POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/23

Coburn Supports Manchin’s Re-Election

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) crossed party lines and gave a $250 contribution to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) re-election campaign “because he believes Manchin is not beholden to short-sighted political interests,” The Hill reports.

Said Coburn: “I think he votes thinking about the long-term interests of the country. We don’t agree on everything but he’s a good guy.”

5 Reasons the Mitt Romney Tax Controversy Won’t Go Away

The Week has the list.

Do Polls Break Towards the Challenger?

Nate Silver: “There are certainly some good reasons to think that the polls could break toward Mitt Romney. For instance, many polls out now were conducted among registered voters; when pollsters switch over to likely voter polls instead — which assess each voter’s probability of actually casting a ballot on Nov. 6 — it is likely that Mr. Romney will gain a point or two. And Barack Obama obviously has a lot of weight to bear from the lukewarm economic recovery.”

“But one hypothesis you should find less persuasive is the notion that the polls will break toward Mr. Romney just because he is the challenger. It is often asserted that this is the case — that the polls move toward the ‘out-party’ candidate rather than the incumbent. But in my view the empirical evidence — although it is somewhat ambiguous — mostly argues against this idea.”

The Scariest Chart for the Romney Campaign

The Atlantic finds the Obama campaign’s Bain Capital attacks are resonating in the swing states.

Sneaky Pie for President

In the mail: Sneaky Pie for President: A Novel by Rita Mae Brown.

“Human candidates have had their chance in Washington, with dubious results of late: nowhere does it say in the Constitution that the president cannot be a cat.”

Obama Ahead in Florida

A new Survey USA poll in Florida finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points in the important battleground state, 48% to 43%.

However, in the U.S. Senate race, Rep. Connie Mack (R) leads Sen. Bill Nelson (D) by six points, 48% to 42%.

Unemployment Rises in Six of Ten Swing States

Unemployment rose last month in six of 10 battleground states in the presidential election, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The jobless rate climbed a 10th of a percentage point last month in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Virginia… The rate held steady in three other battleground states — Nevada, Florida, and North Carolina.”

“Ohio was the only battleground state where unemployment fell last month.”

There Is No Such Thing as “Politicizing” a Tragedy

Max Read: “There is no such thing as ‘politicizing’ tragedy. James Holmes did not materialize in a movie theater in Aurora this morning, free of any relationship to law and authority and the structures of power in this country; nor did he exit those relationships and structures by murdering 12 people and injuring several dozen more. Before he entered the theater, he purchased guns, whether legally or illegally, under a framework of laws and regulations governed and negotiated by politics; in the parking lot outside, he was arrested by a police force whose salaries, equipment, tactics and rights were shaped and determined by politics. Holmes’ ability to seek, or to not seek, mental health care; the government’s ability, or inability, to lock up persons deemed unstable — these are things decided and directed by politics. You cannot ‘politicize’ a tragedy because the tragedy isalready political. When you talk about the tragedy you’re already talking about politics.”

Bush Will Not Attend GOP Convention

Former President George W. Bush will not attend the Republican convention next month in Tampa, Politico reports.

Said a spokesman: “President Bush was grateful for the invitation to the Republican National Convention. He supports Governor Romney and wants him to succeed. President Bush is confident that Mitt Romney will be a great President. But he’s still enjoying his time off the political stage and respectfully declined the invitation to go to Tampa.”

This seems like a classic Friday news dump.

North Carolina Remains Close

A new Civitas Institute poll in North Carolina finds Mitt Romney with a one point lead over President Obama, 49% to 48%.

Follow the Money

National Journal has an excellent page that tracks ad spending by the presidential campaigns, the parties and the Super PACs across the battleground states.

Worse than Watergate

Rick Hasen: “How does the brave new world of campaign financing created by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision stack up against Watergate? The short answer is: Things are even worse now than they were then.”

“The 1974 scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon was all about illegal money secretly flowing to politicians. That’s still a danger, but these days, the biggest weakness of our campaign finance system is not what’s illegal, but what’s legal. As Dan Eggen of theWashington Post put it, ‘there’s little need for furtive fundraising or secret handoffs of cash.’ The rules increasingly allow people and corporations with great wealth to skew public policy toward their interests–without risking a jail time, or a fine, or any penalty at all. It’s an influence free-for-all.”

Bloomberg Bashes Obama and Romney on Guns

President Obama and Mitt Romney might be taking a somber break from politics today after the shootings in Colorado last night, but not New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York Observer reports.

Said Bloomberg: “You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country. And everybody always says, ‘Isn’t it tragic,’ and you know, we look for was the guy, as you said, maybe trying to recreate Batman. I mean, there are so many murders with guns every day, it’s just got to stop. And instead of the two people – President Obama and Governor Romney – talking in broad things about they want to make the world a better place, okay, tell us how. And this is a real problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them concretely, not just in generalities – specifically what are they going to do about guns?”

The Doing-a-Lot-of-Nothing Congress

Businessweek infographic looks at the 54 “mostly-trivial” bills sent to President Obama for his signature this congressional session.

Insider Trading Ban Doesn’t Include Lawmaker Families

CNN reports that the law designed to ban insider trading on Capitol Hill — which passed with a rare show of bipartisanship — “isn’t exactly as advertised. A loophole could still allow family members of some lawmakers to profit from inside information.”

Cain PAC Spending Raises Questions

Herman Cain is using a political action committee created in his name in unusual ways, theWashington Times reports.

Though the PAC raises money by sending multiple solicitations weekly to supporters making pleas to help fund ads, new disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission show no payments to advertising firms or advocacy groups running ads for any candidate or cause.

Mark Block, who runs the PAC, said the primary way it supports the candidates is “by endorsing them,” adding, “We put out a press release.”

Cuomo Defends Not Using Email

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) defended his admininstration’s use of the Blackberry’s personal identification number instead of emails in order to avoid a paper trail, YNNreports.

Said Cuomo: “Hacking is a problem and if you have a secure communication or a confidential communication or information that you don’t want disseminated, than you have a find a secure means to communicate it.”

Romney Ready for Trip Abroad

Mitt Romney “plans to depart next week for a visit to Britain, Israel and Poland, and the Republican presidential candidate hopes the trip will help him project the aura of a statesman and signal to voters back home that he would make a plausible commander in chief,” the Washington Post reports.

“He will listen to leaders of important U.S. allies, make symbolic appearances at historical sites and build personal relationships. He plans to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing St. and catch up with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an old friend from their days as business consultants, while aides are preparing speeches for him to give in Israel and Poland. Romney is not trying to replicate the dramatic scene that unfolded when then-candidate Barack Obama addressed an estimated 200,000 Germans at Berlin’s Victory Column four years ago, but his trip will inevitably draw comparisons.”

David Brooks: “It won’t help him win many votes this year, but it should be noted that Barack Obama has been a good foreign policy president.”

The Billion Dollar Campaign

USA Today: “Less than four months until Election Day, the battle for the White House already has crossed the $1 billion mark — as the presidential candidates, political parties and the two super PACs closely aligned with President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney race to collect political cash.”

How Romney Left Bain Capital

The Boston Globe takes a good look into Mitt Romney’s departure from Bain Capital.

“Shortly after Mitt Romney took a leave of absence from Bain Capital to run the Olympics in February 1999, he made a trip to Palm Beach, Fla… Romney and his partners had decided that, in his absence, five managing directors would oversee the company. And in Palm Beach it became clearer that Romney was unlikely to return — but would retain his title as chief executive officer and sole shareholder.”

“Interviews with a half-dozen of Romney’s former partners and associates, as well as public records, show that he was not merely an absentee owner during this period. He signed dozens of company documents, including filings with regulators on a vast array of Bain’s investment entities. And he drove the complex negotiations over his own large severance package, a deal that was critical to the firm’s future without him… Indeed, by remaining CEO and sole shareholder, Romney held on to his leverage in the talks that resulted in his generous 10-year retirement package.”

Romney’s Secrecy Becomes Focus of Attacks

“Mitt Romney has secrets. Lots of them, perhaps. That provocative claim is at the core of President Barack Obama’s latest attacks on his Republican rival, a strategy that is dominating the narrative of the presidential campaign and leading anxious Republicans to question Romney’s tactics,” Reuters reports.

“In ads, interviews and social-media blasts, the Democratic president’s team is casting Romney as a mysterious figure who is guarding important secrets about his wealth and work history.”

“Feeding the Democrats’ storyline: Romney’s refusal to release more than a year or two of his tax returns, questions about whether he is being honest about when he left his job at Bain Capital, and the reams of records that have been kept secret from his years as Massachusetts governor and chief of the Salt Lake City Olympics.”

Romney’s Taxes and Clinton’s Underwear

Peggy Noonan: “The reason Mitt Romney isn’t releasing more tax returns can be reduced to three words: Bill Clinton’s underwear. When he first ran for president, Bill Clinton put out his tax returns. Lisa Schiffren, an enterprising young writer for The American Spectator, went through them and found that the Clintons, when they were in Little Rock, had gone to great lengths to limit their tax bills, to the point of itemizing each contribution to local charities, including Mr. Clinton’s old underwear. Hilarity ensued. This is the kind of thing everyone in national politics fears.”

“But the question remains. Mr. Romney has known at least since 2007 that he would be running for president. He never in that time made sure his taxes from that date would pass rigorous public examination? This is odd, especially since he’s supposed to be so methodical, tidy, organized and prudent. The political answer to the question ‘Should Romney reveal more tax returns?’ is, ‘That depends on what’s in them.’ But the nonpolitical answer is yes, he should.”

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