Much of the campaign discussion today has centered on the core-of-the-sun heat intensity that the election has adopted, and how it’s only July, and how this might finally be the end-of-days we’ve all been reporting about since Millard Fillmore was a pup.
Gotta be the heat. Campaign staff and candidates call the other guy a liar in every election, impugn the other guy’s past in every election, question his patriotism in every election. Surrogates will veer into the impolitic in every election. As Finley Peter Dunne famously wrote, and eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney reiterated, politics, ain’t beanbag.
Dunne was from Chicago, and he was published out of Boston, two cities of some import during this election. And his truism worked then, and works now. Unfortunately, manufactured and synthetic outrage over the other side’s tactics may be the most memorable characteristic of this election, which hasn’t really dealt with the fundamental and serious policy questions about which both sides have professed to care. When you trot out the weary, lame, and untrue crutch that this election is the most important of your lifetime, you probably owe that election a little more.
As overheated as the rhetoric, and the analysis, can get, it’s probably worth remembering that it’s pretty difficult to exceed the bounds of reason established by previous presidential campaigns.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
The Cook Report: Red Alert
[National Journal, 7/16/12] National Journal’s Charlie Cook writes that the Romney campaign seems intent on reinforcing a message that hardly needs reinforcing--that President Obama’s economic policies are not working--while failing to inoculate its own candidate against personal attacks.
Is Romney Overreacting to Bain Attacks?
[New York Times, 6/17/12] Nate Silver argues that Obama’s Bain attacks may not be the “game-changer” that everyone thinks they are and that voters will decide based on party affiliation or their view of the economy. It would be “be an upset if there were a huge swing in the polls,” he writes.
Romney: No More Tax Returns Because Obama Camp Will ‘Lie’ About Them
[National Review, 7/17/12] Amid mounting pressure to release additional tax returns, Romney is standing his ground--and turning the speculation on his opponent. “I’m simply not enthusiastic about giving them hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort, and lie about,” he tells Robert Costa.
New Obama Ad: Does Romney Even Pay His Taxes?
[National Journal, 7/17/12] The Obama campaign is hitting the Pennsylvania airwaves with a new attack ad that takes the assault on Romney’s wealth to a whole new level: It suggests the presumptive GOP nominee might not actually pay taxes. Meanwhile, a new Democratic National Committee Web ad zeroes in on the sore spot.
Obama Got $34,250 in Donations From Bain Employees This Cycle
[National Review, 7/17/12] Interesting factoid! Most of the donors are senior executives who were with Bain when it made the allegedly controversial decisions from 1999 to 2002. In the 2008 cycle, Obama accepted $58,270 from Bain employees.
Romney Surrogate Backtracks After Suggesting Obama Isn’t American
[National Journal, 7/17/12] Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, one of Romney’s top surrogates, walked back a comment he made on Tuesday, saying he had misspoke when he said he wished Obama “would learn how to be an American.”
Bain Ad Hits Home in Swing States
[The Hill, 7/16/12] In much the same way the attacks on John Kerry’s Vietnam service hurt the Democratic nominee in 2004, there are signs the negative ads and focused discussion on Romney’s business background are hurting the presumptive GOP nominee in key swing states.
Romney Ad Taken Down Over Copyright Claim
[Huffington Post, 7/17/12] The latest Romney ad mocking Obama for singing Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” has been removed from YouTube and the campaign website, where visitors are greeted with a message: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by BMG_Rights_Management.”
Millions of Felons Barred From Voting Booths
[National Journal, 7/17/12] It’s estimated that nearly 6 million people won’t be able to cast a ballot in November because of a felony conviction. Blacks and Hispanics are the most affected, and in states like Florida and Virginia–-both crucial presidential swing states--the numbers of disenfranchised voters are staggering.
Veepstakes: The Fine Line Between Safe and Boring
[Politico, 7/17/12] As the shrouded GOP veep selection comes down to the wire, Republicans seem to believe that a little bit boring may be the right play in a close election in which the challenger can’t afford any mistakes. But Romney’s choice can’t be so unexciting that activists accuse the candidate of again being too cautious.
Gingrich Stars at Romney Fundraiser
[National Journal, 7/17/12] Newt Gingrich helped raise about $30,000 for Romney's presidential campaign as the star attraction of a Monday morning fundraiser for his one-time rival. The fundraiser, held at the offices of the lobbying and public affairs firm Mercury/Clark & Weinstock, was organized by former Gingrich staffers looking for a creative way to throw their support behind their former boss's one-time rival.
Pawlenty: 2012 Veepstakes Like ‘a Little Bit of Déjà Vu’
[National Journal, 7/17/12] Tim Pawlenty is widely presumed to be a finalist in Romney’s search for a vice president, the exact same position he was in four years ago. Back then, Romney was his chief competition to join the GOP ticket with Sen. John McCain, until McCain picked Sarah Palin.
Obama’s Populist Pitch Divides Suburban Voters
[Wall Street Journal, 7/16/12] Obama and Romney are battling over suburban, upper middle-class voters, who strongly supported Obama in 2008. But the question now is whether these voters agree with Obama’s more populist economic message, or whether his tax-the-rich rhetoric--particularly his effort to extend Bush-era tax cuts--is pushing them away.
In Nevada, ‘None’ a Fearsome Foe for the GOP
[National Journal, 7/16/12] Obama and Romney will face down a dubious and slippery opponent in Nevada this election season: “None of these candidates.” Nevada has offered this quirky ballot choice for decades, but this year nervous Republicans have filed a federal lawsuit to try to oust “none” from the ballot.
Mormons’ First Families Rally Behind Romney
[New York Times, 7/16/12] Descendants of the first families of Mormonism that settled in Utah in the mid-1800s are joining together to deliver the White House to Romney, providing money and rally support. The Times’s Jim Rutenberg dives into the faith and history of Romney’s Mormon ancestors.
Romney’s Higher-Ed Overhaul in Mass. Fizzled
[Associated Press, 7/17/12] Romney took over as Massachusetts governor in 2003 with a sweeping plan to overhaul the state’s public college system. But his plan was stymied by a Democratic-run state legislature and never really got off the ground.
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