Compton Offers Presidential Perspective at Legislative Dinner

Flanked by Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar, Ann Compton regaled Legislative Dinner attendees with her stories about past presidents, and her opinions of President Trump and the media today.

With more than 40 years of experience covering the administrations of seven presidents, former ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton had plenty to share Tuesday night at the Indiana Chamber’s 2017 Legislative Dinner.

A few of her reflections and projections:

On the media: “In this digital age, my business, the news industry, is almost unrecognizable to me. It wounds me to hear that the free, American press is the enemy. We in the mainstream press have to work responsibly and openly to earn back your trust.”

On prior presidents and the media: George H.W. Bush originated the hat with the saying, “Annoy the Media: Re-Elect Bush” (Compton still has hers); Barack Obama “lashed out at the press” in a private, off-the-record session when he was not happy with the tone of the reporting.

On fake news sites: “They are more like criminal enterprises.”

On the ultimate test for presidents: “They are measured by the crises they face.” Compton listed several, including the younger President Bush and 9/11, sharing personal anecdotes about that day as a result of her being the only broadcast journalist on Air Force One after the attacks.

On Donald Trump: “This man is remarkably consistent (in style), but not necessarily on policy.” Noting that 30 years ago he didn’t carry a briefcase or schedule too many meetings, saying, ‘You can’t be imaginative or entrepreneurial if you’ve got too much structure.’ We’re seeing that applied today.

On looking forward: Despite her concerns, she says, “I really do believe the republic is strong, our country is strong.”

View event photos.

The Legislative Dinner, with more than 700 attendees at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, was presented by Ice Miller, with Lifeline Data Centers sponsoring the opening reception. Gold sponsors: Eli Lilly and Company, NIPSCO and St. Vincent. Silver sponsors: Alcoa; American Chemistry Council; AT&T Indiana; Delta Dental of Indiana; French Lick Resort; Hoosiers Work for Health; Indiana Career Hub; IGT Indiana; Ivy Tech Community College; The Kroger Co.; Majestic Star Casino & Hotel; Old National Bank; Roche Diagnostics Corporation; Smithville; and Vectren.

The 2018 Legislative Dinner will take place February 13.

Poll Results: Consumers Can Make the Difference

While Washington — the President and/or Congress — receives most of the criticism (and high disapproval ratings) for whatever ails our country, respondents to our recent poll question took a different path.

The question was posed this way: What person/group can do the most to provide a boost to the economy? Your overhwhelming answer: 79% said individual consumers. Ten percent each offered federal regulatory agencies and state government officials.

Yes, there’s something to the way the question was worded. If we had asked who was to blame for the slow economy, then the White House and Congress likely would have led the way. With our "who can do the most?" terminology, consumers are a logical response. In other words, start spending and economic activity in various forms will return.

But consumers, both individuals and business, are not acting because of the uncertainty. And the uncertainy is typically blamed on guess who — those in Washington who are failing to provide anyone with the ability to know or even guess what is coming next.

Or maybe I’m just reading a little too deep into it.

Just wanted to share those results and let you know a new question is on the site (upper right corner). It asks: Should online retailers (on a national basis) be required to collect sales taxes? And if you need background on that complicated topic, take a look at this recent analysis from the Chamber’s Bill Waltz.

Call, Listen, Learn and Comment on Federal Topics

So you want to know how what is taking place in Washington these days is going to impact your company here in Indiana? 

Good idea. Do you have a couple of days? How about a full week in our nation’s capital? After several years in which most of Washington simply seemed to be looking toward the beginning of a new administration, the Obama team, as expected, has hit the ground running. Regulatory agencies, Congress and the White House are all operating at full steam ahead.

Since the days or week options aren’t realistic, how about a one-hour Policy Issue Conference Call (formerly known as the First Friday Conference Call) for Indiana Chamber members. Our monthly (and sometimes more frequently) Friday updates goes federal for the first time on April 10 (9:30-10:30 a.m. Eastern).

I get to do my funny (at least some family members think so) opening comments, then turn the program over to Cameron Carter, the Chamber’s federal relations guru. Cam will talk Employee Free Choice Act, proposed health care reforms, runaway spending and more. There will be plenty of time for your questions and comments.

If your company does not belong to the Indiana Chamber, join today. Learn more.

Thirty Minutes (or More) and Counting

OK, it’s 5:30 p.m. and we’re supposed to be 30 minutes away from the polls closing. But the "in the chute" law that allows those in line at 6 p.m. to cast their ballots is expected to come into heavy use this time around. How heavy? We’ll just have to wait and see.

While the focus in the next few hours turns to the outcomes, we best not forget the victory for democracy. Hoosiers have been engaged, perhaps as never before, through the contested Democratic presidential primary and the close race for the White House this fall. Indiana as a battleground state? Not in my 46 years — or at least in the memories.

Let’s hope this is a good sign for the future. We’re electing our representatives. At the risk of sounding corny, it’s not just a right to vote, it’s a responsibility to be taken seriously.

Let the vote counts begin!

Ohio Truly Qualifies as Battleground State

Presidential politics and intrigue have been rarely used together in Indiana in the last 44 years. Hoosiers have backed the Republican candidate for the White House every four years since 1964.

While Hoosiers are back in the spotlight this year, our neighbor to the east has been at the forefront in the last two election cycles. Ohio has a few interesting election facts of its own:

  • No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio
  • Ohio (along with Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee) is one of four states to back the presidential winner in each of the elections since 1964
  • John F. Kennedy was the last Democrat to win the presidency while losing the vote in Ohio

It will be interesting to see what happens in both states this time around, in regard to potential vice president nominees and the November vote.

Cook: GOP Has Work to Do

The Cook Political Report, featuring Charlie Cook, has analyzed Washington politics and national trends since 1984. His work is highly respected in most circles.

An early look at the 2008 general election proves interesting — John McCain and Barack Obama in a very close race and other Republican candidates having an uphill struggle.

Among the nuggets from Cook is the fact that a party seeking a third consecutive term in the White House only succeeds about 20% of the time.