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On the road with the 2012 US election.

'2016': A slick pitch to the anti-Obama faithful

Watching 'Obama's America' outside the GOP convention in Tampa.
TAMPA, Fla. — Just 24 hours ago I had never heard of “2016: Obama’s America.” Now the new documentary film by Dinesh D’Souza is all I can think about.
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GOP 2012: This was the day that wasn’t

The Republican National Convention gets off to a rocky — and damp — start.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Republican National Convention was duly convened and immediately adjourned Monday afternoon, amid waning fears of major weather problems. Tropical Storm Isaac was usurping headlines all day, but otherwise had scant impact on Tampa. The RNC schedule had to be compacted down to three days from the original four — which meant no Donald Trump or Gov. Bobby Jindal. But in an effort to court the Latino vote, it appears the scheduled daily Hispanic briefing remains on the program.
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GOP 2012: Pink flamingos and politics

Republicans party hearty at the launch of the convention in Tampa.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — One thing you can say about Republicans, they sure know how to throw a party. As Tropical Storm Isaac barreled down on Florida and protesters geared up to try and disrupt the proceedings, some 15,000 delegates, guests and journalists gathered Sunday night at Tropicana Field, home of baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays. Not that it looked like a baseball diamond. In fact, it looked a bit like Las Vegas, minus the Black Jack tables. Pink flamingos wandered through the enormous hall as scantily clad cheerleaders danced on stages, their images thrown onto huge screens. And everywhere was the loud, pounding music.
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Tampa braces for Hurricanes Isaac and Mitt

Delegates and media brave the storm to attend the Republicans’ extravaganza.
TAMPA, Florida—Half carnival, half war zone, this western Florida city was all decked out for the Republican National Convention Sunday. Barricades and fences cordoned off the Tampa Bay Times Forum where the major events would be held, while mounted police and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolled the streets.
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Election 2012: 'What on earth has happened to the colonies?'

A British guest takes a skeptical look at the US election.
PROVINCETOWN — If you want an exercise in sheer frustration, try explaining the US political system to a foreigner — in my case, a good friend from the United Kingdom, in for a short visit.
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Election 2012: Hope or fear?

The US presidential election is more a fight for voters’ hearts than their heads.
About the only indisputably true thing either candidate has said during an unbearably vicious campaign is that this election is about radically different visions of America. President Barack Obama is selling a picture of a country mired deep in class warfare, where the rich are trying to manipulate the system for their own gain and everyone else’s detriment. He, and his government, are all that stands in front of a wealthy oligarchy determined to plunder America. Challenger Mitt Romney paints a Norman Rockwell scene of grit, faith and hard work, threatened by a power-hungry, free-spending, “European”-style president who does not understand the values that made America great.
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Campaign 2012: It’s the war on women, stupid

Commentary: A misstep by Republican Todd Akin puts abortion front and center in the campaign.
When Republican challenger Mitt Romney chose eminently photogenic Paul Ryan as his running mate, he must have thought he was finally getting his campaign back on track. Ryan, the most prominent budget wonk in the US House, would bring the debate squarely back to the economy. Attack President Barack Obama on his economic failings, paint a rosy picture of a Romney-Ryan future, and sail into the White House come November. Enter Rep. Todd Akin's views on rape, pregnancy and abortion ...
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Campaign 2012: Plain talking in Pennsylvania

It really is the economy, stupid, and voters are not always fooled by the rhetoric.
GIRARD, Pa. — Welcome to Main Street, USA, with all its charms and warts. The local eatery, called the “Girad Dinor” (sic) features “home cookin’” and offers a full range of discounts for local patrons. Fishermen and hunters receive 10 percent off their bill, any day of the week, as does clergy (the sign did not specify denomination). Seniors get 10 percent off, too, but “only on Wednesdays!” leading the casual visitor assume that the custom of the gray-haired set as not as desirable as that of the doubtless hungrier seekers of animal hides or human souls.
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Ryan in Iowa: A butter cow, a chocolate moose, and a cheesy candidate

Republican Mitt Romney's vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan hits the stump at the Iowa State Fair.
DES MOINES — Impossibly young, incredibly fit, and exuding down-home charm, Paul Ryan took the crowd by storm at the Iowa State Fair on Monday. More than 1,000 people waited for over an hour under a fitful sun for a glimpse of the new Vice-Presidential nominee – and most of them were enthusiastic about his chances.
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Romney-Ryan: Who’s on top?

The addition of a major player shakes up the campaign, and may just change the equation altogether.
It could not have been more perfect: the handsome, strong-jawed mainliner introducing his equally handsome, strong-jawed back-up player. Paul Ryan, as many have remarked, could easily be Mitt Romney’s sixth son.
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