Ebullient Democrats in Charlotte last week felt stalked by Friday morning’s job report, even before it revealed disappointing five-digit growth and people piling out of the work force faster than folks exiting the Time-Warner Cable Arena.
Another set of government data released early Monday morning buoyed spirits, though. President Obama’s fundraising operation beat Mitt Romney’s last month for the first time since Romney effectively wrapped up the Republican nomination. Campaign finance reports certainly don’t move poll numbers like unemployment reports, but at this point Democrats will take momentum-sustaining data points where they can get them.
The Obama administration — and, by extension, the Obama-Biden campaign — is haunted by government reports that empirically undercut claims that Americans are better off than they were four years ago. Its counter-argument is that the president is playing a long game, one whose score is not accurately quantified in monthly chunks.
In a down economy, the metrics always play better for the challenger. For Democrats, the best news from the second report on the swelling of the president’s campaign kitty is that it can help bankroll the mitigation of the first.
— Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Why Romney’s ‘Moon Colony’ Economics Aren’t Selling
[National Journal, 9/10/12] National Journal’s Michael Hirsh writes that neither Obama nor Romney has managed to gain a significant edge in the national polls because Obama has failed to lay out a clear second-term agenda, while Romney simply has no big new ideas to offer.
Romney on Healthcare, Taxes NEW!
[NBC News, 9/10/12] Romney enumerated general principles of how he would go about budget reform in an interview with David Gregory, but would not provide specifics, such as naming a tax loophole he would close.
Poll: Obama Leads Romney with Post-Convention Bounce NEW!
[National Journal, 9/10/12] Obama now leads Romney by six percentage points in a CNN/ORC poll released late Monday and by five points in Gallup’s tracking poll.
Why is Obama Looking So Strong in Ohio? NEW!
[Washington Post, 9/10/12] Ohio’s economic recovery is helping Obama maintain his edge there, though the GOP credits the recovery to the state’s Republican governor. Either way, Romney’s work is cut out for him.
Rahm Emanuel Suspends Super PAC Fundraising
[Politico, 9/10/12] Just days after Emanuel’s new role as the Dems' super PAC point man was announced, a teachers’ strike in Chicago has derailed the mayor's fundraising plan. Mitt Romney took the former top White House aide's side in the labor dispute.
Koch Pens Op-Ed Criticizing Obama [Wall Street Journal, 9/10/12] Charles Koch, CEO of Koch industries and a major Republican political donor, wrote an op-ed criticizing Obama over his “built it” comment. Koch argues that it wasn't corporate greed that caused U.S. financial problems, but government policy.
Obama: 'Mistake' to Dress Down Paul Ryan to His Face in Budget Speech
[ABC News, 9/10/12] In his new book, The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward talks to President Obama about last year’s debt deal that went awry. Obama says it was a “mistake” to dress down Paul Ryan to his face, which only hindered negotiations.
Why Experts Say Obama’s in for a Rough Four Years — Even If He Wins Big
[TPM, 9/10/12] If President Obama gets a second term, don’t expect the partisan bickering that has plagued Washington to let up. Republicans are planning to block any initiatives to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans or pass financial reform laws.
Obama Outraises Romney in August
[National Journal, 9/10/12] For the first time since April, the Obama campaign and the DNC raised more than Romney and his supporting Republican committees. Team Obama pulled in more than $114 million the month of August, while Team Romney raised $111.6 million.
Obama Campaign Video Says GOP Ticket Won’t Answer Basic Questions on Tax Plan
[National Journal, 9/10/12] After the campaigns clashed on Sunday over what Democrats are calling Romney’s refusal to identify which tax loopholes he would close and what cuts he would make as part of his tax plan, the Obama campaign released a two-minute video highlighting the Romney-Ryan ticket’s “bad math” on Sunday night.
DNC, Obama Framed Clear Choice in November
[New Yorker, 9/17/12] Steve Coll writes that Democrats “embraced the production values that the Republicans once monopolized: message discipline, clock management, and ego subordination (former presidents excepted).”
GOP Ticket Misleads on Defense Cuts
[National Journal, 9/10/12] The issue of Obama’s pending “trillion-dollar cuts” to the military has become central to the Republican argument, particularly in its attempt to persuade voters in defense-heavy battleground states that their jobs would be safer under Romney-Ryan. But there are some holes in the GOP’s case.
Crowds and Post-DNC Poll Numbers Buoy Obama in Florida
[Miami Herald, 9/10/12] As Obama journeys to Florida for a two-day swing, he faces excited crowds after the Democrat Party’s convention last week boosted his poll numbers. But the good feeling won’t last — expect the rhetoric to get sharper in the Sunshine State, specifically regarding Medicare and the economy.
Romney Struggles to Gain Traction in Battlegrounds
[Wall Street Journal, 9/9/12] Obama is leading Romney by small margins in seven of the eight battleground states — all but North Carolina — and new surveys suggest Obama’s ratings in these swing states were boosted by his party’s convention. Although the pattern is by no means set, Romney has little time to alter a race that for months has been essentially static.