The White House, the place where the candidates are trying to move into.
Moving onto New Hampshire and beyond
President Barack Obama just launched his 2012 campaign, and folks in New Hampshire are already on the ground, organizing and working to keep America on the path to a better future. President Obama told supporters Monday that the Republicans vying for his job out on the campaign trail are no different from the ones opposing his policies on Capitol Hill. “Republicans in Congress and these candidates, they think that the best way for America to compete for new jobs and businesses is to follow other countries in a race to the bottom,” Obama said. “We can’t go back to this brand of you’re-on-your-own economics.”
Last Tuesday New Hampshire hosted the first primary in the entire nation. A state law was passed in 1975 required that the date be set at least one week before any other similar contest. The Iowa caucuses are the only delegate-choosing event before the New Hampshire primary, but since Iowa hosted caucuses, not primaries that is not seen as violating the law.
Unlike Iowa, any registered voter was eligible to participate in New Hampshire’s primary. According to New Hampshire law, voters must declare a party affiliation so that they could participate in only one primary every year, not both the Democratic and Republican primaries. The voters will elect delegates to the district-level events; a candidate will only receive delegates to the national convention if he or she receives at least 15% of the district voters’ votes. 30 delegates will be proportionally sent to the national convention. (In last Tuesday’s primary, there were 29 GOP candidates).
In referencing the primary in New Hampshire, the President said, “The very core of what this country stands for is on the line; don’t take my word for it. Watch some of these debates that were going on up in New Hampshire.” He didn’t talk about Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, but did tell supporters at one point that a sense of common purpose still exists in the country — even if “maybe it doesn’t exist here in Washington and maybe not on the presidential debate stage of New Hampshire, but out in America, it’s there.”
Recent polls claim that the President earns Strong Approval from 47% of Democrats and Strong Disapproval from 78% of Republicans. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 19% Strongly Approve and 39% Strongly Disapprove.
National Black leaders responded forcefully to news reports that some of the candidates were pandering racist element within the GOP.
Marc H. Morial, president of the National Urban League, focusing on former Sen. Rick Santorum said, “Senator Santorum is perpetuating a thoroughly false and destructive racial stereotype in a desperate attempt to score political points,” Morial said. “He is appealing to the lowest common denominator within the electorate and quite frankly should be ashamed of himself.”
Morial called on the other candidates for the Republican nomination immediately to repudiate Santorum’s comments. During a discussion of social assistance programs over the weekend in Iowa, Santorum claimed he doesn’t want to “make Black people’s lives better by giving them someone else’s money.” Morial said he was appalled by both the comment and the sentiment behind it.”
About former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Morial said, “According to a Tweet from a journalist covering Newt Gingrich’s town hall meeting in New Hampshire today, Gingrich has decided to compete with Rick Santorum for the votes of the extreme right-wing faction of the Republican electorate. Sadly that means dredging up the discredited racial stereotypes of the past.
“Gingrich’s suggestion that the African American community would prefer food stamps to jobs is beyond insulting. The vast majority of food stamps recipients – 70 percent – are White.”
NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous today gave the following statement on comments about the NAACP by former Speaker Gingrich:
“It is a shame that the former Speaker feels that these types of inaccurate, divisive statements are in any way helpful to our country,” said Jealous. “The majority of people using food stamps are not African-American, and most people using food stamps have a job.”
According to Talking Points Memo and other sources, Gingrich was quoted as saying, “I will go to the NAACP convention, and explain to the African-American community why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps.”
“We invited Speaker Gingrich to attend our annual convention several times when he was Speaker of the House, but he declined to join us,” Jealous continued. “If he is invited again, I hope that he would come, with the intention to unite rather than divide.”
“Gingrich’s statement is problematic on several fronts, most importantly because he gets his facts wrong.”
Neither the NAACP nor the Urban League endorses or opposes candidates for public office. Both are well-respected organizations that have decried offensive racial rhetoric wherever and whenever it occurs.