WASHINGTON (CNN) - How long will the voters give President Barack Obama to turn the economy around? The president-elect is already laying down markers:
- Last month, Obama pledged, "We are going to create 2.5 million jobs."
- This month, he laid down another marker: "That is how we will achieve the Number One goal of my plan, which is to create 3 million new jobs."
- And then another: "The report confirms that our plan will likely save or create 3 to 4 million jobs. Ninety percent of these jobs will be created in the private sector."
Obama is urging patience. "It's going to take some time," he told ABC News. "It's not going to happen overnight."
So, just how long will the voters give him? Let's look at the experience of other new presidents elected in bad times.
When Ronald Reagan took over, the unemployment rate was just over 7 percent. When Bill Clinton took over, the unemployment rate was just over 7 percent. What's the unemployment rate now, when Barack Obama's about to take over? Just over 7 percent.
(CNN) - November 27 may be Turkey Day in America, but in the world of politics, every day is turkey day.
Turkeys are foolish creatures - overstuffed, noisy and self-important. A lot like the politicians on our list of Turkeys of the Year.
Turkey No. 10: Rudy Giuliani puts all his eggs in one basket - Florida.
"We are going to win in Florida, and then we will be talking about exactly who made the right decisions," Giuliani says on CNN's "The Situation Room" a week before the primary.
Giuliani ends up third in Florida, with 15 percent of the vote.
The former New York City mayor was relying on the many former New Yorkers who have moved or retired to Florida. There's just one problem: most of them are Democrats, and Democrats can't vote in Florida's Republican primaries.
Bill Schneider has covered political conventions for more than 30 years and has covered them for CNN since the 1992 election.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - It's odd to present yourself as a maverick to the most partisan audience imaginable, as John McCain did Thursday night.
But the real audience wasn't sitting in the Xcel Center this evening to watch the Arizona senator accept the Republican Party's presidential nomination; it was the independents at home looking for a reason to vote for him.
It wasn't that long ago that McCain was the Republican most admired among Democrats. He retains some residual popularity with Democrats and particularly independents.
But some of that glow has faded.
He's certainly doing his best to regain some of that luster. He didn't talk much at all about divisive social issues: a brief reference to his support for life, no talk of gay issues, a brief reference to judges that don't legislate from the bench but no extended focus on social issues. That's not the core of his agenda.
But in a moment sure to be featured in campaign ads from now to November, he paid tribute to the sitting Republican president, George W. Bush. A risky move.
DENVER (CNN) - One of the interesting things that happens at national conventions is that a lot of state and local politicians are slated to address the convention outside of prime-time hours, at hours when the audience is usually small and inattentive. Those are filmed and preserved, and used in political campaigns to show a politician addressing the convention, to try to raise his political stature.
I was at the 1984 convention when an obscure Southern politician gave a speech at an afternoon session in San Francisco that was a tribute to Harry Truman. It was an unusually interesting and articulate speech that talked about a Democratic party that Harry Truman would not recognize — it was surprisingly critical of what had become of the Democratic Party.
I wrote the speaker a note telling him what an interesting speech he had given. He replied thanking me, telling me that was the only note he got in response to his speech.
That politician was Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, I didn’t save the note.
(CNN) - After the long, bruising primary battle with Hillary Clinton, a lot of Democrats were concerned Barack Obama would have a problem getting support from women, but the big surprise is that it could be men who become the deciding factor this election cycle.
According to the latest CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll Obama is running nearly even with John McCain among men. McCain has a slight edge with 49 percent to Obama’s 47 percent. Meanwhile, Obama leads McCain by 9 points among women 52 percent to 43 percent.
The support from men has become crucial for Republicans in past elections.
According to exit polls from the 2000 election, 53 percent of men helped George W. Bush get elected in 2000, with only 42 percent of men supporting Al Gore. In 2004 George Bush was re-elected with 55 percent support from men to John Kerry’s 44 percent. Most women voted for Gore and Kerry.
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton has made her vast experience a central theme of her campaign – and among those voters who said that was the top quality they were looking for in a presidential candidate, she was the undisputed choice in tonight’s exit polls: they chose her over Barack Obama by 93 to 7 percent in South Dakota, and 94 to 4 percent in Montana.
Barack Obama, meanwhile, has built his run around the need for change – and won large majorities of voters who said that was the most important quality in a potential commander-in-chief, beating Clinton by 67 to 33 percent among those voters in South Dakota, and 79 to 17 percent in Montana.
But even though they split tonight’s contests, it’s clear the advantage in this area was Obama’s: one in five voters in both states said experience was of paramount importance, but half of South Dakota’s voters, and 55 percent of Montana’s, said the ability to bring about change was essential in a candidate.
In Montana, voters who said having a president who cares about people was their priority split their votes almost evenly between the two candidates: Clinton had a 47 to 43 percent edge. But in South Dakota, which Clinton won, a significant majority of those voters – 60 percent – gave her the edge.
Former President Bill Clinton spent a lot of time in the state in the days leading up to Tuesday’s vote telling voters that his wife “cares about people like you.” It looks like that message sunk in.
(CNN) – CNN has projected that Hillary Clinton will win big in Puerto Rico. Why did she do so well there?
Two of the key reasons are her strong performance among those voters who favor statehood for Puerto Rico and her husband's popularity on the island.
According to CNN's exit polls, 60 percent of Puerto Ricans who participated in the primary favor statehood, and Clinton won 82 percent of those voters. Neither Clinton or Barack Obama have directly said they favor statehood for the island, but Clinton said earlier this week she thinks Puerto Ricans should be able to vote in the general election.
Bill Clinton's overwhelming popularity in Puerto Rico also gave the New York senator a boost. Just over 80 percent said they had a favorable view of the former president, and those voters went for Clinton by a 56 point margin, 78 percent to 22 percent. (Among the 15 percent who hold an unfavorable opinion of Bill Clinton, 76 percent voted for Obama.)