Two things have become clear in the presidential campaign over the past month. One, it’s evident that President Obama’s team believes, with good justification, that attacking Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital is its most effective line of attack. Second, it’s becoming clear that the attacks are doing more to buy the Obama campaign time than to seriously change the trajectory of the race.
For all the attention paid to Obama’s attacks, it’s remarkable how the president has been stuck right around 47 percent for a very long time. As The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza documented, Obama’s team has handily outspent Romney and his allied super PACs, pouring $91 million into eight swing states in an early barrage of spending intended to make Romney seem an unacceptable challenger.
But for all that effort, the numbers haven’t moved much:The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll out today shows the race deadlocked at 47 percent.
Meanwhile, in the coming months, Romney will have a spending advantage, having significantly out-raised Obama over the past two months. Along with the Republican National Committee, the campaign has $160 million cash on hand, a total that will likely be greater than the Obama team’s money. That will allow Romney to match or surpass Obama on the airwaves, at a time when more voters are paying attention.
It’s clear from the polling that voters have made up their minds about Obama, but many undecided voters are still learning about Romney. They’ve gotten their first impressions from Obama’s early television ads, but Romney will have the chance to tout his positives on television, at the convention, and in debates. There’s a reason why the Obama campaign is trying to disqualify Romney early on.
Because if they don’t score an early knockout, it becomes harder to win over the late deciders as the election approaches. Read more
--Josh Kraushaar, Hotline executive editor
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Poll: Obama, Romney Remain Tied
[National Journal, 7/10/12] Buoyed by his strongest performance to date among independents, Romney remains in a dead heat with Obama, as majorities disapprove of the president's handling of the economy as well as hot-button issues like health care and immigration.
Obama’s Best Hand: He’s Already President
[National Journal, 7/10/12] National Journal’s Alex Roarty writes that being in office during a time of economic distress might yet be Obama’s undoing, but the president thus far has worked to maximize the inherent advantages of incumbency with moves like this week’s proposal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for those making less than $250,000.
Cracks Appear in Republican Unity on Health Law Repeal
[New York Times, 7/9/12] Some Republicans fear that relitigating the health care law may make them look out of touch. A veteran GOP consultant tells The Times: “Anytime we’re debating health care, they’re winning.”
Veepstakes: Portman Met With Romney Aides
[ABC News, 6/10/12] Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, had six meetings over a six-hour span with some of Romney's chief campaign advisers, possibly including Beth Myers, the woman charged with vetting a running mate. He then clarified his comments, saying that three of the meetings were regarding fundraising, not vetting.
Guerrilla Tactics in 'War on Women' Attacks
[National Journal, 7/10/12] When it comes to waging the "war on women'' attack on Romney, the Obama campaign is pushing the envelope, according to National Journal's Beth Reinhard. A new ad cites Romney's response to a question at a Nov. 28, 2007, primary debate about whether he would sign a hypothetical bill outlawing all abortions. He said he would be "delighted ... but that's not where we are."
Romney Claims Ignorance on Caribbean Holdings
[TPM, 6/10/12] Romney said he did not have any responsibility for investments in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, claiming they’re part of a “blind trust.” He told an Iowa radio station on Monday: “I don’t manage them; I don’t even know where they are.” On Monday, Obama said that Romney's finances need to be an “open book.”
Boehner, Portman Slam Obama for Raising Small-Business Taxes
[National Journal, 6/10/12] Two prominent Republicans--Portman and House Speaker John Boehner--slammed Obama for raising taxes on small businesses and employing class-warfare tactics when he called on Congress to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for households earning more than $250,000 a year. Boehner said that the House will vote to extend all of the current tax rates at the end of the month.
GOP Looks to Paint Obama as ‘Outsourcer’ of Stimulus Dollars
[The Hill, 7/10/12] Looking to turn the tables on Obama’s frequent charges that Romney supported the outsourcing of American jobs, Republicans are making a new push to slam Obama as the “real outsourcer”: Some stimulus dollars helped companies create jobs overseas.
3 Simple Facts About Obama's Tax Gambit
[The Atlantic, 7/10/12] There are 3 facts about Obama's tax cuts that have been elided in coverage of it. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic analyses Obama’s gambit, before the media has time to fully chew on the proposal.
Obama’s Record on Outsourcing Draws Criticism From the Left
[Washington Post, 7/9/12] While White House officials say they have been waiting on Congress to act, Obama’s critics--particularly on the political left--say he has repeatedly failed to protect American jobs from being shipped overseas.
The Cook Report: Romney’s Identity Crisis
[National Journal, 7/9/12] Romney’s tenure running Bain Capital, layoffs, outsourcing, and now his personal finances give Democrats plenty of great fodder--and these attacks are working. Charlie Cook writes that if Obama’s campaign machine can define Romney before his own campaign even tries, Obama will win reelection.
Romney’s June Fundraising Outpaces Obama’s
[Christian Science Monitor, 7/10/12] For two months in a row, Romney and the GOP have taken in more money than Obama and the Democrats. Romney’s latest fundraising mark is another sign that Obama could be the first incumbent to be out-raised and outspent by his opponent. Obama is reaching out to donors for help.
Embattled Dems Diverge From Obama on Taxes
[Politico, 7/10/12] In the latest example of how the president and vulnerable Democrats are mounting diverging campaigns ahead of Election Day, several Democrats in critical House and Senate races say they prefer raising taxes on people who make more than $1 million. Among the embattled Dems: Sen. Claire McCaskill Missouri, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, and Rep. Shelley Berkley of Nevada.
Romney, at Harvard, Merged Two Worlds
[New York Times, 7/9/12] Romney completed an exclusive, little-known program at Harvard University that only about 12 people per year have finished: a dual-degree program allowing graduate students to get a law and business degree in just four years.
Independent-Voter Surge Cuts Into Dems’ Swing-State Edge
[Bloomberg, 7/9/12] In key swing states, independent voters are growing in numbers at the expense of Democrats. Bloomberg takes a look back: Historically, the rise of independent voters has had a major impact on recent election results.
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