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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.
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A promotional poster is seen at the Rave Fairfax Corner movie theater in Fairfax, Virginia announcing the new movie "2016: Obama's America" that opened in theaters across the US, Aug. 24, 2012. (Paul Richards/AFP/Getty Images)
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.
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Chairman of the Republican National Convention Reince Priebus gavels the convention to order at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Aug. 27. Due to Tropical Storm Isaac, the convention was quickly adjourned to order until the afternoon on Tuesday. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
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.
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The floor at the Tampa Bay Times Forum is set Aug. 26 for the Republican National Convention. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)
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.
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News reports for Tropical Storm Isaac appear on screens ahead of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 26, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The RNC is scheduled to convene on August 27 and will hold its first session on August 28 as Tropical Storm Isaac threatens disruptions due to its proximity to the Florida peninsula. (Win McNamee/AFP/Getty Images)
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.
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Explaining and understanding Article 2 of the US Constitution is no easy task. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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.
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This election, it's all about winning voter's hearts. An elderly supporter of US President Barack Obama joins others to cheer near a house where Obama held a campaign event in Los Angeles this June. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
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.
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Tank assault: Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) takes a closer look at a military vehicle on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Akin's comments about rape and abortion have gone viral and could infect other Republican campaigns than just his own. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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.
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Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania. (Jewel Samad and Emmanuel Dumand/AFP/Getty Images)
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.
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Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a homecoming campaign rally at the Waukesha County Expo Center on August 12, 2012 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Mitt Romney continues his four day bus tour a day after announcing his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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.
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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) jokes with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) after announcing him as the "next President of the United States" during an event announcing him as his running mate in front of the USS Wisconsin August 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Virginia. Ryan, a seven term congressman, is Chairman of the House Budget Committee and provides a strong contrast to the Obama administration on fiscal policy. (Win McNamee/AFP/Getty Images)
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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