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Result is not expected to be clear cut

Posted on by Ray Donoghue

By Anthony Murnane, Deputy Foreign Editor, who is en route to Washington DC to help cover the US elections for RTÉ News special programmes output. In his first blog, he wonders what mood awaits him in the US.

At immigration clearance in Dublin Airport a photo of President Barack Obama looks down over the US officers checking travellers’ passports, visas and immigration forms.

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Down to the Wire

Posted on by Richard Downes

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent

Everybody – it seems – loves a battle; a contest. Be it the All-Ireland finals, the World Cup or Wimbledon. We all love the head to head match between the two strongest teams or individuals. And the American Presidential election has all the qualities of one of these epic encounters, which is why so many of us find it so compelling.

And because there are generally only two combatants, the battle is all the more easy to follow. I wouldn’t be the first to point out that you have more choice in terms of numbers of candidates in voting for Roscommon county council than you do in the United States, with 330 million people.

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Advantage Romney?

Posted on by Richard Downes

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent

We were almost writing off Mitt Romney’s chances of taking the Presidency only a couple of weeks ago. His campaign was plagued with errors and was running out of steam rapidly. Then came the October surprise. Romney took to the stage in Denver and demolished a lacklustre Barack Obama.

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Debating Power: Obama vs Romney

Posted on by Richard Downes

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent

The first Presidential debate is one of those key moments in this campaign. Both candidates have been preparing intensively for it.

Mitt Romney has been holed up in various hideaways to hone his skills with Senator Rob Portman, a close associate, playing the role of debate opponent.

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Romney Wobbles : Obama holding

Posted on by Richard Downes

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent

With less than 60 days to go to the Presidential election, the pundits are moving into overdrive as the opinion polls show little change on the pattern established over the last few months. Some are writing Romney off as a poor candidate with a confused and confusing message. But that is undoubtedly premature.

Mostly it is based on the speech (recorded without permission) of Mitt Romney discussing the 47% of people in America who pay no federal income taxes.

“Victims”, he called them, who were dependent on the federal government. It was an off-the-cuff comment, “inelegantly stated”, as he put it himself. But the commentators have had a field day. “He is out of touch”. “He despises half of Americans”. “He is not suitable for the Presidency”, they said.

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Convention Shenanigans

Posted on by Richard Downes

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent

Hurricane Isaac caused some problems for the Republicans in Florida and this week it is just a matter of rain.

Storms, thunder and lightning are promised for Thursday, so the Democrats have had to shift from the newly refurbished stadium in downtown Charlotte to the much smaller Time Warner Arena.  Continue reading

Sick.

Posted on by Richard Downes

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent

So the Supreme Court of the United States will now be the final arbiter of whether President Obama’s modest health reforms will stand or fall. After three days of submissions and argument the judges will come back with an adjudication around the end of June. Oh yeah – and there is an election this year.

An election for the Presidency of the United States! If ever there was the clear basis of a conflict between the elected branch of government and the judiciary, this is it. Can you imagine the effect of the Court striking down the law in the middle of the election year?

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The ‘voodoo’ of venture capital

Posted on by Ray Donoghue

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent, in San Francisco

The Government has announced an investment of around €60 million in a venture capital fund, aimed at putting money into Irish companies and also getting the venture capital firms to set up in Ireland.

How realistic is this? Richard Moran is an American legend. He is one of a hundred or so people in San Francisco who are counted in the top tier of venture capitalists.

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When a win is not a win …

Posted on by Richard Downes

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent

Pity Mitt Romney. Before Super Tuesday all the commentators said that if he won a majority of the states being contested, he would be strengthened as a candidate. But on Sober Wednesday that had all changed.

He won six out of ten but still they were not happy. He was an ‘unconvincing’ candidate who ‘hadn’t sealed the deal’. Why the disconnect?

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Ten Chances to Shine

Posted on by Richard Downes

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent

For the four candidates left in the Republican race to become the nominee for the general election later this year, today, Super Tuesday, is a big day.

It may not be the end of the world if they don’t do well, but it is close to being over if they fail to make a mark.

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