From the barrage of press releases, online videos, and television appearances on Monday, the Romney campaign has made its intentions clear: It wants to change the subject.
After weeks of playing defense over Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital and the disclosure of his tax returns, the campaign is trying to go on the offensive, attacking President Obama over his close relationship with campaign donors. It's part of a strategy to return to issues that put Republicans on safer ground, like the economy.
“This is a tough time for the people of America,” Romney said on Fox & Friends on Monday. “But if you are a campaign contributor to Barack Obama, your business may stand to get billions of dollars or hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from the government. I think it’s wrong. I think it stinks to high heaven and I think the administration has to explain how it is they would consider giving money to campaign contributors’ businesses.”
While the Obama campaign clearly landed some punches with its attacks over Bain, and the call for more disclosure is likely to continue, it remains unclear whether Romney’s offensive can get him off the ropes.
But there is one thing sure to shift the conversation, and it’s probably coming soon: Romney’s selection of a running mate.
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Romney Tries to Gain Momentum With Focus on Obama’s ‘Political Payoffs’
[Washington Post, 7/16/12] Starting on Monday, the Romney team will start a new offensive accusing President Obama of political cronyism at the expense of middle-class workers: They are latching onto a new claim that the president has demonstrated “systematic favoritism” toward top campaign fundraisers.
Romney Pushes Back on Bain, Tax Returns
[National Journal, 7/16/12] After a weekend of push-back by his campaign on his time at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney on Monday said he’s doing more than is necessary in terms of disclosing his tax returns. During the same appearance, Romney accused Obama's campaign of "falsehood and dishonesty."
Mitt Romney's Bain Capital Timeline
[Mother Jones, 7/16/12] Looming over Romney's campaign right now is the question: Was he responsible for decisions made by Bain between 1999 and 2002? Mother Jones provides a timeline of Romney's time at Bain to better understand the issue at hand.
What President Obama Has Learned From Republicans
[Washington Post, 7/16/12] This year may not be a campaign that Democrats will look back on lovingly—as they do when it comes to the 2008 campaign—but the incumbent seems to have taken a lesson from the GOP: He understands that winning, whether beautiful or ugly, is the ultimate goal.
Hotline’s Veepstakes Power Rankings
[National Journal, 7/16/12] All signs point to Romney making his veep choice sooner rather than later, and the real short list is about three names long: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. But if recent history is any guide, a surprise could be in the works.
Republican Rob Portman, Who Could be a Vice Presidential Contender, is a Washington Insider
[The Washington Post, 7/16/12] Rep. Rob Portman R-Ohio, VP short-lister, is able to compromise thoughtfully without overreacting. His critical assets like this make him respected by both Democrats and Republicans.
Romney’s Palin Problem: Where’s Her Convention Invite?
[Daily Beast, 7/16/12] Romney still hasn’t invited Sarah Palin to the GOP convention in Tampa, and the tea party is livid. Peter J. Boyer on how the snub could sabotage Romney’s tenuous ties to the grassroots—and why Palin is keeping the week open, just in case.
Does Romney Have a Bain Problem on the Right, Too?
[National Journal, 7/16/12] As the Bain issue festers on, how much does Romney have to worry about the Right as well as the Left and center? National Journal's Michael Hirsh asks. Wall Street is not a problem for Republican candidates in most elections, but this is an era of unprecedented unpopularity for that world.
Campaigns Maintain Strict Control Over Quotes
[New York Times, 7/15/12] With a millisecond Twitter news cycle and an unforgiving, gaffe-obsessed media culture, politicians and their advisers are routinely demanding that reporters allow them final editing power over any published quotations.
Romney’s Fundraising Potential Far From Tapped
[Reuters, 7/16/12] Fewer than 1 percent of the big donors helping propel Romney’s fundraising efforts have hit the limit they can donate to his election bid, suggesting the cash will keep on flowing. Meanwhile, Romney's victory fund has pulled in $140 million since April.
Romney Attracts Big Donations From Financial Industry
[Washington Post, 7/16/12] Romney is raking in the dough, especially from a financial industry that is disgruntled by what it sees as Obama's antibusiness rhetoric and policies. New disclosures show the presumptive GOP nominee took in $820,000 from Bain Capital employees and $902,000 from Goldman Sachs Group employees.
Top Romney Aide: No Decision Yet on Veep, But It Could Come Soon
[National Journal, 7/16/12] Romney has not yet decided who he will choose as his vice presidential running mate, despite a report that says otherwise, senior Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom said Monday. The remarks came after the New York Times reported that some of Romney’s friends believe he has reached a decision on who will join him on the Republican ticket in November.
In Amnesty or Crackdown, Obama Can't Win on Immigration
[National Journal, 7/16/12] Chicago officials announced last week a proposal to bar local authorities from turning over illegal immigrants without serious criminal records to federal agents. It is the latest defiance of the Obama administration, but the challenge comes from several Democratic allies and exposes a divisive immigration debate that embroils both sides of the fence.
Thune Rising: GOP Senator on Veepstakes and His Future
[The Hill, 7/16/12] Sen. John Thune of South Dakota is an experienced legislator who has earned respect from both parties in Congress. In an interview with The Hill, Thune said he’s been to Boston to meet Romney’s senior advisers, and has met the head of Romney’s veep search, Beth Myers.
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