Andrew Romano

Stories by Andrew Romano

  • The Filter: Oct. 21, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.SURVEY SAYS...(Michael Crowley, New Republic)Leve and his ilk are proliferating because an unprecedented demand...
  • Memo to John Kerry: Don't Quit Your Day Job

    When Republicans say that Barack Obama is "palling around with terrorists," they've clearly crossed the line. But what about when a Democrat implies that John McCain is an incontinent old codger?...
  • The Argument: Are We, at Heart, a Center-Right Country--or Are We Heading Left Again?

    In this week's dead-tree NEWSWEEK, editor Jon Meacham and columnist Jonathan Alter butt heads over the ideological direction of America. It's a fascinating debate. With Barack Obama on the brink of a potential victory and Democrats set to make serious gains in Congress, Meacham argues that America is, at heart, still a center-right country--and that an Obama presidency would be defined by how the Democrat deals with that reality. Alter, on the other hand, says that we're moving left, and that the challenge facing Obama is figuring out how to use the powers of government to act on behalf of the people--a liberal idea. I've excerpted both pieces below; the comments, as always, are all yours. ...
  • The Filter: Oct. 20, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.THE POWELL ENDORSEMENT: HURTS MCCAIN, HELPS OBAMA(Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic) ...
  • FINEMAN: Will Powell Endorse Obama?

    UPDATE: It's a yes. Here's Powell speaking to reporters after his appearance this morning on "Meet the Press," where the former Secretary of State and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a Republican, declared his support for Barack Obama and chided John McCain for the negative tone of his campaign:[youtube:9LbLxja4UHY] Original item follows: My fellow NEWSWEEK blogger Howard Fineman says... well, maybe:Is Gen. Colin Powell getting ready to...
  • Expertinent: Making Sense of McCain's 'Divided Government' Argument

    Expertinent is a regular Stumper column featuring interviews with experts on the news of the day.  There are 19 days until Nov. 4. Barack Obama is leading by nearly 200 votes in estimates of the Electoral College. Experts expect the Democrats to pick up 20-25 seats in the House and six to eight seats in the Senate. If you're John McCain's top strategists--the people tasked with putting the Arizona Senator in the White House--what do you do? Increasingly, it seems that the answer is a) stop pretending the GOP can reclaim Congress and b) start arguing that McCain is the only thing standing between the American people and unrestrained Democratic rule. Call it the "Divided Government Rationale." On Sunday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis raised the specter of an all-Democratic D.C. on FOX News. "Do we really believe that the American public is going to feel safe by...
  • A NEWSWEEK Trifecta

    I hereby request that you divert your attention from Stumper--difficult, I know--and check out three excellent articles that have cropped up on NEWSWEEK.com in the past 24 hours. First up is my fellow blogger Howard Fineman's insightful new post over at Race to the Finish. Called "The Real Debate," it explains why "this presidential contest is down to a clash of two 'effects:' the Bradley Effect and the Facebook Effect." Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite:Yes, there are white voters, especially...
  • The Filter: Oct. 17, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.POLLS CAUSE CAMPAIGNS TO CHANGE THEIR ITINERARIES(Adam Nagourney and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times)Confronting an increasingly bleak electoral map, top aides to Senator John McCain...
  • Why 'Joe the Plumber' Matters

    Wurzelbacher fields questions from the press outside his Holland, Ohio, home (Madalyn Ruggiero / AP Photo) As you've probably ascertained by now, the real star of last night's debate wasn't Barack Obama, or John McCain, or Bob Schieffer. And it certainly wasn't the financial crisis, or Mess 'o' Potamia, or Bill Ayers, or ACORN. Instead, it was some guy named Joe Wurzelbacher--a.k.a. "Joe the Plumber"--who confronted Obama on Sunday in Holland, Ohio, about his tax plan. At McCain's prodding, the candidates wound up mentioning Wurzelbacher 26 times at Hofstra. For comparison, the economy came up 16 times. The war in Iraq? Six. Thanks to the MSM's raging "real person" fetish, Wurzelbacher's 15 minutes of fame have extended well into today. Intrepid journalistic investigators have discovered, for example, that Wurzelbacher, 34, voted in the Republican primary, doesn't have a plumbing license, still owes $1,200 in unpaid income taxes and is actually named Samuel. Financial crisis! Wha...
  • The 'Evil' Eye

    Pop quiz, hotshot: Whose peepers are peeking out at us over the words "America Must Look Evil in the Eye" on this new mailer from the Republican Party of Virginia? Not sure? Either am I. And that's probably the point.  The mailer hits "Democrats who want to control Washington"--translation: Barack Obama--for wanting to appease terrorists and rogue leaders, so it's natural that some readers would conclude that it's Barack Obama in the picture. Then again, the pamphlet also boasts glamor shots of Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Hugo Chavez, so others might assume it's Osama bin Laden. Either way, when TPM's Greg Sargent asked Virginia GOP spokesperson Gerry Scimeca whether the photo was bin Laden or Obama, "he couldn't immediately say." Based on side-by-side images of the two figures, both guesses seem reasonable.  That ambiguity is sneaky--to put it mildly. Virginia Republicans could've chosen to use a full facial photograph on this page of the mailer--just as they di...
  • Caption Contest!

    Given all the talk about acorns, plumbers and washed-up terrorists,...
  • The Filter: Oct. 16, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must read stories.EDGY MCCAIN SHEDS NO NEW LIGHT(John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei, Politico)John McCain’s challenge at the final debate was to present his case for the presidency in a new light. But over 90 minutes of intense exchanges with Barack Obama—sometimes...
  • Elizabeth Edwards! Todd Harris! Liveblogging!

    The title says it all. In a NEWSWEEK exclusive, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former presidential contender John Edwards, and Todd Harris, a former McCain adviser, liveblog the Oct. 15 debate here.  For my preview, click here.   I'll be back later with some post-show analysis. In the meantime, the comments are all yours.  
  • Taxi Talk

    One of my favorite parts of hitting the campaign trail is chatting with cabdrivers, who always seem especially eager to discuss politics. (Listening to talk radio all day will do that to you.) Take my cabbie this evening out on Long Island. A black man in his mid-40's who arrived in the U.S. from Jamaica in 1990, Steve was something of an enigma. As we motored from the Garden City station to the local Marriott, Steve immediately asked whether I was attending the debate. I told him I was a reporter for Newsweek. "Is that in the city?" he said, drawing a blank; I explained that it was "like Time." "Oh," he said. "You know, I've been following the politics, what's going on. It's my hobby." As if to prove his point, Steve flipped from FM (Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'") to AM, where he settled on Michael Savage's "Savage Nation." (A Journey fan, I was deeply saddened by the change.) "I listen to this guy, Savage, all the time," he said. "He gives me both sides of an issue."...
  • Cracking the ACORN Case

    Acorn + Mickey Mouse = The Most Adorable Political "Scandal" in Recent Memory. It may also be one of the most pointless. In recent days, conservative activists and right-leaning media outlets like FOX News and Matt Drudge--who led his influential site with the Mickey Mouse story yesterday afternoon--have tried to raise a ruckus over the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a liberal nonprofit/lobbying group--it typically fights on behalf of poor people for free school lunches and government housing--that also spearheaded one of this cycle's largest (and most controversial) voter registration drives. Unless I'm mistaken, the conspiracy theory goes something like this: Obama "has ties" to Acorn; Acorn is trying to steal the election; therefore, by the transitive property, Obama is also trying to steal the election. To see why this makes no sense, it'll be helpful to break the equation down into three bite-sized pieces. I. Obama Has Ties to ACORN: This is true. As th...
  • Obama: What, Me Worry?

    Three signs of confidence from the Obama camp: I. Ad Wars: While outspending McCain three-to-one on television advertisements between Oct. 7 and Oct. 13, Obama dramatically increased his disbursements in a wide swath of red states as well--"evidence," as the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes, "that he is almost...
  • The Filter: Oct. 15, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.OBAMA, MCCAIN SEEK LEADER'S IMAGE IN FINAL DEBATE...
  • Signs o' the Times

    Via Flickr, one for Barack Obama... ... and via Jmart, the two sides of John McCain--or at least his crowds: The second sign reads "You Had Me At Hero." The first... well, that one speaks for itself. 
  • Don't Call It a 'Comeback'

    Breaking news! John McCain is about to make a comeback. Unless, of course, he isn't....
  • Ad Hawk: Getting Out the 'Rufus Humphrey Vote'

    As an unabashed fan of "Gossip Girl"--it's no "The O.C.," but then again, what is?--I feel strangely compelled to post the latest ad from liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org. Called "Talk to Your Parents," it features Dan Humphrey and Serena Van Der Woodsen--also known, I'm told, as Penn Badgely and Blake Lively--encouraging kids to steer the 'rents toward Barack Obama. Judging by the small-scale buy--national airtime during "Gossip Girl" followed by screenings on MTV and Comedy Central in North Carolina and Nevada--the point is to get Blair-aholic political bloggers like yours truly to post the spot online. I hate playing to type, but...[youtube:RxvHkFLmqRk] Truth be told, I'm digging the satirical anti-drug PSA vibe of the spot. "Mom, Dad, I found this in your room," says "Lonely Boy" as he holds up a "Drill Baby Drill" trucker cap. "And if you're ever out somewhere and you're considering voting for...
  • Are You Ready for Some Theme Song?

    [youtube:MNj2Frskab8](Video via Jmart) Judging by the polls, Sarah Palin may not propel John McCain to the presidency. But at least she'll make the path to Election Day a little more melodious. At Palin's rally yesterday in Richmond, Va., the loudest applause was reserved not for the Mooseburger Queen of Wasilla but for her special guest, Hank Williams, Jr., who performed a new, pro-McCain rendition of his late-1970s hit "Family Tradition." "The left-wing liberal media...
  • The Filter: Oct. 14, 2008

    MCCAIN IS LOOKING FOR ANOTHER COMEBACK(Mark Z. Barabak and Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times)John...
  • What McCain Should Do, Vol II: The 'Bulworth' Moment

    [youtube:cWhHZwKCiIs]In the first installment of our new "What McCain Should Do" series--which seeks to bring you the smartest and savviest in unsolicited advice for the struggling Republican nominee--we highlighted Ross Douthat's plan for a "Bailout...
  • Is Pennsylvania a Done Deal? Fineman Says Yes.

     In his latest "Race to the Finish" post, my fellow NEWSWEEK political blogger Howard Fineman writes that while all the major presidential players spent their weekends in Pennsylvania, only the Democrats have a shot at winning. His explanation? That Obama "speaks to" to a new "more tolerant, less culturally judgmental" Pennsylvania--a place that isn't any more economically depressed than Massachusetts. It's an important reminder that political commentators all too often rely on outmoded, reductive cliches--in this case, the "Deerhunter" stereotype--when analyzing the electorate. After all, there's a reason why Obama is winning the Keystone State by an average polling margin (13.8 percent) larger than McCain's current leads in Georgia, Montana, Texas and Mississippi--even though neighboring Ohio is still close. Howard hits the proverbial nail on the head:The easy explanation for why Obama is...