For President Obama’s campaign, the best offense is a good defense.
On Saturday, the incumbent's team launched an ad that takes on the question of whether Americans are better off now than they were four years ago. It's running in seven battleground states.
The spot uses news reports, studies and graphs to show progress on jobs since "the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression." It also says Mitt Romney would, among other things, raise middle-class taxes (Romney says he won't) and roll back new regulations on "the banks that cratered the economy."
The Saturday ad came a day after the campaign unveiled another new ad that directly rebuts a Romney spot released only a day earlier. The 30-second TV ad, airing in the nine battleground states, mocks the Republican’s suggestion that he would “get tough on China” after a private career marked by sending jobs overseas. (Notably, it doesn't mention his own record on China.)
Obama’s response seems to violate an old political maxim: If you’re explaining, you’re losing. Rather than opening up a new attack on the GOP presidential nominee, Obama is using valuable time and money to defend himself.
Responding to a rival’s ads isn't unusual, but the Obama campaign’s pattern in this race is unusually aggressive. And it seems to indicate a concern, on issues such as welfare reform or ethics, that the attacks could fester if left unchecked. Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Netanyahu: Important to Place a 'Red Line' Before Iran
[National Journal, 9/16/12] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied on Sunday that he is injecting himself into the U.S. presidential election by pressuring President Obama to join Israel in setting a "red line" for Iran, which if crossed would provoke a retaliation against the country's nuclear program. He also said that Iran is dangerously close to weapons capability.
Rice: Egypt a 'Critical Partner' for U.S.
[National Journal, 9/16/12] After President Obama said this week that Egypt is neither an ally nor an enemy, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Sunday that Egypt remains a “critical partner” of the United States.
Plane Crash Probe Forces Romney to Cancel Event
[National Journal, 9/16/12] An ongoing investigation into a fatal early-morning plane crash in Pueblo, Colo., led Mitt Romney's campaign to cancel plans for a Sunday afternoon rally in the southern Colorado city.
Challenged on Medicare, GOP Loses Ground
[New York Times, 9/16/12] The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, conducted last week, shows that voters trust Obama on the issue of Medicare more than they do Romney—over 70 percent of those polled prefer to keep Medicare the way it is, rather than privatizing the system.
Former Solicitor General Ted Olson Plays Biden in Ryan Debate Prep
[National Journal, 9/15/12] Former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who served under President George W. Bush, was tapped to play the part of Vice President Joe Biden in Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's debate preparation, the Romney campaign announced on Saturday.
Republican Lawmakers Say Romney Campaign Needs to Change Course
[The Hill, 9/15/12] Following the Democratic National Convention, some Republican members of Congress say Romney needs to do a better job of communicating with voters. Some suggest he needs a bold new pledge.
A Dollar in Every Mailbox: the Latest RNC Fundraising Pitch
[Chicago Tribune, 9/15/12] In an unorthodox fundraising pitch, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus included a single dollar bill in letters sent out to supporters. “I expect and trust you to return the dollar I’ve enclosed along with an emergency contribution of at least $60 for a total gift of $61.”
Conservative Super PACs Targeting Blue-State Democrats
[Washington Post, 9/15/12] Super PACs have played a major role in the presidential election already. But they are also affecting several down-ballot elections. Major Republican groups have outspent Democratic groups by more than 3 to 1 on television advertising in congressional races since June.
Bill Maher: Mitt Romney ‘Lost’ Election This Week
[Politico, 9/15/12] On HBO's Real Time, host Bill Maher said Romney’s chances of winning the election are “toast,” and that the Republican nominee essentially “lost the election” with his response to overseas events this week. Maher has previously donated $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC.
Presidential Debates Can Be Great Theater, But How Much Do They Matter?
[NPR, 9/16/12] Reporter Elise Hu walks listeners through the importance of this year’s presidential debates. Touted as a possible turning point in the election, will these debates have a major impact or will they be just a show?
Poll: Obama Widens Lead in Pennsylvania
[Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/15/12] President Obama now owns an 11-point lead in Pennsylvania, according to a new Inquirer Pennsylvania Poll released on Saturday. Pollsters warned, however, that Pennsylvania could still be in play for Romney in the weeks ahead.
Political Perceptions: Romney’s Imperfect 1980 Play
[Wall Street Journal, 9/15/12] It’s no secret: Romney likes to compare Obama to former President Jimmy Carter. “This year, for the Republican nominee and his supporters, is a 1980 redux,” writes the Journal.
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