Andrew Romano

Stories by Andrew Romano

  • Badger State Sneak Peek

    Over at the Politico, Mike Allen reports on the early buzz among party insiders: Democratic...
  • Cuba Libre? Not So Fast, Say the Candidates

    By Catharine Skipp As news of the sudden resignation of Cuba’s President Fidel Castro rippled through Miami’s Little Havana overnight, it was not the ringing celebration of Cuba Libre in the streets that many had expected. So too from the presidential campaigns who were quick to point out that one Castro is no better than another as proven by the reign, to date, of Fidel’s brother, Raul, as acting head of state since July 2006. There has been little change to point to as the power shifted from one to the other. None of the presidential hopefuls felt that the resignation signaled any monumental shift in political direction for the island nation. The statements issued by each campaign and echoed in calls from senior policy advisors all similarly called for the release of political prisoners and reiterated that this ‘change’ is no change. Randy Scheunemann, Sen. John McCain’s director of Foreign Policy and National Security said that the Cuban people have no more freedom or liberty...
  • What Vets Think of McCain

    Over at Soldier's Home, David Botti, NEWSWEEK's military blogger, weighs in on what veterans think about John McCain's candidacy:As the only combat veteran among the remaining presidential candidates, John McCain has a unique relationship to the current generation of vets cycling home from the fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan. What do veterans think of McCain? Are they inclined to hold him in higher respect, or follow his candidacy with a more critical eye? Can he count on their vote, or does he need to work twice as hard to assure them his plan for Iraq is the right one?  Read the Full Post Here 
  • Reality Check: Will Clinton Win Texas?

    The third in a series of four posts in which Stumper reality-checks the Democratic contest. Stay tuned for Ohio later today.UPDATE, 12.19.08: The polls are getting closer. Survey USA has Clinton leading by five percent--and CNN pegs the gap at two. Hold on, buckeroos. This is going to be a wild ride....
  • The (Presidents' Day) Filter: 2.18.08

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.THE NEWSWEEK ROSTER:THE END OF CONSERVATISM (Fareed Zakaria)Conservative slogans sound anachronistic in the context of today's problems, like an old TV show from the 1970s.BARACK'S ROCK (Richard Wolffe)She's the one who keeps him real, the one who makes sure running for...
  • Reality Check: Wisconsin

     The second of four posts in which Stumper reality-checks the Democratic contest. Stay tuned for Texas and Ohio over the weekend.UPDATE, 11.19.08: Up until late last week, Hillary Clinton looked like she was ducking Wisconsin in favor of later contests in Texas and Ohio. Whether she was simply lowering expectations or actually planning to leapfrog the Badger State, who knows. But she's clearly contesting it now. In addition to Friday's sharply negative ad (above), Clinton has spent every day since Saturday stumping in the state. And she's added a new attack to her arsenal, accusing Obama of plagiarizing speeches by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. The charge is sort of ridiculous: as Obama's national co-chair, not to mention his friend (and a former client of guru David Axelrod), Patrick has said that he and Obama regularly discuss language--and even that he instructed Obama's speechwriters to appropriate the phrases in question. Regardless, Clinton has...
  • Al Gore to the Rescue?

    Stumper's Take: He foresaw global warming. He "took the initiative" on the Internet. And he knew exactly how Iraq would turn out. Who's to say that Al Gore hasn't known all along that the Democratic race would descend into some weird state of gridlock--and that only he, the Goracle, could rescue the party from civil war? Read on for the what if's...By Eleanor CliftAl Gore on the second ballot: A ...
  • Reality Check: The Hart-Mondale Analogy

    The first of four posts in which Stumper reality-checks the Democratic contest. Stay tuned for Wisconsin later today and Texas and Ohio over the weekend. The ComparisonSince the start of the 2008 campaign--it feels like eons ago, doesn't it?--pundits have compared the Clinton-Obama contest to an earlier Democratic nomination battle: 1984's match up between Walter Mondale and Gary Hart. The similarities were initially superficial. Clinton, like Mondale, entered the race as the well-oiled, well-funded choice of the party establishment, while the younger, looser Obama echoed Hart's call for a new generation of leadership. But now that neither candidate looks likely to win the 2,025 pledged delegates needed to clinch the nod before the last primary in June, the climax of the 2008 campaign may also mirror 1984--with the power players known as superdelegates deciding the outcome.Why It WorksIn both cases, an inspiring, Kennedy-esque upstart shocks the political...
  • Romney and McCain: New BFFs?

    Not exactly. Here's NEWSWEEK's with the inside story of Romney's decision to endorse the presumptive Republican nominee.They often looked ready to trade blows in the debates. Just a few weeks ago, Mitt Romney called John McCain a liar for allegedly distorting Romney's position on the Iraq War. For his part, McCain seemed to revel in leading the other Republican candidates in ganging up on Romney, whom he didn't even try to pretend to like.But all that is ancient history now. After watching Mike Huckabee continue to rack up delegates and signal he has no intention of exiting the race--as he did after the Virginia primary Tuesday night--Romney decided to formally endorse the Arizona senator Thursday. According to a source close to Romney, who asked not to be identified discussing internal campaign strategy, the former Massachusetts governor was spurred to action by Huckabee's "decision to linger against impossible odds, delaying the launch of a...
  • Sleepless in Chicago

    She's running strong among workers in Ohio and Latinos in Texas, but Hillary Clinton may have just lost a crucial swath of the Democratic electorate to Barack Obama:The "hopeless romantic" vote. Fans of chick flicks that involve Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks and/or Nora Ephron and tell the story of two people coming together despite overwhelming odds--count me in--may be disappointed to hear that Bill and Hill will not be spending this most amorous of holidays within 400 miles of each other. While the former president stumps across Wisconsin--Milwaukee to Waukesha to Madison to La Crosse--his wife is wooing voters three states away in Ohio. I never bought the whole "marriage of political convenience" cliché, but with Clinton coming off eight straight losses, lagging in the latest Badger State polls and banking on Ohio as one of her March 4 bulwarks, political inconvenience is more than enough to keep her from cuddling up in Chappaqua with chocolates, Courvoisier and a...
  • Is McCain Crossing His Fingers for Clinton?

    Yesterday, I pointed out that John McCain's attacks on Obama for lacking specifics mirrored Hillary Clinton's--and speculated on how this echo effect could influence superdelegates to decide the Democratic race sooner rather than later. But I didn't weigh in on why McCain, who's no detail man himself, had chosen this particular swipe at this particular time (or why his economic adviser attacked Obama for allegedly plagiarizing Clinton's stimulus plan later in the day). Luckily, the very smart Jonathan Chait at the New Republic has done the heavy lifting for me. His take:Chait's analysis strikes me as not only possible, but probable. So while we're on the subject of Rovian bank-shot politics, I will respectfully note that Obama leads Mike Huckabee by 16.6 percent in the latest head-to-head polls--a full 13 points more than his margin over McCain. Perhaps the time has come, Senator, to start criticizing McCain for opposing a "right-to-life...
  • Happy Valentine's Day, McCain and Bush. Now Get a Room.

    The Democratic race may be cruelly, cripplingly cloudy right now, but this much is clear: whoever wins, Clinton or Obama, will labor mightily in the general election to fuse John McCain and George W. Bush into a hellish two-headed Orthrus in the minds of the American people. Obama, in fact, is already off and running, devoting much of Tuesday's "Potomac Primary" victory speech to contrasting himself with "Bush-McCain Republicans" (subtle, no?)  "George Bush won't be on the ballot this November, but his war and his tax cuts for the wealthy will," he said. "When I am the nominee, I will offer a clear choice." The hope, of course, is that the 66 percent of the populace that disapproves of Bush will see McCain in the same light--and that McCain will be forced to distance himself from Dubya without offending the GOP base, which still likes the guy. Not an easy dance to do--especially while still clinging to the last shreds of your...
  • The (Valentine's Day) Filter: 2.14.08

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.OBAMA'S LEAD IN DELEGATES SHIFTS FOCUS OF CAMPAIGN(Adam Nagourney, New York Times) Neither candidate is expected to win the 2,025 pledged delegates needed...
  • Forget Scarlett Johansson. "Hillary4U&Me" Is Dynomite!

    Sometimes something goes viral in a good way--like, say, the pro-Obama video "Yes We Can," which has racked up 3.7 million views in the last week. And other times, something goes viral... like hepatitis B.World, meet "Hillary4U&Me." Upon first seeing the pro-Clinton clip--to call it a "music video" would suggest that the years 1982-2008 never happened--I wondered whether it was part of a sadistic plot on the part of the Obama campaign to convince the few remaining sentient beings who believe Clinton is "cool" that she is, in fact, not. But alas--this is user-generated content. The ceaseless, maniacally delighted dancing; the grinning Asian flautist; the lyric "The world is getting hot / But our global warming plan is not;" and the song itself, which sounds sort of like a commercial jingle for a used futon store circa 1979, only less catchy--all of it is the brainchild of a real live Hillary supporter named Gene Wang, a 50-year...
  • Double Trouble

    For Democrats, the problem with extending a bitter nomination contest any longer than necessary: every attack that Barack Obama launches on Hillary Clinton--or vice versa--is immediately legitimized so that it can be turned against her (or him) in the general election. And with no primary opponents to battle, John McCain is free to adopt and deploy those newly-legitimate barbs at his leisure. I'm not playing partisan politics, the logic goes. His or her fellow Democrats are making the exact same points.Want to see how this works? McCain's already off and running. During last night's victory speech, the presumptive Republican nominee fired his first shots at Obama--and they sounded suspiciously familiar. "To encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and...
  • Why the Dems May Decide by the Ides of March

    Rise and shine, happy campers. It's June 8, 2008. Last night, Democratic primary voters awarded some of Puerto Rico's 55 delegates to Barack Obama; the rest went to Hillary Clinton. After six unbroken months of intraparty squabbling, the primaries and caucuses are finally over. But there's still no nominee. Obama leads in the delegate count--his unbroken string of 10 sweeping victories last February opened a 170-pledged-delegate gap that, thanks to proportional allocation and tight finishes in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Clinton hasn't been able to close. Neither contender, however, has yet hit the magic number: 2, 025. Which means that it's up to the superdelegates--hundreds of whom are still uncommitted--to put one of them over the top. Welcome to "The Intermission." With 80 days until the end of the convention in Denver and no voters left to win over, Clinton and Obama will struggle to navigate a weird, unprecedented lull in the action as long...
  • Hard Times for Huck's Bunch

    By Matthew Philips Nothing is easy on the Huckabee campaign these days. As if the inevitability of the McCain nomination wasn’t enough for the traveling press corps to sometimes feel a little forgotten, the road (and skies) traveled haven’t exactly been smooth. First, the press plane made an emergency landing last week in New Jersey after the controls went dead, forcing the two pilots to muscle the small craft safely down through thousands of feet of turbulence. Then on Sunday, with high winds causing delays to many commercial flights across Virginia, the campaign endured two harrowing plane rides (DC to Lynchburg; Lynchburg to Richmond) with enough bumps and drops and wind-blown landings to raise a round of applause upon touchdown. Finally, on the way to the Dulles Airport to catch a plane to Little Rock this morning, the press van ran out of gas and had to pull over to the side of the Dulles Toll Road. We all looked at each other, still bleary and starting to laugh. As the driver...
  • For Clinton, Potomac Primary Is About Spin, Not a Win

    By Arian Campo-Flores The news cycle in the past week has not been kind to Hillary Clinton. There were the crushing defeats in the contests over the weekend, the signs of tumult at headquarters as her campaign manager was replaced. Unfortunately for her, today isn’t shaping up to be much rosier. Clinton’s campaign is expecting another string of defeats in today’s Potomac Primary, as voters head to the polls in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. “We’ve got this run where it’s not going to be good for us,” says one campaign adviser who declined to be named discussing internal matters. Among the pre-eminent challenges the campaign is facing right now, the adviser says: “the national media chatter” about Clinton’s waning fortunes, and “nervous supporters.” As a result, the candidate has been phoning backers and superdelegates to reassure them that her campaign is righting itself. “She’s trying to keep their eye on the ball, which is the long march to delegates,” says the...
  • The Filter: 2.12.08

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.WHEN REALITY BITES(David Brooks, New York Times)There’s a big difference between the Republican and Democratic...
  • Ad Hawk: Hillary Shreds!

    Hey, guess what, kids? Hillary Clinton wants your vote. So what if Obama dominates among voters aged 18 to 29, speaks in the Millennial generation's native tongue and boasts a YouTube hit created by actual young supporters instead of high-paid media consultants. Hillary recently released her own "hip" ad (above), and it's full of things that really capture the spirit of being young and fun in America today: asymmetrical hair cuts, stubble, hoodies, striped polo shirts and white Futura lettering on a blue background. Plus, in chronicling Clinton's brief but meteoric career as a shredding rock guitarist, "Hillary and the Band" even manages to pay homage to VH1's "Behind the Music"! And as every youngster knows, that's the coolest show ever--even it hasn't aired regularly since, like, 2006.Gnarly. 
  • McCain: 'Like Hope. But Different.'

    Okay, so I have to admit: I wasn't a fan of "Yes, We Can"--you know, the pro-Obama video by Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas and Bob Dylan's son (no, not the "One Headlight" guy) that featured celebrities--and Tatyana Ali--staring earnestly into the camera and swaying in black and white as they crooned the "uplifting" words of an Obama speech over the pregnant strum of a single acoustic guitar. It felt like an indulgent, condescending Gap ad, and made me embarrassed to be under 30. But apparently my peers disagreed, and the clip quickly became a viral hit on YouView, or whatever you call it.Thankfully, the good folks at "Election08"--a comedy group featuring veterans of MTV, ABC, NBC, The Daily Show, Second City...