POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/18

Race Tightens in New Hampshire

A new WMUR Granite State Poll shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney among New Hampshire likely voters, 49% to 45%.

In April, Obama held a 9-point lead over Romney.

What Romney Might Be Hiding

Josh Green speculates on what Mitt Romney might be trying to hide by not releasing his tax returns and focuses on the financial meltdown in 2008.

“As a member of the ultra-rich, Romney probably wasn’t spared major losses. And it’s possible that he suffered a large enough capital loss that, carried forward and coupled with his various offshore tax havens, he wound up paying no U.S. federal taxes at all in 2009. If true, this would be politically deadly for him. Even assuming that his return was thoroughly clean and legal — a safe assumption, it seems to me — the fallout would dwarf the controversy that attended the news that Romney had paid a tax rate of only 14 percent in 2010 and estimated he’d pay a similar rate in 2011.”

Greg Sargent has more speculation.

McCain Says Tax Returns Did Not Disqualify Romney

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “flatly rejected” to Politico the assertion that he didn’t pick Mitt Romney as his running mate in 2008 because of what he saw in his tax returns.

Said McCain: “Oh come on, because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate. Why did we not take Pawlenty, why did we not take any of the other 10 other people. Why didn’t I? Because we had a better candidate, the same way with all the others… Come on, why? That’s a stupid question.”

(But McCain’s judgement that Palin was the best candidate disqualified HIM! fvm)

Flashback of the Day

“Throughout history, presidential candidates have disclosed income tax information prior to Election Day. We believe Americans value disclosure and transparency in campaigns.”

— Senior Mitt Romney adviser Ed Gillespie, quoted in a 2004 RNC press release, urging Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to release more tax information.

Obama Still Ahead in Iowa

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points, 48% to 43%.

In early May, Obama held a 10 point advantage at 51% to 41%.

Paul Says Romney Should Release Tax Returns

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said that Mitt Romney should release more of his tax returns, adding to the pressure on the GOP nominee to share personal financial information, Politico reports.

Said Paul: “Politically, I think that would help him. In the scheme of things politically, you know, it looks like releasing tax returns is what the people want.”

The Fix: “The truth — in politics and in life — is almost always less damaging than what the imagination can conjure. While the tax return debate is a no-win for Romney, he’d be better to lance this political boil once and for all. It’s not going away and if he doesn’t it’s only likely to grow.”

Kerry Aides Give Advice to Romney on Veep

The New York Times reports that Beth Myers, the longtime Mitt Romney confidant overseeing his vice presidential running mate search, has sought advice from previous presidential campaigns, including aides to Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) 2004 race who “warned against picking a candidate with unchecked ambitions.”

Fed Chairman Warns of Economic Slowdown

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told senators at a hearing that “economic activity appears to have decelerated somewhat” and “the reduction in the unemployment rate seems likely to be frustratingly slow,” the Washington Post reports.

Don’t Bet on an Early Romney VP Pick

First Read: “While we’re bracing for Mitt Romney to make his VP pick as soon as this week, here is something to consider: If history is any guide, Romney won’t announce his selection until next month. Indeed, in modern times, the earliest a pick was made — John Kerry tapping John Edwards in 2004 — was less than three weeks before the Democratic convention began. Outside of that, every other running mate since 1980 has been selected NO EARLIER than a week before the convention began, if not afterward. And right now we are out six weeks until the Republican convention in Tampa. So Romney could very well go this week, but he’d be making an earlier pick than any other presumptive presidential nominee in modern times.”

Obama Relies Less on Teleprompter

President Obama “is weaning himself off his teleprompter,” The Hill observes.

“At recent campaign events in Pennsylvania, Virginia and again Monday in Ohio, Obama spoke to crowds in high school gymnasiums and at crowded outdoor events without his teleprompter, instead using written notes. The difference is dramatic. Instead of turning in his characteristic manner from right to left and back again, reading from the two sloping, clear-plastic planes of his teleprompter, Obama has glanced down at pages in a binder on his podium.”

A senior Obama official said the lack of teleprompters has “less to do with image and more to do with upping the tempo” at campaign events.

Hitting Romney for Hiding Something

President Obama’s re-election campaign has a new video compiling clips of Republicans suggesting that Mitt Romney is hiding something by not releasing his tax returns.

See more…

Florida Lt. Governor Denies Same-Sex Affair

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll (R) is denying allegations that she was reportedly romantically involved with a female aide, KSDK reports.

Said Carroll: “It’s not just a one person issue attacking, it’s an entire family. My husband doesn’t want to hear that. I’m the one that’s married for 29 years, the accuser is the one that’s single for a long time, so, usually black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.”

Leaving No Tracks in Albany

“When he ran for office, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vowed to operate the most transparent administration in New York State history. And his aides argue that he has: they say that their communication methods differ little from those of other elected officials, and that Mr. Cuomo will preserve more documents than any of his recent predecessors,” the New York Times reports.

“But while Mr. Cuomo has taken steps to improve citizen access to the State Capitol, literally as well as digitally, he and his aides have also set up an executive chamber that prides itself on leaving few footprints.”

“Aides communicate with untraceable messages sent from BlackBerry to BlackBerry. Nothing delicate is shared using e-mail. And in-boxes are regularly wiped clean. ”

Grimm Cleared of Ethics Violations

In a boost for his embattled reelection campaign, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) “has been cleared by the Office of Congressional Ethics — an independent watchdog — of any fundraising violations,” Politico reports.

Update: “OCE’s findings cover only the period since Grimm became a member of the House in Jan. 2011. The DOJ probe is scrutinizing his initial run for Congress.”

Obama Campaign Renames Stadium

Emails from the DNC host committee refer to the Charlotte venue where President Obama will accept the Democratic party presidential nomination as “Panthers Stadium.”

Of course, as Maggie Haberman notes, “It’s the place where the Panthers play, but it’s actually called Bank of America stadium.”

Romney Narrows Veep Short List

Mitt Romney “appears to be in the final stages of deciding who to pick as his vice presidential running mate, with speculation growing that he has narrowed his choice down to a short-list of three,” Reuters reports.

The names given: Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).

Makes You Wonder

The Obama campaign released a new ad hammering Mitt Romney for not releasing his tax returns asking whether he’s “paid any taxes at all” in some years.

The ad is running only in Pennsylvania.

See more…

Will the Bain Attacks Move the Polls?

Nate Silver argues that because there are relatively few voters that are “persuadable” it would be “an upset” if the Obama campaign attacks on Mitt Romney’s ties to Bain Capital caused a huge swing in the polls.

That said, Romney’s campaign “has begun to behave like Bain Capital is more of a negative factor than a positive or even neutral one… Instead of being more forthright in his defense of Bain’s activities — a strategy that seemed to be roughly achieving a draw in the public’s eyes — he has been in damage-control mode, and has not necessarily been adroit at it.”

“That means it’s at least worth watching the polls over the next couple of weeks to see whether the attacks become more damaging going forward.”

Romney Letting Obama Define Him

Charlie Cook: “The strategic decision by the Romney campaign not to define him personally — not to inoculate him from inevitable attacks — seems a perverse one. Given his campaign’s ample financial resources, the decision not to run biographical or testimonial ads, in effect to do nothing to establish him as a three-dimensional person, has left him open to the inevitable attacks for his work at Bain Capital, on outsourcing, and on his investments. It’s all rather inexplicable.”

“Aside from a single spot aired in the spring by the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, not one personal positive ad has been aired on Romney’s behalf. The view that any day or dollar spent on talking about anything other than the economy is a waste has been taken to such an extreme that Romney has no positive definition other than that of being a rich, successful, and presumably smart businessman. People see and feel the reasons for firing Obama every day in the economic statistics and the struggle that so many Americans face daily. The Romney campaign seems focused on reinforcing a message that hardly needs reinforcing, while ignoring a clear and immediate danger to its own candidate’s electability.”

BusinessWeek: Mitt Romney’s wimp factor.

The Obama Killing Machine

Mark Halperin: “Pause for two beats and pay Prizzi’s Honor-style homage to the ruthless killing machine that is the combined White House-Chicago operation.”

“They have parceled out their opposition research in a manner both strategic and tactical, selecting specific news organizations at times of their choosing to maximize the drip-drip-drip of the twin stories. They have used left-leaning Web outfits as recipients of over-the-transom gifts as effectively (cumulatively) as the Romney campaign uses Drudge. And they have seen the Boston Globe use its credibility to drive a ton of news.”

“The Obamans have dominated numerous consecutive news cycles since the last unemployment numbers came out. And there is more to come for sure. The Gang of 500 is confident it is just a matter of time before Romney relents and puts out additional years of tax returns, an eventuality that the Obama campaign will drag out for days. When some said that the Bain issue was burning out through its use by Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and others in the nomination fight, Chicago was quietly confident the matter could be easily revived with new information and heavy advertising — and Chicago was right. And, make no mistake, the Obamans are sitting on even more research that they will unfurl down the road.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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