POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/17

Raising Taxes on Rich Seen as Good for Economy

A new Pew Research poll finds that by two-to-one (44% to 22%), the public says that raising taxes on incomes above $250,00o would help the economy rather than hurt it, while 24% say this would not make a difference.

Moreover, an identical percentage (44%) says a tax increase on higher incomes would make the tax system more fair, while just 21% say it would make the system less fair.

Quote of the Day

“The only person who has seen Romney’s tax returns is John McCain and he took one look and picked Sarah Palin.”

— James Carville, interviewed by CBS News.

Obama Says Romney Plan Would Create Jobs Overseas

President Obama seized on a new report claiming that Mitt Romney’s economic plan would create jobs overseas to ramp up his attacks on his Republican rival, The Hill reports.

Said Obama: “Today we learned that Romney’s jobs plan would create 800,000 jobs. There’s only one problem: they wouldn’t be in America.”

No Win Political Advice

Jonathan Chait: “Most campaign advice falls into two broad categories, each with its own cliché. One cliché is: When You’re Explaining, You’re Losing. The argument here is that attempting to rebut the details of attacks simply allows the campaign to remain on your opponents’ chosen terrain, so you must avoid any such arguments, deflect attacks, and turn to your own themes. The second main cliché is Never Let an Attack Go Unanswered. This supposed cardinal sin is to decline to respond to an opposing charge.”

“Of course, the two clichés point in opposite directions, which suggests that, when a campaign hits a stretch of rough media or bad polling, there’s a ready-made argument to show why it obviously blundered.”

Race Stable in Four Key Swing States

A new Purple Strategies poll in four battleground states — Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Virginia — finds a stable presidential race with President Obama leading Mitt Romney by two points, 47% to 45%, the same lead as in June.

“The race is also steady among independents across these states. Romney retains a 5-point lead among this key swing constituency (47% to 42%), essentially unchanged from his 6-point lead in June.”

Why Attack Romney on Bain Now?

Josh Marshall: “The Obama team’s goal here is to make the entirety of Romney’s professional life toxic and off-limits before Romney even gets the chance to introduce himself to much of the public. And they’re off to a pretty good start.”

Americans Sour on Chief Justice Roberts

A new Gallup survey finds Americans’ opinions of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts are now much more negative than they were seven years ago, coming after his vote to uphold President Obama’s healthcare law.

Overall, just 39% have a favorable view as compared to 50% just after his confirmation hearings. Republicans’ favorable rating of Roberts is down 40 percentage points from 2005, while Democrats’ is up 19.

Friendly Fire from the War Room

David Frum: “Romney’s core problem is this: He heads a party that must win two-thirds of the white working-class vote in presidential elections to compensate for its weakness in almost every demographic category. The white working class is the most pessimistic and alienated group in the electorate, and it especially fears and dislikes the kind of financial methods that gained Romney his fortune.”

“Romney has a strong potential defense: Bain was in the business of making companies more efficient and profitable. Downsizing and outsourcing were necessary — and often indispensable — means to that end… However, it’s not an argument that appeals much to the voters Romney most intensely needs to win. Hence his unleashing of the war room — but in the end, there’s only so much a war room can do. And this time, by trying to do too much, the Romney war room may have blasted its own side with lethal friendly fire.”

Did Romney Commit Perjury?

When Mitt Romney signed a federal financial disclosure form for his current presidential bid, he stated under the penalty of perjury that he had not been involved “in any way” with Bain Capital after he left for Utah in February 1999.

Mother Jones reports that during a 2002 hearing to determine if Mitt Romney met the residency requirement to run for governor Romney said that “after he departed Bain in February 1999 he went through a transition period regarding his work in Boston.”

“When a lawyer challenging his eligibility asked Romney, ‘Did you remain more or less continuously in Salt Lake City from February ’99 to the end of the year,’ Romney answered: ‘Actually, there was some transition away from my work in Boston for the first few months and then I pretty much stayed there after.’ Trying to clarify this, the lawyer, after referring to this ‘transition,’ asked, ‘So from February through the end of the year you were pretty much full-time out in Utah, right?’ Romney replied: ‘Well again, the beginning of the year was a good deal of time back and forth, but towards the last half of the year it was pretty much exclusively in Utah.'”

Andrew Sullivan: “If there was a good deal of time back and forth in the first few months and some business conducted all the way through to December (‘pretty much exclusively’), and if Romney’s own lawyer tells an inquiry that Romney’s work for Bain ‘continued unabated just as they had,’ then it is incontrovertibly true that Romney’s statement under oath that he was not involved ‘in any way’ in Bain business after February 1999 was a lie under oath.

David Gergen disagrees that Romney lied: “I may be wrong but based on what we know so far, I would conclude that we do not have persuasive evidence to show that he has.”

Small Alaskan Town Has a Cat as Mayor

About 15 years ago several residents “didn’t like the candidates who were running for mayor of Talkeetna, so as a joke, they encouraged enough people to elect Stubbs the cat as a write-in candidate, and he actually won,” KTUU-TV reports.

Gawker: “The position is mostly honorary, allowing the 15-year-old Manx mix to spend most of his time greeting tourists at Nagley’s General Store.”

Who Funds Our Elections?

Lawrence Lessig: “A tiny number of Americans — .26 percent — give more than $200 to a congressional campaign. .05 percent give the maximum amount to any congressional candidate. .01 percent give more than $10,000 in any election cycle. And .000063 percent — 196 Americans — have given more than 80 percent of the super-PAC money spent in the presidential elections so far.”

Less Than a Million People Will Pick the President

Paul Begala: “We can almost guarantee that 48 percent of each state’s voters will go for Obama, and another 48 percent will decide for Romney. And so the whole shootin’ match comes down to around 4 percent of the voters in six states.”

“I did the math so you won’t have to. Four percent of the presidential vote in Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado is 916,643 people. That’s it. The American president will be selected by fewer than half the number of people who paid to get into a Houston Astros home game last year — and my beloved Astros sucked last year; they were the worst team in baseball. Put another way, there are about as many people in San Jose as there are swing voters who will decide this election. That’s not even as many people as attended Puerto Rican cockfights in the past year — although there are obvious similarities.”

Romney Donors Not Maxed Out

Fewer than 1% of Mitt Romney’s donors “have hit the limit they can donate to his election bid, suggesting cash is likely to keep pouring into his coffers,” Reuters reports.

“Only 40 donors have given $75,800 — the maximum individuals are allowed to give before the November 6 election — to the joint Victory fund that Romney shares with the Republican National Committees, according to a Reuters analysis of the fund’s first campaign finance filing submitted late on Sunday.”

Don’t Write Off Jesse Jackson Jr. Yet

Lynn Sweet says it’s “very premature to write off the political career of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) — at an undisclosed location getting treated for a serious ‘mood disorder.’ He has $246,625 in his political warchest as of June 30–a virtually unknown GOP opponent running in a heavily Democratic district with no political cash and a savvy top political strategist — his wife.”

Said GOP nominee Brain Woodworth: “We haven’t hit the $5,000 mark yet.”

Woodworth has not even raised or spent enough — $5,000 — to trigger having to file a report with the Federal Election Commission.

The Secret Behind Romney’s Magical IRA

William Cohan: “The most mysterious of the unexplained mysteries about Mitt Romney’s considerable wealth is how he was able to amass between $21 million and $102 million in his individual retirement account during the 15 years he was at Bain Capital LLC. How did he do it, given the relatively small amounts that the law permits to be contributed to such a plan on an annual basis?”

Why Won’t Romney Release More Tax Returns?

Mitt Romney says he’ll release just two years of tax returns, so John Cassidy notes it’s “only fair to assume that Mitt is doing what he always does: acting on the basis of a careful cost-benefit analysis.”

“But what information could the earlier tax returns contain that would be so damaging if it were brought out into the open? Obviously, we are entering the realm of speculation, but Romney has invited it.”

“Here are four possibilities: 1. Extremely high levels of income… 2. More offshore accounts…. 3. Politically explosive investments… 4. A very, very low tax rate.”

Romney Has Decided on Running Mate

Mitt Romney has reached a decision on his running mate, his friends believe, and he may disclose it as soon as this week, the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told The Hill that he’s been to Boston to meet Romney’s senior advisers and has met Beth Myers, who is leading the search for the vice presidential nominee.

Romney to Accuse Obama of Cronyism

Mitt Romney “will launch a fresh assault this week accusing President Obama of political cronyism at the expense of middle-class workers,” the Washington Post reports.

“In a coordinated offensive starting Monday, the Romney team and its allies will say that the president has been a ‘typical politician’ and has demonstrated ‘systematic favoritism’ toward top campaign fundraisers by lavishing them with federal appointments and their companies with taxpayer money and special government deals, according to campaign officials.”

The Romney campaign released an ad today — complete with President Obama singing to counter the brutal ad that smacked Romney over the weekend — to push this point.

See more…

Romney’s Ad Taken Down

An advertisement released by Mitt Romney’s campaign earlier today which accused President Obama of cronyism and mocked his singing has been taken down due to a copyright infringement, according to the Huffington Post.

Democrats Threaten to Go Over Fiscal Cliff

Democrats are “making increasingly explicit threats about their willingness to let nearly $600 billion worth of tax hikes and spending cuts take effect in January unless Republicans drop their opposition to higher taxes for the nation’s wealthiest households,” theWashington Post reports.

“Emboldened by signs that GOP resistance to new taxes may be weakening, senior Democrats say they are prepared to weather a fiscal event that could plunge the nation back into recession if the new year arrives without an acceptable compromise.”

Politico: “The Democratic hard line — asserted by Obama at a private Oval Office meeting with senior party leaders last week — is based squarely on the belief that Republicans will cave on taxes because the GOP has far less leverage than it did after its resounding success in the 2010 elections.”

Wonk Wire: It’s time for workable solutions for the fiscal cliff.

Running Opposite Campaigns

Zeke Miller: “Three months into this general election campaign, it’s become clear that President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have made drastically different bets on what will motivate voters this November — choices that are playing out in two campaigns so different they might as well be running in different elections.”

“For Obama, it has been a summer of gritty engagement: Sweaty campaigning, dramatic and intensely tactical — not to say cynical — policy moves aimed at specific constituencies. For his part, Romney has kept it cool and vague, staying largely off the trail and out of the weeds while his campaign plays out in 30-second television spots.”

“It is also roughly the reverse of what a traditional re-election fight: The challenger is running a Rose Garden campaign, while the president stumps frantically, far from the South Lawn.”

Weiner Wants to Return to Politics

After an article suggested he’s gearing up for a political comeback, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) declined to comment when asked directly about his immediate political ambitions, the New York Times reports.

“He wants to return to politics, according to friends and former staff members… His refusal to address his political future only stirred further speculation.”

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