News

Terrorism and Midterm US Elections Linked

Public opinion surveys in the United States suggest the Republican Party could lose control of one or both houses of Congress in the upcoming midterm election on November seventh.  The poll numbers are driven in part by voter perceptions of President Bush's handling of security issues.   Mr. Bush is making a series of major speeches on terror and the war in Iraq.  VOA's Peter Fedynsky reports these issues are expected to play an important role in the upcoming vote.

President Bush told an audience in suburban Atlanta, Georgia Thursday that the September 11th,  2001 terror attacks revealed gaps in America's national defense.  Mr. Bush said the country is safer today because of his administration's policies.

"We are safer because we've taken action to protect the homeland. We are safer because we are on offense against our enemies overseas. We're safer because of the skill and sacrifice of the brave Americans who defend our people."

On August 30th, the day before he began the current round of speeches, President Bush was asked if they would impact the midterm election.  "They're speeches about the future of this country,” he said. “And they're speeches to make it clear that, if we retreat before the job is done, this nation will become even more in jeopardy. These are important times, and I seriously hope people wouldn't politicize these issues that I'm going to talk about.

Opposition Democrats say the president does just that when he suggests that critics of his terror and Iraq policies are weak on national security.  They also reject the president's claim that Iraq is central to winning the war on terror. 

Retired general Wesley Clark competed for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. He says Iraq is a major strategic blunder.  "It's for America to face the facts.  Invading Iraq was an unnecessary war.  It distracted us from what we were trying to accomplish in Afghanistan.  And it's been counterproductive in winning the war on terror."

Public opinion polls support the general's statement.  Surveys indicate more than 60 percent of Americans questioned disapprove of the president's handling of the war in Iraq.  His anti-terrorism policies fare better, with support hovering at about 50 percent. 

But Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute says domestic economic and social concerns make security a pivotal issue for the Republicans. "They don't have [success on reducing] gas prices. They can't do much with Medicare prescription drugs.  All they've got going for them is the slight, very slight edge in dealing with terrorism."

Democrats need a gain of 15 seats to take control of the House of Representatives and six in the Senate.  Chuck Todd is the editor of "The Hotline," a political weblog. He says the political fortunes of both parties depend on the voters' mood on Election Day.

"If the voter goes into the polls thinking about Iraq then Democrats will have a big night.  If voters are going to the polls and thinking about terrorism then Republicans have a fighting chance," he says.

Republicans are expected to highlight terrorism in the fall campaign.  The pro-Republican grassroots organization Progress for America has already launched a national cable television advertising campaign to focus on the issue.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs