Daily Archives: November 5, 2012

By Gideon Rachman

Over the past few weeks, I have amused myself by betting friends that Mitt Romney will be elected president. The fun is in the shocked reaction from American liberals – and virtually all Europeans – who find the very thought of a Republican victory utterly horrifying. Even suggesting that a Romney presidency might be tolerable feels like telling Roman citizens that Alaric the Visigoth has been unfairly traduced

Rajoy is still angered by Spain’s snubbing during Mersch’s selection earlier this year.

If you thought the long, drawn-out saga of Yves Mersch’s nomination to a seat on the European Central Bank’s powerful executive board could not get any stranger, think again.

The Spanish government this morning informed Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, that it objected to the fast-track “written procedure” Van Rompuy had begun in order to get Mersch finally seated in the job. The procedure – which was begun after the European Parliament refused to sign off on the nomination last month – was due to end today, making it possible for Mersch to take the long-empty seat by November 15.

But the Spanish veto means Mersch now can’t go through and the appointment battle, which has dragged on for nearly ten months, will have to be taken up by the EU’s presidents and prime ministers when they summit in Brussels later this month.

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The final stretch: Barack Obama presses the flesh at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sunday (AP)

Welcome to the penultimate summary of media coverage of the 2012 US election campaign on a day when geography means nothing and psephology everything as the candidates make their final push for the few, surely very few, remaining undecided voters.

The polls on this last day of campaigning suggest President Barack Obama has a slight edge in the states he needs to hold – Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada – to keep the White House, but his opponent Mitt Romney is easily close enough for polls to be wrong and an upset to be possible.

RealClearPolitics.com shows “Obama (D)” ahead of “Romney (R)” by a sliver – half of a percentage point. Five national polls on Sunday gave the following margins: Obama +3; Obama +1; Obama +1; Tie; Tie. The possibility, last seen in 2000, of the victor losing the popular vote but winning in the electoral college, remains open. Read more

By Johanna Kassel and Shannon Bond

As life in New York returned to normal for many on Sunday — lingering brunches, runs in the park, American football games on television — the hardest hit areas of the five boroughs remained in the dark, running out of food and in desperate need of supplies to begin the clean-up process.

Red Hook, a mixed residential and industrial neighbourhood along the southwest edge of Brooklyn, was inundated by Hurricane Sandy. Artists and families had their basements and homes flooded, as did auto shops and metal fabricators. Thousands who live in public housing were still without electricity, meaning many were stuck more than a dozen storeys up without elevators. One of the largest grocery stores in the area was nearly destroyed and other stores were quickly emptied. Those who had cars to use to go in search of supplies couldn’t drive them because of the petrol shortage.

On Sunday morning, a queue of volunteers — mainly white twenty and thirty-somethings, many from nearby neighbourhoods on higher ground that had been spared flooding — wrapped around the block, overwhelming the storefront headquarters of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp, a business advocacy group where local organisers had launched efforts to coordinate volunteers. A few blocks away, the Red Hook Initiative, a community centre, served hot meals and dispatched supplies and volunteers to help the elderly and homebound. Read more