NORMAN — Correspondent highlights weaknesses
CNN Political correspondent and Emmy award winner Candy Crowley gave Wednesday evening’s President’s guests her candid insight as to each candidate’s weak points and why the outcome of the upcoming election is still inscrutable at the Associates’ Dinner on the University of Oklahoma campus.
“The electorate is at a record high in polarization and dissatisfaction with government,” OU President David Boren said in his opening remarks. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a more important, fascinating or challenging presidential election, and I’m so pleased we have Candy Crowley with us tonight.”
Bringing up a plethora of complicating factors, Crowley simplified her analysis to two major challenges facing each candidate in the next weeks: Mitt Romney’s struggle to gain a lead in the nation’s nine “battleground states” and Barack Obama’s battle to generate voter turnout, particularly with the largely unemployed and dissatisfied demographics that played a key role in 2008.
“This is an election about nine states, and right now, President Obama is up in all of them,” Crowley said. “I would argue the big three will be Ohio, Virginia and Florida. Voters need to think a candidate understands them and will have their best interest in mind, and that’s where Romney has fallen down.”
Crowley outlined Obama’s advantage in building a rapport with audiences, citing this “confidence versus compassion” element as one of his main strengths against Romney and overwhelming unemployment.
However, voter turnout for Obama is a major issue, Crowley said.
“The president has to sell what’s doable as opposed to what he wants to do. His core groups — Hispanics, 30 and under and African Americans — all have unemployment rates far higher than the national average,” she said. “This doesn’t mean that they’ll go out and vote for Romney, but what it does mean is that they’ll stay home, and that’s what worries the Obama team.
“The overwhelming support and high-minded hope of 2008 is gone and, instead, there’s the reality of living in your parents’ basement at age 24.”
Crowley emphasized how no one should attempt to call the outcome of the race because the upcoming weeks leave a lot of potential for game-changing turns, particularly in the debates.
Cautioning against polls, Crowley said she believes polls are used to push voters into thinking the race is over when it isn’t.
“I can tell you how to play the odds, but I can’t tell you who is going to win,” Crowley said. “It is what I love about politics. Despite what all our sources say, there’s always something that can happen that surprises us. It is, to me, the joy of politics. In the end, the American people are going to do what the American people are going to do, and it is such a trip to watch it and be a part of it.”