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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama

Mayor Jones parts with Obama on gay marriage

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Wednesday night on NBC12, Sarah Bloom told the story of a Richmond preacher who has vowed to stand on a street corner every day until the election encouraging people not to re-elect President Barack Obama.

The pastor, Rev. Shirley Snead is an African-American and a one time supporter of the president who became a vocal opponent after Mr. Obama changed his stance on gay marriage. The black church was a strong bastion of support and energy for the president in 2008 and there is some concern that the gay marriage switch could dampen that enthusiasm.

But it seems that while many religious African-Americans may not support the president’s change of heart, it is going to take quite a bit more for them not to vote for him. One of the most prominent examples of that trend could be Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones. Jones is a strong supporter of the Obama, and is also a pastor that still preaches every Sunday.

Here is a snippet from Sarah’s report last night:

Even one of the President’s strongest supporters in Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, a pastor himself, doesn’t agree with the President’s new position on marriage.

A spokesperson said he still strongly supports Obama’s re-election.

Our political reporter, Ryan Nobles, said Jones is like many religious black voters who have more in common with the president than just that single issue.

“While most of them don’t agree with him on same-sex marriage, there’s still a lot more that they do agree with him on,” said Nobles.

And when voters go to the polls, Henrico School Board member and Obama supporter, Lamont Bagby believes gay marriage won’t be their biggest concern.

“Because I don’t think anyone has an opportunity at this point to be a single issue voter,” said Bagby.

See the entire report on NBC12.com

Jones might be the perfect example of the divide amongst religious African Americans, who remain opposed to same sex marriage, but remain strong supporters of Obama’s historic presidency. He may lose some, like Rev. Snead, but there is no evidence of a mass exodus from the Obama camp.

In fact, there are many examples of Obama’s change of heart, convincing other prominent African-American groups to move with him. The NAACP took Obama’s newfound position a step further defining marriage as a “civil right”. Obama’s current position supports the states who decide to legalize marriage for gays and lesbians.

It seems that this particular segment of the population is following a similar trend indicated in the many polls taken after Obama’s announcement. He lost some support and gained some support, but for the most part is right where he was before, locked in a very tight race that will remain that way until November.

Written by Ryan Nobles

May 24, 2012 at 9:52 am

Tonight at 11: Anti-Obama preacher hits the streets of Richmond

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UPDATE:  See Sarah Bloom’s full story on NBC12.com

Sarah Bloom has the story tonight on NBC12 at 11.

This preacher, Rev. Shirley Snead,  vows to stand at the corner of 18th and Broad in Shockoe Bottom everyday until the election, telling people to not vote for President Barack Obama. She said the president lost her support after he came out in support of gay marriage.

Is she an outlier or an extreme represenation of a potential problem for the president when it comes to gay marriage and the African-American church?

We examine every angle tonight at 11 on NBC12.

Feel free to tell us what you think on the NBC12 Facebook page.

Written by Ryan Nobles

May 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Buying A Voice: Obama airs 2 minute attack ad

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It aired about a week ago during the NBC12 6pm newscast, a unique ad for a candidate for president. The Barack Obama re-election campaign purchased a two-minute block of time to air a mini-documentary attack Mitt Romney‘s business record.

As campaign ad’s go, this came at a pretty small cost. Obama for America spent only $83 thousand nationwide.

But the way it was presented, and the charges it levels, has led to headaches for both sides.

Here is the ad, in its entirety:

The two-minute ad only aired once on NBC12 and other stations in selectively picked cities. It attacks Romney’s old investment firm Bain Capital.

“Bain capital walked away with a lot of money that they made off of this plant,” says a former worker recruited by the Obama campaign to talk about their experience with the Bain takeover.

The video has been watched close to a half a million times on the internet, and according to Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter, airing it only once on t-v was enough to get the point across.

“It was a way for us to get some of the facts out there that he’s not going to tell you,” said Cutter.

But the day the ad debuted, a former Obama economic adviser argued on MSNBC that Bain and Romney played didn’t do anything wrong.

‘This is part of capitalism, this is part of life,” said Stephen Rattner. “I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about.'”

Then Sunday on Meet the Press, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Obama supporter, cautioned the campaign to tread lightly on attacking private equity.

“They’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this to me, I’m very uncomfortable with,” Booker said.  Booker later softened his comments, and Cutter argues that Mitt Romney is not running to be the country’s investment banker, and if he were it would be all about him.

“It wasn’t about job creation, it wasn’t about long-term economic growth,” Cuter said. “It was about wealth creation and he was pretty good at it.”

The question, is that record good for the average voter?


*Leave a comment below

*Send me an @ reply on twitter.

*Check out our discussion on this topic on my facebook page.


Written by Ryan Nobles

May 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Obama campaign attempts to drag Romney into Thorne-Begland controversy

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Stephanie Cutter is an important player in the Obama for America campaign infrastructure. As Deputy Campaign Manager, there is only one staff member higher on the organizational chart. As a regular surrogate for the campaign she regularly drives the discussion in frequent television and media appearances.

Cutter was on a local satellite tour Wednesday to talk about the campaign’s two-minute ad that attacks their opponent Mitt Romney‘s career at Bain Capital, a private equity firm. NBC12 was one of the stations where the ad aired, and we talked to Cutter about its impact on the election. Most of the interview as about the economy, but it was a general question about the shift back to the economy after a week talking about social issues where Cutter took the opportunity to wade into a very local issue. The failed nomination of Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland as District Judge.

Thorne- Begland is openly gay and made a very prominent stand against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during his time in the Military.  His activism prompted conservative members of the Virginia House of Delegates to prevent his nomination from going forward. Cutter knew all about the fight and was not afraid to attack the GOP lead Virginia House of Delegates.

“I think that when things like this happen in this country and specifically Virginia, it turns people off,” Cutter said.   “The man is overly qualified to be a judge and this is a real leadership moment for some people in Virginia.”

While the Thorne-Begland controversy has grown well outside Richmond to media reports in numerous national outlets, the battle is over a relatively low-level judgeship. One primarily responsible for traffic tickets and vandalism. Important, no doubt, but more Judge Harry Stone, than Judge Thurgood Marshall. The basis of the battle, the fight over gay rights was enough for Cutter to call out the republican candidate for president of the United States.

“I think that it is an opportunity for Mitt Romney to stand up and say what the legislature did is just plain wrong,” she said. “I don’t know if he will show that type of leadership, he hasn’t so far.  

The Romney campaign had no interest in wading into this hyper-local issue that could put them at odds with republicans in Virginia.

“This is yet another example of how President Obama and his campaign would rather talk about anything other than his failed economic record,” said Curt Cashour, a Romney campaign spokesman.

The Romney Team did not specifically address the Thorne-Begland nomination at all. They chose not to support or condemn the House of Delegates move. Instead they tried to put the focus back on the Obama economic record.

“Obama’s presidency just hasn’t lived up to the promise of his 2008 campaign, and after more than three years in office, Americans are still suffering through one of the worst job markets in history,” Cashour said.

Meanwhile the battle over what is normally an easy nomination appears over. Andy Jenks today ran down all 36 members of the House of Delegates who didn’t vote to see how they would’ve voted, and why they decided to leave town. There appears to be no momentum to re-nominate Thorne- Begland who has gone back to his job as a prosecutor in the Richmond Commonwealths Attorney’s Office.

But while the battle is over, it appears the remnants of the is fight will continue on well into November.

You can see extended clips from Cutter’s remarks below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

May 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Buying A Voice: American Energy Alliance

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Gas price politics are pretty common to presidential elections, and 2012 will be no different. Several of you have asked us to find out more about an ad that blames President Obama for the hike in gas prices and predicts gas could get up to nine dollars a gallon.

Here is the ad, which aired on NBC12.

The group behind the ad has shelled out more than $3 million dollars to put the commercial on TV across the country and they have their own agenda.

It was paid for by The “American Energy Alliance” (AEA).  They are the political activist arm of the “Institute for Energy Research” (IER).

The group boasts on their web site that their role is “encourage policymakers to support free market policies.”

Spokesman Benjamin Coles said that AEA is a wholly owned subsidiary of IER. Despite their connection their fund-raising and spending are completely separate.

Both groups are not required to publicly reveal their donors. Coles said they track their funding very closely and have received numerous audits of their financial controls. The group however does not provide who specifically contributes to their operation. A legal practice.

The people running the group have ties to leaders in the oil industry, and fiscally conservative organizations, including their president Tom Pyle.

Pyle is a former employee of the Koch brothers, Charles and David. The Kochs are major donors to libertarian and free market causes. Politico reported in March that the Kochs plan on steering $200 million into conservative causes during the 2012 elections.

Cole said flatly that the Koch’s have no connection whatsoever to the “Nine Dollar a Gallon” gas ad campaign.

Pyle started his political career as an aide to former republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay, who was eventually convicted of laundering money. While Delay is appealing his conviction, Pyle has never been accused of any type of wrong doing and has a spotless pubic service record.

But while numerous media outlets tie the Kochs and their allies to both the American Energy Alliance and the Institute for Energy Research, physical evidence of cash donations is hard to come by. Coles refutes many aspects of the Politico story, that relies largely on a 2008 IRS 1099 form, which is one of the few public records that ties the Kochs to AEA or IER.

Coles would not offer specific information about who donates to AEA. He said that the organization chooses to protect the identity of its donors, which is within their legal rights.

AEA does claim that more than 60% of their funding comes from individuals, not from corporations. However, the identity of those individuals remains secret.

All the detailed information about where we got our facts is below:


*The American Energy Alliance web site can be found here.

*The American Energy Alliance’s staff page, which includes a biography for Tom Pyle, can be found here.  

*The Institute for Energy Research’s web site can be found here.

*Politico’s report on the Koch brother’s connection to the American Energy Alliance can be found here.

Written by Ryan Nobles

May 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm

The question that could determine the 2012 election

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It is always the most important question for any president during a re-election bid, “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?” It worked for Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. George W. Bush won by convincing people they were safer than they were four years before. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were unable to convince the American people that their policies were successful. They were one term presidents.

Now Barack Obama is confronted with that question. Both democrats and republicans seem willing to gamble that the answer for each individual voter will help them win this fall.

It was a key point in yesterday’s kickoff rally in Richmond. Here is my report for NBC12:

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The battle for Virginia has officially begun. President Barack Obama kicked off his re-election campaign in Richmond. It is a state, and town, the president needs to win.

The rally atmosphere was electric, exactly the start that the Obama campaign wanted, but after all the crowds have left and all the music has stopped, each individual voter is going to have ask themselves the same question. And the answer may determine who they vote for in November.

That question came about mid-way through the president’s speech to a raucous VCU crowd.

“How well is the typical family doing?” asked Obama.

The typical family and their view of the world, could determine the election.

Four years ago then Senator Barack Obama made a pledge to turn things around. He now returns asking for a chance to keep the progress going.

“It is going to take sustained consistent effort, yours and mine,” he said. “For America to fully recover, for us to be where we need to be.”

But republicans, like Romney supporter Pete Snyder are happy to have people judge where they were 4 years ago, and determine if things are better.

“Gas prices are up over $2 since 2008, we are all feeling that pain and higher education costs are up 25%,’ he said. “That’s not hope and change. That’s doom and gloom.”

According to NBC news political director Chuck Todd, the place where both sides need to win that argument, more any other place in America, is right here in Richmond, Virginia.

“When you look at this area from the Richmond suburbs, City of Richmond, the larger media market in general, it is 50-50 as you can get,” he said.

read and see this story on NBC12.com

NBC12 coverage plans for Obama Richmond Rally

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President Barack Obama‘s visit to Richmond begins what will undoubtably be an active and busy campaign season in Central Virginia. In the past, presidential visits to Richmond would always lead to NBC12 breaking into programming to present the president’s address live. Those events were all official White House trips. As we prepare to cover his first official campaign visit we are adjusting our coverage plans just a bit.

Being that this is the president’s first official campaign swing and Richmond is one of only two spots where he will speak, we will provide live coverage of the speech on television and online at NBC12.com. However our coverage will not interrupt regularly scheduled NBC Sports programming of the NHL and Kentucky Derby. Instead we will cut in during breaks of the sports programming and offer the president’s speech live and un-interrupted on our local sister station Me-TV.

Me-TV is available in Richmond over the air on channel 12-2, Comcast channel 208 and on Verizon Fios 460. It will also stream live on NBC12.com.

We plan to assess coverage plans of all future campaign stops for all candidates on a case by case basis. With the clear focus both campaigns are putting on Virginia there is no doubt will be presented with may opportunities to present the content in a way that best serves our viewers.

The Obama campaign just released new information about Saturday’s event:


*Admission: The rally is open to the public, and tickets are not required for admission. Supporters are strongly encouraged to RSVP at http://ofa.bo/rallyva. Supporters who received red, blue, or yellow priority access tickets this week should follow directions on signs to find the appropriate entrance.

*Timing: Doors are currently scheduled to open at 1:45pm. Attendees should plan to arrive early, as space is limited.

*Security: All attendees will go through security checkpoints and are encouraged to bring as few personal items as possible. No sharp objects, weapons, umbrellas, large bags, liquids, bottles, large electronics, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Small purses, cameras, and cell phones are permitted.

*Parking: Guests are encouraged to carpool or take public transit. Limited parking is available for a $5 fee at the West Broad Parking Deck (1111 W. Broad St.) and the Bowe Street Parking Deck (609 Bowe St.). Please account for extra travel time due to road closures.

-Opening music will be performed by the Vassar Family Band, a local Richmond bluegrass band

-Invocation will be given by Mayor Dwight Jones

-Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Chesterfield Boy Scout Troop #2860

-The national anthem will be performed by Nelson County and Lynchburg trio Carmen Thomas, Cassie Carter, and L.J. Thomas

-Remarks by U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott (Va.-3)

-Remarks by Neighborhood Team Leaders Wanda Newell of Norfolk and Marvin Lindsay of Richmond

-Remarks by Vienna Neighborhood Team Leader Sue Langley and her neighborhood team

-Remarks by Former Governor Tim Kaine

-Remarks by VCU Student and Obama for America National Campaign Co-Chair Sai Iyer

-Performance by VCU drumline

There will also be an outdoor program for supporters as they wait in line, including a performance by the VSU drumline

Written by Ryan Nobles

May 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm