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The long road to the White House

December 16, 2011 1:11:21 PM PST
I remember during the last Presidential election cycle, we ruminated that it seemed like the longest in history.

Perhaps because it was the first time since 1952 when neither an incumbent President or Vice President was on the ticket - so it was a wide-open ticket.

But this cycle also seems longer than usual.

Maybe it's the difficulty, at least so far, of any single would-be challenger to Pres. Obama to get any traction. Word now is that even the latest Republican frontrunner - former House Speaker Newt Gingrich - is slipping in the polls in Iowa, thanks to a rather brutal ad assault by Mitt Romney. He's still ahead - but the way Mr. Romney went relatively easy on him at last night's debate leads many pols to assume he's confident in the poll trend.

We'll see soon enough of course.

But you don't have to be a political scientist to understand that Americans this time around will likely be loathe to get too worked about any candidate. Not with the economy still in the tank and the immediate economic future not exactly sunny.

And so, no surprise, as The New York Times reports today, that the likelihood of a third-party candidate is now growing. And, thanks to an independent group that has greased the political skids, there's a good chance that any candidate - should he or she decide to run - would be on every state's ballot.

So let the parlor games begin about who an independent would take votes from - the Democratic incumbent or the Republican challenger?

We'll have the latest from the campaign trail, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're following the tragic and horrible murder-suicide of a mother and father - with their two young girls, 5 years and 20 months old - left abandoned at a motel where their dad's body was discovered in New Jersey.

He had, say cops, killed the mother in Old Bridge last night, and then killed himself at the motel. Just horrible.

Now we're learning new details about the troubles this couple had - warning signs from the past.

Also at 11, a fascinating look by our Nina Pineda at what at first blush seems like a great offer: Home Depot's discounts for military personnel. But there's been no shortage of complaints about the policy because, it turns out, there's a bunch of small print that makes the discount not all it's supposed to be.

So Nina and her 7 On Your Side team dive in - helping one vet's family get the discount they thought they should get, and helping Home Depot launch a retraining program for its employees. We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's weekend AccuWeather forecast, and Laura Behnke (in for Rob Powers) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

And finally, once again this year, I'll be anchoring our Christmas morning newscasts and, once again, we'll be taking emails from our viewers - emails about what the holiday means to you, memories and recollections of people no longer in your lives, what you're grateful for, what you're anxious about, whatever. We'll start an on-air campaign for emails this weekend, but I figured I'd give readers of this blog an early start. Send your emails for Christmas morning reading-on-air consideration to our Facebook page and your message will be forwarded to me directly. Here's the link: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/feature?section=news&id=8468216. I look forward to hearing from you.


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