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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush

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

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Whitman likes Huntsman, believes Christie made the right choice

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She was the first governor from New Jersey named ‘Christie” and while Christie Todd Whitman many not carry the same swagger of the current Christie in office, she still has a great deal of respect in the national GOP establishment.

Whitman was in Richmond today for Governor Bob McDonnell‘s conference on energy issues. (Whitman now lobbies for the nuclear energy industry.) She is not ready to formally endorse anyone in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, but she made it clear that there is one candidate who has impressed her the most.

Jon Huntsman is someone of whom I have a great deal of respect for,” said Whitman. “He has a wide breathed of experience in the public sector, the private sector and international.”

Whitman stopped short of announcing her outright support of Huntsman, but didn’t mention any of the other current candidates during our conversation.

She also had quite a bit to say about her fellow New Jersian, Chris Christie who passed on the opportunity to run for president, despite heavy pressure from republicans across the country.  Whitman believes he made the right choice.

“He wants to run on a record of  clear accomplishment,” said Whitman. “He hasn’t been in long enough for some of the really dramatic changes that he was able to get and agreements that he has been able to negotiate to really come fully into fruition and know their full impact. He is right to wait.”

Whitman, who left Trenton to run the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush, knows better than anyone how difficult it is to stay political viable in the rough and tumble world of New Jersey politics. She is confident Christie can weather a difficult re-election bid and still be a viable candidate for president in 2016 and beyond.

“He is tough enough to survive any of that,” she said. ‘Especially then because he will have that record of accomplishment.”

Extended clips from my interview with Gov. Whitman can be seen below.

Billionaire pushes popular vote plan

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In 2000, more people voted for Al Gore than did George W. Bush. However Bush was elected president.

In 2004, Bush won Ohio by a razor-thin 66,000 votes enough to capture enough electoral college votes and defeat John Kerry. However, what looked like a close election was not close at all across the nation as Bush won by more than 3 million votes.

Tom Golisano is a businessman, sports owner and part-time politician. He is also an Independent. He thinks it is time for the electoral college to come to an end.

“It is the only election that works that way in the United States of America, it was formed and created that way in a much different era,” Golisano said. “There were very few states, no means of communication or computing.”

Golisano knows a thing or two about elections. He ran for Governor of New York as an independent three different times, using almost all his own money to mount serious, but unsuccessful elections.  He stepped down from the company he founded, Paychex in 2004 and sold his interest in the NHL Buffalo Sabres earlier this year.

Now, semi-retired, Golisano is pushing state legislatures across the country to pass a law that would force them to surrender their electoral votes to the candidate for president that receives the most popular votes. Golisano is half-way to his goal of getting states that equal 270 electoral votes to sign on. Enough to render the electoral college symbolic.

We will have a more in-depth look at his efforts to get rid of the electoral college in the coming weeks.

But that wasn’t the only news Golisano broke while he was on with us.  Sports fans in Western New York (full disclosure, my hometown) are worried about the future of the NFL Buffalo Bills.  Golisano is credited with saving the Sabres franchise and now many are wondering if he plans to do the same for the Bills, when current owner Ralph Wilson passes away. (Wilson is in his 90’s and hasn’t given a clear indication for the future of the team).

Here is what Golisano told me:

I’m concerned about the Buffalo Bills, ever leaving the community of Buffalo, I think it would be a terrible shame. I have made the commitment that if that likelihood appears to be happening, I will try and get involved and see what I can do to prevent it.” – B. Thomas Golisano on NBC12 First at 4, 7/19/2011

You can see the full interview with Golisano below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Allen calls attacks from potential GOP opponents “laughable”

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George Allen isn’t officially a candidate yet. However the man who has served at just about every level of Virginia politics is already being attacked like a front-runner. The problem is, that those attacks aren’t coming from Democrats, they are coming from his own party.

Allen was a rising conservative star in 2006 when he was upset by current Senator Jim Webb. Allen was floated as a candidate for President and was on top of the world, before Webb took advantage of a series of campaign gaffes and increasing angst of  Republicans and George W. Bush to knock him from his perch.

Since his surprising loss, Allen has been rebuilding his political image. He has been courting grass-roots Republicans, raising money and speaking about political issues. You would think that a man who proudly proclaimed his conservatism, even in environments where it wasn’t popular, would be the perfect fit for a resurgent GOP.

Unfortunately for Allen, many of those people who were his biggest supporters 4 years ago, would now like a crack at the GOP nomination in 2012 themselves.  Among them Corey Stewart, the Chair of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. Stewart is not very known outside his constituency and the activists upset about illegal immigration.

Stewart has championed controversial laws in Prince William to reign in illegal aliens to the praise of Tea Party supporters. Stewart’s influence has risen enough where he feels bullish enough to consider a challenge to Allen in 2012 for the GOP nomination. He already has a political action committee and has already started attacking Allen, calling him a “mediocre” Senator.

Stewart isn’t alone. Conservative Delegate Bob Marshall feels Allen is vulnerable enough that he is considering a challenge and Richmond Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke is also mulling getting into the race.  Radtke even stepped down from her influential position as the Chair of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot group.

There are several other potential candidates as well.

All of these threats to his return to the top of the political mountain could not shake the smile of George Allen’s face.  Tuesday night, before speaking to a group of about 40 people in Richmond’s Southside, Allen told me that the idea that he isn’t conservative enough is “laughable”.

Allen pointed out how he is often sought out as a fundraiser for some of the very same people who attack him. However, he refused to counter their criticism with attacks of his own.

“I know all these other folks and I’m not going to speak ill of them,” Allen told me. ” I don’t understand why they are lashing out but that’s the way they are. I think what most people want to see for our country are leaders who have ideas that motivate and inspire people.”

Obviously Allen feels he is still the man to offer that inspiration.

An extend the clip from Allen’s comments on GOP attacks can be found below:

Jenna Bush Hager headlines Richmond charity event

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Former President George W. Bush‘s daughter Jenna Bush Hager was in Richmond on Friday to headline a local charity event. Ms. Hager is married to former Virginia Lt. Governor John Hager‘s son, Henry. She and told our Matt Butner that she and her husband like to get back to Central Virginia often.

Lt. Gov. Hager is of course, the former Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. He lost re-election to his post back in 2008 to Jeff Frederick, who was later pushed out of the position.

Matt filed this report for Decision Virginia and included his entire interview with the daughter of the former President:

Bush Hager in RVA

By: Matt Butner

Former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager was in Richmond Friday.  She was the guest speaker at an event benefitting the Hospital Hospitality House, which serves a  home away from home for VCU Medical Center patients and their families.  I caught her for a brief interview.  We talked about her visit, her ties to Richmond (she is of course married to Richmonder Henry Hager) and her life away from the White House.  Mrs. Hager was warm and friendly the crowd, which included transplant patients and their families, as well as Richmond women in fancy hats.  She showed genuine interest in the former group while mixing easily with the latter crowd.  All in all, a lovely visit.

See my entire interview with Mrs. Bush Hager below:

Btw… You can follow Matt Butner on Twitter. I promise you will enjoy his witty take on life and work.

Written by Ryan Nobles

April 16, 2010 at 6:55 pm