Republicans can – and will – hammer President Obama endlessly for the real or perceived missteps of his administration, and warn that the economic malaise of the hour could just be the opening bell of prolonged American decline if he wins a second term.
But a scan of Monday morning’s headlines underscores just how much of the broader picture, with very hefty implications for the November vote, is beyond Obama’s control.
Egyptian voters handed power to that country’s Muslim Brotherhood. Greek voters backed the center-right, pro-euro party, but after an initial surge of confidence European and Asian markets retreated on Monday.
And Russian battleships were reportedly heading toward Syria, where tens of thousands have already died at the hands of the Assad regime.
Obama, as commander in chief and manager of the world’s largest economy outside the European Union, will wear blame for all three crises regardless of their outcome. But, as he meets with world leaders in Mexico at the G-20 Summit, his ability to shape any of the results is unclear, and that lies realistically at neither his feet nor the office’s.
Yes, the electoral verdict will be about the economy. But it will also be about Obama’s perceived ability to manage that economy, an image shaped by his assertiveness in other areas as well.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
AP Sources: Administration Mulls Pared Health Law
[6/18/12] The Obama administration is considering how to move ahead with other elements of the 2010 health care expansion if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate, the Associated Press reports.
Adelson Lavishing Casino Money on GOP Super PACs
[National Journal, 6/18/12] Billionaire casino operator Sheldon Adelson may end up giving $70 million or more to super PACs and shadow super PACs with ties to Romney, House Republicans, and other federal candidates this year – and no one seems to care that Adelson’s Macau casino is under investigation for possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Pro-Romney Super PAC Going Up With More Than $7 Million Ad Buy
[CNN, 6/18/12] Flush with cash from Adelson, the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future is spending $7.34 million on two weeks of TV ads that will air beginning Wednesday in nine battleground states.
How Obama Got From No to Yes on Reprieve For Young Illegal Immigrants
[National Journal, 6/18/12] Eleven months to go, Obama told a leading Hispanic advocacy group that as much as he wanted to stop deporting young illegal immigrants, his hands were tied. National Journal’s Beth Reinhard weighs in on the political circumstances that lead to Friday’s executive order: November’s election, Marco Rubio, and the Dream Act.
Romney Attacks Obama For Neglecting Immigration Issue
[National Journal, 6/18/12] Romney on Monday accused Obama of breaking his campaign promise to address the question of illegal immigration by neglecting the issue for most of his presidency. “He said one thing and he’s done a very different one,” Romney said.
On and Off the Romney Bus, Tryouts for a Spot on the Ticket
[New York Times, 6/18/12] With some pushing for a veep announcement as early as July, Romney is whittling down the roster of potential running mates. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio have all campaigned with the nominee.
Will Text-Raising Become the Next Big Thing?
[National Journal, 6/18/12] About a decade ago, the Internet revolutionized political fundraising. Could text messages be poised to repeat the feat?
At Party, Bloomberg Tips Hand on Endorsement
[New York Times, 6/18/12] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has remained coy about his presidential endorsement plans, but at a charity event a few days ago several guests – including a Times reporter – overheard Bloomberg saying he believed Romney would probably be better at running the country than Obama.
Romney, Legislators Debate New Immigration Policy
[National Journal, 6/18/12] On Face the Nation, Romney said the president’s announcement on Friday that the government would no longer seek the deportation of certain young illegals was politically motivated, and criticized him for not passing comprehensive immigration reform earlier.
Obama Picks John Kerry to Play Romney in Mock Debate Rehearsals
[Washington Post, 6/18/12] Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has been tapped by Obama to play Romney in mock debate rehearsals. The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee has studied Romney's career and campaign style for nearly 20 years and will help Obama prepare for three debates in the fall.
Postcards From the Bus-capade: Romney Road Report
[The Atlantic, 6/18/12] James Fallows is out on Romney’s bus tour and drops a few observations, including the fact that the presumptive GOP nominee has honed his campaign message. Oh, and he has a big head -- literally.
Obama Pleads for Voters’ Patience
[The Hill, 6/18/12] President Obama is taking the same tack as former President George W. Bush, in that he's asking voters to give him a bit more time to enact all the change he promised in 2004. While that strategy worked in 2004, it's a gamble for Obama in a year marred by a weak economy.
Candidates Trade Misquoting Charges
[Associated Press, 6/18/12] How many of the attacks lobbed during stump speeches and campaign ads involve statements taken out of context? A great many, according to the AP, skewing the arguments on both sides even as each denounces such out-of-context attacks.
Are You Better Off Than You Were 10 Years Ago?
[Slate, 6/18/12] He’s not mentioning George W. Bush by name, but Obama is trotting out a new variation on a theme first started by Ronald Reagan: are you better off today than you were a decade ago?
Is Wisconsin Ripe for a Romney Win?
[CBS, 6/18/12] CBS' Leigh Ann Caldwell outlines three political heavy-hitters in Wisconsin that are backing Romney up this election season, and highlights recent events -- like the bad-for-Democrats recall election -- that may put Wisconsin in Romney's pocket come November. On Monday, Romney predicted he would win the state.