10/29/2012 06:08 pm ET Updated Jan 02, 2013

The Election Issue

In this week's election issue of Huffington, Dan Froomkin looks back four years to a time when "the world seemed full of possibilities -- particularly for the people who spend their careers trying to make the world a better place." Revisiting some of the idealists who believed Obama's 2008 election would inaugurate an era of sweeping progressive change, Froomkin finds them, as he puts it, "chastened by the reality that Obama is a politician, not an activist." He looks at their disappointments, from Obama's abandoned campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay to the way the president surrounded himself with financial insiders like Tim Geithner and Larry Summers.

Elsewhere in the issue, Ben Hallman drills down on the foreclosure crisis, one of Obama's signature failures. The numbers tell the story: only 2.3 million American families have received assistance to help them avoid foreclosure, far short of the president's 2009 promise to bring relief to between seven and nine million families. And Hallman shows the awful reality behind the abstract numbers: the "cruel irony" faced each month by families "paying an inflated mortgage on an investment sold to them as the soundest financial decision they could make." As he puts it: "Sometimes the toughest part of a journalist's job is tracking down a person whose experience properly illustrates a story. Finding people who feel they have been screwed by their mortgage company, though, is distressingly easy."

As we enter the last week of the campaign, Jon Ward puts the spotlight on the three debates that drew millions of TV viewers and gave new life to the floundering Romney campaign. We see just how much the Romney camp invested in the debates -- seizing the opportunity to move beyond their candidate's lackluster convention performance, clumsy response to the Benghazi attack, and disastrous "47 percent" remarks -- and just how much President Obama's poor performance in the first debate shook the members of his inner circle. Ward takes us inside the swarm of reporters confronting David Axelrod and David Plouffe, "the twin swamis of the Obama high command," and lets us feel their relief after the second debate "stanched the bleeding for Obama." Reflecting on past debates that swung elections -- including Kennedy-Nixon in 1960 and Reagan-Carter in 1980 -- Ward predicts that, should Mitt Romney unseat the president on Tuesday, the first 2012 debate will join their historic ranks.

This piece first appeared in our FREE weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available in the iTunes App store.