Welcome back to Hotline Sort. Romney prepares for his overseas trip, Obama's burn rate draws attention, Charlie Crist hints at a return to politics, and John Tierney's in big trouble in Massachusetts. Here's today's rundown:
12) There are a lot of dysfunctional state party organizations - both Republican and Democrat - but California' s Republican party is one of the worst.
11) The Boston Globe reports on trouble in Camelot: Ted Kennedy's sons are feuding with the late senator's widow Vicki Kennedy - and the "already-frayed relationship" is "at the breaking point." The two are concerned that Vicki Kennedy is "badly bungling the efforts to create what their father had hoped would be a monument to his storied career in the US Senate," according to a source close to the family.
10) Bad blood in Connecticut: Former GOP Rep. Chris Shays, underfunded and undermanned in his primary against Linda McMahon, said he won't be endorsing her if she wins the nomination. Shays told the New Haven Register's editorial board: "I have never run against an opponent that I have respected less -- ever -- and there are a lot of candidates I have run against." Fighting words, indeed.
9) It's getting harder to see how Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., will be able to win another term in office, given the explosive allegations of ethical impropriety around him. The Boston Globe published an front-page look at the congressman's ties with his wife's brother-in-law Robert Eremian, a convicted drug smuggler and tax evader.
From the Globe: "John Tierney's family crisis is threatening his political future as voters ask what the Salem Democrat knew -- or could easily have found out -- about the rampant lawbreaking by his relatives."
Tierney is facing his toughest Republican challenger in years, former state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei. Republicans are growing increasingly bullish about the race, but are concerned that the scandal has snowballed so much lately that Democrats will find a way to replace him on the ballot. The Massachusetts filing deadline has already passed; the primary is on September 18.
8) If you're looking for a sign that former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will run for office again but as a Democrat, his op-ed in Saturday's Washington Post is a good piece of evidence. Crist attacks the GOP effort to crackdown on illegal voting, writing that "he's concerned that zealots overreacting to contrived threats of voter fraud by significantly narrowing the voting pool are doing so with brazen disrespect and disregard for our greatest traditions."
Florida political watchers believe the op-ed is a surefire sign that he's looking to run for governor against Rick Scott as a Democrat in 2014. (Scott has led the fight in Florida for voting reform.) Crist left the Republican party to run as an independent in the 2010 Senate race; he finished a distant second behind Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
7) Viral video alert: The campaign of Sen. Scott Brown
, R-Mass , released a Web ad
titled "Let America Be America Again." The ad replays President Obama
's comments that entrepreneurs aren't entirely responsible for their own successes, with Elizabeth Warren
's earlier comments expressing similar views. The 2-minute video starts by featuring past presidents extolling the American free-enterprise system.
6) Tale of the fundraising tape
: Republicans have received 56 percent of contributions from corporate super PACs and employees this election cycle -- a turnaround from 2008, when corporate PACs and employees gave Democrats 55 percent of their donations. It's a sign that corporations are much less ideological than commonly portrayed - most like to bet on the winners, and they're anticipating Republicans will have a good shot at taking back the White House and the Senate.
5) The New York Times profiles
one of the biggest players in the world of Republican super PACs - American Crossroads political director Carl Forti
From the NYT: "After years in the Republican Party trenches, Mr. Forti, 40, is now a consultant and strategist for the biggest of the outside groups and "super PACs" that are rapidly displacing parties as the means for raising and spending vast amounts of political money.
"In those roles, his work embodies the coordinated punch brought by like-minded groups to the effort to oust President Obama and give Republicans full control of Congress.
"And as a veteran of Mr. Romney's inner circle, he brings to the effort a keen understanding of the Romney campaign's needs even as he is barred by campaign finance law from working directly with it."
4) A convention-themed story
we hear every four years: "In an effort to control demonstrations and prevent disturbances, officials in Tampa are taking unusual steps that they say will help ensure public safety but that many demonstrators and civil liberties advocates say will place unacceptable limits on public dissent."
3) George W. Bush won't be attending
the Republican National Convention. Neither will Rep. Roscoe Bartlett
, R-Md, facing his toughest campaign since being elected to Congress.
2) Mitt Romney
will be spending ten days abroad on an upcoming trip overseas that is filled with political significance. He will be traveling to Britain, Israel and Poland to "establish a solid foreign policy doctrine that distinguishes him in a meaningful way from the president," the New York Times writes
. He will meet with the leaders of all three countries, other government officials, opposition leaders, and at least one U.S. ambassador. He plans to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics, visit sites of historical significance, and hold public events in at least two of the countries. The Wall Street Journal reports
that "the trip is less about weighing in with policy proposals on those tensions, and more about celebrating American allies, an area where many conservatives believe President Barack Obama has fallen short."
Meanwhile, Romney's foreign policy team is filled with both "neoconservative" hawks and more-moderate voices, the Wall Street Journal writes
, making it challenging to discern how Romney as president would handle a slate of emerging foreign policy challenges.
1) The Wall Street Journal reports
that the Obama campaign "may enter the season's final stretch confronting hard choices: paring salaries, scaling back advertising or pulling out of swing states," because of their high burn rate of spending over the last month. Obama has been outraised by Romney over the last two months, but "spent twice as much as Romney in June, as his campaign purchased more TV ads, paid more than twice as many employees and spent millions of dollars on public-opinion polls." Obama and the DNC now have less cash-on-hand for the final campaign stretch, banking $147 million at the end of last month, compared to $170 million for Romney and the RNC.