Romney’s economic lies

It’s part of Mitt Romney’s core narrative: Massachusetts, in the throes of a fiscal freefall, fell back on his CEO skills and turnaround wizardry to spark — in his words — “a dramatic reversal of state fortunes and a period of sustained economic expansion.”

It’s a rosy opinion of Massachusetts’ economy that few in the state share. Instead, observers say, the state’s recovery from a disastrous 2001 recession has been tepid at best, and Romney gives himself more credit than deserved on job creation and balancing the state budget.

Let’s focus on foreign policy

In 2008, presidential candidates are not giving sustained emphasis to foreign policy, but those concerns are present and candidates do make regular references to the wider world. In the Democratic debate in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, Hillary Rodham Clinton took a swipe at Barack Obama’s declared willingness to meet with dictators.

Losing the endorsement game

Hillary Rodham Clinton lost another big endorsement besides that of Caroline and Ted Kennedy this past week. The Clinton team had tried to cultivate young Ilana Wexler, 15, who four years ago got an ovation at the Democratic National Convention when she called in her speech for Vice President Dick Cheney to take a “timeout” for using an obscenity during a fit of pique with a Senate Democrat.

Alas, the Oakland, Calif., teen chose to endorse Barack Obama, saying she was attracted by his hopeful message and influenced by her peers, who liked him best, too.

Hillary, Barack try civility

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama struck a rare note of civility in their White House battle, uniting to observe that history was in the air as the Democrats vie to seize back the presidency.

A star-studded audience at the Kodak Theatre — home of the Oscars — was on hand late Thursday for their first one-on-one debate, but the drama and backbiting seen in previous encounters was replaced by a polite exchange of policy priorities.

Super Tuesday: A not-so-super idea

The race among the states to have earlier contests in order to share in the attention the press and politicians lavish on Iowa and New Hampshire has given us Super Tuesday, or, as the more breathless are calling Feb. 5, Tsunami Tuesday.

In a campaign scheduler’s nightmare, 22 states will hold Democratic primaries; 21, Republican.

Experience is more important than charisma

Voting for any candidate at any level requires a leap of faith and that is particularly the case in a presidential election, even when one has a strong party affiliation. Quite often, the most appropriate guide is the old adage that the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.

Romney’s free ride on abortion

One of campaign 2008’s mysteries is Mitt Romney’s free ride from anti-abortion advocates. His anti-abortion declarations are eloquent, as is everything else the silver-tongued former Massachusetts governor utters. But, once again, his rhetoric is at war with his record.

Negative campaigns: Yes and no

As is the case with beauty, wit and cuisine, negative politics occurs in the eye of the beholder, or in this case, the voter.

The 2008 presidential campaign has turned rough, which is no surprise in an election where so much is at stake. This week’s Exhibit A was Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy’s endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for president over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Kennedy’s move was motivated, at least in part, because he was upset with negative shots at Obama taken by former President Bill Clinton on behalf of his wife’s campaign.

Not much sympathy for Rudy

In what used to be the shadow of the World Trade Center, it was hard to find much sympathy for former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as he exited the presidential race.

“People liked him back in the day. But it’s over,” sidewalk salesman Irving Puryear declared, standing on the same patch of Broadway where he was forced to run from a cloud of debris and dust following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Voters want a champion

Americans have a decidedly dour view of how things are going in the country and an outsized view of what one person — the president — can do about it.

In a year when talk of change is all the rage in the presidential campaign, people have great expectations for the next president’s ability to get things done, according to an extensive Associated Press-Yahoo News survey released Thursday.