Welcome back to Hotline Sort. Rabbi Shmuley gets on the GOP's radar, Mourdock connects Donnelly to President Obama, Cory Booker indicates renewed interest in challenging Christie, and Democrats tie Connie Mack to Charlie Sheen. Here's today's Sort:
14) This quirky ad from Indiana gubernatorial candidate John Gregg has sparked lots of conversation from the Indiana political class. It's either a brilliant portrayal of Gregg's small-town roots, or as Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully describes the criticism, makes "Hoosiers look like unsophisticated hicks."
13) "Obama Joe." It's the moniker Indiana Republican Senate nominee Richard Mourdock is giving Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in his latest campaign ad, which hits the airwaves this morning.
The ad's script: "It's Joe Donnelly who already voted twice for 'Obamacare,' cutting $700 billion from Medicare, denying services for seniors, cutting Medicare Advantage. No wonder they call Donnelly 'Obama Joe.'"
12) The National Republican Congressional Committee added Rabbi Shmuley Boteach to their list of top recruits. Boteach, mounting a long-shot bid against Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., has also gotten support from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, who donated a half-million dollars to a pro-Shmuley super PAC.
11) Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, a former congressman, turned in 20,000 signatures to secure a spot on Virginia's ballot. (He only needed 10,000.) Goode, who has the distinction of representing his district as a Republican, Democrat and independent, could threaten Mitt Romney's chances in a razor-tight race in the state.
10) Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine (D) shows off his Spanish fluency in his latest ad, where he discusses the values he learned as a missionary in Latin America and the work he did as governor on education and for small businesses.
Turning out the Hispanic vote will play a pivotal role in what's expected to be a razor-tight race against George Allen.
9) Univision isn't hosting a debate, but it did land interviews with the two presidential candidates. The interviews will be moderated by Univision's Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas. They will "take place in front of a live audience and will most likely air on a delay with Spanish-language translation," according to the New York Times.
8) Patrick Murphy, the Democratic challenger to GOP Rep. Allen West, recently came out with an amusing new ad, using children to read back some of his most strident criticisms of Democrats. Murphy then appears to tout his desire to work across party lines. The SaintPetersBlog is reporting that the ad is a significant buy airing in the West Palm Beach-Treasure Coast market.
West's response: ""It is appalling that Patrick Murphy is exploiting young children to cover for his startling lack of intellectual ability and complete ignorance of the issues."
7) Newark Mayor Cory Booker
, whose stock seems back on the rise after his surrogate stumbles, is now giving signals that he's interested in running for governor against Chris Christie
, according to PolitickerNJ.com
The story reports Booker and his political consultant Mark Matzen
are "meeting face-to-face with county chairs and making it known that Booker is weighing a run for governor and plans to decide by December," Booker is also slated to present the Democratic party's platform at the Democratic National Convention next month.
Many Democratic insiders believed that Booker was more interested in the Senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg
. The carefully-timed leak could be a sign that party leaders are looking for Booker to play a more partisan role than he's accustomed to, and counter Christie when he delivers the keynote address at the GOP Convention.
6) Even as embattled Missouri Senate nominee Todd Akin
insists that he's staying in the race, it's not stopping other Republicans from spreading anonymous dirt about some of his potential replacements. Politico reports
that the state GOP received an anonymous letter attacking Rep. Jo Ann Emerson
's conservative credentials, and calling her a "RINO."
Emerson's name had been floated as a potential Senate candidate early on, but expressed little interest. Her relatively moderate record would have made it awfully tough for her to win a primary.
5) Meanwhile, Akin's consultant Rex Elsass spoke to the Wall Street Journal
, where he denied he pressured Akin to stay in the race and blamed the GOP establishment's discomfort with social conservatives as driving the pressure to push Akin out.
"There are people at the highest level of this party who don't want social conservatism discussed in the primary or by the nominee," Elsass said.
In other Akin news: The FBI and the Capitol Police are investigating threats made against Akin after his controversial comments about rape, USA Today
reported. "Multiple people have threatened rape and harm against Akin, his staff, and family," one official source told a St. Louis TV station.
4) It never hurts to recycle: Majority PAC released a scathing ad in Florida
, comparing GOP Senate nominee Connie Mack IV
to Charlie Sheen
. Titled "Tiger Blood," the ad brings up past bar brawls, debts and liens, lawsuits filed against him and a history of partying.
If the ad sounds familiar, it's almost a carbon copy of the attacks ads that former GOP Sen. George LeMieux
aired against Mack before dropping out of the primary. But LeMieux didn't have enough money to air them on television; they were only on the radio.
3) All steak, no sizzle: Romney told the Wall Street Journal
that he "won't be part of the celebrity-style culture often favored by politicians." Despite pressure to be more revealing, he says he won't use his campaign as "a way to personalize me like I'm a piece of meat."
The story reports that Romney refused to appear in Web video promoting his biography after he secured the nomination, even though his top staff recommended he do so.
2) President Obama
turned down an offer from New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan
to offer a benediction at the Democratic National Convention, the New York Post reports
. He'll be delivering a prime-time invocation at the Republican National convention in Tampa.
Obama and Dolan have clashed over the administration's health-care law requiring employers to provide abortion coverage.
1) Mitt Romney's convention reset: the GOP presidential nominee is out with an op-ed
in the Wall Street Journal
, re-outlining his successes turning around business at Bain Capital. In it, he connects his lessons learned at Bain to his management of the Salt Lake City Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts.
The kicker: "I know what it takes to turn around difficult situations. And I will put that experience to work, to get our economy back on track, create jobs, strengthen the middle class and lay the groundwork for America's increased competitiveness in the world."
Meanwhile, Romney looks like he will be nominated early
- on the Monday of the convention - to both prevent potential disruptions from supporters of Ron Paul
and to accomplish the important task in case Hurricane Isaac disrupts the convention later in the week.
And Politico reports that Ann Romney
's highly-anticipated speech may occur Tuesday instead of Monday because the broadcast networks (NBC, ABC, CBS) aren't airing any prime-time convention coverage Monday.