The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

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

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Midday Update: U.S. Voters’ Economy Focus Not on the EU

by Newsteam Staff
May 31, 2012

Photo of the Day: President Barack Obama hosts a reception for Jewish American Heritage Month in the East Room of the White House in Washington May 30, 2012 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). Photo of the Day: President Barack Obama hosts a reception for Jewish American Heritage Month in the East Room of the White House in Washington May 30, 2012 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).


Though the candidates and their advisers are carefully watching the European financial crisis and experts warn problems in the eurozone could knock the United States out of its fragile recovery, Gallup polling shows U.S. voters are not highly focused on the EU’s financial state. Of those polled, 49 percent said they are following Europe’s financial news, including 16 percent watching “very closely.”

“The data suggest that Americans’ concern about Europe might be higher if more were paying attention to it,” Gallup says. “Among the 16 percent of Americans paying very close attention to the news about the European financial situation, 95 percent are concerned, including 69 percent who are very concerned.”

The comes as Ireland votes today on a referendum on whether to ratify a German-engineered EU fiscal treaty (Telegraph) and amid an ongoing debate on the campaign trail on whether the United States is headed for European-style austerity.

Former U.S. secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and George P. Shultz endorsed Mitt Romney (Bloomberg) as the Republican presidential nominee at a fundraiser in California Wednesday but for the most part, GOP foreign policy veterans have stayed on the sidelines for the 2012 race so far, according to a story in the New York Times.

Times’ Richard A. Oppel Jr. writes that their reluctance reflects uneasiness about Romney’s hostile tone toward Russia, his opposition to a new missile treaty, and aggressive statements on trade policy toward China. Frank C. Carlucci, a defense secretary under President Ronald Reagan, and Stephen J. Hadley, a national security adviser under President George W. Bush, are officially backing Romney and others may yet, Oppel notes.

“But some nevertheless believe that Mr. Romney has taken approaches too confrontational or too hawkish, or worry that harsh campaign-trail statements could hurt later diplomatic efforts and may signal a drift toward neoconservative passions as the party seeks to take back the White House, say Republicans familiar with the discussions,” he writes.

President Barack Obama’s campaign launched three new television ads Wednesday aimed at Latino voters (HuffPost) and focused on the economy, highlighting the auto bailout, and job creation. Set to air in Denver, Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas and Reno, Nev., they are the third installment in a series of Spanish-language ads since mid-April. All three close with a clip of Obama at an April 25 rally in Boulder, Colo., saying, “We don’t give up here in America, we get up, we get each other’s back, we help each other get ahead.”

Republicans are courting Latino voters in the same states, appointing Hispanic outreach directors earlier this month (NPR) for Colorado, Florida, and Nevada, and three other battleground states. Both parties are pushing the message that they are better equipped to deal with the economy, which ranks among the most important issues for Latino voters who are experiencing above average unemployment.

Seton Hall University’s Heath Brown looks at thinks tanks and presidential transitions and says if Romney wants “to limit the uncertainty surrounding his transition planning, he could soon announce his pre-election transition team, those think tanks which are likely to help him plan his transition, and a vision for how he intends to solicit ideas from a wide array of stakeholders.” (TheHill)

— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor

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