Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7th, 2012 Edition

Endorsements of Mitt Romney remain tepid
By Seema Mehta and Maeve Reston
Sunday, May 6, 2012

PITTSBURGH - Rick Santorum dropped his presidential campaign nearly a month ago, so his meeting here Friday with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney would have seemed like the perfect opportunity to offer Romney his endorsement.

But even before the 90-minute meeting took place, everyone knew that would not happen anytime soon. Santorum, like pretty much everyone else who has run in the Republican presidential contest, has embraced the party’s standard-bearer with a stiff arm. They will work to defeat President Barack Obama, they say. Yet few have been willing to get behind their party’s winner with anything approaching enthusiasm.

When he dropped out of the race last week, Newt Gingrich damned Romney with faint praise, saying that he was no Ronald Reagan and then reiterating in an interview that he thought Romney was a liar. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota got around to endorsing Romney on Thursday, four months after she dropped out. And some of the hottest stars in the party avoided weighing in until the race was a foregone conclusion - notably Sen. Marco Rubio, and former Gov. Jeb Bush, Floridians whose backing would have meant far more before the state’s primary in January.

Twitter plays outsize role in 2012 campaign
The Associated Press

May 7, 2012

NEW YORK –  @BarackObama is on Twitter. So is @MittRomney. And so are all the voters following the 2012 presidential contest, whether they know it or not.

Candidates, strategists, journalists and political junkies have all flocked to Twitter, the social networking hub where information from the mundane to the momentous is shared through 140-character microbursts known as tweets.

While relatively few voters are on Twitter — a study by the Pew Research Center found that about 13 percent of American adults have joined the site — it's become an essential tool for campaigns to test-drive themes and make news with a group of politically wired "influencers" who process and share those messages with the broader world.

Put simply: When a voter is exposed to any information related to the presidential contest, chances are it's been through the Twitter filter first.

"The subset of people on Twitter may be relatively small, but it's a politically engaged audience whose influence extends both online and off," said Heather LaMarre, a University of Minnesota communications professor who studies social media. "It's not the direct message that has the biggest influence on people — it's the indirect message."

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Greek Election Results Spook Markets
By Pan Pylus
Associated Press
May 7, 2012

LONDON (AP) — Renewed uncertainty over Europe's sprawling debt crisis following elections in Greece and France weighed on stock markets Monday, with the main exchange in Athens down a massive 8 percent at one stage.

Investors have been particularly spooked by the Sunday election in Greece, which resulted in a split Parliament with no party likely to be able to form a government. The two parties that governed as a coalition for the past six months were pummeled to the benefit of more extreme parties of the right and left. The socialist Pasok party suffered the biggest retreat. Its share of the vote collapsed from around 43 percent in the last election in 2009 to a little over 13 percent.

A period of uncertainty looms for the bailed-out country, which is in its fifth year of recession and has over half its youth out of work following big spending cuts and tax increases in return for crucial international bailout funds. If no government can be formed that can command a majority in Parliament, another general election within the next two months seems possible.

"Financial markets loath uncertainty, and so the reaction seen to the elections makes a great deal of sense," said David White, a trader at Spreadex.

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