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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / N2K Presidential Race

Gaffes Sting, Investigations Bleed

President Barack Obama.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

June 10, 2012

Gaffes come and go during political campaigns, usually in a couple of days. But investigations can feel like they go on forever.

Inquiries into the failed solar-panel firm Solyndra, for example, produced hearings and reports that kept the issue alive for months. Now, the Obama administration faces investigations at the Justice Department and perhaps hearings in Congress over whether sensitive national security information was leaked to reporters. Some say it was done for political reasons, to polish the president’s image.

Investigations do not always resonate with voters, but no matter what is found in this case, it is not good news for the Obama campaign. Investigations and hearings bring disclosures: information leaks, documents and emails are disgorged, witnesses are called and lawmakers make comments on television. The resulting coverage puts campaigns in a reactive mode that can pull them far off message.

The president has denied that his administration deliberately leaked information, and some lawmakers seem content to let the inquiries play out. But others are already saying the Justice Department probe is not enough, calling for special counsel to investigate.

More will have to come out before Obama sustains any real damage. But this much is clear: it will take more than a couple of days for this to blow past.

—Glen Justice

NATIONAL JOURNAL
’SPRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT

Battleground Counties: 'People Get Along Across the Divide'

[National Journal, 6/9/12] David Dent is an associate professor of journalism at New York University, who is showcasing the 272 swing counties. He recently talked to National Journal about his findings in these swing regions of the country.

Obama’s Data Advantage

[Politico, 6/9/12] President Obama's campaign is mining online data, amassing such a trove of information that their data-mining work could sway what's looking to be an extremely close election.

Romney Touts His Massachusetts Record as Fiscal Hawk

[L.A. Times, 6/9/12] Though Mitt Romney frequently references his cost-cutting experience during his time as Massachusetts governor, the real story is a bit more complicated, as state spending rose and the legislature overrode most of Romney's vetoes.

Swing State Job Growth Doesn't Guarantee An Obama Win

[Associated Press, 6/10/12] Seven of the 10 battleground states that will likely make or break this election have employment levels higher than the national average, which is good news for Obama but also highlights the fact that more than just employment matters when it comes to the presidential election.

Axelrod Cedes No Ground on Obama Gaffe

[National Journal, 6/10/12] David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor, fought back hard on Sunday against questions about the president’s comment last week that “the private sector is doing fine."

Obama Bristles When He Is the Target of Activist Tactics He Once Used

[Washington Post, 6/10/12] Once an activist himself, Obama knows well the tactics used by the liberal base to try to gain his support -- but those tactics don't seem to work on Obama, and sometimes they irk him.

In a World of Super PACs, Romney Rules

[Boston Globe, 6/10/12] Romney was quickest of all the GOP candidates to embrace a super PAC, and because Obama has long resisted them, Romney is far in the lead when it comes to the strength of the super PAC that supports him.

GOP Groups Top Democrats in TV Spending By Far

[Associated Press, 6/10/12] In the first days of June alone, Republican super PACs spent nearly $37 million on tv ads, compared to only $11 million spent by groups supporting Obama, according to an AP analysis.

Latino Growth Not Fully Felt at Voting Booth

[New York Times, 6/9/12] Though the Latino population is exploding, with more than 21 million Latinos eligible to vote this election, that growth is not translating to turnout at the polls, a trend that has caused Obama and Romney to focus much of their efforts on the demographic group.

Romney Adviser Slams Obama's Eurozone Policy

[National Journal, 6/10/12] A top economic adviser to Romney wrote an op-ed blasting President Obama's position on the European economy in the German business journal Handelsblatt, the New York Times reported, prompting cries from the Obama campaign that Romney's adviser is undermining U.S. foreign policy.

Santorum: 'I'll Answer the Call' from Romney on VP. (But it Hasn't Come Yet)

[National Journal, 6/10/12] Former Senator Rick Santorum apparently is not getting vetted as a candidate to be Mitt Romney's running mate, but he won't rule the possibility out. He also said he hopes to send "principled conservatives" to the Republican National Convention.

Obama's Campaign Asks Supporters to Grade Its Performance

[The Hill, 6/10/12] In a Saturday-evening email, Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina asked supporters to fill out a survey on the campaign's performance. "I want your input, because you are the ones building this campaign on the ground in your community," he wrote.

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