POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/24

Romney Widens Lead in Arizona

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Arizona finds Mitt Romney has now opened back up a seven point lead over President Obama, 50% to 43%.

During the GOP primaries, similar surveys suggested the state might be winnable for Democrats.

 

Romney’s Most Trusted Adviser

The New Republic profiles Bob White, a “longtime-pal-cum-alter-ego” to Mitt Romney.

“White, who is trim with graying brown hair, was one of Romney’s original hires when launching the private-equity firm back in the 1980s. He has been at Romney’s side in every major endeavor he’s undertaken since, from the Olympics to the campaign trail. Over the course of Romney’s career, White has served as debate prepper, personnel vetter, designated gut-checker, in-house historian, and diplomatic envoy. It was White who found Romney a campaign manager for his run for governor, White who headed his transition to the Massachusetts statehouse, White who has chaired his campaigns for president.”

 

Americans Split on Biden

Gallup finds that Americans are about equally likely to have a favorable (42%) as an unfavorable (45%) view of Joe Biden, which has been the case for most of his tenure as vice president.

 

Proving Which Campaign Ads are Most Effective

Sasha Issenberg notes that political campaigns used to guess which ads were most effective, but the Obama re-election campaign is trying to prove it using random tests.

“To those familiar with the campaign’s operations, such irregular efforts at paid communication are indicators of an experimental revolution underway at Obama’s Chicago headquarters. They reflect a commitment to using randomized trials… designed to track the impact of campaign messages as voters process them in the real world, instead of relying solely on artificial environments like focus groups and surveys.”

 

Romney Promises Unemployment Rate of 6%

Mitt Romney told Mark Halperin that if he’s elected president “we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6%, and perhaps a little lower.”

However, just a few weeks ago, as NBC News reported, Romney said that anything “over 4% is not cause for celebration.”

ThinkProgress: “Though 6 percent unemployment is significantly lower than the current 8.1 percent rate, the feat isn’t all that remarkable. In fact, it is exactly where multiple government agencies project unemployment will be at the end of that time frame. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that unemployment will average 6.3 percent in 2016; the Office of Management and Budget, meanwhile, projects unemployment will hit 6.1 percent and ultimately fall below 6 percent the same year.”

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Arizona Official Confirms Obama Will Be on Ballot

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), who questioned whether President Obama should be allowed on the state’s presidential ballot because of citizenship questions, says his office received verification from Hawaiian officials confirming the copy of the Certificate of Live Birth for Obama matches the original record in their files.

Said Bennett: “At the request of numerous constituents, I merely asked Hawaiian officials to verify the information contained within President Obama’s original birth certificate. They have complied with the request and I consider the matter closed.”

 

Quote of the Day

“Do not buy into the BS that you hear.”

— White House press secretary Jay Carney, quoted by The Hill, saying it was “a sign of sloth and laziness” that reporters bought into the GOP idea that federal spending increased dramatically under President Obama.

Wonk Wire: The spending spree that never happened.

 

Obama Has Huge Lead Among Latinos

A new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll finds President Obama holds a 34-point lead over Mitt Romney among registered Latino voters, 61% to 27%.

In 2008, according to the exit polls, Obama defeated McCain among this key voting bloc, 67% to 31%.

 

Rattner Unloads on Romney

Steven Rattner, the former Obama administration official who criticized the president’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, clarifies his position in the New York Times:

“On Monday, Mr. Obama struck the right balance, emphasizing that he wasn’t attacking private equity but was questioning Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital credentials to be the job creator in chief. That’s fair, particularly because Mr. Romney himself has been foolishly reweaving history to claim, as recently as last week, that he helped create 100,000 jobs during his time at Bain. In fact, Bain Capital — like other private equity firms — was founded and managed for profit: ideally, huge amounts of gain earned legally and legitimately. Any job creation was a welcome but secondary byproduct.”

“Adding jobs was never Mitt Romney’s private sector agenda, and it’s appropriate to question his ability to do so.”

First Read: “One of the downsides to Republicans and the Romney campaign citing the Cory Bookers, Steve Rattners, etc. when it comes to Bain Capital is this: These folks are supporting Obama, not Romney.”

 

Pro-Choice Americans at Record Low

A new Gallup poll finds 41% of Americans identify themselves as “pro-choice,” a record low, while 50% now call themselves “pro-life,” one point shy of the record high.

 

Trump Wants Big Speaking Slot at Convention

Donald Trump wants a big speaking slot at the Republican National Convention, BuzzFeedreports, asking his Twitter followers to “imagine him speaking at the RNC Convention.”

He added: “That’s a speech everyone would watch.”

One of Trump’s advisers told the Daily Caller that Trump’s “massive popularity is just one of the many reasons he is being sought as a keynote speaker at the Tampa RNC Convention.”

 

Republicans Now Think Romney Could Win

Jonathan Martin: “Margin-of-error polling, fundraising parity last month, conservative consolidation around Romney and a still-sluggish economy has senior GOP officials increasingly bullish about a nominee many winced over during a difficult primary process. Interviews with about two dozen Republican elected officials, aides, strategists and lobbyists reveal a newfound optimism that with a competent, on-message campaign, Romney will be at least competitive with a weakened incumbent. That’s a dramatic shift from the fatalistic view many party stalwarts shared mere weeks ago.”

 

Obama Campaign Unveils “Dashboard”

President Obama’s re-election campaign will introduce a new online organizing tool today, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The program, known as Dashboard, has been in development since last year and builds off technology used by the campaign in 2008. It is meant to replicate a campaign field office, allowing volunteers to do phone banking, organize events and talk to campaign leaders from their laptops or smartphones… The Dashboard aims to give supporters information about local efforts and let people see how their efforts compare with those of other volunteers.”

 

Opposition to Gay Marriage Hits New Low

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds 53% of Americans say gay marriage should be legal, “hitting a high mark in support while showing a dramatic turnaround from just six years ago, when just 36% thought it should be legal.”

Meanwhile, 39% percent, a new low, say gay marriage should be illegal.

 

Where They Really Don’t Like Obama

To explain President Obama’s dismal performance in the Kentucky and Arkansas primaries last night, Alec MacGillis points us to a map that shows the regions where Obama received a smaller percentage of the vote in 2008 than John Kerry did in 2004.

“It is a virtually contiguous band of territory stretching from southwestern Pennsylvania through Appalachia and across the Upland South, finally petering out in north-central Texas. It is, almost to a T, what Colin Woodard, in his fascinating new ethnographic history of North America, American Nations, defined as the territory of the ‘Borderlanders’ — the rough-hewn Scots-Irish who arrived in this country from the “borderlands” of northern Ireland and Scotland, and claimed for themselves the inland hill country, far from the snooty Northeastern elites and Southern gentry. And look more closely at the map — where was Obama’s 2008 dropoff particularly heavy? In eastern Kentucky and most of Arkansas.”

“Keep in mind: this was at the peak of Obama’s popularity. It was before he began his ‘war on coal,’ before Obamacare, before all the things that pundits will point to to explain why this part of the country is so dead set against the president.”

 

Romney Leads in Florida

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds that Mitt Romney leads President Obama by six points, 47% to 41%.

Adding Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to the GOP ticket would give Republicans an eight point lead, 49% to 41%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Mitt Romney has slipped into the lead in Florida and that standing is confirmed by his much better numbers than the president when voters are asked whether they view the candidates favorably or unfavorably. They view Romney favorably 44% to 35%, while Obama gets a negative 45% to 50% favorability.”

 

Obama Embarrassed in Kentucky, Arkansas

President Obama barely eked out Democratic primary wins in Kentucky and Arkansas,Politico reports.

The president didn’t even have an opponent in Kentucky, but took just 57.9% of the vote, with the remaining more than 42 percent of ballots cast for “uncommitted.”

In Arkansas, his unknown opponent, John Wolfe (D), won 41% of the vote.

Washington Post: “Although the results haven’t stopped Obama’s march to renomination — he officially clinched the Democratic nod on April 3 — they remain an indicator of not-insignificant pockets of unrest within his party.”

 

Stockman Says Romney Didn’t Create Jobs

Former Reagan budget director David Stockman went off message on Fox News while commenting about Mitt Romney’s business experience.

Said Stockman: “I don’t think that Mitt Romney can legitimately say that he learned anything about how to create jobs in the LBO business. The LBO business is about how to strip cash out of old, long-in-the-tooth companies and how to make short-term profits…All the jobs that he talks about came from Staples. That was a very early venture stage deal. That, you know they got out of long before it got to its current size.”

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