Virginia crucial to Romney's battle plan

By Robert Shortt in Virginia It’s quiet, cold and the sun is shining. Washington DC is eerily calm. It’s a professional city, full of ambitious people caught up in the cut and thrust of politics and all of its attendant courtiers in the lobbying and policy worlds. But the two tribes of American politics have migrated to the seven or so battleground states where this closest of elections has been fought.

Every vote counts in swing states

By Cian McCormack in Virginia It’s been a gruelling campaign, not just for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but also for the armies of volunteers working tirelessly behind the scenes. In Virginia, the Democrats are getting to the doorsteps by busing in young “surrogate” canvassers from Washington DC. Lynn Schneider, an attorney from California, based herself in Norfolk for the election. She says: “Every vote is precious for every citizen, but especially in a state like Virginia.”

Result is not expected to be clear cut

By Anthony Murnane, Deputy Foreign Editor, who is en route to Washington DC to help cover the US elections for RTÉ News special programmes output. In his first blog, he wonders what mood awaits him in the US. At immigration clearance in Dublin Airport a photo of President Barack Obama looks down over the US officers checking travellers’ passports, visas and immigration forms.

Down to the Wire

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent Everybody – it seems – loves a battle; a contest. Be it the All-Ireland finals, the World Cup or Wimbledon. We all love the head to head match between the two strongest teams or individuals. And the American Presidential election has all the qualities of one of these epic encounters, which is why so many of us find it so compelling. And because there are generally only two combatants, the battle is all the more …

Advantage Romney?

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent We were almost writing off Mitt Romney’s chances of taking the Presidency only a couple of weeks ago. His campaign was plagued with errors and was running out of steam rapidly. Then came the October surprise. Romney took to the stage in Denver and demolished a lacklustre Barack Obama.

Debating Power: Obama vs Romney

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent The first Presidential debate is one of those key moments in this campaign. Both candidates have been preparing intensively for it. Mitt Romney has been holed up in various hideaways to hone his skills with Senator Rob Portman, a close associate, playing the role of debate opponent.

Romney Wobbles : Obama holding

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent With less than 60 days to go to the Presidential election, the pundits are moving into overdrive as the opinion polls show little change on the pattern established over the last few months. Some are writing Romney off as a poor candidate with a confused and confusing message. But that is undoubtedly premature. Mostly it is based on the speech (recorded without permission) of Mitt Romney discussing the 47% of people in America who pay …

Convention Shenanigans

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent Hurricane Isaac caused some problems for the Republicans in Florida and this week it is just a matter of rain. Storms, thunder and lightning are promised for Thursday, so the Democrats have had to shift from the newly refurbished stadium in downtown Charlotte to the much smaller Time Warner Arena. 


By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent So the Supreme Court of the United States will now be the final arbiter of whether President Obama’s modest health reforms will stand or fall. After three days of submissions and argument the judges will come back with an adjudication around the end of June. Oh yeah – and there is an election this year. An election for the Presidency of the United States! If ever there was the clear basis of a conflict between …

The ‘voodoo’ of venture capital

By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent, in San Francisco The Government has announced an investment of around €60 million in a venture capital fund, aimed at putting money into Irish companies and also getting the venture capital firms to set up in Ireland. How realistic is this? Richard Moran is an American legend. He is one of a hundred or so people in San Francisco who are counted in the top tier of venture capitalists.