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N2K Presidential Race: Believing in a Place Called Dissension

Democratic dissonance over how Obama talks about the economy is succor for Republicans.

June 11, 2012

You’d need to go back to George W. Bush’s presidency to find a White House so susceptible to irritation by heavyweights from the last time an administration’s party held power.

Here’s James Carville and Stan Greenberg, mandarins from the Clinton era, in a memo released earlier Monday, writing about “a fairly diminished embrace of Obama and the Democrats, the lesser of two evils, without much feeling of hope.” If President Obama listens to “the elites” who argue he “must run on his economic performance,” they argue, “that will fail.”

Carping from the old gang provides bunker-busting cannon fodder for the other side—in this case, Mitt Romney’s campaign. Carville’s and Greenberg’s exhortations to Democrats—to “move to a new narrative, one that contextualizes the recovery” and emphasizes “a better future for the middle” class—are couched in plenty of anti-Romney barbs, but the Democratic dissonance is succor for Republicans.

There is, of course, a comfort for the Obama generation of Democrats, of 2008 vintage. All the Clintonian forces brought to bear on that election—eons’ worth of collected tactical and strategic wisdom—culminated in a big speech at a Denver stadium, followed by another one on the steps of the Capitol, and by the guy who flouted them at every turn.

--­Jim O’Sullivan
@JOSullivanNatJo

NATIONAL JOURNAL
’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT

Obama’s Rough Stretch Exposes Weak Spots
[ABC News, 6/10/12] This has not been a good stretch for President Obama’s reelection campaign. From poor jobs reports to gaffes to Wisconsin, the Romney campaign is smelling blood. With his latest comments on the private sector, Obama takes some ownership of a struggling economy.

Priorities USA, SEIU Release Spanish-Language Ads Attacking Romney
[National Journal, 6/11/12] A new $4 million campaign from pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action and the Service Employees International Union will target Hispanic voters in Colorado, Nevada, and Florida. The Spanish-language ads will run throughout the summer and feature some of Mitt Romney’s lowlights from the campaign. Priorities is also launching a new ad against Bain Capital.

 

Romney to Launch Swing-State Bus Tour
[Politico, 6/11/12] Get on to the bus! Romney is setting out on a five-day bus tour that will put him in six battleground states: Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Hampshire, where the tour will kick off on Friday. At the same time, the Obama camp will be highlighting the auto bailout all week in Michigan.

Obama Asserts He's in Control of Agenda NEW!
[Associated Press, 6/11/12] Obama seems to be proclaiming that he is still relevant and to prove this, he has given Congress and European leaders a "to do list." But it remains to be seen how blaming the economy on Republicans and Europe will play with voters.

Computer Model Shows Perfect Storm for Obama
[CNN, 6/11/12] George Washington University associate professor John Sides has created a computer model to predict Obama's chances, and he found that though Obama has a slight advantage against Romney, he's facing an uphill battle similar to that of Jimmy Carter when he lost to Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Hie Thee To North Carolina
[National Journal, 6/11/12] It's highly likely that North Carolinians have seen Romney's vice-presidential nominee -- it's just not clear which one of the high-profile Republicans on Romney's short list in the battleground state is going to come back in an even higher-profile role, National Journal's Reid Wilson writes.

Opinion: President Obama’s Campaign Takes a Page From Truman’s Playbook NEW!
[The Hill, 6/11/12] Obama has begun to use the campaign strategy of blaming lack of action from Speaker John Boehner's Republican majority in the House for the poor economy. A large majority of Americans agree congressional inaction is hurting the economy, which is an opening for Obama to play Harry Truman, according to The Hill's Juan Williams.

Romney Keeps Secrets, Unless Law Says He Can't
[Associated Press, 6/11/12] Romney has kept multiple secrets — the identity of his biggest donors who bundle money in his campaign, who he is meeting with, and what he is doing for hours at a time. It’s a way of avoiding political pitfalls, and appears to be working. 

Is Anybody Boring Enough To Be Mitt Romney's Running Mate? NEW!
[The Atlantic, 6/10/12] The effect of Romney selecting a running mate could be seismic, like Sarah Palin's emergence, or subtle, like Joe Biden's, which hardly shook up the 2008 race. The problem is, some of the Republican rising stars that Romney has to choose from may overshadow him.

Obama's Reelection Hopes Ride on This Man
[Mother Jones, 6/11/12] Jim Messina, now Obama's campaign manager and formerly his deputy chief of staff in the White House, knows how to operate in the halls of Washington. But he now has to translate those skills to the campaign trail, working to organize supporters on the grassroots level rather than cut deals on Capitol Hill.

Romney’s Initiatives: Miracles or Gimmickry?
[Washington Times, 6/10/12] The Washington Times takes a look at the "Massachusetts budget miracle" that Romney instated when he was governor, which has come under fire for being little more than budget gimmickry with no substantial reforms.

Team Obama Enjoys Ad-Spending Edge This Week
[NBC, 6/11/12] The Obama campaign and groups supportive of it spent almost twice as much as Romney and his backers this week, $8.8 million versus $4.7 million, each across 10 states.

Potential VPs Are Powerful Fundraisers
[National Journal, 6/11/12] A few of the contenders on the short list for vice president are proven money magnets: Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, who raised $12.5 million during his 2010 Senate race despite running unopposed, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who brought in an impressive $22 million for his first Senate race the same year. In the House, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has used his leadership position to become a prolific fundraiser.

Jeb Bush: No Place for Father, Reagan in Today's GOP
[BuzzFeed, 6/11/12] Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a man on some short lists as a Romney running mate, had some harsh words for the GOP on Monday. With the lack of accommodation in today’s Republican Party, he said, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush would have had a hard time.

The Second Term
[New Yorker, 6/11/12] Folks in the White House don’t like talking about a second term, many fearing Obama might suffer the same fate as Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush, two one-term presidents with historic accomplishments. Instead, the focus remains on the campaign at hand.

Romney Camp Web Video Hammers Obama on Stagnant Job Growth
[TPM, 6/11/12] The Romney campaign has not let up on the president’s recent gaffe when he said “the private sector is doing fine.” On Monday, it released a new Web ad that attacked Obama on his comments, citing poor jobs growth.

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