. And that impression would be wrong.

3) Citizens United. Yes, this was a horrible Supreme Court decision that lets corporations and lobbying groups spend too much power to try to influence elections. But that’s not necessarily much of a change. And there’s so much money in presidential politics that neither major party will lack enough funds to compete in the states that matter. On the other hand, just as your vote means more in local and state elections, big money also has more influence in those elections.

4) The current economy. Yes, since even before Bill Clinton, we’ve been hearing, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Maybe that was true in 1932. In fact, the economy today may even help Obama. To repeat, economic models tend to favor Obama, not Romney, in part because voters care more about trends than about where the economy sits.

5) Evangelical Protestants. Ironically, if these folks get their way in November, for the first time ever we won’t have a Protestant president, vice president or Supreme Court justice. Conservative Christian influence has probably peaked.

6) Candidates’ verbal gaffes. All candidates tire and say dumb things. The media then overplay the gaffes, but I doubt that voters make decisions based on the verbal slips of a candidate. (Again, the state level may be different.) Sarah Palin’s gaffes have mattered more than most because we heard so little else from her.

7) Cable news networks. There’s some evidence that Fox News changed the 1980 election, but probably not any election since then. Now every voter knows that Fox News is a house organ for the GOP, just as MSNBC has become for the Democrats. Besides, more Americans watch mainstream network news and any number of reality shows than watch anything on Fox News, MSNBC or CNN.

8) Convention platforms. Yes, I previously suggested that these might matter, and both the GOP platform and its Democratic counterpart drew attention during the conventions. Now they’ll be largely forgotten, including by the candidates themselves, until 2016.

9) Vice presidential candidates. Here again, at times I’ve thought these people mattered, but they haven’t since at least 1960. People vote for presidents, not vice presidents. Palin may have hurt McCain a bit, but she helped him first. And after eight years of George W. Bush, even Jesus Christ would have had a tough time winning as a Republican in 2008.

10) Candidates’ wives. Some are more glamorous than others. Some are smarter. Some bake better cookies. And until they run for office themselves, as Elizabeth Dole and Hillary Clinton did, they’re entertaining diversions that don’t matter much in the big picture.

So take some time to study local issues and vote thoughtfully. If you’re in a swing state, worry about things such as voter suppression that actually might influence the election. But stop worrying about things that won’t matter, anyway.

41 Responses to “Ten things we’re told could influence the presidential election–but won’t”

  1. Reuel said

    Good one. I do not want to call this one so early, as the news has gone 24/7 so has politics. Change can happen in one 24 hour period and determine this election that day. One thing is for sure Romney is no McCain and Ryan is no Palin. I think the Palin was a poor choice, but to I also thought McCain was a poor choice. Of course the Left Stream Media endless following of the Leader and Chief of Bush bashing (President Obama). I know, but someone has to still believe it was not all one person’s (President Bush) that has lead us to this point we were in 2008. I even suspect that some of the decline in the economy that happen quickly between November 2008 and January 2009 was due to private money and corporations were uncertain that the next administration with control of both houses of congress starting in 2009 were ready to invest any capitol or hire due the uncertainty of less than friends of the private sector(Democratic Party) taking power. If you look at the decline in 2008 it dropped of after November the quickest. If my theory is right and Romney wins and has a congress to work with, we will see a large investment in capital and jobs being produced in this country. If not I will admit my being wrong. Finally, I don’t believe the polls and I think the results will be much more even than 2008 (Presidential) with many of the Midwest Incumbents beware (Congress).

    But Arab Spring if not handled well could give President Obama a Jimmy Carter moment. The last US ambassador to be killed overseas was in 1979. Does history repeat itself? Also we could see a Iran or Israel October surprise. This years Election is going to be like no other, that I will commit to.

  2. I don’t get all this Palin bashin. Um, who the hello is makin the big bucks? She obviously ain’t as dumb as ya think.

    @Reuel: People forget history just as easily as they forget the latest “real TV” sitcom.

  3. Peter said

    Don’t forget the Dean Scream — one of the bigger verbal gaffe’s I’ve seen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5FzCeV0ZFc It pretty much knocked him out of the race when this went viral.

  4. James McPherson said

    “I don’t believe the polls and I think the results will be much more even than 2008”

    Could be, Reuel, though I think “more close” won’t translate to a win.

    “who the hello is makin the big bucks?”

    Lots of folks, kells–some of them stupid but lucky. And I’m not sure that Palin is a total moron; it could be that she just plays one on TV. 🙂

    “It pretty much knocked him out of the race.”

    Well, maybe, Peter. But people forget that Dean had just finished third to Kerry and Edwards in the Iowa Caucuses, after previously being expected to win–so he may well have been toast, anyway. Thanks, all.

  5. jm said

    Very interesting and persuasive commentary.

    Sixty years of political history could be influential in predicting that incumbent President Barack Obama, who won office in an open election in 2008, will win reelection to office in 2012.

    In the 15 Presidential elections since the election of Harry Truman in 1948, only George H. W. Bush, who won what was clearly an open election in 1988, lost his bid for reelection in 1992 to Bill Clinton.

    Some writers consider Jimmie Carter’s defeat of Gerald Ford in 1976 as the defeat of an incumbent. I disagree.

    Ford assumed the Presidency following the resignation of Richard Nixon. But, Nixon was elected to terms in 1968 and 1972. Had he finished his second term, the office would have been open in Election 1976. Ford was not the Vice Presidential candidate on Nixon’s ticket in 1972, so he was not an elected incumbent and did not have a base of political support from the voters when he sought election to office in 1976.

    Carter lost his bid for reelection in 1980 to Ronald Reagan. Carter went through a divisive primary election in 1980, and the economy was not strong.

    The economy is recovering. But, Obama was not opposed in his primary election; Democrats are united; his favorability numbers are high; and, as you have noted, and I agree: “economic models tend to favor Obama, not Romney, in part because voters care more about trends than about where the economy sits.”

    Obama also will benefit from the phenomenal nominating speech of former two term President Bill Clinton at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. My analysis is that for mainstream media, the speech was the agenda setting speech for the remainder of the Presidential campaign. My article is at: LINK: http://janeymccullough.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/election-2012-agenda-setting-effects-of-clintons-speech/

    I agree with your analysis that the infusion of corporate money in the election, through Super PACS, 527 Committees and independent expenditures, as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, will not sway the election.

    With respect to vice presidential candidates, you speak the truth stating: “people vote for presidents, not vice presidents.” The only person Mitt Romney could have selected who may have influenced the outcome of the election is former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

    My prediction, Obama will win by at least 55% of the vote.

  6. James McPherson said

    Nice commentary, Janey. Though I’m not sure Obama will quite reach 55 percent, I aree with the rest the rest of your argument. The lack of a primary challenger–and having all of the prominent Dems on the same page–gives Obama a big advantage over Carter. By the way, the first version of your comment got stuck in my spam filter for some reason. I freed it (and then deleted it, since it repeated the same info), in case that used a different email or something that you wanted to use later. Thank you for the thoughtful reaction.

  7. “I’m not sure that Palin is a total moron; it could be that she just plays one on TV.” See? That’s the kinda bullroy I’m talkin about.

    Oh, and I disagree with your friend, Janey’s, prediction.

  8. Reuel said

    Kells, I never said she was dumb, she was unprepared and bought into it to late to ketch up. Would I like to see her President? No. Nice lady but I think she is doing just fine in the money category, and she set here self up in Arizona I think for a chance to take McMains seat in the Senate.
    JM WOW 55 percent that may happen if all essential variables fall into place and they keep Biker girls off Bidens lap. I don’t see that in the mid west except In Illinois, Michigan of all places is a toss up. No I think the lawyers from both sides, 10,000 each will earn their money this year. Then I would calculate 1 percent out for each Embassy that get torched and 5 points if Afghanistan becomes a even more of a quagmire. If my calculations are correct, yes 55 percent will go to someone and you can throw history out the door on this one.

  9. James McPherson said

    Kells, Palin has uttered a significant number of dumb statements, and was completely inept at dealing with interviews while running for VP. She may not be stupid–but she certainly managed to come across that way.

    Reuel, even Romney apparently doesn’t really consider Michigan to be a toss-up, anymore (though of course the campaign denies it); he has pulled most of his advertising from there. And Obama will benefit more than Romney from the embassy violence, if Mitt doesn’t have enough sense to act presidential and quick responding with kneejerk lying stupidity. Though Romney still has time, I still think Obama will win pretty easily (but I don’t think he’ll get 55 percent of the popular vote).

  10. jm said

    >McPherson: thanks very much.

    >Kells & Reuel: Palin is not a moron; indeed, with the right grooming and mentoring, she could be very effective.

    I agree with the Professor that the outbreak of violence at the embassies favors President Obama. The incidents give him the opportunity to be Presidential. The media feeds and fests on Presidents who are Presidential.

    They also remind voters that Bin Laden is dead; that the Adminstration has killed a number of terrorists; and that the Administration has been firm in its support of change in the dictatorial and violent regimes. Those notions make it less likely that foreign affairs will emerge as a significant media issues which will bite the President in the back.

    Governor Romney’s responses have been remarkably inept, and have resulted in bad press for him and his campaign.

    The GOP has a deep bench of experiened talent in foreign affairs and national security. My sense is those experts have not been consulted, or if they have, their advice is not being followed. The talking points used by Romney obviously are being developed by young staffers with little to no real life political expereince.

    I am not one of Romney’s counselors.

    But, if I was advising him, I would tell him to tone down is immediate reactions; let the embassy crisis incidents percolate a little more in the news cycle; and, get the experts ready to make the hard hitting partisan comments on the Sunday Morning TV Talk shows. If the comments are newsworthy, they will feed the news stories the following week; if not, they will die on the vine. Don’t waste time as a Presidential candidate commenting on stuff which is not newsworthy or sustainable.

    It’s the rare case that a candidate can break the news with sustainable news copy. Romney apparently thinks his comments are salient, and will make news which in turn will lead to good coverage. That’s simply not reality. If he listens to the veterans, they will tell him that.

    He would be bettor off following the news, finding the sweet spots and then commenting in a strategic and careful manner so that his comments ride with the momentum and generate some sustainable carriage in the news cycle. His comments tend to fall off the cliff as soon as he opens his mouth.

    President Obama seems to be getting better at it. President Clinton was the master.

    Sorry Governor Romney, you are not even on the playing field.

    If you don’t learn the ropes soon and step up your media game, you will be out of it.

  11. […] A “must read” is Professor James McPherson’s article: “Ten things we’re told could influence the presidential election-but won’t,” posted on his influential Media & Politics Blog, at: LINK: https://jmcpherson.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/ten-things-were-told-could-influence-the-presidential-ele… […]

  12. Reuel said

    We shall see, I for one didn’t see anything wrong with his comment that was directed at the Embassy comment reliesed about a film that had been on the internet for 6 months and was used as only a rallying point by the extremist because they had planned these attacks for months and were conveniently staged on 911. As for President Obama’s foreign policy wins, he has just one and that man is died. I really find it amazing that your both giving him a victory on these Embassy bombings and riots in the street so early. Glad we have that documented, early victory laps are usually premature and if they go on from now until November or should one of them turn in to a Iran 1979, history could repeat itself. I don’t follow polls, they are usual wrong except Gallup and Rasmussen that I like to see the day after the votes are counted. Jim; Michigan is in play trust me. Ohio is going to Obama though, of course they were the only one that benefited from the Auto Bailout, Michigan did not. But the Republican Governor in Michigan has done some good things. Prediction: Romney (273) and tons of lawyers are going to make lots of money in November. I know one of these will come true.

  13. James McPherson said

    “I really find it amazing that your both giving him a victory on these Embassy bombings and riots in the street so early.”

    In my case, not so much an Obama victory as a Romney loss. It was a chance for Romney to keep his mouth shut and act presidential, but he failed.

    “Michigan is in play trust me. Ohio is going to Obama though.”

    Perhaps, but even Rasmussen has Obama up by 6 in Michigan (about the same as the Real Clear Politics average). Karl Rove agrees with you, though: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2012-presidential-race

    Regardless, if Obama does win Ohio, that makes it very tough for Romney to win overall. But if you’re right about the closeness of the election–whichever side wins–then lawyers are indeed going to make lots of money with the losing side (whichever it is) claiming they’ve been robbed. By the way, two of the “good things” that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder have done are to support Obama’s welfare policy on shifting more things to states and to veto a GOP-proposed “voter ID law.” http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/03/us-usa-michigan-voterid-idUSBRE8621CG20120703

    But you’re right: His approval ratings have gone up–to about the same as Obama’s–and that could help Republicans in Michigan: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120824/POLITICS01/208240365

  14. jm said

    >Reuel

    “Should one of them turn in to a Iran 1979, history could repeat itself.”

    NOT HAPPENING!!!

    Romney’s strategy to refocus on the economy could be too late.

    I am not an expert on the markets.

    But, when I look at the charts showing a steady climb of the DJIA, from DOW 7000 in February 2009, to DOW 13,500 last week, more than 6,000 points, all during President Obama’s first term, I am beginning to think that Governor Romney should be worrying more about the movements in the stock market averages than the movements on the streets in the Muslim nations.

    If the DOW crosses 14,000 decisively before the election, Romney’s economic message will die on the vine.

    It will get buried in the mountain of news coverage show casing predictions of economic recovery due to rising and unprecedented stock market averages which, of course, will be tied to Obama’s economic initiatives.

  15. Reuel said

    Most of the voters could care less about what the DJIA is, it is what is in there pocket and I do believe Mother Jones reliese of a true statement yesterday about Romney has no chance with 47 percent that pay no taxes or benefit from government. Problem is when the GDP are at a record low and deficits spending is a all time high. The problem has just been agitated by the now policy of buying 40 billion dollars a month until (?) of mortgage securities by the fed, the stock market is or worse inflated than the housing prices were. It mean when stock market does crash you better hope you have your cash in some safe investments based on know history. Just did that two days ago.

    This is why I am so confused at the people that are wise enough to know that nothing good can come from voting for 4 more years of record deficits that can not possible be paid by the reduction of “Rich People”. There is just not enough rich people to bail us out or as you (James) have said in the past, not enough people period to bail us out. Elevated Stock Market has only one way to go when GDP is down and the Chairman of the FED is playing his cards this way because he knows he will be let go by, if Romney wins, because Romney said that on the trail the other day.

    This is the most important election in many decades and I will not vote for another 4 years of the current policies of not passing or signing a budget and running a country on continuing resolutions, with trillion dollar debts added every year and if the truth takes Romney out, so be it. He is right and Ryan was the person to pick to help fix this.

    I have already seen chopped segments of what Mother Jones reliese and they just put the part about he does not care about the 47 percent, which is a misrepresentation of what he was saying. That he knew he didn’t stand a chance with getting their vote but would like to help as many as he could to get into the work place and fend for themselves. Someone has to say that and he did. Truth seems to be a negative thing in politics and President Obama has been lying to us for years.

    Thing is James your state is a given, mine is not anymore.

  16. James McPherson said

    “GDP are at a record low and deficits spending is a all time high.”

    Perhaps so, but I think Americans care even less about that than they do about the DJIA. Mother Jones is apparently posting the whole video later today. And if what Mitt said was a “misrepresentation,” he failed to get that across in his hastily called press conference last night. And today’s release reinforces the view that he’s clueless about foreign policy: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0918/Leaked-Romney-video-Palestinians-are-committed-to-destruction-of-Israel-video

    Even some Republicans seem to be on the verge of jumping ship. William Kristol, David Brooks and Linda McMahon have slammed Romney for his comments. If he doesn’t come up big in the first debate, Republicans will be running over each other in their efforts to jump ship.

    You’re right about truth, of course. I happened to be on a public panel last night discussing the issue of lying in politics. Romney and Obama both have done a bunch of it, and have repeated the lies even after they’ve been repeately proven false: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/rulings/pants-fire/

  17. Reuel said

    No Republican will in no way throw Romney under the bus, That would most defiantly give us 4 more years of President Executive Orders and Departmental adjustments to run the country around congress. What I find humorous is the blog sites that assume that the 46 percent that support him are all millionaires. It is hard to win a election when President Obama is pumping out freebees at the cost of debt to our future, and may I add at records no where near President Bush deficits. I do see the Romney has a large challenge ahead of him but still do not buy into the left’s demonetization of him. My goodness he is a Mormon and they are just about the nicest and honest group of people I have ever come across. I don’t buy the rich guy snob story the left is peddling, but it works in politics and just might this time. Some day I just wish we could discuss the debt and real issues. Cause no matter what both parties are out of ideas and we are so screwed.

  18. James McPherson said

    “No Republican will in no way throw Romney under the bus, That would most defiantly give us 4 more years of President Executive Orders and Departmental adjustments to run the country around congress.”

    We’ll see. I predict that when/if it looks like Romney is toast, Republicans running for office will be looking toward saving their own elections–and others with interest in 2016 (Christie comes to mind) will at least be lukewarm in their support for Mitt.

    “What I find humorous is the blog sites that assume that the 46 percent that support him are all millionaires.”

    I make no such assumption, myself. Nor do I make the assumption that Romney seems to imply, that none the 47 percent who pay no federal taxes aren’t millionaires. Some make more money than you or I will see in a lifetime. Many others are retirees on Social Security, military vets, disabled children, and others who do pay other taxes.

    “he is a Mormon and they are just about the nicest and honest group of people I have ever come across”

    Having lived and worked in southern Idaho and Arizona, I’d have to say some are, some aren’t. Pretty much like the rest of us.

    “both parties are out of ideas and we are so screwed.”

    Amen, brother.

  19. William Gates said

    “Some day I just wish we could discuss the debt and real issues. Cause no matter what both parties are out of ideas and we are so screwed.”

    That won’t happen as long as there’s partisanship as it is today. Neither side cares, they just want to “win”. I just don’t see how, if anyone looks at Romney’s record as governor, could say he’s so different than Obama. The only major difference is the -R. If he does win, look for the Dems to stonewall him as the Repubs have done Obama.

    ” but still do not buy into the left’s demonetization of him”

    He sets himself up for that. Yes, he opened his mouth too soon. Americans getting killed should unite us, not be political ammunition. He was wrong. Yes, some of his party members threw him under the bus already for that. Whoever recorded that tape did too.

    “My goodness he is a Mormon and they are just about the nicest and honest group of people I have ever come across.”

    I don’t know about nice, but I do about honest and when Mitt said this about Obama he was lying: “He told you he’d keep unemployment below 8 percent. Hasn’t been below eight percent since. Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can’t get a job. Fifty percent”. Obama never said that and Half the kids coming out of college aren’t unemployed. Another lie: “Under Obama’s plan (for welfare), you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.” Another lie regurgitated.

    Obama lies and Romney lies. He couldn’t even beat McCain. I can understand that neither choice may be great, but Romney’s no saint and definitely no conservative. He definitely says what his immediate crowd wants to hear as in the case when he was recorded and when he addressed another group after he left for speaking to the NAACP. Obama played immigration politics and is now playing ol skool Chicago politics on Romney and he doesn’t know how to handle it.

  20. jm said

    The exchanges have been interesting.

    >Reuel, your points about “signing a budget,” “running a country on continuing resolutions,” and “trillion dollar debts” are significant matters of policy, policy advocacy and policy formation. And, for those voters who make judgments about the candidates because of those issues I am inclined to think that they have processed the available information to date and made their decisions.

    With respect to those matters, however, go back to your observation that what most voters care about is “what is in their pocket.” At the end of the day, that is the bottom line for voters.

    I doubt whether either campaign has discovered how to convert sophisticated matters such as budget deficits and the debt into messages which can be processed by the average voter, and understood with respect to the impact “in their pocket.” Certainly, the analysts and commentators in the mainstream media have not done so either.

    Mitt Romney has few choices available to him now, because of the missteps in his campaign, to engage the media, and to get his message out.

    Although a bit crude, and not necessarily part of his strategy, it does appear that his tough talk about Obama’s “47 percent” at least has drawn media attention, and put him in a position, though awkward, to engage the media on his issues and his agenda.

    With some prunning, he can sharpen his message, and facilitate the agenda setting the media is bound to do for his campaign and the GOP, with or without him, going into the General Election.

  21. Reuel said

    William;
    I don’t know about nice, but I do about honest and when Mitt said this about Obama he was lying: “He told you he’d keep unemployment below 8 percent. Hasn’t been below eight percent since. Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can’t get a job. Fifty percent”. Obama never said that and Half the kids coming out of college aren’t unemployed. Another lie: “Under Obama’s plan (for welfare), you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.” Another lie regurgitated.

    I think yes you are correct that Obama did not directly say these things, but if you look at the statements of the press secretary and some on his staff, they did state these thing. Yes Obama had learned early in life to let other say things and then let them walk it back. But his administration sold the Porkculous with that statement that unemployment would remain below 8 percent. The 50 percent of student coming out of college statement is a little short of the facts of what he said, he said the 50 percent of them graduating are not finding jobs in the field of study and a portion of them had to take minimum wag jobs and two jobs to just make the student loan payments. Obama plan is just that a executive order allowing states to decide the criteria for welfare assistance. Which many legal scholars have said it violates the law that President Clinton signed into place in the 1990’s. By the choice of your wording of these comments I assume you didn’t read them from the original transcript or abridged version of the whole comment.

    October 3 first debate and I know it will not change many minds, but I will be enjoying it undistributed.

  22. William Gates said

    “I think yes you are correct that Obama did not directly say these things”

    That’s the key. Not the editorial. Yes, I read the whole comment.

    “he said the 50 percent of them graduating are not finding jobs in the field of study and a portion of them had to take minimum wag [sic] jobs and two jobs to just make the student loan payments”

    First off, he said that after he said 50% can’t get a job. So what if a person can’t find a job in their field of study? Their fault for choosing that major. My bank’s loan officer is an English major. She chose that, Obama didn’t. Self-reliance is the conservative way so if a high school graduate has to take a minimum wage job to pay his bills why can’t a college grad? Why can’t they work 2 jobs? James can tell you what type of fallacy that is, I’m sure.

    You can’t justify or rationalize a lie. It either is or isn’t. Either Obama said them or he didn’t. If he didn’t, as Romney said he did, it’s a lie.

    A Romney approved ad said, “On July 12, President Obama quietly ended the work requirement, gutting welfare reform.”

    I guess that too is the truth.

    “Utah, Nevada, California, Connecticut and Minnesota asked the federal government for more flexibility in how they hand out welfare dollars. Their purpose was to spend less time on federal paperwork and more time experimenting with ways to connect welfare recipients with jobs.The Obama administration cooperated, granting waivers to some states from some of the existing rules.The waivers gave “those states some flexibility in how they manage their welfare rolls as long as it produced 20% increases in the number of people getting work.”

    Nevada and Utah have republican governors.

    Another conservative principle is state’s rights. Seems like Obama is giving that right back to the states. Seems like you’re falling on the liberal side of at least 2 key conservative principles here while campaigning for a moderate (at best) claiming to be conservative.

  23. Reuel said

    William his order does allow for removing the work requirement from welfare and I am sure next week when the congress takes this up you would be able to see the results of this action and just today it was reported that the increase of people that have nothing to stop them from working except a job market that is offering a income less than what they can receive free and they are not required to prove they are even looking for work. Now we can mince words about who said what first, but the truth is that the only jobs being created are less than a person can receive on one of the many programs available. For Example a record number of people signing up at below the allowed age to receive Social Security with the disability clause, so they get medicare too. Don’t miss understand me, I say good for them, because Obama has taken any chance of most corporations of hiring anymore people due to the Heath Care Law uncertainty and over regulation by laws and Departmental policy changes. The quality of life has been reduced by this President and his policies and the Bank has been robbed by a bunch of political crooks. So you say they have to prove they produces 20 percent increase in the number of people getting work. Good luck meeting that number. I don’t understand what exactly Obama has done to help the economy it is no better and we are not producing good paying jobs we have record numbers of people on food stamps and every other programs available. The well is dry and raising taxes on 2 percent of the people is going to do nothing, that is all Obama is running on. I still refuse to call Romney statement lies. I do want to give someone else a chances, someone that has turned some failing companies around, yes about 15 percent failed, but hat is what Bain does, it is called in to save the one that are savable and only failed becuase of poor business practices before Bain came in. So now Obama has had his first real job in his whole life and he is not qualified to be the leader of a 4 trillion dollar budget and it is quite clear someone that knows the value of the dollar is needed. Did you see Obama on Letterman last night, He did not even know how much debt this country has. Out of touch “Romney” Really? Bottom line is it use to be illegal to change the requirements of a Law that was in place and signed by another President. A President can not pick and choose the parts of a law that suits him with a single signed paper. Big different from breaking the law and twisting words on the campaign trail.

  24. James McPherson said

    “A President can not pick and choose the parts of a law that suits him with a single signed paper.”

    I wish that were true. I’m sure you’re familiar with Bush’s record number of “signing statements” in which he’s sign a law while essentially saying he wouldn’t consider it binding?

    “I still refuse to call Romney statement lies.”

    And I think that’s part of the problem–too many people can’t/won’t see what comes from their side as lies. In fact, both Romney and Obama have offered their share. You may not consider these to be lies:http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/rulings/false/

    But almost anyone would consider these to be lies: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/rulings/pants-fire/

    The key question is, which liar should we elect?

  25. William Gates said

    “William his order does allow for removing the work requirement from welfare”

    No EO, as far as I know, has been issued concerning this. Nothing I’ve seen said that’s the case. I think you’re talking about a “section 1115 waiver” not an executive order. Those would be issued by the secretary of HHS, not Obama. Please provide proof preferably from a non-partisan reference. I think it’s what can be “considered” work is the issue. States want things like training to be considered work hours.

    I don’t think you know how welfare works. The states get the federal money but they administer the program with certain requirements. Some states inquired about waivers and it was said as long as they increased employment by 20% they could apply for the waiver. Some also inquired about what could be consider work hours for preparation to work like job search, substance abuse treatments, etc. They complained about what could be considered work and what couldn’t. These governors wanted updated practices like technical schools to be considered as work hours. Basically, some wanted more flexibility to run their own show. The issue will be can the secretary of HHS legally issue a waiver as none has been requested.

    Again, a state’s rights thing. I guess you, or Romney, don’t remember him asking for the same flexibility when he was governor. As long as they reach the requirements, I dont see a problem since the ultimate goal is to get people off of welfare.

    I could have sworn you republicans were all about state’s rights. Maybe again, it’s watch what they do, not what they say.

  26. Reuel said

    I know how Welfare works and I am not a Republican. Gave up political party in the late 1990’s. Was also what some tagged as a Reagan Democrat. Jimmy Carter was my Obama moment of the young and the foolish. 2008 I did not vote for president in the general election, I was in one of the states it didn’t matter at the time. the choice of a very nice lady who was not ready to assume President if John had that one beat thing.

    I will vote this year and it will be for anyone but Obama, Number one reason is he and his administration assume responsibility of nothing that has not worked or gone wrong. A example of this is the IG report about the guns lost to drug lords, His watch and he owned it. He did not even know how much debt the country really has and said it is OK now because the short term interest is low now. Sounds like a person that is only concerned to get to the end of his second term before the meltdown begins. So after much thought and checking polls in congressional races, I think he just may only own the White House next year and Ask President Bush how that was from 2007 to 2009. Not fun. His appearances with congressional candidates is almost zero, and Debbie Wasserman Shultz (DNC Chair) told them they are all on there own. I know the local Democrat in my area and I talked to her last weekend she said “Good”, She will get my vote.

    James I don’t think a few jumping ship on the right would be what Obama or his supporter should worry about. Obama is sailing on a empty ship all alone and as all things Obama he will not show the cargo stored in his ship he is sailing. If you don’t see what I see about Obama, listen to him carefully, it is a whole lot of “I” and “Me”. It takes a crew to set sail and Obama does not understand that. His ego is a empty ship with no crew. These are not the quality of a good President that has the interest of the country first and William yes Obama has lied in the past also, Gitmo Cuba is still open and the guy that controlled the killing of the Amb. of Libya was reliesed from there. So walking back comments about Libya now is just walking back and not a lie. All in the eyes of the beholder and which lies are important or not important? campgan trail bantering or the death of a Border Potrol Agent and a Amb of Libya and his staff. All life is important than why laughing it up with a tour of Letterman show and Jay Z while the Middle East is burning? What would you say if President Bush were to do this so shortly after the death a person he appointed to that post and left unprotected in a country he was responsible for becuase he owns Libya. Case closed.

  27. Reuel said

    William; just to make a point that if you don’t support people that lie, a excellent article was released by the Washington examiner it is called the Obama you don’t know. So if we are going to call people liars I think Obama could without a question agree Obama meets the qualifications. Support of a person because of the political party and not really doing the research of the actual person is the sign of a person whom votes without any convictions. That is about 90 percent of the public, they cry when he speak his sweet nothing but it contains no content, it is just a collection of words that have no meaning. He has gone on the campaign trail for 60 months now and left the world to it own vices.If the pictures on the news are pictures of successful foreign policy please explain that to me. It is a success I have never seen in my life our read in history, well maybe read in revelations back when I read that book. It is all about one thing “him”. At this point I am content to know he will be a lame duck for at least the first two years of his second term with both houses of congress controlled by Republicans or blocked by Republicans with the same tricks the Democrats did when they were the minority in the Senate. Although even throwing Atkins under bus for his stupid remarks about rape I think I see a minimum of 50 republicans in the Senate, 51 If Ryan is counted. I know James long shot, but it is the (pause) only shot we got.

  28. William Gates said

    “William; just to make a point that if you don’t support people that lie”

    I never said that. You said that Romney was honest, not me. I just showed you were he lies just like the rest of them. You also assumed that I’m an Obama supporter and that I said that he doesn’t lie. That’s not true. Also, James can tell you what type of fallacy you just committed.

    “So if we are going to call people liars I think Obama could without a question agree Obama meets the qualifications”

    I already did. From my previous post: “Obama lies and Romney lies.” Guess you didn’t read that part.

    “Obama plan is just that a executive order allowing states to decide the criteria for welfare assistance”

    You still haven’t shown that executive order. I don’t think that you can. So that would make that statement what?

    “listen to him carefully, it is a whole lot of “I” and “Me”

    I think you use “he” a lot more than he uses I or me. Every situation that has happened, you’ve blame “him” for. So I guess he might as well take credit since if anything goes wrong he’ll surely get the blame. But are you sure that’s the stance you want to take? You remember what GWB said about the country/economy when he first took office? Should we blame him for 9/11, Katrina, or the cop that was shot to death on Panama City Beach? Irrational.

    “What would you say if President Bush were to do this so shortly after the death a person he appointed to that post and left unprotected in a country he was responsible for becuase he owns Libya”

    First, I would say that your sentence is incomprehensible and sensationalized as he was not “left unprotected in a country Obama was responsible for”. Then as I try to assume what you’re trying to say, I would say that the security there was probably the same as when Bush was in office. I would say it’s unfortunate that it happened. I would say holla at Hillary since she’s their boss not Obama. Unfortunately, life goes on even though someone else’s has ended. Why aren’t you crying about Romney politicizing it. My bad, you’d never say anything bad about a republican.

    Your post is just full of strawman arguments. You won’t address my points so you just rant mostly republican talking points that some are true and many aren’t. You may not be a registered republican but you definitely have front seat tickets on their bandwagon.

    “Case closed”

    I don’t know if the case is closed but I know your mind is.

  29. Strawman said

    Libya is to Obama as Iraq is to Bush, simple logic. If we look at what happen on the north coast of Africa in the last year it was a hit and run. President Obama is Hillary’s boss and to leave State Department employees in a country without a quick exit plan was foolish. Yes my views have turned hard right since 2008. In 2003 I supported taking out Saddam and his Sons but not the war and nation building. After 12 years of containment of Iraq, something had to happen to end this distraction. The day they captured him and his sons were died, a exit strategy should of been in place. I also think we should not be in many places we are and have been for decades, Korea, Germany and many others that are not required. We don’t need to hang out in these places and have plenty of advance weapons that could be consider quite a deterrent for most of these situation.

    So to the honest issue, which I would prefer to use than the word Liar. I think that without a doubt Obama losses hands down. Yes I rant a little (lot) and I do think I remember you support, is it Johnson? right or were you the Ron Paul supporter.

    Its a shame and has been a shame that neither party is really concerned about anything except their own egos and control of 4 trillion dollar (Continuing Resolutions) a year to pay back political favors. I also think 435 people in the House of Representatives is to many and a Amendment should be brought forth to reduce the Federal budget in that area first. I also support Term Limits to reduce the power of people in congress and return the power to the citizens. I know Ron Paul and I sound a lot a like.

    No I don’t support Ron Paul, and my mind is only temporary closed do to my deep belief that President Obama was not ready for the office he took in 2009 and yes Palin was not either. There is that fair? I know my writing are not a eloquent as some here, but I am much stronger in math and science. The math of Obama policy does not add up and he is counting with to many nonessential variables. His science is wrong and his investment in green energy was bases on political favors instead of logic. I support green energy but not the investments he made with borrowed /printed money. So in my view it is time for change. I change my user name you tagged me with, I kind of like it.

  30. William Gates said

    “my deep belief that President Obama was not ready for the office he took in 2009 and yes Palin was not either. There is that fair?”

    Absolutely fair. My point was, trying to make one look good by saying one does and one doesn’t is dishonest. A fact either is or isn’t not who does it the most or the least.

    “Yes my views have turned hard right since 2008”

    Maybe hard right but not far right. Romney may have strayed across center to the right a bit but he’s not even close to far right. He record shows that.

    “Yes I rant a little (lot) and I do think I remember you support, is it Johnson? right or were you the Ron Paul supporter.

    I agree a lot with Gary Johnson, understanding he has no chance of winning. I agree with Ron Paul some, too. I agree with Obama some and Romney some. I’m not afraid to admit it. I just have to figure out which one I favor the most. Romney hasn’t said anything but generic statements but no plans. “Putting people back to work” isn’t a plan.

    “Its a shame and has been a shame that neither party is really concerned about anything except their own egos”

    Now you’re talking. See what straightforward thinking does instead of strawman arguments? Now if only I can get you to see the republican doesn’t equal conservative then we’ll be on the right track.

    When people start getting to emotionally involved in politics, it clouds their view. They start acting like parents with kids that can do no wrong. Obama did things I didn’t/don’t care for. Romney has too. You say listen carefully what Obama says, but listen carefully to what Romney, as well.

    “So in my view it is time for change. I change my user name you tagged me with, I kind of like it.

    Nothing wrong with change. But if you’re rolling with the “anyone but Obama” theory, and it seems like that’s the case, just remember that’s what got you Obama. I’d seriously rethink that if I were you. Nothing says the Romney would do, or be able to do, anything any differently. Remember all the static Republicans gave Obama. If Romney wins, you’ll see it again in reverse.

  31. Strawman said

    Yes I know Republican does not mean conservative and do recall some Democrats that use to be Conservative. I just know something has to change and deficit spending is not going to give us that happy ending. Ending is not what I am looking for but with debt like this, it is a possibility. I think appointing Ron Paul to the Federal Reserve would be a message sent. That is one thing I agree with him about, someone needs to see those books, the heck with tax returns and birth certificates.

  32. William Gates said

    “Yes I know Republican does not mean conservative and do recall some Democrats that use to be Conservative.”

    Agree. I just know Romney isn’t one of them. The parties are just partisan now and no one wants to work with anyone outside of their own party.

    ” I just know something has to change and deficit spending is not going to give us that happy ending.

    Again agreed. We have to curb the spending but cutting taxes right now isn’t the answer.

    “I think appointing Ron Paul to the Federal Reserve would be a message sent.”

    Don’t know if I agree with that. I think he’s just too old and should be put out to pasture.

    “the heck with tax returns and birth certificates.”

    Absolutely. We need solutions not gimmicks. Leave the economy alone and let it run it’s cycle. Obama nor Romney can control but they definitely can make it worse.

  33. jm said

    >Gates: “Leave the economy alone and let it run it’s cycle.”

    And, if the stock market is any indication, we need to keep Barack Obama in office.

    According to Allan Roth: “The stock market is a forward indicator of how investors think the economy will perform,” LINK: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-57468124/as-stock-market-fares-so-will-obama/

    How how has the market fared under Obama?

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average has surged 60% since Barack Obama was inaugurated as president three years ago, according to research firm Bespoke Investment Group. This means President Obama is one of only five presidents that have witnessed the blue-chip index surge more than 50% during their first three years in office

    SOURCE: LINK: http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2012/01/23/the-stock-market-loves-president-obama/

    With those prospects, who needs Mitt Romney?

  34. […] SOURCE: LINK: Read More: Click: https://jmcpherson.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/ten-things-were-told-could-influence-the-presidential-ele… […]

  35. William Gates said

    “And, if the stock market is any indication, we need to keep Barack Obama in office.”

    I can somewhat agree with that. But on the other hand, by the economy being cyclical, part of me says that it would have rebounded regardless of who was in office. I don’t think Obama’s policies have hurt as much as we’re led to believe–if at all. I think it more of economics being misunderstood as top-down when it’s actually bottom-up.

    If the middle class suffers the economy does since they are the one’s the drive the economy. The upper class standard of living changes very little during a recession but the middle and lower classes will. We’ll spend less, invest less, have less in the bank. All those things drive the economy. The top 1% will continue with their normal day to day activities virtually having little effect on the overall economy.

    Lower and middle classes buy goods and services and make the upper class rich. Not the other way around.

  36. Utah said

    Somewhat unsurprisingly, I’m going to have to disagree.

    Well, Professor – what the polls do show is that Obama can’t get above 50% and Romney leads in the “independent” category by double digits in some polls but a consistent 7-8% across the board. It is also instructive that unemployment is still over 8% and unlikely to change in the last month before the election. These three things have doomed incumbent presidents in the past and will likely doom Obama this time.

    How can Romney possibly be in a weaker position than at any point when he is pulling even? The only people who don’t understand the clarity and honesty of his statements are the people who aren’t going to vote for him in a million years anyway. His “secretly recorded” statements about people who don’t pay taxes not responding to tax policy and the Palestinians not wanting peace are spot on – and now that the “full” tape has been released, it is clear that he never said what David Corn implied he did.

    Methinks there is a little wishcasting going on with you as well.

    My gut tells me that there are already a lot of decisions made one way or the other but there is about a third of th electorate that will not decide until the curtain is pulled in the booth. These are the people who voted Obama the last time, don’t want to appear to be voting against the first black president this time but also know that we can’t possibly withstand another 4 years of his ineptitude. Obama’s support among these folks is only kept afloat by the relentlessly negative media coverage of Romney and it’s reluctance to report anything negative about him – but in the silence and privacy of the voting booth, they will pull the lever for Romney even though before the election they will tell the pollsters that they are “undecided” and will tell the exit pollsters that they voted for Obama.

    If I am right, we will see a large difference in the exit polls and the actual results, especially in the “swing” states.

    There is another consideration that I think is underreported and under-appreciated and that is the voter enthusiasm – Republicans have it, Democrats don’t. Even Republicans who dislike Romney will vote for him on the the ABO ticket against Obama. I think that the education debt ridden and unemployed young folks will stay at home. I think the leftists who think Obama is a capitalist tool will stay at home as well. My read is that these two things will depress Democrat turnout by 5-8% right off the bat. Black Christians are going to find it difficult to vote for him this time as well.

    Those four things, 1) under 50%, 2) Romney leading with independents and late deciding “undecideds” 3) unemployment over 8% and 4) voter enthusiasm,these are the keys to this election – and I see Obama losing in each area.

    I could be way off – but I don’t think so. I am basing this on my observation of America after not being immersed in the culture all the time. I’ve been living out of the country for almost two years now but this year, I have made several trips back and the mood has definitely swung against Obama in the groups that I have interacted with – unquestionably a small and unscientific sample but I have friends who are saying things today about the President that they argued with me on just 3 years ago.

    Six weeks to go and we will know for sure.

    If any of your readers want to read a real analysis of recent events, they can come over here: http://therionorteline.com/2012/09/23/we-are-not-in-kansas-any-more/.

  37. Utah said

    Sorry, should read – “Obama’s support among these folks is only kept afloat by the relentlessly negative media coverage of Romney and it’s reluctance to report anything negative about Obama…”

  38. Strawman said

    I think if you read or have heard what the Romney plan is, it basically does about the same thing Obama does but simplifies the tax code. From what I understand Romney plans to lower all rates to by 8 percent but get rid of a lot of deductions taken by the upper income people and corporations. I do like the simplification of the tax code and it may lead to less employees at the IRS and Lawyers of course. Also less chance for fraud or human errors as the Secretary of the Treasury claim he made with Turbo Tax. I see Bernakie and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are doing there part to show there support of Obama.

    As for this over inflated Stock Market being touted here. It has gone up artificially by the Government promising to buy 40 billion dollars of mortgages every month until, When? Know one knows and if you think the banks are going to bundle the good mortgages, think again. With GDP hovering around 2 percent and what I say is 17 trillion dollars of debt already then the government buys sub-prime mortgages is not a good sign except if you want to make it look good until November 2012. The stock market is a bubble that will pop right after November. It and the results of all the other “Self Investigations on itself” schedule for some Friday after the election. IE Leak-gate, Even though they said Fast and furious had nothing to do with Holder, I don’t agree and that to will be a issue in Late November 2012.

    I recommend we change the definition of Liars to “Just Politics”. Obama should be leading by 20 points with the Left Stream Media carrying his water, but he is not. No JM the stock Market is not a indicator of the successes of President Obama. Of course my opinion and we shall see if my predictions are correct in about 6 to 8 weeks. Still see Romney 273 and Lawyers running Rabid the day after the vote is counted. Also see Romney 52 percent and Obama 47 percent with Johnson getting a little less than 1 percent. I am not a pundit but its fun playing one.

    Strawman Formally know as Reuel.

  39. James McPherson said

    Utah: “How can Romney possibly be in a weaker position than at any point when he is pulling even?”

    Interesting interpretation, but I see things trending in the opposite direction. So do some Romney fans: http://www.policymic.com/articles/15259/presidential-polls-2012-romney-is-in-dire-straits-but-here-are-6-things-he-can-do-to-right-the-ship

    “Methinks there is a little wishcasting going on with you as well.”

    Very possible. I do consider Obama to be the “less bad” option, and it is difficult for any of us to overcome biases. And I do appreciate it when people lie to pollsters (I’ve done so myself)–I wish we’d see more of it, so the process would be less poll-driven.

    ” I am basing this on my observation of America after not being immersed in the culture all the time.”

    I wish more of us could take that perspective more often. I’ll be interested to see how it works out.

    “voter enthusiasm – Republicans have it, Democrats don’t.”

    That seems to be changing–in large part because Romney won’t stop talking. 🙂

    “Six weeks to go and we will know for sure”

    Indeed. And I’ve never called it a sure thing.

    “a real analysis”

    Cute, but I’m happy to have readers consider a broad range of perspectives. But as the cable news talking heads have long known, “real analysis” isn’t necessarily either logical or correct. Thanks for the comment.

  40. jm said

    >Utah: thanks for the link to your Blog.

    When you talk about “voter enthusiasm” think about your own resume: LINK: http://therionorteline.com/about/about-me/

    Just like Mitt Romney, you are a successfull M.B.A.

    But, I could take your mug and resume, and generate more voter enthusiasm for electing you as President than Romney and his billion dollar staff have been able to do for Romney. Just read and think about your bullet points and compare them to Romney’s. The power and influence of your resume and accomplishments, as compared to Romney’s, leap off the page.

    You have a narrative which would play well in the media, and which would enthuse voters. Romney’s narrative does not.

    Part of what you describe as the “relentlessly negative media coverage of Romney,” is generated from his own mouth.

    Indeed, the week and weekend just before his “47 percent” comment broke, was a bad week for Romney even among conservatives, GOP politicians and his base of voters. The tag for the weekend from conservatives was that Romney was slipping and slipping badly, and that he needed to “change course.” LINK: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/249685-republican-lawmakers-say-romney-campaign-needs-to-change-course

    Romney has yet to “change course.”

    As you and I speak, the media is outlining the challenges the candidates face coming into the debates, and setting the agenda.

    The debates will be among the last high profile political events for the canididates to set their agendas and influence voters. If here is no indication from the first debate that Romney has changed course, particularly, to the liking of his base, he will definately will be crushed by the media.

    That media roll may kill the enthusiasm he needs from his base and the undecided voters to win, and finish him.

  41. Strawman said

    I don’t see how some here can call that Romney is having a bad week. Most of the polls have him recovering from the DNC Convention bounce. Which you have to understand most of these polls are based on 2008 turn out and all have sampling of more Democrats than Republicans. It going to be the turn out that decides this as always. With approximately 35 percent each register Democrats and Republicans and about 10 percent real independents and 20 percent don’t even know that a election is coming. I stand by my predictions stated earlier based on the gas pump theory. When we have been paying 4 dollars a gallon for gas and most people can’t afford a 40,000 dollar green car. They see that is exactly what Obama meant when he said in 2008 that the cost of energy will double under his policies. Throw in the US Dollars is not a valuable as it use it be due to unmanageable debt in the long term and lets just face it, the world leaders that really don’t like America, love this guy (Obama). Unfortunately foreign policy is successful through strength not hit and run as our current policy is. Drones and airstrikes to disrupt regions only add to discontinuity of the region and leave us with the examples we saw in the last two weeks on the north coast of Africa. With the UN Unreality show playing this week we can be assured many things. The Iranian leader is mentally ill. Egypt’s new President will follow with resounding clarification that they now have joined the dark-side and China, Russia and many others whom really do not have America’s best interests in mind will scoop them up to surround Israel with a complete circle of death. So I stand with 52 percent for Romney 47 percent for Obama Romney wins with 273 and the rabid lawyers hold this up until December adding to our current distractions or what Obama calls “Bumps in the road” in the worlds huge political and religious changes happening on our TV screens everyday. I see the “Change” that was promised was kept, still wondering when the “Hope” kicks in.

    I watched CNN, MSNBC, NBC CBS and others all weekend, yes I see them saying the same as I read here, “It going to be a landslide”. The “Hope” is that they are all wrong again.

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