Wishing Connecticut was a Battleground State…Again

I will not be interviewing President Obama for our Sunday political show, Face the State.    Don’t laugh, the premise was not as far fetched as you might think.

For the past year, the president has been granting sit down interviews with local media all over the country.   According to CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, there have been 58 such interviews.   The theory is local reporters can get the president better access to voters, and some believe the questions might be easier than the president might get on Face the Nation or Meet the Press, although I take issue with the latter.

Last fall, I contacted the White House press office to see about setting up one of these interviews with President Obama.   The press aide was very gracious and helpful and I gave him the information he requested.    I sent him our info sheet detailing how the interview would reach a big number of voters, because WFSB is the most watched station in Connecticut.  Excerpts of the interview would run on Eyewitness News and in its entirety on Face the State.    I was told if we were chosen to conduct  a presidential interview, we would be given 4 to 5 days notice.

As winter turned to spring and spring to summer,  I checked in with the White House periodically, usually monthly or after I watched  reporters from television stations in other  states questioning the president.   I was always told my request still had not  been granted but if Mr. Obama came to Connecticut, I was first on the list.

Then last month, we learned the president was coming to Westport, for a fundraiser with movie producer Harvey Weinstein, and to Stamford for a larger fundraiser at a hotel.     Our time had come!   I called the White House  and was told the Connecticut trip was not a White House event.     I had to contact the headquarters of the re-election campaign in Chicago.     I left six or seven messages, all went unreturned.

After a call to the Connecticut Democratic party,  I got this email from a staffer for the Obama  campaign:

“The president won’t be available for interviews on this trip.    Thanks for reaching out.”

Why were we turned down, I wondered.   Was it because my father-in-law donated to Hillary Clinton in 2008?  Is it because my brother is a Florida Republican?  No.  I think it’s because I’m from Connecticut.

A good number of those 58 interviews granted by the president were to reporters in battleground or swing states.   Our state is increasingly blue, and with Democrats controlling the governor’s office, the state legislature, the congressional delegation, and the states’s three biggest cities, the belief  is the president will easily carry the state in November.    The last time a Republican won Connecticut was 1988, by the first President George Bush, who grew up here and was the son of the late senator Prescott Bush.  George W. Bush was born in New Haven, and is the only U.S. president born in Connecticut,  yet didn’t even try to win his native state in 2000.

A cynic could say President Obama takes Connecticut for granted.    After all, there was no public appearance during his visit to the Gold Coast of our state, no local media interviews,  although voters were well aware he was here.   A popular state park and beach were shut down to accommodate the president’s helicopter along with two exits on the states’s busiest highway….during rush hour.

The Republicans are certainly helping the president take the state for granted.   Last year, the GOP didn’t even field a candidate in the race for mayor of Hartford, the capital city.    It seems as if Mitt Romney has written off Connecticut as unwinnable, even though he was elected governor of a state not unlike ours, and the most recent poll showed an 8 point race between him and the president, down to 5 if Romney picks Condoleezza Rice as his running mate.    The Public Policy Polling survey also found Romney winning independents and the president’s approval rating down to 50%, yet our 7 electoral votes are apparently of no interest to his campaign.

Romney has also turned down our requests for an interview, and like the president,  has come here for fundraisers but passed on interviews and rallies.     To quote the old Connecticut Lottery ad, “you can’t win if you don’t play.”

Bottom line:  our state is not a factor in this presidential election, so don’t expect any loving from Romney or Obama this year, but both will gladly take your money.

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19 Responses

  1. He obviously believes he will win this state. But it is kind of rude of him. But don’t forget he is the campaigner in chief, too many fund raisers to attend. That is all he cares about.

  2. Melanie: Willard has raised significantly more….check your facts and while your at it..release the darn returns ;)

    • “Check your facts…”?

      Everything she said was true.

  3. Yes, Mitt has raised more, but he is not the president. Obama has been campaigning for the last three years and not been doing his job. He had a majority in the House and Senate for two years. All he accomplished was getting Obamacare passed. The economy stinks and don’t say he inherited it from Bush. We are so tired of hearing that. It’s about time he took some responsibility.

  4. Name one damn president the public is satisfied with???? ALL POLITICIANS ARE LIARS!! They simply blab all of their BS to the pathetic, believing public, in hopes of securing a future for THEIR FAMILY that you and I would never imagine!!! Ever lie on a job application?? If you say no, you’re an effin liar…….well guess what? Every presidential candidate lies their ass off to get the job of their dreams…..who hires them?…the sucker believers……you’ve done it……I’ve done it…….only difference?? Voters hire the man that BS’s Americans the most!!!!!……..IT’S A LOSE LOSE SITUATION!!!!!

  5. Why would either candidate spend any time in a state that habitually and reflexively votes for Democrats in vurtually every election from top to bottom – even dog catcher. The Democrats could run an axe murderer for almost any office in the state and the Democrat drones would come out in droves to support him.

    I’m surprised you even asked the question of the White House or bothered to spend time writing a column about it.

    And as for chastising the GOP not running a candidate for mayor of Hartford….you’re kidding – right? Hartford just vacuums up taxpayer dollars from Republicans – it doesn’t vote for them.

  6. If the President doesn’t have time for Connecticut voters in August, how can he expect Connecticut voters to have time for him in November.

  7. TV stations make huge profits in ‘battleground’ states, but I am much happier without wall-to-wall politicals. It’s bad enough being saturated by Miss Flying Dropkick’s vanity festival.
    oldswede

  8. Doesn’t this lead credence to splitting our electoral votes based on the number of votes a presidential candidate gets in CT? Granted, 7 electoral votes is not a lot to begin with. And if the election in CT is close, then the split may be 4-3. Not sure if that is enough to make CT relevant again, but it’s worth a shot! We can give it a try for 1 presidential election and see if it makes a difference. The only problem may be that we have a Democrat majority in Hartford ruining, uh, running the show so they may not be inclined to change anything.

    • Proportional voting would result in putting 12-14 of our most populous states in the driver’s seat. The Founders – in another example of their profound wisdom – purposely created the Electoral College to ensure some semblence of balance between small and large states. It’s a wise compromise between a simple majority vote and proportinal voting.

  9. We are FL residents for most of the year (here for the summer). At least our vote will count there. We are disgusted with the politics here, too many very liberal Democrats who pander for the minority vote. Look at the mayor of New Haven, he has made that city a “sanctuary city”. What dosen’t he understand about ilegal ? It’s sickening! Don’t get me wrong, FL has it’s own problems, but at least you have to show ID to vote and they drug test for welfare.

  10. Romney leads Obama in CT in a recent poll among Unaffiliated, 47-40, and trails the President by only 8 points. That is close since Romney has spent no money in the state. Obama’s campaign is running TV ads in CT and Mass. What does that tell you?

  11. Obama is arrogant and so his campaign staff. Unless he gets desperate and suddenly appears in Bridgeport like he did 4 years ago about two days before the election. There is no way i would vote for a Democrat in Connecticut they are controlled by the crooked unions and the nasty liberal blogs. Time for all of them to go and give the Republicans their chance to run things.

  12. I just find it funny that neaither of them will show up eather one said they already have it or the other said it is unwinnnable. How about all of Connecticushiw them that our 7 means some thing.

  13. I hope the Dems think they have it won and don’t bother to vote. Maybe Romney would stand a chance. :)

  14. Here’s what One Party Rule will get you……More reason to vote with my feet in this state!

  15. Thank you for all your comments. Maybe something will change and they will campaign here.

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