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The biggest turning points of the 2012 election

December 28, 2012

The 2012 election cycle served as a reminder that campaigns are unpredictable. In fact, some of the most pivotal points of the past two years were unforeseen events that quickly shaped the political landscape.

Today, we look back at the biggest turning points of the 2012 cycle in the battles for the White House, the Senate and the House. These are the most significant moments that left broad marks extending well beyond a single candidate or race.

Overall, no other moment stood out as much as Senate candidate Todd Akin’s remark in an August interview that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy. Not only did it sink the GOP’s hopes in a race it had long been bullish about and needed badly to win back the Senate majority; it also forced every other prominent Republican across the country to weigh in, and was affixed in the minds of many voters when another Republican Senate candidate later stoked controversy with a remark about rape and pregnancy.

Aware that Representative Akin (R-Mo.) was prone to saying controversial things, Democrats sought to elevate him in the primary, spending money on paid media efforts aimed at helping the congressman outrun the competition. It worked, and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) got exactly the opponent she wanted for the general election.

Even as McCaskill’s team was pleased with the outcome on the GOP side, her vulnerable standing and Missouri’s Republican tilt meant the Democrat still faced an uphill climb coming out of the primary against Akin. While the congressman’s words had gotten him in hot water in the past, none of his previous remarks were as damaging as what he would go on to say in August.

Immediately after Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment, Republicans across the country were asked to weigh in. Most, including Mitt Romney, swiftly denounced his remarks and called on Akin to end his campaign. Republican groups that would have otherwise been expected to provide him with reinforcements ran far away from him.

(Though the National Republican Senatorial Committee funneled money though the Missouri GOP to help Akin in the closing stage of the race).

Making matters worse for the GOP, Akin didn’t drop out. He stayed in until the end, allowing McCaskill’s campaign to air ads referencing the remark. The spots received national media coverage and reminded voters in states other than Missouri about what he said. Akin lost in November by nearly 16 points in a state Romney carried by nearly 10.

What’s more, the issues of rape and pregnancy were fresh in voters’ minds when Indiana GOP Senate nominee Richard Mourdock said in a late October debate, “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Mourdock’s remark sunk his already struggling candidacy, robbing Senate Republicans of another seat in GOP-leaning state they wouldn’t have imagined losing a year prior.

As Republicans try to repair a struggling brand and seek to undo some of the political damage they sustained in 2012, ensuring that future Senate nominees do not resemble Akin must surely be at or near the top of the priority list.

Below is our take on the biggest turning points in the race for the presidency and control of the House:

by Anonymousreply 2901/02/2013

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by Anonymousreply 112/30/2012

There were many factors, sure. But I definitely think the single biggest turning point, symbolic or otherwise, was Romney's 47% comment. That was literally a "stick a fork in it" moment for his campaign. The Washington Post can downplay it all they want, THAT is what people will remember about this Presidential race more than anything.

by Anonymousreply 212/30/2012

Every time there was a 'stick a fork in him' moment...another would pop up.

The legit rape thing might have been it, with 47% being the cherry on top.

Anyone else think that the Plan Parenthood debacle at the start of the year stayed with women and blended into the Legit Rape comment from the republicans? Like a snow ball effect staying in people's minds.

by Anonymousreply 312/30/2012

I don't think there was a turning point in the Presidential race. Obama was leading the entire way. During the early fall it looked like it might be very close. Then the 47% video surfaces and things settled to where the race would end.

As far as marriage rights for gay couples is concerned. We have acknowledge all the work done by gay people to get to this point first and foremost. I do think President Obama's comments in May help nudge a few more people over to our side that we would win.

by Anonymousreply 412/30/2012

Actually right after the first debate it was essentially tied (Nate had it at 60/40 Obama), but Obama starting pulling away when he used the 47 percent remark. Romnesia was also effective. Obama's whupping of Romney in the third debate sealed thecdeal.

The response to Superstorm Sandy helped, but Obama was definitively ahead by then.

by Anonymousreply 512/30/2012

Well, if your going to throw in Obama debate and Romnesia then you have to mention Bill Clintons speech.

by Anonymousreply 612/30/2012

Yes, Clinton's speech too. R6

by Anonymousreply 712/30/2012

R8 = Mitt Romney

by Anonymousreply 912/30/2012

"Corporations are people"

"Bet you $10,000"

Etch a Sketch

"I like being able to fire people"

Legitimate rape

John Lauber's haircut

Pissing off the UK at the Olympics

"You people"

Rafalca and Seamus

47%

The 1917 Navy and bayonets

Binders full of women

"Please proceed, Governor"

Being "full of shit" about Jeep

Orca

by Anonymousreply 1012/30/2012

[quote]Actually right after the first debate it was essentially tied

In popular vote, perhaps, but that's not how the Presidency is won. It was always clear that Obama was winning. The media however, had to create a climate of uncertainty so that we would all keep watching.

by Anonymousreply 1112/30/2012

R10 sums it up perfectly.

by Anonymousreply 1212/30/2012

The RNC'S booking of Clint Eastwood to "appear" before Mitt took all of the news coverage and conversation away from Romney's attempt to introduce himself to the American people. This allowed Obama to define him; he never recovered.

by Anonymousreply 1312/30/2012

The Republican Convention - LOL!!! Dreadful!

by Anonymousreply 1412/30/2012

Derek Parra

by Anonymousreply 1512/30/2012

The defining events were the war on women and the 47% crack turning off blue collar white men in the rust belt states. A lot of Reagan Democrats stayed home or voted for Obama.

When I think of Republicans I think of that asshole in Georgia who compared women to cattle. I laugh when I read the men on sites like Amren and Stuff Black People Don't Like whining about white women voting for Obama. They have all these cockamamie theories like white women were swayed by Obama's smooth black alpha-ness. They're really obsessed with the alpha thing and women being driven by "gina tingles". They have no clue how repulsive they are, or that women have no intention of going back to the Victorian era.

by Anonymousreply 1612/30/2012

R11, Romney didn't win the popular vote. This whole race is close thing was just media fabrication.

Otherwise, everything R10 said.

by Anonymousreply 1712/31/2012

The biggest turn on of the 2012 was Paul Ryan in jogging shorts.

Man what a bulge.

by Anonymousreply 1812/31/2012

R18 = Sen. Lindsey Graham

by Anonymousreply 1912/31/2012

The major turning point of the election was Obama's decision to build on his 2008 system of voter registration, voter contact, and grass roots energizing. Period. The election - both for the presidency and to avoid a senatorial loss - always hinged on Obama being able to pull in his constituents, who sometimes do not vote or who sometimes do not vote with purpose.

Sure, the myriad errors made by Republicans across the country helped. But the real issue there was the fact that the Tea Party maniacs had finally hit the wall. The party elders closed ranks, said enough was enough (quietly but effectively, since they're stuck with the maniacs as being the only energetic part of the party) and determined that a moderate was the only solution to a national conflagration if one of the nuts got the nomination. The Tea Party cancelled each other out but prevented any other, more workable nominee from standing against Romney. And with Romney in, it was just a matter of time before voters turned away.

Without a platform except one with onerous planks, and with a nominee who stood for nothing but his own ambition - he was completely boxed in plus he is an arrogant, clueless mess - there was no chance of winning.

No chance unless the Democrats couldn't deliver voters. And they delivered them where they were needed, and they voted in Democrats in crucial contests, and voted in Obama with a very respectable majority.

Romney's team saying they were blown away by Obama's network, and that they didn't have a clue what was going on, tells it all. Obama secured his election in plain view of everyone - and it was missed by the people with the most to lose, because they made the mistake of believing their own bullshit. That's the historic result of having this Mormon as the nominee. Huntsman, abandoned by the Latter Day power base, would not have made that mistake.

by Anonymousreply 2012/31/2012

Do you think Mitt Romney is a selfish lover?

by Anonymousreply 2112/31/2012

"The 47 Percent Speech," delivered by Mitt Romney and exposed in September, did an effective job of turning around President Obama's "Right Track/Wrong Direction" numbers to solidify his winning re-election on Nov. 6, 2012. So, that would qualify as a "big turning point" from the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

by Anonymousreply 2212/31/2012

"Please proceed, governor."

by Anonymousreply 2301/01/2013

Ann Romney saying Mitt isn't stiff. Nobody wants a flaccid president.

by Anonymousreply 2401/01/2013

[quote]r11, Romney didn't win the popular vote.

Never said he did. I was responding to the person who said they were tied in the polls and was making the same point you made.

by Anonymousreply 2501/02/2013

The current popular vote is:

Obama = 51%

Romney = 47%

by Anonymousreply 2601/02/2013

Ann Romney (and the boys) as Mitt's "human face"

Paul Ryan as a economic wonderboy,

Game over.

by Anonymousreply 2701/02/2013

What r20 said. Obama's ground game was amazing. On the last days of the election, if you were in a swing state, they were everywhere.

They pulled out the voters who would have otherwise stayed home like the youth vote. I attended a rally on one of the swing states and on the last days of the election, Obama came to speak at one of the high schools in poorer parts of town. Lots of young minorities who just graduated from high school and casting their first votes. Lots of single women motivated by the war against birth control. They singled out their base and really motivated the vote.

by Anonymousreply 2801/02/2013

That's just it, R28 - Obama came out and spoke to people.

Romney, when meeting normal non-multi-millionaires, literally had a "deer in the headlights" expression...

by Anonymousreply 2901/02/2013
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