It was an updated, reformed, Romneyfied Sister Souljah moment, 20 years after the original and with a different operating plan executed no less adroitly.
Instead of clotheslining and de-cleating a reliable, loyal faction within his own party, the way Bill Clinton did during the 1992 campaign, Mitt Romney on Wednesday went before a reliable, loyal faction in the other guy’s party, one he has absolutely zero chance of seducing with all the PowerPoints in all the boardrooms in all the world, and he gamely bore the backlash, subjecting himself to boos and catcalls.
Because it could be worth it. The centrist and swing voters that would put the former Massachusetts governor over the top like and appreciate the fact that he strayed out of traditional GOP comfort zones, that he at least made the argument that his presidency would benefit African-Americans more than a second term for President Obama would.
In that sense, Romney’s speech to the NAACP today shared the same objectives as Clinton’s famous confrontation of African-American activists in 1992, just coming at those goals from the other direction. Instead of looking to mollify the middle by jumping ugly with the Left, Romney looked to do so by humbling himself before it.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
From Bad to Worse With Blue-Collar Men For Obama
[National Journal, 7/11/12] Obama has always struggled among white men without a college education. But now the president has fallen to a level of support among blue-collar white males lower than any Democratic nominee has attracted in any election since 1980. No one expects Obama to win this reliably Republican segment, but these poor numbers could spell trouble for Democrats.
On Defining Romney, Obama’s Got a Head Start NEW!
[Boston Herald, 7/11/12] Strategists in both parties say that Obama’s attacks on Romney’s personal wealth and his work as a private-equity specialist are hurting the GOP candidate – especially as the unofficial nominee hasn’t yet fully defined himself in voters’ minds.
Romney’s NAACP Gamble Pays Off
[National Journal, 7/11/12] After getting booed by an already-hostile audience for opposing Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Romney – often mocked for his robotic style – stepped away from his script and succinctly explained his opposition. National Journal’s Tim Alberta writes that Republicans should hope this new, aggressive Romney is here to stay.
Obama Has Problems With Independent Voters
[ABC News, 7/11/12] Digging into the crosstabs of the ABC/Washington Post poll, it’s clear that Obama has a significant problem with independent voters. On every measure, independents are significantly more disappointed with the president and more open to Romney’s message.
Wind Industry Pulled in to Debate Over Outsourcing
[CNN, 7/11/12] The programs the GOP paints as “outsourcing” by Obama’s stimulus have actually contributed to a boom in wind and solar energy projects that led to the creation of between 52,000 and 75,000 jobs in the sector between 2009 and 2011.
At Energy Debate, Obama, Romney Surrogates Sound Alike
[National Journal, 7/11/12] At an energy-policy debate on Wednesday, Obama and Romney campaign surrogates faced off on a number of energy topics. But in the absence of campaign rhetoric, National Journal’s Olga Belogolova writes, the two officials actually found a lot in common.
Why Romney’s Plan Could Mean Higher Taxes For All but the Richest
[The Atlantic, 7/11/12] The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson writes that Romney’s plan to extend the Bush tax cuts and cut marginal tax rates could increase the 2015 deficit by about 70 percent. In order to pay for the cuts, Romney would have to raise taxes on investment income or cut tax benefits so deeply that all but the rich pay more.
Mitt Romney Should Be Bashing The Fed, Not China
[Forbes, 7/11/12] Instead of bashing China, the Romney campaign should bash the U.S. Federal Reserve, Louis Woodhill writes for Forbes. The Fed made huge errors to lead to this economy and continues to make mistakes to maintain it.
Experts: Michelle Obama’s Popularity Makes Her Real Political Contender
[CBS News, 7/11/12] Michelle Obama has proved herself as an asset on the campaign trail, but perhaps she is not just campaigning for her husband. Various analyzers have wondered if she is pursuing her own political career.
Bain Ads in Swing States: Are They Hurting Romney?
[National Journal, 7/11/12] Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting Obama’s reelection bid, released polls today that it says shows Romney’s favorability has declined in five key battleground states as a result of its $10 million ad campaign slamming his business record at the helm of Bain Capital.
How Much Will Money Matter?
[American Prospect, 7/11/12] At a certain point, particularly in presidential elections, it’s not clear whether a money advantage will mean anything for the final outcome. Most of the money that’s raised goes to TV ads that have short-lived effects and tend to cancel each other out – although in such a close race a few extra ads could make a difference.
Why It's OK Not to Love Mitt Romney—or Barack Obama
[The Atlantic, 7/11/12] Rush Limbaugh is doing his best to persuade his listeners that it doesn't matter if they don’t love Romney like some Democrats do Obama or former President Bill Clinton. The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf writes that Limbaugh has a point: Americans aren’t well-served by making idols of candidates.
No ‘Man Crush’ on Romney in House GOP
[Roll Call, 7/11/12] Speaker John Boehner bluntly told an audience that aside from Romney’s “friends, relatives, and fellow Mormons,” most voters are voting against Obama instead of for Romney. Roll Call finds that several members of Congress struggle to explain why they love Romney.
Voter-ID Laws May Handicap Black-Voter Turnout
[USA Today, 7/11/12] Two million more black voters turned up at the polls in 2008 than in 2004, and central to the president's reelection strategy is expanding minority participation in 2012. But a new ID law in the battleground state of Pennsylvania could cost Obama votes this year.