Andrew Romano

Stories by Andrew Romano

  • A Less Manic Monday

    Hey everyone, In honor of my Italian heritage--it is Columbus Day, after all--and (more to the point) the coughy, fevery affliction that's reduced my mental functions to a bare minimum (and confined me to bed), I'm going to take it a little slow today. Instead of article-length analyses, I'll be posting a few quicker hits (including excerpts of some of the terrific stories in this week's dead-tree NEWSWEEK). Normal Stumpering will resume tomorrow. Thanks so much for reading,Andrew 
  • Red, White and Boo

    [youtube:Kf6YKOkfFsE] The candidates call for civility--McCain a bit belatedly--and their crowds react by booing. Via Politico:...
  • Reality Check

    Writing in response to my post earlier today about William Ayers, reader J.S. claims that the media is applying different standards to Obama and...
  • McCain's Role in the Bailout Bill: A Drama in Four Acts

    [youtube:aDWSFKnBIHg] I. John McCain, Sept. 25: "It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration's proposal to meet the crisis. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time. ...
  • Will Race Matter?

    Could Obama's race actually help him on Election Day? A working assumption among political junkies is that no one can predict what will happen when the country closes the voting-booth curtains on Nov. 4 and is finally forced to decide, for the first time in U.S. history, whether it's ready to support an African-American for president. That's why we're inclined to distrust predictions about the outcome of this particular election. So what if polls now show Obama ahead of McCain 353-185 on the electoral map? the thinking goes. People who've told pollsters they'll support a black candidate could back out, or a bunch of crazy unpolled racists could show up, or whatever. The idea the pre-election surveys tend to exaggerate a black candidate's level of support is commonly known as the Bradley effect; it's named after Tom Bradley, who lost the California governorship in 1982 despite polls that had showed him in the lead. But while I don't doubt that "a small percentage of respondents woul...
  • The Filter: Oct. 9, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories. INVISIBLE MAN(David Samuels, New Republic)My own belief is that Barack Obama has the makings of an unusual and...
  • The Likeability Factor

    The chattering classes may have declared last night's Nashville debate a draw,...
  • Factcheck.org: Nonsense in Nashville

    (Jim Bourg / AP)According to the nonpartisan researchers at Factcheck.org (a NEWSWEEK partner), Obama and McCain delivered a few "misleading statements and mangled facts" last night in Nashville, with McCain coming out on top in terms of untruths. Here's the skinny: McCain proposed to write down the amount owed by over-mortgaged homeowners and claimed the idea as his own: "It's my proposal, it's not Sen. Obama's proposal, it's not President Bush's proposal." But the idea isn't new. Obama had endorsed something similar two weeks earlier, and authority for the treasury secretary to grant such relief was included in the recently passed $700 billion financial rescue package. Both candidates oversimplified the causes of the financial crisis. McCain blamed it on Democrats who resisted tighter regulation of federal mortgage agencies. Obama blamed it on financial deregulation backed by Republicans. We find both are right, with plenty of blame left over for others, from home buye...
  • The Filter: Oct. 8, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.THE HARDEST VOTE(George Packer, New Yorker)When will the class war ever finally drown out the culture war, if not...
  • The Belmont Stakes

    [youtube:buyVS9fRqkw] With only an hour to go, the question on the tip of every pundit's tongue is how John McCain can "win" tonight's town-hall debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. A few things are clear enough. If "winning" means positioning oneself for victory on Election Day, McCain has a much harder night ahead of him than Barack Obama. Judging by the polls, Obama would win an election held today in a landslide--which means that he can afford to coast, to not make any mistakes. McCain, meanwhile, has to change the dynamic in order to catapult himself back into contention. And tonight's debate--an unfiltered encounter with 60-70 million potential voters--is one of his last opportunities to do it.Given this rather inconvenient truth--and the nasty tenor of the past few days--many observers have assumed that McCain will come out swinging. "There should be drama aplenty, writes the New Republic's Noam Scheiber. "If anything, too much." But I suspect that...
  • Time Capsule: The Power of the Press

    Perusing my copy of E.B. White's The Points of My Compass this morning on the subway--it's a terrific collection of the author's New Yorker "letters"; highly recommended--I stumbled on a passage that resonated nicely with the nation's attitude toward what it now calls the "mainstream media," especially in light of the report by Dana Milbank on Sarah Palin's recent rally in Clearwater, Fla. in today's Washington Post. According to Milbank, "in Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the ...
  • The Filter: Oct. 7, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.CAMPAIGNS SHIFT TO ATTACK MODE ON EVE OF DEBATE(Adam Nagourney, New York Times)Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama...
  • Is Obama Actually Like Lincoln?

    Over at his new, must-read "Race to the Finish" blog--bookmark it if you haven't already--my NEWSWEEK colleague Howard Fineman has an excellent post up comparing Obama to Lincoln. The Illinois senator has long encouraged such comparisons; as early as 2006, for example, he likened his "reflective" temperament to Lincoln's in an interview with Jacob Weisberg. Superficially, it's easy to see the similarities: like Lincoln, Obama is a tall, lean, relatively inexperienced Illinois lawmaker who writes well, delivers uplifting speeches and represents racial progress. But Howard's item asks an important question: is the life that Obama has led--and the capacity to cope with crisis that he's developed as a result of it--actually like Lincoln's? His answer is no:In the life Lincoln led before his victory in 1860, he was tested as perhaps no leader in America had ever been--by financial struggle, personal loss, public humiliation and political defeat. He had risen above all of that--from the...
  • The Filter: Oct. 6, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.ECONOMIC UNRESTS SHIFTS ELECTORAL BATTLEGROUNDS(Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times)The turmoil on Wall Street and the weakening economy are changing the...
  • Contemplating 'The Apocalypse': 269-269

    Earlier today, I reported that John McCain's campaign is withdrawing from Michigan--and planning to send staffers and resources to Maine as a result. The reason: the Pine Tree State awards two of its four electoral votes by congressional district--meaning that if Barack Obama adds Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado to John Kerry's 2004 states (which is likely), but loses New Hampshire (which is possible), a McCain victory in Maine's rugged, northern Second Congressional District could break a 269-269 Electoral College tie and propel the Arizona senator to the presidency. Now comes word that Team Obama has opened another field office in Nebraska--the only other state to divvy up its electors by district. If Obama wins Nebraska's Second (which includes Omaha, the site of his new office) and McCain wins Maine's Second, then the two regions will cancel each other out--and we'll be right back where we started. From now on, Stumper will officially refer to this scenario--a 269-269 stalemate--...
  • Joe Lieberman: Man of the People

    Spotted on American Airlines Flight 840 from St. Louis to New York-LaGuardia: Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman. Fresh from representing close friend and favored presidential candidate John McCain last night at Washington University's "Spin Row"--he told reporters that Sarah Palin "did great"--the independent legislator was seated (gasp!) in the middle of the coach cabin. (Fox News's Alan Colmes, on the other hand, was in business class. The indignity.) Here's the best shot my BlackBerry could muster (Lieberman's the fuzzy figure stowing his luggage in the overhead compartment):     "It's weird to see him sitting in coach," one flight attendant said to another. "Why?" the second attendant replied. "It's not like he's Madonna or something."   Indeed. That said, flight attendants don't usually praise Madonna for her "bipartisanship." So there's always that.  
  • Why McCain is Leaving Michigan--and What It Means for Nov. 4

    Last night's debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden may not have "altered the basic contours of the race." But that doesn't mean nothing important happened yesterday. It's just that it was happening 365 miles to the northeast, in the great state of Michigan.Lost amid all the Beltway blather and bloviation about the Showdown in St. Louis Thursday evening was one of the most significant revelations since the start of the race. John McCain, it seems, has decided to pull out of the Great Lakes State. As Politico's Jonathan Martin reported first, "McCain will go off TV in Michigan, stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states." The information leaked after McCain, who has watched Barack Obama surge to a sizable lead in national and swing state polls over the past few days, canceled a local event scheduled for next week. "It was always a long shot for us to win," said an aide.That's probably accurate. But the truth is, without Michigan--which the...
  • The Filter: Oct. 3, 2008

    A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.IN DEBATE, REPUBLICAN TICKET SURVIVES ONE TEST(Adam Nagourney, New York Times)Gov. Sarah Palin made it through the vice-presidential debate on Thursday without doing any obvious damage to the Republican presidential ticket. By surviving her encounter with Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and quelling some of the talk about her basic qualifications for high office, she may even have done Senator John McCain a bit of good, freeing him to focus on the other troubles shadowing his campaign. It was not a tipping point for the embattled Republican presidential...
  • The Tale of Two Debates

    First things first: they both survived.For accuracy's sake, though, we should probably consider referring to tonight's "Showdown in St. Louis" as the "Showdowns in St. Louis." It was the Tale of Two Debates. In one ring we watched Sarah Palin battling Tina Fey's impression of Sarah Palin. In the other we saw Joe Biden jousting with John McCain. They both delivered somewhat uneven performances--but both "won" their individual bouts. The question is which one moved his or her boss closer to victory on Nov. 4.Palin's plan was simple: deliver your talking points and pivot to an attack on Barack Obama--regardless of what moderator Gwen Ifill asks. The results of this strategy were mixed. For one thing, Palin's frequent attempts to bait Biden into making one of his famous "gaffes" or saying something "condescending"--she repeatedly sought to provoke his ire by pointing out issues (i.e., Iraq war funding, experience) on which he and Obama have parted ways in the past--did not succeed. No...