He’s baaaaaaack! What? Romney? Back?

by Ken Feltman

A friend called me this morning to tell me that Mitt Romney “hit the ball out of the park” on Fox News Sunday. He was excited, hardly able to get the words out fast enough.

A strong and vocal Romney supporter in 2012, he became distressed as Romney drifted into unforced errors on the campaign trail. He got quieter and quieter. Shortly before election day, he stopped calling. After election day, he stopped returning my calls.

Romney may or may not be back. My friend is.

Obama doesn’t seem to know how to be president

By Ken Feltman

Two years ago, a PhD student from Stanford University spoke with several former Obama White House staff members. Naturally, they were guarded in what they said but, every so often, a few of them made a revealing comment or two.

The student reported to me that lower level staffers followed the Obama Administration talking-points and blamed the Republicans for the legislative gridlock. But the higher-ups in the chain of command sometimes expressed a quiet frustration.

A woman said: “He (President Obama) created what was like a college dorm atmosphere in the West Wing. People were never certain what their job was because someone would change the priorities just like that.”

A man remarked: “There was a lot of brainstorming about things with no decisions made or plan of action, or timetable, and no results.”

Another man commented: “A president does not really have a fixed job description. He gets to make up his own, sort of. Obama could have used some help in deciding what he should concentrate on. Like one day he was wandering around and twice he poked his head into my office and asked what we were doing. Completely took us off track for several minutes each time.”

Yet another man: “The President seemed restless. If he didn’t have fixed appointments, some mostly ceremonial like greeting the Super Bowl winners or a movie star or veterans or something where he’d give an award and they’d take pictures, he didn’t know what to do and he interrupted others who were working.

A woman: “It was a little scary that the Commander-in-Chief wasn’t busy on some important work. He did love the speeches and that’s where he was great.”

A man observed: “We learned who had a direct line to the President. I tried to avoid them. They seemed to take pride in being able to hurt people with the President and (the First Lady). They didn’t want to hear bad news. I realized that they thought it was disloyal.”

Another woman said: “I think it drove the organized staff members crazy. It was government by B.S. sessions.”

A man: “One senior staff member told me that it became clear to him and others that the President didn’t read the briefing books and reports. He just learned by verbal reports and asking questions. Sometimes the questions were pretty far afield.”

Another man commented: “He didn’t do the homework that I guess I expected.”

A woman remarked: “He was out of the loop on things. Some people said, that way, he could shift the blame if something went wrong. It also meant that a lot didn’t get done.”

Many of these things could be said about any White House, any President, any White House staff. Make what you will of these comments and opinions.

Running against herself, Hillary seems to be losing

Amazing as it may seem, Hillary Clinton continues dropping in the polls. In fact, a new Zogby poll shows her below 50 percent. Her book tour has been a series of flubs. Her statements about her family’s wealth have compounded the problem. She cannot seem to get in gear. Now what?

Her friends will say it’s early and she’s just testing the waters. But for Hillary, things are a bit like former Yankees catcher Yogi Berra’s observation about a baseball game in which the opposition built a big lead: Sometimes it can get late early.

Most voters already have an opinion of Clinton. How hard will it be for her to regain the ground she lost recently? Some focus group comments follow. They show that most of her committed fans are unfazed. Her detractors are enjoying Clinton’s recent missteps. Undecided voters have not been paying that much attention. But Democrats who will support Clinton if she is the nominee are beginning to get nervous.

Some sample comments from those voters follow.

Mississippi focus group finds Thad Cochran more comfortable choice

by Ken Feltman

Voters who participated in a teleconference focus group after the polls closed in Mississippi yesterday expressed strong support for both Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. Few of the voters were ambivalent. But many expressed uncertainty, even anxiety, about the challenger, State Senator Chris McDaniel, and his support from the tea parties.

This is the most significant expression of concern about the tea parties that we have picked up. We will watch for this development in future research. Senator McDaniel, it appears, came off as a bit too abrasive. He made some voters uncomfortable.

The voters did not know the outcome of the elected when they joined the conference call.