It’s easy to forget now that President Obama is preaching a populist message on the campaign trail, but a major part of his winning coalition in 2008 was from wealthy voters--the very top “1 percent” whom he calls upon to pay their fair share in taxes.
Obama carried the super-wealthy--those making $200,000 or more a year--with 52 percent of the vote, a total 17 points higher than what John Kerry carried in 2004. And well-heeled Wall Street donors, a major part of his fundraising base four years ago, helped him raise record sums of money in the general election.
But take a look at Washington Capitals Vice Chairman Raul Fernandez, who donated $30,000 to the president’s campaign in 2008, for a sign of how things have changed. Fernandez told The Washington Post that he would be voting for “anyone but Obama” this time around, and he suggested that the president's fairness rhetoric smacked of anti-Americanism. He’s not an anomaly: Obama has struggled to match his 2008 fundraising pace, thanks largely to his weak showing with large donors and bundlers. And in last week’s Quinnipiac poll, Obama trailed Romney among those making $100,000 or more, 49 percent to 43 percent, his worst showing among any economic demographic.
As in physics, every action in politics draws an opposite reaction. Obama’s campaign might believe its sharpened campaign message will appeal to the white working class (which has long been resistant to the president), but it comes at the risk of alienating a core part of its coalition. It appears that Mitt Romney’s wealth may have tempted Team Obama to lead with an all-out populist message, but by doing so, it could be alienating the very voters who propelled Obama to a historic victory just four years ago.
—Josh Kraushaar, Hotline executive editor
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
With GOP Race Settled, Will Republicans Turn Out for Romney?
[National Journal, 4/23/12] On Tuesday, five states will hold the first presidential primaries since a daunting delegate lead and Rick Santorum’s exit made Romney the presumptive GOP nominee: Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. But what if Republicans don't vote?
Presidential Race Could Help Fuel Deficit Deal
[New York Times, 4/22/12] Beneath the campaign noise, some elected officials and policy experts say the give-and-take of the 2012 presidential race may yield progress toward a deal on taxes and the budget, which have confounded Washington’s divided government.
Romney’s Hyped-Up Business Start-Up Statistic
[Washington Post, 4/23/12] Romney claimed on Fox and Friends last week that the number of new business start-ups per year has dropped by 100,000. The Post gives Romney three Pinocchios for goosing the figures.
An Inside Look at the RNC War Room
[ABC News/Yahoo, 4/23/12] Jake Tapper and ABC get a behind-the-scenes look at the Republican National Committee’s War Room, which maps every movement and monitors every utterance ever made by Obama.
Pushback for Romney Fund
[Wall Street Journal, 4/22/12] A new effort by the Romney camp and the RNC to substantially increase the amount of money that wealthy backers can give has hit a roadblock: new Securities and Exchange Commission rules enacted after “pay to play” scandals.
Rudy Giuliani, Not Always a Mitt Romney Fan
[Washington Post, 4/23/12] Rudy Giuliani endorsed Romney this morning, after having previously said nice things about Newt Gingrich earlier in the campaign. In fact, Giuliani has butted heads with Romney in the past; In February, the former New York City mayor said of Romney: “He changed his position on virtually everything.”
Mitt Romney’s One Moment in Time
[ABC News, 4/23/12] After Tuesday's GOP primaries, the RNC is expected to officially come out in support of Romney, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told ABC. The committee was delaying its support to be respectful of Gingrich and Paul, who remain in the race.
Condi on the Wish List
[National Journal, 4/23/12] If RNC members had their way, Romney would turn to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as his VP pick, as National Journal’s Reid Wilson writes. But two-thirds of RNC members also told BuzzFeed that they believe Rob Portman would be the selection.
One State Where the Youth Vote Really Does Matter: Colorado
[Talking Points Memo, 4/23/12] Voters under 30 outnumbered those over 65 in Colorado during the 2008 election, helping Obama win the state handily. But will these voters be inclined to turn out for Obama again?
It’s Still the Economy, Stupid
[Politico, 4/23/12] The 2012 election almost certainly will turn on the state of the U.S. economy as the nation tries to pull away from one of the worst recessions in history. Will Obama convince voters that he steered the nation away from total collapse? Or will Romney sell the idea that Obama is an abysmal failure? Here are Politico’s "Five Economic Questions That Will Decide 2012."
In Texas, Ron Paul Supporters Say GOP Race Isn't Over Yet
[Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 4/23/12] Paul backers attended Republican Senate district conventions locally and statewide in Texas on Saturday ahead of the May 29 primary. One of their chief goals is to gain delegates to the state convention--and ultimately the national convention--so they can push Paul's positions in the party platform. Meanwhile, Paul said today that he would continue to the convention even if Romney got enough delegates to clinch the nomination.
Newt Defiantly Hangs Tough in GOP Race
[Washington Times, 4/22/12] With 21 campaign events scheduled this week, persistent Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich does not appear willing to appease those who want him out of the presidential race. He’ll be in North Carolina--where he will brave another visit to a zoo--and Delaware.