Mitt Romney played very mild offense today, choosing the National Guard Association Conference in Reno, Nev., as his campaign hopes to end the stumbling inflicted by his decision not to mention “Afghanistan” or “troops” in his Tampa acceptance speech.
Without mentioning President Obama, Romney offered implicit contrasts between his national-security plans and Obama’s. He warned against “devastating defense budget cuts” and called the Veterans Affairs Department “in need of serious and urgent reform.” But he did not skewer Obama over foreign-policy disagreements. “There is a time and a place for that, but this day is not it,” Romney said in Reno.
The problem for Romney is that there may not be a time and place for that.
Democrats, who for decades have been suffering from a post-Vietnam national-security deficit, have under Obama—and thanks partly to public souring on wars run by the previous administration—regained credibility as a party that’ll keep you safe. The party has cauterized an electoral wound that helped swing elections, and Romney’s general avoidance of the issue underscores the new dynamic.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Mitt Romney Talks About Afghanistan, Sept. 11 Attacks in Reno
[Washington Post, 9/11/12] Mitt Romney praised veterans, troops, and first responders during a speech to the National Guard Association in Reno today. The Weekly Standard's William Kristol praised the speech as "eloquent."
Gallup: Americans Are Better Off Than Four Years Ago
[National Journal, 9/11/12] Several economic factors and mood indicators are better today than when President Obama took office nearly four years ago, according to a new analysis by Gallup.
Analysis: What the Neocons of 2001 Can Tell Us About the Campaign of 2012 NEW!
[National Journal, 9/11/12] Kurt Eichenwald’s book sheds new light on the Bush administration’s war on terror and offers possible insight into a Romney administration’s foreign policy.
The Kerry-ization of Mitt Romney
[Politico, 9/11/12] On national security, this presidential campaign has become the mirror image the 2004 campaign, when Republicans successfully painted the Democratic challenger as weak on defense and foreign relations.
Stimulus: The Law That Dare Not Speak Its Name
[National Journal, 9/11/12] President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is considered unmentionable by most Democrats. But whenever Obama talks about how he “cut taxes for folks who needed it,” he is referring to the 2009 package.
Ryan to Air Ads to Defend House Seat
[Associated Press, 9/11/12] Ryan’s congressional campaign closed deals with a Milwaukee station on Tuesday to run reelection ads beginning on Wednesday and running for two weeks. As of July, Ryan's campaign to retain his House seat had $5.4 million cash on hand.
Poll: Obama Emerges From Conventions Stronger, But Still Tied With Romney
[National Journal, 9/11/12] Obama leads Mitt Romney among likely voters 49 percent to 48 percent, well within the margin of error, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released early Tuesday, suggesting that there is a limit to Obama’s post-convention bounce. But among registered voters, Obama leads Romney by the widest margin since the spring.
Campaigns Eschew Politics on 9/11 Anniversary
[Associated Press, 9/11/12] Both Obama and Romney plan to take down their negative ads in honor of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Tuesday. Obama has scheduled a moment of silence at the White House and a trip to the Pentagon, while Romney is set to address the National Guard.
Romney Raises Money, Rips Obama on Teachers Strike
[Chicago Tribune, 9/11/12] Romney on Monday seized on the teachers strike in Obama’s hometown to attack the president for backing unions. It is not the first time Romney has criticized teachers unions, saying previously that they have an “outsized influence” on campaigns and often stifle reform efforts.
Southern Whites Troubled by Romney’s Wealth, Religion
[Reuters, 9/11/12] White lower- and middle-income voters across the Bible Belt are wild cards in this campaign. With only a sliver of the electorate in play nationwide, they could be a deciding factor in two southern swing states especially: North Carolina and Virginia.
Ryan Pushed for Green-Car Loans
[Politico, 9/10/12] Years before becoming famous as an advocate of fiscal restraint, Rep. Paul Ryan supported a now-controversial Energy Department loan program aimed at developing greener cars and even called for DOE to hand out lump-sum payments to companies. But Ryan called for a different strategy in 2008.
Editorial: Romney’s Preexisting Politics
[Wall Street Journal, 9/10/12] The Journal’s editorial board hit Romney in today’s paper for his health care reform fumbles over the weekend. As the flap shows, the board writes, Romney’s vagueness on his own plans carries political risk.
Both Parties Roll the Dice on Medicare Issue
[Roll Call, 9/11]/12] A month after the announcement of Ryan as Romney’s running mate, it’s hard to know the exact impact of the Medicare issue—particularly in House races.
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