Answer Me This

Jim Lehrer, Martha Raddatz and Bob Schieffer did their best – but they missed a few questions. With less than two weeks remaining until election day, New America's analysts and fellows pick up where the debate moderators left off in the video below.

Mad Men For Obama

Almost 50 years ago, a team of original Mad Men from the advertising firm Doyle Dane Bernbach created a television commercial that transformed the way political campaigns try to lure voters.

The 1964 Daisy Ad that implored Americans to vote for President Lyndon B. Johnson is largely seen as the first negative political advertisement – and the timeless ancestor of modern commercials like this one and this one.

Now, the Mad Men are at it again.  This time, Chuck Schroeder, Sid Myers and Don Blauweiss – former employees of DDB who now work at the firm Senior Creative People– produced a video in support of President Obama. Myers was also the art director on the classic 1964 Eastern Seaboard ad – and it shows in his latest work.

In “Eastern Seaboard”, viewers see a saw slice off the eastern quarter of a floating sculpture of the United States as the announcer quotes Presidential Nominee Barry Goldwater: “Sometimes I think this country would be better off if we just sawed off the Eastern seaboard and let it float out to sea.” The announcer continues: “Can a man who makes statements like this be expected to serve all the people justly and fairly? Vote for President Johnson on November 3. The stakes are too high for you to stay home.  ” 

Mitt Romney gave the crew eerily similar ammo for their new ad, titled “Erasing Americans.”  In this new video, they play audio of the GOP nominee’s now infamous statements about the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income tax - statements that he has since backed away from.  Romney’s main point: That chunk of the population will vote for President Obama no matter what because they’re dependent on government and feel entitled to government-funded benefits. “It’s not my job to worry about those people,” he told an audience at a private fundraiser in May.

As Romney’s audio plays during the video, a hand erases half of a sketch of the United States.

Then, the narrator serves up the kicker: “How can a man who dismisses half of America be president of all the people? On November 6, vote for President Obama. The stakes are too high to stay home.”

The men that created the ad came to New America earlier this year for an event that considered the role of negative advertising in the 2012 election season – and whether all the vitriol is destructive or enlightening.  (Before the event, Delve had a conversation with Sid Myers about how he got the idea for the original 1964 ads, and whether he thought modern attack commercials  - like Rick Santorum’s depiction of a violent Mitt Romney doppelgänger – were effective.)

In the spirit of bipartisanship – we asked the team to recommend a well-executed ad from the Romney camp. They liked “The Clear Path.”

 “[Romney] comes off as sincere and honest, if you agree with his political solutions,” Blauweiss says.  

The group sent their video to the Obama campaign this week, and are hoping they’ll use it to bolster support for the president in the next couple of weeks.      

Safe Neighborhood

More than two dozen nations were mentioned in last night's foreign policy debate in Boca Raton, but it's worth noting that Mexico and Canada each garnered exactly zero mentions.

At one level, this is a tribute to how exceptionally fortunate the United States is.  What other great continental power (as opposed to island nation) in history has not had to worry about its borders?  For all the noise about immigration and drugs along the southern border, Mexico (like Canada) has been such a peaceful and sensible neighbor for so long, the U.S. has not had to deploy a large army to secure its territorial integrity, instead freeing our leaders to obsess about far-flung lands of oft-dubious strategic significance.
 
The only problem with this complacent negligence ("why worry about the neighborhood if there's no existential crisis here") is that we end up overlooking the opportunities inherent in enhancing North America's global competitiveness. Our foreign policy is too reactive, too much focused on urgent (and therefore seemingly important) problems, never able to seize upon transcendent long-term opportunities.

Where Women Earn Less Per Dollar Than Men

This entry is cross-posted from the blog Data @ New America.

While the Internet has run amok with the "binders of women" meme Governor Mitt Romney unwittingly unleashed last Tuesday night, few have actually focused on the substance of the question that prompted the governor's response. Citing a statistic that women in the U.S. make 72 cents to the dollar that men earn (a statistic that Schwartz Fellow Liza Mundy called inaccurate here), the female audience member asked what each candidate would do the lessen the income inequality between the sexes.

Neither candidate offered a substantive answer to the question. Rather, that query prompted another one: Where do women earn the least to the dollar? Slate investigated the answer, and recently released a map detailing the disparity between male and female earnings state by state. Using data from the American Community Survey 2010 5-year estimates, it's possible to visualize down to the county level the estimated disparity between men and women. Taking this data, Slate created a map for the 50 states plus the District of Columbia as well as every county or equivalent division across the country. The result?

Map Shows the Worst State for Women To Make Money

... Jobs, the deficit, and Libya have ruled this election. When it comes to women, the candidates have stuck to flashpoints like abortion and reproductive health insurance. The maps above show, however, that the question shouldn’t surprise anyone at all. In every state, women make a fraction of what men make. In some counties, they make half as much—or less.


Women in Utah have it the worst. There, the average working woman makes 55 cents for every dollar the average working man makes. The state is followed closely by Wyoming at 56 cents; Louisiana at 59 cents; North Dakota at 62 cents; and Michigan at 62 cents. The best states for income equality are Hawaii, Florida, Nevada, Maryland and North Carolina. In each, women make about three-fourths of what men make.

County-level data illustrate the best cities for pay equality: Washington, D.C. and Dallas lead, followed by San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Santa Fe, New York and Boston. In each, women make at least 80 cents per dollar that men make. In most other major cities, they make about 70 cents.

Obama's Six Step Plan

President Obama has botched U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, Russia, Latin America and Asia. That’s what Schwartz Fellow Rosa Brooks argues in Foreign Policy this week – and what we’re anticipating Mitt Romney will say during Monday night’s foreign policy debate.
 
What Romney won’t say: Obama can fix his “broken foreign policy machine,” by following the six steps Brooks outlines in her piece. Two elements of her plan for the president: Get a backbone, and jettison the jerks on the national security staff.
 
For some pre-debate food for thought, read the full piece here.

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