2012 presidential election

Halloween Blurs with Election Eve

It is only fitting that a high-profile, high-intensity presidential contest end with dignity — or not.

Donald Trump, apparently unmoved by the devastation at lower levels of New York than he inhabits, continued to press his $5 million bounty for anyone who could produce Barack Obama's college application.

Mark Cuban, buoyed by his TV fame on the Shark Tank, called Trump's bounty the "dumbest thing ever," then offered his own $1 million contribution to charity if Trump trimmed his comb-over.

Haunted by his dissing of the U.S. auto bailout, GOP contender Mitt Romney ran an ad in car-centric and Electoral-College-significant Ohio claiming Chrysler planned to move Jeep assembly jobs to China. The Italian president of Fiat, which owns Chrysler, denied the charge.

Then there was the claim from the National Rifle Association that the Obama administration would use the pretense of storm evacuation from Hurricane Sandy to confiscate people's guns. This was based on a report that a New Orleans police officer confiscated a handgun from someone in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, during the presidency of George W. Bush.

Cautionary Coat-tails in 2012 Presidential Race

Based on the present and projected GOP presidential lineup of potential nominees, it is hard to imagine President Obama losing California, Washington and Oregon in his 2012 bid for re-election. It is the Left Coast, after all.

But winning isn't everything in presidential politics. A candidate may not have coat-tails, but his or her campaign does. Those coat-tails can make a huge difference in so-called down ballot races for Congressional seats and statewide offices.

The most notable recent example occurred in 2008 when Republican presidential hopeful John McCain pulled the plug on his Oregon campaign. That pullout left a late, gaping hole in Senator Gordon Smith's campaign and arguably played a role in his eventual defeat by Jeff Merkley.

That helps explain why David Axelrod, Obama's top political adviser, showed up in Seattle to reassure Democratic officials and operatives the President wouldn't take the Pacific Northwest for granted.

Some show of force by the Democratic presidential candidate can translate into tangible help for fellow Democrats facing tough races. In Oregon, Congressmen Kurt Schrader and David Wu, assuming he survives a primary challenge, could be in fights for their political lives.