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On our radar this morning: Foreign policy on the front burner at last night's debate.
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SOUTH CAROLINA DEBATE/2012
If one candidate seemed particularly on unfamiliar ground it was Mr. Cain, who was not his usual affable self, speaking more deliberately and tentatively in a debate that did not give him a single opportunity to promote his signature “9-9-9” tax plan.
Since televangelist Pat Robertson surged to second place in 1988, Iowa evangelicals have proved pivotal in deciding the coveted top three finishers in the Republican caucuses. In The Des Moines Register’s late October Iowa Poll, 37 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers identified themselves as born-again Christians. An even larger bloc in the poll, 45 percent, consider themselves very conservative on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage.
“But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades,’’ the president said. “We’ve kind of taken for granted - well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America."
A new Obama administration policy to avoid deportations of illegal immigrants who are not criminals has been applied very unevenly across the country and has led to vast confusion both in immigrant communities and among agents charged with carrying it out.
“I just don’t think they tried hard enough, and I’ve told the administration that,” said Alan S. Blinder, an economist at Princeton and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. “They haven’t done the really difficult things — like using a lot more public money. Yes, there are legal complexities, political difficulties and all that. But stemming this epidemic of foreclosures was — and still is — vitally important.”
Obama will start 2012 with a base of 215 electoral votes, while his G.O.P. opponent will begin with a base of 162 electoral votes. That would leave thirteen potentially competitive states over which to fight. Obama won ten of these thirteen states in 2008.
Retail sales probably rose in October and U.S. manufacturing accelerated, helping give the world’s biggest economy a boost entering the final months of 2011, economists said before reports this week.
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