Red, White, and You: Meet Your Presidential Candidates

In the last month I've witnessed a politician refuse to be bullied, an iconic actor talking to an imaginary foe, and a presidential GIF go viral.

It must be election season.

Welcome to the 2012 presidential campaign, where an untimely remark can be costly and speeches are peppered with thinly-veiled quips at the opposition. Whether you're boldly blue or relentlessly red, this runoff is sure to be one heck of a show. Let's discuss the players, shall we?

To my left we have former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. His campaign slogan, "America's Comeback Team", underscores his promise to help the country recover from its economic slump and "get America back to work."

In 1984 Romney co-founded Bain Capital, one of the world's leading management and financial services companies. The company proved profitable for Romney and has contributed to his considerable net worth. Opponents of Romney use his financial status and privileged background—including a father in politics and an Ivy League education—as indicators of his inability to relate to the common man.

Romney has refused to release more than two years of his tax returns, prompting many to wonder if he's hiding something. He officially accepted the Republican nomination on August 30 at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. The broadcast made headlines when supporter and actor Clint Eastwood took the stage with an empty chair and feigned conversation with the president.

Which brings me to my right, where we have current president and Democratic nominee Barack Obama. He argues that, contrary to what Romney states, the economy has actually improved since his term began, with roughly 4.5 million new jobs created. Obama's campaign slogan, "Forward", assures the public that he will continue to restore our country's economy and push it to new heights.

Obama's biggest supporters are blacks, women, and the younger population—not surprising considering his background. Obama was raised by his mother and grandparents. During speeches he emphasizes his tight-knit family structure, despite coming from a single-parent household. In 1996 he was elected to the Illinois Senate and became a US senator in 2005. His progress up the political ladder culminated with his presidential election in 2008, making him the first black person to ever hold the office.

Because of his relatively young age—he was 47 when he became president—Obama does well relating to a younger demographic. He and his family are huge fans of pop star Beyonce; he even invited her to perform at his inauguration ball. Additionally, his campaign makes good use of social media to help promote his platform, including Twitter updates to over 19 million followers. Following Eastwood's performance during the RNC, Obama's reelection team tweeted a picture of Obama seated in his presidential chair with the caption "this seat's taken."


Now you're all caught up. Next time we'll discuss the vice-presidential nominees and what they bring to the table. Until then, I offer you a bit of advice and my personal slogan: Stay Informed.