January 4th, 2012
07:45 PM ET

Letters to the President #1080: 'A close vote'

Reporter's Note: The Iowa caucuses have come and gone, and so have some candidates. But what I’m writing about in today’s letter to the White House is how thin the margin can be that keeps someone in.

Dear Mr. President,

Eight votes. That is how many more Mitt Romney received than Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses. It doesn’t seem like a lot.

Think about it. Eight votes, more or less, could have been the result of many, many, many different circumstances. Some guy forgets to gas up his car earlier in the day and doesn’t want to do it in the cold. Some woman decides she really needs to buy a slice of ham and can’t make it to the caucus. Some husband and wife have a kid playing in the high school basketball game. Some student has an early class at the local college and can’t see hanging out discussing politics half the night. Some woman hits a deer on a rural road.

Any or all of those scenarios could have affected the outcome of that vote, and we’ll never know which ones actually did. All we know is that it came down to a very small margin for the Republicans to pick a winner in the first big, official contest of the 2012 Presidential Election.

When it comes to the actual presidential vote, I sincerely hope that it won’t be that close. When we all vote later this year on whether you stay in office for a second term, I want that tally to be decisive. I don’t care which way it goes. I’m actually paid not to care about such things. But I would love to see my fellow Americans make it abundantly clear who they want in charge; either give you the keys to the Oval Office with a big blessing, or take them away with conviction and finality.

I know that the second option would be hard for you to take, just as the first option would upset a lot of Republicans. But I suspect it would be good for the nation. A clear, strong result that would leave no confusion; no one hollering “tie,” and no one doubting who won.

Call if you can. Busy days around our house lately, so I might not be able to talk, but give it a whirl.


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