Democrats

Lionel Barber

I arrived in VIP-full Davos with one prediction in mind: 2014 will be the year the world returns to normality or at least the semblance of normality with the tapered exit from quantitative easing.

After three days at high altitude, the prediction is intact and I have five other takeaways. 

Gideon Rachman

Rand Paul during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Getty)

Rand Paul (Getty Images)

Rand Paul’s marathon filibuster last week – aimed at holding up the confirmation of John Brennan as head of the CIA – was much more than a parliamentary stunt. It has opened up interesting new debates and divisions on the future direction of US foreign policy.

Senator Paul’s highlighting of the Obama administration’s use of drones for “targeted killings” of terrorist suspects, has established an unlikely alliance between the libertarian right and the liberal left. Until Paul took up the drones issue, it was mainly the likes of the American Civil Liberties Union, who were making the running in criticising the drone strikes. But, as Paul illustrated, there is a good libertarian case for suspicion of the over-mighty covert state. Even more interestingly, Paul’s stand placed him directly at odds with the neoconservative wing of his own Republican Party.

The Wall Street Journal has denounced Paul for appealing to “impressionable libertarian kids” – a condemnation quoted with approval by John McCain, one of the party’s leading foreign-policy hawks.

Conveniently for President Obama, this argument between the two wings of the Republican Party places the president somewhere in the middle. He will never be as hawkish as the Republican neocons, many of whom are pressing for intervention in Syria, an assault on Iran and denouncing cuts in the Pentagon budget. On the other hand, the president’s expansion of the drone war and his unwillingness to rein in the burgeoning national-security apparatus makes him very far from being a “libertarian kid”. 

  • The daughter of Uzbekistan’s autocratic president, Gulnara Karimova, has for some time been the western-friendly face of the regime. She has released a duet with Gérard Depardieu, launched a fashion line and even has her own perfume. However, attention is turning to her other persona: “that of the ruthless businesswoman, ready to use her family position to crush business rivals.”
  • Bassem Youssef, Egypt’s equivalent of US chat show host Jon Stewart, has been the target of death threats and law suits, but he shrugs them off: “It is a guarantee that freedom of speech will not be oppressed if we continue to speak.”
  • Steven Cook at the Council on Foreign Relations argues that the Egyptian opposition’s feckless approach to politics underscores the need to replace wedge issues and anti-Muslim Brotherhood sentiment with real policies.
  • Why the White House shmooze-fest? The “president’s only route to a so-called grand bargain for deficit reduction is to go around the leaders to build a bipartisan consensus.”
  • As it is International Women’s Day, we thought we’d share with you this cheering article on the media’s double standards for women at the top.

 

Welcome to our rolling coverage of Barack Obama’s inauguration for another four years as US president, complete with agenda-setting speech. By Tom Burgis, Lina Saigol and Ben Fenton with contributions from FT correspondents. All times are EST.

11.00 For ease of reading, we’re going to switch into a new post. Like the transition between two presidential terms, this is meant to happen seamlessly. Just click here to go on reading the latest updates from our colleagues in DC.

 

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Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US Election 2012 as voters have re-elected Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. The Democrats will retain a majority in the Senate, while the Republicans will hold the house. Follow all the action with Shannon Bond, Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval in New York (All times EST).

02.20: As the celebrations continue in Chicago, we leave you with these closing thoughts.

The President came into tonight’s election a damaged political figure with victory far from certain. He won with help of a unmatched grass-roots campaign and his direct appeal to a broad cross-section of America’s ever-changing demographics. He won’t enter his second-term in office with the same momentum in his sails but that’s not to say his challenges are any less daunting. 

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Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US Election 2012 in which US voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As millions of Americans continue to head to polling sites around the country, some results will begin to trickle in shortly.

By Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval in New York (All times EST)

19.00: Continue to follow our election live blog here.

18.55: How will markets react tomorrow? Michael Mackenzie, FT’s US markets editor, says bond traders believe Treasury yields are likely to fall if President Obama is re-elected as attention will focus on gridlock and the “fiscal cliff”.

“Traders think a Romney win would push the benchmark yield higher as the risk of a fiscal accident is reduced. For equities, the consensus view is that a relief rally beckons once the election result is finalised, with a Romney win pushing stocks even higher.”

 

Voters wait outside a makeshift polling station on Sandy-ravaged Staten Island, New York. (AP)

Welcome to the FT’s live coverage of a momentous election in which US voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to lead them through a future of economic and political uncertainty. Here is our moment-by-moment reporting as months of bitter campaigning and rancorous rhetoric end, and voters finally have their say. By Anjli Raval and Arash Massoudi in New York and John Aglionby and Ben Fenton in London. (All times EST)

16.52 We’re going to take a short break before the polls start to close. Stay tuned for more live coverage on FT.com, which can be found here.

16.49: Lionel Barber, Financial Times editor, writes a piece from Washington saying that America’s real test comes after the polls: 

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. 

Welcome to a summary of US election coverage of a day when President Barack Obama had the luxury of dominating television screens without having to pay an extra cent in advertising, while his opponent Mitt Romney was forced into an uncomfortable position in the wings of a great drama.

 

In the Financial Times, Alan Rappeport reports from Atlantic City that Mr Obama’s position as incumbent gave him the opportunity not only to be pictured coming to the aid of a storm-battered New Jersey, but also inspecting damage alongside the state’s governor, Chris Christie, who has been one of Mr Romney’s main surrogates in attacking the president. 

Welcome to a summary of US election coverage on a day when the advantages of incumbency will surely continue to work on behalf of President Barack Obama.

His role in supervising the clear-up of damage caused by the biggest storm to hit the eastern US in 75 years puts the president in centre shot of news footage that for at least the next 24 hours will be broadcast into every home of the US, airtime that could not be bought.

Latest polls show the presidential race is still being fought on the thinnest margins in states that have either been dealt glancing blows by Sandy – Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, – or know only too well what it is like to be mangled by the forces of nature – hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in Iowa.