Could next week’s election be postponed due to #Sandy?

That’s a question I’ve heard and read quite a bit in the aftermath of the widespread, massive devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. The answer is: Technically with Congressional approval it could happen, but it’s not likely:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Could superstorm Sandy postpone the presidential election?

The question has come up now because it could take days to fully restore power across the East Coast — and the election is just a week away.

Congress sets the date for the presidential election and could change it, but that’s unlikely. Congress would have to come back from recess and pass a law. Plus, it would wreak havoc on state and local elections scheduled for the same day.

It’s more likely that states will extend voting hours or relocate polling places that are damaged or without power.

Elections have been postponed in the past, but not at the presidential level. New York City rescheduled mayoral primaries scheduled for Sept. 11, 2001. And New Orleans pushed back municipal elections after Hurricane Katrina.

And just for the record: The President has ZERO authority to change an election date. Thank goodness.

Get more answers to your questions on the legal issues surrounding changing a Presidential election date here.

Also, please remember to keep all those impacted by Sandy in your thoughts and prayers. The death toll now stands at 48, hundreds if not thousands of homes have been lost or destroyed beyond repair, some towns were (and are still) under water due to this storm, and thousands are having to stay with friends or family or in shelters because they can’t get back to their home to assess if they have anything left. It’s an awful situation to be in – period – but especially right here as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach.

Photo of Claudene Christian

10-16-12 photo of Claudene Christian kissing the HMS Bounty, which sank off the NC coast during Hurricane Sandy. Christian, a crew member, did not survive. Courtesy of the HMS Bounty FB page.

Benghazi Consulate Massacre: pushback for Petraeus, and what’s important

**Posted by Phineas

What really matters

In an earlier post, I quoted news reports that called into question the role General David Petraeus, the CIA director, regarding his analysis of the attack on our consulate in Benghazi. Since then, PJM’s Bryan Preston published information that speaks in Petraeus’ defense:

A U.S. intelligence official disputed the characterization of Petraeus’ briefing to lawmakers on Sept. 14, saying: “The first briefing (to the Hill) carefully laid out the full range of sparsely available information, with briefers noting that extremists — including those with possible links to AQIM and Ansar al-Sharia — were involved in attacks that appeared spontaneous. The talking points (from that weekend) clearly reflect the early indications of extremist involvement in a direct assault.”

As for the current assessment of the Benghazi attack, a U.S. intelligence official said no one is ruling out the idea militants may have aspired to attack the U.S., though the bulk of available information supports the early assessment that extremists — with ties to al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia — did not plan the attacks for day or weeks in advance.

One source who heard Petraeus brief also told Fox News, “I can confirm that he explicitly stated both to the House and the Senate oversight committees that members of AQIM and AAS participated in the attack in Benghazi. That assessment still stands.”

So, who’s right? Right now it’s the word of one side’s source against another, with, it seems, the White House and its political appointees on one side, and the Defense and Intelligence bureaucracies on the other, both with daggers drawn. Meanwhile those of us outraged over the multiple scandals apparently wrapped in the Benghazi affair are left to throw our hands in the air and demand someone –anyone– tell us the truth.

Amidst all the details of who said what when, let’s not forget what’s important here: After months of Washington failing to give adequate security to our diplomatic mission in Libya, the consulate in Benghazi was attacked by an al Qaeda-aligned force, resulting in the death of our ambassador and three other Americans, two of whom were former SEALs who fought like lions to defend their fellow Americans until help could come.

But that help never came, denied by someone for some reason never adequately explained. And the Ambassador, the mission staff member, and the two SEALs died.

And the ultimate responsibility for that lies with President Barack Obama, who has been blowing smoke in our eyes over this since the day it happened, hoping to get past the election.

Like the deaths in Operation Fast and Furious, the dead of Benghazi and respect for their survivors demands answers, accountability, and, if need be, punishment.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Hurricane #Sandy and a tale of two campaigns

**Posted by Phineas

Call it a study in character, where actions speak louder than words:

As Sandy slammed into the East Coast, the Romney campaign in Virginia asked supporters to bring relief supplies to its campaign offices, which it would then distribute on one of its own buses:

Having canceled campaign events in the area, Romney spokespeople are saying the bus will be used to transport donations of basic supplies to those in need.

“Bring donations to VA Victory offices. Romney bus will deliver them to those affected by #Sandy. #RomneyRyan2012,” Curt Cashour, Romney’s Virginia communications director, tweeted.

ABC’s Emily Friedman added: “Romney campaign will load storm relief supplies into Romney bus in Arlington Va today an will collect supplies at all VA victory offices.”

Conservative-leaning sites are describing the move as a “true example of leadership,” though the more politically cynical could interpret the move as a shrewd campaign strategy to shake off Romney’s “elitist” image.

And from CNN:

“Governor Romney’s concern is the safety and well-being of those in the path of Hurricane Sandy,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Monday morning.

The campaign is loading supplies into a campaign bus for delivery in Virginia. In Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania – all battleground states in the presidential campaign and all expected to be impacted by this storm – Team Romney is collecting supplies at their campaign offices for local relief efforts.

Now, I have no doubt the cynics mentioned in the first quote have a point; I’m sure anyone in the Romney campaign with more than minimal wits can see the potential political benefit in this.

But I also have no doubt that scoring political points is of secondary concern to the candidate and his campaign, well-behind a straightforward urge to help during a crisis. The Romneys are well known for their acts of charity and kindness, several examples of which we heard about during the convention. I’ll point to just one: the time when “heartless capitalist” Mitt Romney essentially shut down “evil” Bain Capital to lead his staff in a search for a missing girl.

Contrast that with the Obama campaign. Sure, the president flew to D.C. to monitor developments regarding the storm (1), but what was the Obama campaign doing during Sandy?

Asking supporters in the affected areas to call other people to stump for The One.

GOT A PHONE? GET HIS BACK. CALL.BARACKOBAMA.COM

Classy, no?

And before anyone says “that’s just the campaigns,” think about this: the campaign reflects the candidate. Each candidate sets the tone and attitude of their respective campaign, and each campaign absorbs the values and priorities of its candidate.

One campaign redirects itself to help those in need. The other says “Hey, you’ve got nothing better to do, how about making some calls for our guy?”

Think about that. Think about what it says about the character of each man and then ask yourself which candidate would serve the nation better in the Oval Office.

I think the answer’s pretty clear.

PS: Romney-Ryan 2012, because after four years I’m sick of narcissistic, callow jackasses in the White House.

PPS: You may not have your own bus, but you can still help.

Footnote:
(1) So, he thinks it’s important to be in D.C. to monitor Hurricane Sandy, but, when our consulate was under attack and our people dying in Benghazi, he went to bed? Okay….

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)