POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/25

Young Endorses Hirono For Senate

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) has endorsed Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in her U.S. Senate bid, “a surprising move since the seat could be in play for Republicans this fall,” The Hill reports.

“Young praises Hirono for working across the aisle in the lighthearted web ad, in which he repeatedly jokes about criticizing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) before hugging Hirono at the end.”

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Million Dollar Donors are Half of GOP Super PAC Funding

The Fix: “About four dozen donors and families have given at least $1 million to super PACs this election cycle, with three-quarters of them giving to the GOP. Combined, these four dozen donors have provided $130 million of the $308 million super PACs have raised this cycle (more than 40 percent) — a reflection of how much these outside groups are funded by extremely wealthy donors.”

“And that goes double on the GOP side, where nearly half of the $228 million raised by super PACs has come from about three dozen million-dollar donors.”

Voters Do Not Like Targeted Ads

new study from the Annenberg School for Communication found that 86% of voters do not want political campaigns to match ads to their interests.

New York Times: “The results of the study come at a time when national and local political campaigns are steadily increasing their use of technology that traditional marketers use to tailor advertising. For political campaigns, the process is called microtargeting. Information about voters — like the charitable donations they make, the type of credit card they use and the Congressional district they live in — is combined with voter registration records, and the result allows campaigns to send certain types of messages to voters.”

Could Gary Johnson Be a Spoiler?

Joe Trippi notes the presidential race “has been a dead heat for months, and most people expect this to be one of the closest presidential races ever… But here’s the thing — the 2012 election isn’t really a two person race. There’s a third party candidate out there — and he could derail either one of the two major party candidates’ shot at the White House.”

“His name is Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian Party candidate. If that seems doubtful, remember that Ralph Nader didn’t crack 3% of the popular vote in 2000 — yet he completely changed the outcome of that race.”

Votes for Sale

Jack Abramoff: “During the years I was lobbying, I purveyed millions of my own and clients’ dollars to congressmen, especially at such decisive moments. I never contemplated that these payments were really just bribes, but they were. Like most dissembling Washington hacks, I viewed these payments as legitimate political contributions, expressions of my admiration of and fealty to the venerable statesman I needed to influence.”

“Outside our capital city (and its ever-prosperous contiguous counties), the campaign contributions of special interests are rightly seen as nothing but bribes. The purposeful dissonance of the political class enables congressmen to accept donations and solemnly recite their real oath of office: My vote is not for sale for a mere contribution. They are wrong. Their votes are very much for sale, only they don’t wish to admit it. The reason they don’t feel they are being bought is that the interaction seems so normal. In fact, were they not public servants, it would be very normal.”

Most Say They Know Enough About the Candidates

With more than three months to go before Election Day, a new Pew Research survey finds most voters already feel that there’s little left to learn about the presidential candidates.

“When it comes to Barack Obama, 90% say they already pretty much know what they need to know about him; just 8% say they need to learn more. A substantial majority (69%) also says they already mostly know what they need to know about Mitt Romney. Only about a quarter (28%) say they need to learn more to get a clear impression of Romney. Combining these two questions, fully two-thirds of voters say they already know as much as they need to about both presidential candidates.”

Strip Clubs Get Ready for GOP Convention

Tampa Tribune: “Strip clubs may not be the most politically correct venue for those attending the Republican National Convention, but that doesn’t mean Tampa’s well-known adult hot spots won’t be ready for the influx of visitors. One place is bringing in a stripper who looks like former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.”

Why George W. Bush is Skipping the GOP Convention

The Week has three theories.

When to Start the Clock on Job Creation?

Mitt Romney told CNBC that voters who want a strong economy should vote for him, but Americans “ought to give, whichever president is going to be elected, at least six months or a year to get those policies in place.”

Steve Benen: “Throughout the presidential campaign, Romney has said the clock should start in February 2009, Obama’s first month in office. If that’s fair — if the president deserves the blame for every job lost on his 11th day in office — it’s true that under Obama, the economy is still in a deep hole and hasn’t fully recovered from the losses of early 2009.”

“But look what happens when we start the clock, as Romney suggests, six months to a year after President Obama was sworn in. In fact, if we don’t hold Obama’s first year against him, the economy has added over 3.7 million jobs overall during his presidency, and over 4.2 million in the private sector. That’s not the count by my standard; that’s the count by Romney’s standard.”

How Gun-Rights Advocates Benefit Under Obama

The Week: “Gun lobbyists say Obama would dismantle the right to bear arms if he’s re-elected, failing to note that the past four years have been great for their industry.”

The Hidden Mitt Romney

Politico: “The presumptive GOP nominee is known for his abilities as a salesman. But Romney has made a calculation against selling three major elements of his background to voters. To some degree, the Republican’s campaign has walled off three critical aspects of what makes Mitt Mitt — his Mormon faith and good deeds, details of his experience running Bain Capital and his signature achievement as Massachusetts governor.”

“The result: a kind of self-imposed paralysis on biographical messaging that some observers, including Republicans, say may wound his campaign in an era in which voters want to achieve a kind of unprecedented intimacy with their candidates. Right at the moment voters are starting to get to know him, he isn’t telling them his story.”

Romney Foreign Policy Challenge

As Mitt Romney prepares to give a big foreign policy speech today and begin a five-stop trip abroad tomorrow, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds he faces challenges in convincing Americans he is the best candidate to handle foreign affairs.

“More than half of Americans, or 52%, say Obama can better handle foreign policy concerns compared with 40% who choose the presumptive Republican nominee. The numbers are closer among registered voters, who give Obama a 4-point advantage.”

First Read notes foreign policy “is a big strength for Obama heading into the fall. Almost every poll shows that. And that’s the context for Romney’s overseas trip — for this former one-term governor to demonstrate his foreign-policy chops and put more meat on bone. So far, Romney’s foreign-policy statements have seemed more like a political strategy (to sound strong and to outflank Obama) rather a clear foreign-policy outlook.”

Changing the Tone

First Read on President Obama’s latest ad:

“This is the kind of TV ad you’d expect to see at the end of a campaign or the beginning. So why now? One obvious explanation is that the race has become negative, and this ad is an effort to seize a higher ground and maybe repair the collateral damage from his own negative ads. Another explanation is that the TV ad market in battleground states has become SO saturated that this is an attempt — by having the president speak directly to the camera in a 60-second spot — to break through the clutter.”

Legislator Pulled Gun During Road Incident

Washington Rep. Matt Shea (R) “pulled a gun during a confrontation with another motorist last November in what police reports describe as a road rage incident,” the Spokane Review reports.

“Shea eventually was charged with a single firearm count — having a loaded handgun in a vehicle without a concealed weapons permit — which will be dismissed next January if he has no further criminal violations before then.”

RNC Says Obama Gaffes Weren’t Gaffes

A new RNC video blasts President Obama’s economic record using his own words, such as “the private sector is doing fine” and “you didn’t build that.”

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Avoiding an Eagleton Surprise

The New York Times reports that one of the lasting legacies of Sen. George McGovern’s (D-SD) choice of Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-MO) as his vice presidential running mate in 1972 — without knowing that he had been hospitalized for mental health issues — “is the microscopic examination of the lives and records of potential vice-presidential candidates, a ritual involving teams of lawyers and consultants and reams of medical and financial records that the candidates are obligated to produce.”

“McGovern, who had pledged to ‘avoid the messy way vice presidents had been picked in the past,’ chose Mr. Eagleton after considering him for less than an hour. The conversation in which Mr. McGovern offered Mr. Eagleton the nomination lasted precisely 67 seconds, and there was no mention of Mr. Eagleton’s three hospitalizations for depression or the electroshock therapy during two of the stays.”

“Eighteen days later, Mr. Eagleton was forced to resign from the ticket in a debacle that culminated with Mr. McGovern’s enduring the worst defeat in presidential history.”

Cuomo Scrubs Record as Attorney General

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) administration, “already drawing attention for its focus on secrecy, has now begun editing his record as New York attorney general, sending aides to the state archives to remove key documents from public view,” the New York Timesreports.

“The review of the archived material comes at a time when Mr. Cuomo is being much discussed as a 2016 presidential candidate. Many public figures with national ambitions have been concerned about being tripped up by old documents; when Mitt Romney left the governorship in Massachusetts, his administration wiped all e-mail from the government server and allowed his top aides to buy their work hard drives, so no electronic record remained.”

Big Majority Says Campaigns are More Negative

A new Marist poll finds 78% of Americans say they are “frustrated” by the tone of political campaigns and 74% believe that the tone of political campaigns has “gotten more negative” than in past election years.

In addition, 66% believe candidates spend more time criticizing their opponents than addressing the issues, while almost as many (64%) say negative campaign ads “harm the political process” either “a great deal” or “a significant amount.”

And by a nearly 20 point margin (56% to 37%), the public says the tone of political campaigns is “mostly uncivil and disrespectful.”

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