President Obama keeps a close eye on Marco Rubio. Not an obsessively close one, mind you, but the White House’s political GPS definitely tracks his movements.
The first-term Republican senator from Florida didn’t inspire the White House’s recent immigration shift which allows some young immigrants to avoid deportation, but his efforts undoubtedly accelerated it. Rubio’s proposed Dream Act will now likely stay on the shelf.
“We were not thinking about Senator Rubio,” Cecilia Muñoz, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, told National Journal. “A lot of things were responsible.” Still, Muñoz noted that some congressional Republicans “have focused on this issue in a different way”—none more visibly than Rubio, whom top White House advisers and Obama loyalists frequently cite as the most-Obama-like figure on the GOP’s bench.
The immigration rollout wasn’t the administration’s first opportunity to neutralize the young Republican. The White House tracked closely and coyly fed stories about Rubio’s travails concerning the now-reconfirmed U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Maria Carmen Aponte. Rubio initially voted against her, incurring the wrath of some Latinos, but voted for her this time around.
Rubio denies he has been iced on immigration, but he acknowledges that Obama’s maneuver has blunted all possible GOP movement on dealing with it in the near-term, and has shoved him, at least for the moment, off center stage.
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Obama Courts Hispanic Voters at NALEO Conference in Orlando
[Washington Post, 6/22/12] In an occasionally personal address to a group of Latino officials, President Obama looked to draw a bright line between his own efforts to help Latinos and what he called the counterproductive policies favored by his challenger, Mitt Romney.
Ahead of Obama’s Speech, Campaign Hits Romney on Immigration
[National Journal, 6/22/12] Obama’s campaign was on the attack against Romney over the GOP presumptive nominee’s position, or lack thereof, on immigration reform. Ahead of Obama’s Friday address to a group of Latino politicians and officials, the campaign said Romney still has not given a straight answer on immigration.
Ad Spending Suggests a Bigger Map For Romney
[National Journal, 6/22/12] When we look back at the 2012 campaign, we'll remember this as the week Republican groups dropped the advertising hammer and began seriously closing the financial gap, National Journal’s Reid Wilson writes.
Bain Capital Invested in Companies That Moved Jobs Overseas
[Washington Post, 6/21/12] Romney's Bain Capital invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India. But Romney has in recent months lamented the outsourcing of American jobs, repeatedly pledging he would protect U.S. employment by getting tough on China. The Romney camp today called the story "fundamentally false."
It's the Economies, Stupid
[National Journal, 6/22/12] Obama and Romney are discovering that the great debate over the economy is turning into a debate over a dozen different economies, making it difficult to fashion a consistent political message. Unemployment has been on a downward slide in the battleground states where the presidential contest is currently heating up.
Surprise! Voters Don't Know or Care About 'Gaffes' the Media Love
[The Atlantic, 6/22/12] “Doing Fine” and “Etch a Sketch” may have set the media-political world afire, but there’s good evidence to suggest that gaffes like these don’t filter down to voters.
Romney Campaign Goes Local in New Ads
[National Journal, 6/22/12] The Romney campaign hits some local sweet spots in its new television ads running in Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. Moving away from its “Day One” theme, the campaign is now outlining what the first 100 days of a Romney presidency would look like.
Rick Scott Goes Off Message: Florida Economy Is Doing 'Extremely Well'
[TPM, 6/22/12] Gov. Rick Scott boasted to Latino officials that the economy in Florida is booming--hours before Obama spoke at the same event. If Romney told him to present the economy negatively, he didn't seem to listen.
Liberal Fat Cats Wimp Out
[The New Republic, 6/22/12] With every passing week, Democratic insiders are becoming more and more panicked that, by November, their Republican opponents will have buried them under a mountain of money. But it turns out that the Democrats’ biggest problem this cycle isn’t financial, it’s existential: They're squeamish about all that filthy money.
Romney's Hidden Campaign Cash
[Washington Post, 6/22/12] One of the quirks of campaign finance reporting is that, while the committee Obama uses to raise money for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee reports its totals monthly, Romney’s version of that joint committee has yet to file a report. How much is in it? The Post takes a crack at figuring it out.
Calculating 'House Effects' of Polling Firms
[New York Times, 6/22/12] Nate Silver explains "house effects," which are systematic tendencies for polling firms to favor either the Democratic or Republican candidate. Also: why you probably shouldn’t trust polls that don’t call cell-only users.
If History Repeats, Everyone's VP Guess Is Wrong
[Real Clear Politics, 6/22/12] While every eventual GOP nominee in the last five nonincumbent presidential cycles began the race as a favorite, the same cannot be said of their VP picks, all of whom were initially regarded inside the Beltway as either blips on the political radar or not on the screen at all.
Entitlements: Obama vs. Romney
[National Journal, 6/22/12] Entitlement issues are already at the forefront of this year's presidential race. National Journal compares Obama's and Romney’s divergent stands on issues like Medicaid, pensions, and Social Security. NJ also takes a look at four key policy advisers for each candidate.
[National Journal, 6/21/12] On their face, the two candidates' visions for entitlement reform look quite different. But both are based on the notion that Medicare spending, at least, can no longer be open-ended. Obama plans to use government oversight to enforce new budget targets in the program; Romney would use consumer choice and market pressure to achieve similar goals.
Hispanic Population Soars in Key Swing States
[The Hill, 6/22/12] Soaring Hispanic populations in toss-up states not usually associated with Hispanic voters has changed the traditional political calculus heading into Election Day -- especially as the Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on a controversial Arizona immigration law.
Romney Hosts Big Donors, Political Stars at Park City
[Salt Lake Tribune, 6/21/12] Romney's most significant financial backers are going to the Deer Valley Resort this weekend to spend time with the candidate and other Republican elected officials. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Karl Rove are expected.
Attend a National Journal LIVE event | Sign up for National Journal newsletters