Guest Column: Opinion of campaign approaches
By: Lauren Ely
“I’m embarrassed, totally embarrassed.”
That’s how Annette Cappella, Democratic executive chair of St. Johns County, spoke of the behavior of the Republican presidential nominees. “I think we should have some respect for each other. It’s the office they’re running for,” said Cappella. “This has gotten to the point where they don’t even respect the office of the presidency.”
Mitt Romney, the leading candidate, won the Florida primary on Jan. 31 by nearly 15 percent. His rivals, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, have put him under fire for his recent statements about not caring about the very poor.
“Mitt Romney is finding it very difficult to be in the limelight, and I think that he has to learn how to rephrase his words before they come out of his mouth,” said Cappella. “He really hasn’t found his spot yet. I don’t think he doesn’t care about the poor. I think it came out wrong. The media’s just having a wonderful time with it.”
Harlan Mason, chairman of the St. Johns County Republican Party, doesn’t think this primary has been out of the ordinary. “Primaries are tough battles,” said Mason. “You can go back to Democratic primary in 2008, and it got pretty rough between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I don’ think it’s a historic anomaly. I think it’s being made to be one in some respect by media, not out of bias, but it gets attention.”
According to a Feb. 7 poll on Rasmussen Reports, 51 percent of voters somewhat approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance. When placed against the Republican frontrunner, Romney, Obama garnered 48 percent of the vote, while Romney followed with 42 percent.
“I think to a degree with the Independents you can see how they polls are going up for him,” said Cappella. “He’s playing it very carefully. He’s a very intelligent man. I don’t think he likes that, and he’s going to get the worst of it.”
Mason however, disagrees that the Republican feuds will have a positive outcome for Obama. He says that prolonging the primary election as Obama and Clinton did in 2008 helps the party not in power.
“One of the tough things about being the opposition party in a presidential election is getting attention and getting media attention. If a tough primary keeps Republican candidates and the eventual nominee on the evening news and in the papers, that’s a good thing for that candidate.”
Flagler College senior and political science major, Kelly Kyne, voted in the primary election. She says none of the Republican candidates place an imminent threat to Obama, and he won’t focus on a negative campaign. He’ll focus on himself.
“Obama already pretty much knows he’s going to win,” said Kyne. “I think the young voter won’t go out and vote only because they don’t care anymore. The only one they want to win is Ron Paul, and if they vote for him it’s like a throw away vote.”
According to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, voters ages 18-29 accounted for 4 percent of the total votes in Florida, down 9 percent from the 2008 primary election.
The Republican Party will announce its nominee at the Republican National Convention being held Aug. 27 to Aug. 30 in Tampa, and the 2012 general election will be held on Nov. 6.