Beam: Negative campaign down to wire

By By Jim Beam / American Press

The presidential candidates will be

campaigning up to the last minute, but over 95 percent of the voters

have already made

up their minds. Polls have bounced back and forth from President

Obama to Republican Mitt Romney during this long and bitter

campaign, and it looks like either man’s race to win at this


Respected political analysts say Obama

appears to have an easier route to the 270 electoral votes needed to be

elected. However,

less than a dozen swing states still hold the key to victory. We

won’t know the final verdict in those states until Tuesday

night — or later.

Romney supporters hope the situation is a repeat of the surprise election of Harry Truman in 1948. Newspapers, top polling

organizations and political writers declared Thomas E. Dewey would be the winner. Life magazine months earlier ran a cover

picture of Dewey with a caption that read, “The Next President of the United States.” Truman had the last laugh.

The Associated Press reported Friday that press coverage of both candidates in the final weeks has been largely negative.

Maybe so, but Romney has gotten the short end of the stick.

The study found that 19 percent of the

stories about Obama have been positive, compared to 15 percent for

Romney. Stories

about the president have been 30 percent negative, compared to 38

percent for Romney. The remaining percentages for both men

have been mixed.

Obama has based most of his re-election campaign on attacks against Romney, and it’s no surprise Romney has taken so many

hits in the media. He stated the case clearly during the third presidential debate.

“Attacking me is not an agenda,” Romney said.

The president continuously harped on

Romney’s connection to Bain Capital, his personal wealth and his failure

to release all

of his income taxes. Obama has also never let up on blaming former

President George W. Bush for the country’s economic woes,

insisting incorrectly that Romney represents a return to those


Bain Capital is an asset management

company that determines which companies can survive and which ones can’t

when they face

financial problems. Some of those companies are shut down when

they don’t look promising, but that is simply a fact of business

life. Obama has made its work sound devious when it has a

successful track record.

The personal wealth and income tax

issues have been used by Obama as weapons in his class warfare against

anyone who has been

successful in the private enterprise field. The president believes

big government knows what’s best for the American economy.

As for making Bush the economic bad guy, some prominent Democrats also share the blame. They include former President Bill

Clinton, former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

Clinton supported the 1999 repeal of

the Glass-Steagall Act that separated banking from high-risk financial

investments, backed

financial deregulation and loosened housing rules. All three

helped lead to the economic collapse that occurred during Bush’s


Dodd was connected to Countrywide

Financial, whose predatory lending practices resulted in large payouts

for executives while

sticking low-income borrowers with mortgages they couldn’t pay

back. Frank was tied to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government

housing agencies guilty of lax oversight of home mortgages.

Yes, Bush had his economic failings too, but it wasn’t all his fault.

Another Obama theme has been, “Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive.” Both are true, but — as the saying goes — is that

all there is? GM is alive, but are we supposed to believe that prosperity abounds all across the country?

The middle class is hurting, there are more poor people in this country than there were four years ago, our national budget

deficits have totaled $1 trillion a year and our national debt has increased to $16 trillion.

We still don’t know the real story about what happened in Libya when our ambassador and three others were killed. Osama bin

Laden is dead, but his al-Qaida group is emerging as an active organization in Iraq and elsewhere.

Romney has been successful in attacking

Obama’s economic record, but other issues have often drowned out that

message. What

we have is a country mired in deep debt, deadlocked in political

party squabbles, a health care law with its undesirable features

not surfacing until 2014 and millions still out of work and losing


Like 22 million other Americans, I

voted early. Romney was my choice because all of these issues are

personally disturbing,

and it’s time to try someone else. Romney has a successful

business track record that may be the answer to the nation’s economic

woes. Nothing personal, but Obama had his chances.

Whether we are on the winning or losing side, we can all take some comfort in what George Friedman said in an article he wrote

for the Stratfor Geopolitical Weekly.

“The polls say the election will be

very close. If that is true, someone will be selected late at night

after Ohio makes up

its mind,” Friedman said. “The passionate on the losing side will

charge fraud and election stealing. The rest of the country

will get up the next day and go back to work just as they did four

years ago, and the republic will go on.”

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Jim Beam, the retired editor of the American Press, has covered people and politics for more than five decades. Contact him at 494-4025 or