Gird for a slow week. President Obama’s at Camp David until the 4th of July festivities at the White House, and Mitt Romney’s in New Hampshire in training for the Romney Olympics, which now stand to receive roughly the same scope of stateside media coverage as the actual Summer Games in London later this month.
That means that the big story today is being slugged out between surrogates over the semantics of a “tax” or a “penalty,” though one could argue that the first is actually a subcategory of the other.
Add in the Götterdämmerung concerns on the right over Chief Justice John Roberts’s betrayal, and what the week is essentially about is the sustained digestion of the Supreme Court's health care law decision of last Thursday — a ruling monumental enough to bleed over into a second week.
No surprise there; it was a big call the Court made. But one it passed down two years ago, when Roberts’s better conservative angels still attended him, looms even larger over the balance of the campaign. When a sitting president laments to big donors that the special interests aligned against him are “going to run Congress and the White House” thanks in part to the Citizens United decision, it’s a sign that one legal win may not be enough.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Romney Plans Trip to Israel
[New York Times, 7/2/12] Romney will visit Israel and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of other public officials there, including Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli President Shimon Peres. The Times reports he has at least one public event planned during the trip, which will be his fourth visit to Israel.
Romney Adviser: Individual Mandate Is a Penalty, Not a Tax
[National Journal, 7/2/12] Senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom seemed to go off the GOP script on Monday, saying that the individual mandate upheld in last week’s Supreme Court ruling is a “penalty,” not a tax.
Romney’s Latest Health Care Quandary
[Real Clear Politics, 7/2/12] Romney has been disciplined in steering clear, for the most part, of issues that are not directly related to the economy. But many supporters say the candidate should not allow the health care issue to fall into the background.
Dems, Echoing Romney, Say Mandate Is About Punishing ‘Freeloaders’
[TPM, 7/2/12] In the wake of the decision to uphold the individual mandate under Congress’s taxing power, Democrats are unifying behind a message to refute the GOP contention that they raised taxes on the middle class. They say they’re simply punishing freeloaders, just as Romney once did.
Doing Double Duty at Justice
[National Review, 7/2/12] Only 46 of the 93 U.S. attorneys have donated money to a candidate for office in the past six years: Collectively, those 46 have donated $235,652 to Obama, the DNC, and Democratic candidates since Jan. 1, 2007; not one has donated to any GOP candidate.
Two Reasons Presidential Campaigns Can’t Hide Negative Ads
[National Journal, 7/2/12] Obama and Romney will have a harder time running under-the-radar negative ads on TV this cycle for two reasons: social media and the fact that Virginia — home of the national press corps — is a swing state.
Vice-Presidential Hopefuls Play the Name Game
[Politico, 7/2/12] The veepstakes has morphed into an open exercise in cautious but unmistakable résumé buffing. Even if a contender is not ultimately chosen, the media attention, increased fundraising, and wider following that comes with being a “short-lister” aids future attempts at higher office.
For a Vacation Spot, It’s Not Just Another Summer
[New York Times, 7/1/12] The 30 members of the Romney clan began gathering in Wolfeboro, N.H., over the weekend to start their annual vacation. The Times takes a look at the town — which bills itself as “the oldest summer resort in America” — the reporters, and the residents.
Romney, a Privately Devout Mormon, Worships With Family on Holiday
[Associated Press, 7/2/12] The Romney clan made up nearly a third of the congregation gathered in Wolfeboro’s branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Sunday. The family’s devotion to the Mormon faith provides a rare glimpse into Romney’s private life that could help him connect with the American public.
GOP’s New Health Law Front
[Wall Street Journal, 7/1/12] Republicans are planning to use a quirk of Senate rules that lets some tax and spending bills come to a vote under a procedure called budget reconciliation — which only needs a 51-vote majority to pass — to try to repeal the health care law.
Obama, Romney Camps Pull Out All Stops in Ohio
[Toledo Blade, 7/1/12] The last time Ohio voters didn’t pick the winner in a presidential election was 1960, when JFK lost the state but won the White House. Now, neither the Obama nor Romney campaign is taking chances with the Buckeye State.
Column: Romney’s Bain Problem
[Washington Post, 7/1/12] The Supreme Court decision on health care only reinforced the importance of the economic argument Obama and Romney have been having for months. But this is where Romney’s Bain Capital problem kicks in, as E.J. Dionne argues: Obama’s Bain ads have undermined Romney’s business experience and served as a parable for how aspects of the current financial system hurt workers and local communities.
The Fact Checker: Obama’s New Attacks on Romney and Outsourcing
[Washington Post, 7/2/12] The Obama camp has said that Romney “made a fortune advising companies on how to outsource jobs to China and India.” But The Post article does not actually say that transfers of U.S. jobs took place while Romney ran Bain Capital; instead, it states that Bain was prescient in identifying an emerging business trend.
[PolitiFact, 7/1/12] Obama claimed last year that the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico is now basically complete; but PolitiFact rated that “mostly false.” However, border crossings from Mexico to the U.S. are down, not up.
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