Marco Rubio just got triangulated.
This is what the Republican wise men—those removed from public office and not at the whim and mercy of the electorate, the likes of Karl Rove and Jeb Bush and Haley Barbour—have warned about for nigh on a decade.
With his executive order permitting illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to remain under established conditions, but without legal citizenship, President Obama wedged the Republican Party further into the same electoral corner it had backed into in the first place.
The beautiful thing for Obama is that he withheld his political capital on Capitol Hill during the closing months of 2010, when Senate Democrats were leaning hard on the Dream Act, and thusly did not posit himself as “soft” on immigration, even though he had tabbed it a “top priority” during the 2008 campaign. He did not force political Twister on Democrats in swing states where immigration reform didn’t play well, or risk the already-diminished Hill clout he then had on a measure with dicey odds of passage.
Instead, he waited until 144 days before the election, and bypassed Congress, demonstrating that he can operate outside the toxic Hill culture. He waited until the lousy reviews of his Thursday economic speech, until the Democratic rending of garments was reaching an apex. He smothered the policy, if not personal, appeal of potential Romney running mate Marco Rubio’s own immigration proposal.
And, with a half-loaf measure for which he’ll receive full political credit, Obama had his first excellent news cycle since, seemingly, the first ships started coming over. Never doubt that a small group of well-thought-out, heavily poll-tested policy shifts can change an election.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL'S PRESIDENTIAL REPORT
Obama and Romney Show Political Chops on Immigration, Economy
[National Journal, 6/15/12] If there's anything this week has shown, it's that President Obama and Mitt Romney are going to give us a race as dramatic as the epic 2008 primary-season cliffhanger between Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, National Journal’s Jill Lawrence writes. Maybe even more so, because of the profound ideological clash that underlies this campaign.
Manhattan Glitterati Event Marks Study in Contrasts for Obama
[Reuters, 6/14/12] In the span of mere hours, Obama went from an event in the Rust Belt's Ohio to a ritzy fundraiser in Manhattan. This sharp contrast could pose difficulties for a president trying to connect to a weary electorate looking for an economic boost.
Romney Rips Obama's Economic Path at Chicago Fundraiser
[Chicago Tribune, 6/14/12] Romney also held a fundraiser last night, this time in Obama’s hometown of Chicago. Romney raised $3.3 million from Republicans in the Windy City, warning attendees that the U.S. was on the path of Europe.
Crossroads Mocks Obama's Speech, 'Peanuts' Style
[National Journal, 6/15/12] A new Web video from American Crossroads, the Republican super PAC founded by Karl Rove, mocks Obama’s economic speech on Thursday using “wah-wah” sound effects reminiscent of Peanuts cartoons.
McCain: Adelson Funding Romney Super PAC With 'Foreign Money'
[Foreign Policy, 6/15/12] Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on Thursday that billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is indirectly putting millions of dollars in Chinese foreign money into Romney's campaign. Because Adelson's casino profits are largely from his casino in Macau, China, "maybe in a roundabout way foreign money is coming into an American political campaign," the senator said.
Huntsman Corp. Could Be Acquired by Bain Capital
[National Journal, 6/15/12] Bain Capital, the firm Romney once led, is one of the companies that might purchase Huntsman Corp., a chemicals company founded by the father of former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.
President Obama Raises Money at Home of Sarah Jessica Parker
[Los Angeles Times, 6/14/12] At the home of Sarah Jessica Parker in Manhattan, Obama raised about $2 million Thursday night, with 50 people paying $40,000 each to attend. Others in attendance included Meryl Streep, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and designer Michael Kors. Later that night, Obama headed for a second NYC fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel, where 250 people paid $10,000 each.
Barack Obama Is Rich
[National Journal, 6/15/12] Every time Romney says he knows NFL team owners, or NASCAR team owners, it adds to the perception that he's out of touch with average Americans suffering to make ends meet. But what about Obama? He's not in Romney territory, but the president is doing pretty well for himself—and he likes mentioning it on the stump, National Journal’s Reid Wilson writes.
Rubio Almost Quit 2010 Senate Race
[Associated Press, 6/15/12] Fearing then-Gov. Charlie Crist’s money, clout and popularity, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., nearly quit the 2010 Senate race. Rubio eventually decided to stay in after believing Crist was trying to pressure him to get out.
'Moneyball' Godfather Bill James Tackles Politics in Super PAC Age
[Huffington Post, 6/15/12] Sam Stein sits down with the brain behind the now-famous Moneyball theory of baseball, Bill James, and discusses politics in the age of super PACs. “If you're outspent in a campaign, what you absolutely cannot do is start a pissing contest, pardon my French,” James wrote in an e-mail.
How Obama Became Black
[Washington Post, 6/14/12] In an excerpt from his forthcoming biography, historian David Maraniss charts Obama’s journey of racial self-identity.
Four Things You Need to Know About Romney’s Bus Tour
[CBS News, 6/15/12] “Every Town Counts” is the slogan for the tour, but apparently not every state counts. Romney will be merely driving through some heavily-blue states on his six-state tour, including Connecticut and Massachusetts. Romney will interact with small-town voters to drive home his message that Obama doesn’t care about their concerns.
The 2012 Race: Wake Us Up When September Ends
[ABC News, 6/15/12] Matt Negrin is here to inform you that you can ignore the race for president—and presumably his writing—until the leaves start to turn. “They'll be out there saying stuff, but nothing earth-shattering,” he predicts.
The Cook Report: Into a Corner
[National Journal, 6/14/12] Charlie Cook writes it is increasingly probable that if this election is a referendum on the economy and Obama’s handling of it he will lose, notwithstanding the lousy shape it was in when he took office.
Obama Aide Picks Up Paychecks From Finance Industry for Speeches
[BuzzFeed, 6/15/12] After leaving the White House, Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary and now chief strategist for the Obama campaign, made a lot of money on the finance industry speaking circuit—an industry the president has been critical of.
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