Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.
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Host: Scott LaMar
We put Election 2012: The Race for the White House in the bull’s eye tonight at 8 on Smart Talk on witf TV. Former Democratic State Committee Executive Director Mary Isenhour takes on Republican State Committee Executive Director Mike Barley for a lively conversation we’ve dubbed, “It’s the Economy, Stupid, Part II.”
They’ll debate whether President Barack Obama or former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is best suited to lead the country to an economic revival. Be sure to weigh in with your vote live at 8 p.m. tonight by calling 1-800-729-7532, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, posting a comment here, or on Facebook or Twitter.
It has been a long, contentious and expensive race but the 2012 presidential campaign is winding down and voters will have their say on November 6. At stake in Pennsylvania are 20 Electoral College votes. It’s winner-takes-all. Our status as a battleground state, however, is in flux. We haven’t voted to put a Republican in the White House since 1988. With that history, neither candidate feels compelled to commit much personal time or campaign treasury to woo voters in the Keystone State.
Still, recent polls show the president’s double-digit lead in PA slipping to just four points, well within the polls’ margins of error. And, despite a resounding win in the first debate for Mitt Romney, Tuesday’s second debate saw a much stronger performance by Pres. Obama with many arguing he “won” it.
Mary Isenhour, now a partner at Isenhour Rooney & Carey Strategies, a public-policy advocacy and lobbying firm in Harrisburg, argues that Pres. Obama faced a virtually unparalleled economic disaster when he took office nearly four years ago. She says Obama’s stimulus plan saved the American auto industry and stopped the hemorrhaging of jobs in every sector of the economy. She further notes that he passed health care reform that will ensure that virtually every American has medical coverage. In short, she contends Obama has earned a second term.
“This president has gotten us on the right track, the road to recovery, and we will continue down this path in his second term,” Isenhour asserts. “One of the most important things is infrastructure, investing in our roads, bridges and transportation systems. It gets people working. And the president will continue to fight for that.”
Taking the GOP side, Mike Barley ticks off a list of economic negatives; 43 months of unemployment above 8 percent, a national budget deficit that stands at $1.1 trillion, a national debt that threatens to cripple future generations of Americans, and a health-overhaul law that stifles small businesses and job growth. Barley claims Obama has offered “failed” leadership that must end. Barley contends that Gov. Romney’s business acumen and executive leadership will propel America to an economic rebound.
“Gov. Romney has laid a clear vision for how he would revitalize the economy,” Barley says. “And he has a proven track record of doing it. The first point of his five-point plan is to get our country energy independent. That means a great deal to Pennsylvania, a state rich with natural resources from coal, to natural gas to wind and water. We have a lot of natural resources to take advantage of. Energy equals jobs.”
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