POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/13

Condi Rice Leads Veep Short List?

Drudge Report: “Late Thursday evening, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign launched a new fundraising drive, ‘Meet The VP’ — just as Romney himself has narrowed the field of candidates to a handful, sources reveal. And a surprise name is now near the top of the list: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice!”

“The timing of the announcement is now set for ‘coming weeks’.”

Mark Halperin: “Inconceivable”

 

Romney Pushes Back Hard Against Bain Attacks

In a possible sign he’s starting to get worried about the Obama campaign attacks on Bain Capital, Mitt Romney is hitting back hard with a new ad running in seven key swing states: Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and New Hampshire.

Greg Sargent: “If this ad buy info is accurate — and if the ad is running for a significant amount of time — it may signal that the Romney camp has decided the onslaught against his business background may be working, or threatening to work, and now merits a serious escalation in engagement.”

See more…

 

The Ruse of Blind Trusts

Despite calling them an “age-old use” in his 1994 U.S. Senate campaign, Mitt Romney now assures voters that a “blind trust” gives him no control over his assets.

Todd Purdum looks at the history of blind trusts in politics — first used by President Lyndon Johnson — and notes Barack Obama set one up when first elected to the U.S. Senate “but sold all of his stocks and closed the trust because he decided that even such an arrangement could not protect him from the appearance of a conflict.”

But the blind trust “has another enduring meaning in American politics, a sarcastic one coined by Garry Trudeau in 1984, when, in his comic strip Doonesbury, he accused then vice president George H. W. Bush of depositing his manhood in one. The slam stung — and stuck — which is something Mitt Romney would do well to remember as he charts his investment in the presidency.”

 

Obama Retains Significant National Lead

Despite a stagnant economy and broad dissatisfaction with the nation’s direction, a new Pew Research survey finds President Obama holds a significant lead over Mitt Romney, 50% to 43%.

Key finding: “Of 12 issues tested, Obama has the edge on eight; Romney is seen as stronger than Obama on only one, reducing the federal budget deficit. In June, Romney led as the candidate best able to improve the economy, but today Obama holds a slight lead on this issue. However, neither candidate has a clear advantage on the job situation, the top issue for voters: 46% say Romney and 42% say Obama can do a better job improving the job situation.”

 

Why Neither Candidate Can Move the Polls

Sean Trende: “The problem, however, is that elections are largely referenda on the incumbent. It takes something very powerful for the people to choose an unpopular incumbent over a challenger of any stripe… In a presidential campaign, both candidates are incredibly well-funded, to the point where they can achieve saturation media coverage in most major markets and still have money left over. This is especially true for Obama, who is a known quantity. His spending just isn’t likely to do that much to change the race, unless he hits upon an argument that disqualifies his opponent.”

Likewise, “I wouldn’t expect Romney to achieve a major breakthrough anytime soon. The economy isn’t so bad that it would cause people to give up utterly on Obama. It is improving, albeit more slowly than he — or the country — would like. That could change, but if it doesn’t, Romney is not going to run away with this election.”

 

Reid Says Romney Would Never be Confirmed by Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told TPM that new revelations about Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital mean he’d have trouble gaining U.S. Senate approval for pretty much any appointed job.

Said Reid: “He not only couldn’t be confirmed as a cabinet secretary, he couldn’t be confirmed as dog catcher.”

 

Romney Stayed at Bain 3 Years Longer Than He Stated

Mitt Romney “has repeatedly sought to distance himself from some business dealings at Bain Capital by asserting that he left the firm in February 1999, but a review of public records shows that his authority lingered for three more years as Bain repeatedly listed him on government filings as the man in charge,” the Boston Globe reports.

“Until 2002, when Romney and Bain Capital finalized a severance agreement, he remained the firm’s ‘sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president,’ according to SEC documents. The description was applied even to the creation of five new Bain partnerships a full three years after Romney has said he relinquished all control.”

 

Why the Bain Shadow Years Matter

David Bernstein thinks Mitt Romney’s “shadow years” at Bain Capital are an important story.

“First of all, there’s Romney’s ‘buck stops here’ problem; the buck never seems to stop with him. Everything bad that’s ever happened under him — especially involving Bain — he always blames on other people, and that just isn’t very Presidential. The shadow years look like that in a huge way.”

“It also reinforces the image of Romney as part of the specially insulated corporate overlord class, who get to manipulate the rules so that they always end up the winner… He apparently was able to make a lot of money (or at least, what seems like a lot of money to most people) for being president, owner, and investor in a company while actually being off in Utah doing a completely different full-time job.”

“And, of course, he was apparently freely signing off on anything required of the president and owner, without, apparently, feeling like that meant he actually had any responsibility for anything happening at the company. It looks like legal, regulatory, and fiduciary responsibilities don’t really mean anything to super-wealthy executive types — not like when regular people sign employment documents, or mortgage documents, and so on.”

 

How Weak Candidates Could Cost GOP Control of the Senate

The Atlantic notes that “underwhelming recruitment” by the RNC will make it tough for Republicans to win a majority in the U.S. Senate.

 

Romney’s Secret Stash

President Obama’s campaign steps up the attacks on Mitt Romney’s personal finances in a tough new video.

See more…

 

Forecast Points to Very Close Election

Alan Abramowitz updates his presidential election forecasting model and finds “growing partisan polarization has important implications for forecasting the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. With the American electorate both closely and deeply divided along party lines, we can expect another close election this year — probably closer than the 2008 election and possibly as close as the 2000 election.”

“There is only one prediction that seems very safe right now — it’s going to be a long election night.”

 

New Urgency for Obama Campaign

“A new urgency has swept into President Obama’s campaign as disappointing fundraising numbers have emerged alongside the shaky economy as a major threat to his prospects for reelection,” The Hill reports.

“While the president’s aides originally maintained they wouldn’t be moving from ‘zero to 60’ when they launched their campaign in May, now, with less than four months until Election Day, it appears they’re pushing down harder on the pedal.”

 

More Mixed Messages on Health Care

A new Quinnipiac poll finds voters agree by a 48% to 45% margin with with the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding President Obama’s health care law, while they say 49% to 43% that the Congress should repeal it.

Meanwhile, 59% say the Supreme Court decision will not affect their vote for president, 27% say it will make them less likely to vote for President Obama, while 12% say more likely.

 

Romney’s Wealth Doesn’t Matter to Most Voters

A new Gallup poll finds 75% of registered voters say the fact that Mitt Romney is worth more than $200 million makes no difference to their likelihood of voting for him. However, 20% of voters, mostly Democrats and independents, say Romney’s wealth makes them less likely to vote for him, while 4% say it makes them more likely.

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