Remembering the 2012 presidential election brings a slew of bipartisan memories – from Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks to Obama’s pre-election comment to Russian president Dimitri Medvedev that he would deal with the EU’s missile defense system after his would-be election. Dan Balz’ chronicled the election and spoke first-hand with candidates for his latest book, "Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America."
The book’s title reflects the clash between Democrats and Republicans – and between the 2008 election and the cutthroat 2012 Republican primary.
“It was a collision of two philosophies: Starkly different views of the role of government, what the government should do in terms of the economy, views on social issues, and two candidates who could not have been more different in the way they got to the field of competition in 2012,” Balz says.
Mitt Romney, who entered the campaign January 2011 and eventual won the party's nomination, told Balz that he didn’t write anything but an acceptance speech for election night in 2012. There was no concession speech.
Texas Governor Rick Perry told Balz that his back surgery prior to the race affected his stamina and sleep patterns, but he felt better towards the end of the campaign. Perry told Balz that "he had already essentially lost the campaign" well before his infamous "Oops" moment, "because of more seriously dismal performance in some of the earlier debates.”
Balz primarily interviewed Republican candidates for "Collision 2012;" the president declined an interview for this book, although he spoke twice for Balz’s 2008 book, "Battle for America."
Balz notes the collision of the two Americas he describes has not been resolved.
“I don’t think there was ever much innovative work done on the income inequality issue, on the gap between rich and poor, on the stagnation of middle class wages,” he says. “There is now such a red-blue divide in the country. The party allegiance becomes almost the overriding influence on how people end up voting. In some ways, the debate becomes secondary to the sense of self-identification.”