The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

Renewing America: Cheap TVs, Competition, and Potholes

by Toni Johnson Wednesday, February 29, 2012
A man looks at a flat screen television in Flushing, New York March 27, 2010. (Jessica  Rinaldi/Courtesy Reuters) A man looks at a flat screen television in Flushing, New York March 27, 2010. (Jessica Rinaldi/Courtesy Reuters)

Whether it is jobs, trade, taxes, business competitiveness, or energy prices, economic issues dominate the campaign trail. This past week on Renewing America, a project which looks at six major domestic issues that affect U.S. influence abroad, CFR Senior Fellow Edward Alden’s blog posts hit on several topics pertinent to the campaign trail. Read more »

Tracking the Issues: Paul Opposes DOD Benefit Cuts

by Newsteam Staff Wednesday, February 29, 2012
An Army medic treats a gunshot wound in Afghanistan, April 8, 2011. (Denis Sinyakov/Courtesy Reuters) An Army medic treats a gunshot wound in Afghanistan, April 8, 2011. (Denis Sinyakov/Courtesy Reuters)

GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul on Tuesday said he opposed cuts to health care benefits for veterans and active military and called on Congress and the other GOP presidential candidates to support legislation he co-sponsored that would prohibit the Defense Department from increasing TRICARE health program fees without congressional approval. Read more »

Overnight Update: Romney Wins in Michigan and Arizona

by Newsteam Staff Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Photo of the Day: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Novi, Michigan, February 28, 2012.  (Rebecca Cook/Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the Day: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Novi, Michigan, February 28, 2012. (Rebecca Cook/Courtesy Reuters)

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the Michigan and Arizona primaries Tuesday (CNN), vowing in his victory speech to “restore America’s promise through more jobs, less debt, and smaller government.” A CNN exit poll shows that, in Michigan, the economy was the top issue for 55 percent of voters with the budget deficit ranking second at 24 percent. Similarly exit polling in Arizona showed that these issues are of major importance with 49 percent of voters polled picking the economy and 30 percent the deficit. Read more »

Tracking the Issues: Gingrich Says Afghanistan Is Not Fixable

by Newsteam Staff Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Afghan protesters shout anti-U.S. slogans in Herat, February 23, 2012. (Mohammad Shoib/Courtesy Reuters) Afghan protesters shout anti-U.S. slogans in Herat, February 23, 2012. (Mohammad Shoib/Courtesy Reuters)

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Monday that the United States is facing an insurmountable challenge in Afghanistan (AJC). “We are not going to fix Afghanistan,” he said. “It is not possible. These are people who have spent several thousand years hating foreigners. And what we have done by staying is become the new foreigners.” Gingrich’s remarks came amid continued violent protests in Afghanistan over the burning of Qurans at Bagram Airfield. Over the weekend, Romney said on Fox News that the United States should focus on helping Afghanistan’s government improve security so it can fend off attacks from the Taliban. Read more »

Overnight Roundup: Santorum Traces 100-Day Economic Plan

by Newsteam Staff Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Photo of the Day: The first two Indian-American governors, South Carolina's Nikki Haley and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, at the White House February 27, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the Day: The first two Indian-American governors, South Carolina's Nikki Haley and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, at the White House February 27, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed the day before the Michigan and Arizona primaries, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum outlined a “comprehensive pro-growth and pro-family” economic agenda that he said he would work with Congress to pass in the first 100 days of his administration. His plan calls for only two income tax rates of 10 percent and 28 percent, along with a corporate tax rate of 17.5 percent. He also said he would approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, cut spending by $5 trillion over five years, and submit five free trade agreements during his first year in office to increase exports. Read more »

Tracking the Issues: College, the Economy, and the Campaign

by Newsteam Staff Monday, February 27, 2012
New York University graduation, May 13, 2009. (Mike Segar / Courtesy Reuters) New York University graduation, May 13, 2009. (Mike Segar / Courtesy Reuters)

The sluggish economy has sparked new debate about the role of U.S. education, such as whether liberal arts or specialized degrees (WashPost) create the best workforce. It also raises new questions about growing student debt (Slate), which the government said today had reached $867 billion (Bloomberg). Many experts say U.S. educational achievement remains tied to the country’s ability to compete globally, and some argue it affects the overall trajectory of economy. Read more »

Tracking the Issues: Romney, Tie Medicare to Life Expectancy

by Newsteam Staff Monday, February 27, 2012
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, in Washington March 16, 2011. (Joshua Roberts/Courtesy Reuters) Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, in Washington March 16, 2011. (Joshua Roberts/Courtesy Reuters)

Entitlements, such as Medicare and Social Security, are a growing portion of the U.S. long-term debt. Many analysts says unless the entitlements system is reformed the national debt will become unsustainable. In a speech to the Detroit Economic Club, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney proposed raising the eligibility age for Medicare (AP) and eventually tying the eligible age to life expectancy. “With these commonsense changes, we will have fixed our balance sheet,” Romney said. Read more »

Weekend Roundup: Obama Wants to End Violence in Syria

by Newsteam Staff Monday, February 27, 2012
Photo of the Day: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma vote in Damascus February 26, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters/SANA) Photo of the Day: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma vote in Damascus February 26, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters/SANA)

As the death toll in Syria continued to rise, President Obama again called for new leadership in Syria. He said that the international community would continue to maintain pressure and is “looking for every tool available to prevent the slaughter of innocents in Syria.” Obama’s remarks about President Bashar al-Assad came two days before a referendum on a new constitution (Reuters) that could keep Assad in power until 2028. U.S., European, and Arab officials met in Tunisia (FoxNews) Friday to try to forge a unified strategy to push Assad from power. Read more »

Views from Abroad: Israel Sets Sight on Iran

by Toni Johnson Friday, February 24, 2012
The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, November 28, 2011. (Ronen Zvulun/Courtesy Reuters) The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, November 28, 2011. (Ronen Zvulun/Courtesy Reuters)

GOP candidates this week highlighted what they think should be done on Iran at a debate in Arizona. In this week’s views, we start with Israel where the military action against Iran debate is still drumming loudly. In Haaretz, Ari Shavit says if Israel strikes Iran, it will be President Obama’s fault: Read more »

Tracking the Issues: Voters’ Views on Economic Regulation

by Newsteam Staff Friday, February 24, 2012
Assembly line at a Chrysler plant in Belvidere, Illinois February 2, 2012. (Frank Polich/Courtesy Reuters) Assembly line at a Chrysler plant in Belvidere, Illinois February 2, 2012. (Frank Polich/Courtesy Reuters)

A new Pew Research Center for the People & the Press poll finds that U.S. voters hold mixed views of the role of government in both helping and regulating the economy as the debate over fiscal policy rages on the campaign trail. On the bank bailout and President Obama’s stimulus spending, the poll finds more people disapproved than approved in 2012, nearly unchanged from 2010 polling. But Pew also found that a majority of voters now believe the bailout of GM and Chrysler helped the economy, though only 37 percent felt that way in October 2009. Read more »