POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/27

Obama Ahead in Nevada

A new Rasmussen survey in Nevada finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points, 50% to 45%.

Democrats Lead in Hawaii

A new Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll shows both Democratic candidates well ahead of Linda Lingle (R) in the U.S. Senate race. Mazie Hirono (D) leads 58% to 39% and Ed Case (D) leads 56% to 38%.

In the Democratic primary, Hirono leads Case 55% to 37%.

International Gaffes

The Guardian: “From criticising the biggest sporting event Britain has held in over 40 years, to ‘looking out of the backside of 10 Downing Street’, Mitt Romney’s first foreign trip of his presidential candidacy hasn’t gone quite as well as he might have hoped. As the former Massachusetts governor continues to gaffe his way across London, here’s a round-up of Romney’s red-facers. So far.”

Romney Once Called England “Just a Small Island”

Mitt Romney has already been slapped by British Prime Minister David Cameron for suggesting that Britain may not be ready to host the Olympics, but Josh Rogin points out it’s not the first time he’s said unflattering things about the country.

Romney wrote, in his book, No Apology:

“England is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn’t been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler’s ambitions.”

Romney Had Olympic Pins Made With His Face

As head of the Salt Lake Olympics, Mitt Romney became the first Olympic executive to approve a series of commemorative pins in his likeness, BuzzFeed reports.

Romney Isn’t Going to Watch His Wife’s Horse

In an interview in London, Mitt Romney “expressed ignorance about when a horse owned by his wife, Ann Romney, would be participating in the Olympic sport called dressage,”Reuters reports.

Said Romney: “I have to tell you. This is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well.”

Andrew Sullivan: “This is either a fib, designed to insulate him from whatever minimal fallout there is from owning a dressage horse; or it’s true and he’s just unlike other human beings.”

Sign of a Close Race

Mark Halperin: “With about 100 days to go until Nov. 6, campaign veterans spy a rarity in presidential politics: both the Obama and Romney operations like their chances of winning … The phrase used consistently by each side: ‘I would rather be us than them.’ That is a shift from the recent past, when the McCain, Kerry, Gore and Dole camps all projected the air of fretful underdogs at this stage.”

Nepotism Prevalent at Justice Department

The Justice Department’s inspector general found “at least seven instances of federal employees engaging in illegal attempts to hire family members at the agency,” The Hillreports.

“The report is the third investigation in less than a decade that has found numerous examples of illegal hiring practices, amounting to nepotism, within the DOJ.”

Voters Comfortable with Romney’s Religion

A new Pew Research survey finds eight-in-ten voters who know Mitt Romney is Mormon say they are either comfortable with his faith (60%) or that it doesn’t matter to them (21%).

However, the survey also finds that nearly four years into his presidency the view that President Obama is Muslim persists. Currently, 17% of registered voters say that Obama is Muslim; 49% say he is Christian, while 31% say they do not know Obama’s religion.

White House Aides Increase Focus on Campaign

Some of President Obama’s most senior aides “have begun making regular appearances at his campaign’s Chicago headquarters, tightening the link between the White House and the re-election effort as the race intensifies,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Top aides Pete Rouse and David Plouffe have been spending about one day a week at the campaign’s offices, senior Obama advisers said. Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer made a trip to Chicago this week and is expected to spend about one day a week at the headquarters as the campaign season picks up.”

Obama Hate Speech Spreads on Facebook

Tech News Daily: “A new study from Baylor University shows how anti-Obama and just plain racist groups use Facebook to spread their messages. And we’re not talking about politics, but Ku Klux Klan-style hate speech using old stereotypes updated with do-rags and golden grills.”

Rove’s Plan to Takeover the Republican Party

Bloomberg Businessweek has a must-read cover story on Karl Rove “and how he is holding the reins of the GOP’s destiny and redefining the business of political finance.”

The piece looks at the creation of his Crossroads political action committees, their top contributors, how they raised $71 million in their rookie election cycle (and tallied a 16-14 record in the 30 2010 senate races they joined), how they are now poised to spend double the amount of the Democrats in the 2012 presidential election, and their focus on getting independents to vote for Mitt Romney.

Menendez Looks Safe in New Jersey

A new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll finds Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) with a solid lead over challenger Joe Kyrillos (R) among registered voters, 42% to 32%.

In the presidential race, President Obama leads Mitt Romney by double-digits, 51% to 38%.

Romney Ignores Questions from American Press

At a press conference in London this morning, First Read notes that Mitt Romney answered questions from British reporters but did not take any questions from the American reporters, “which isn’t protocol.”

“In fact, it’s considered a bit of an insult to the U.S reporters who are following the presumptive GOP presidential nominee overseas. Even bringing this up will lead some to say, ‘There goes the media, whining again.’ But folks, those of us that have traveled overseas and been involved in these VERY limited press avails have rarely seen heads of democracies TOTALLY ignore their own press corps but answer ANOTHER press corps’ questions. Sure, it would have looked REALLY bad had Romney ignored the U.K. questions. But is the campaign so intent on limiting media access that the candidate won’t call an audible when standing next to a leader from another country who DOES want to take questions?”

“This is a bipartisan challenge for the press corps. Every president in the modern era has decided to pick up on some aspect of limiting media access to the president from their predecessor. The public never cares, because most of them distrust at least half of the press corps. But folks, it’s a slippery slope.”

More Calls for Romney to Release His Tax Returns

The conservative New Hampshire Union Leader calls on Mitt Romney to release his tax returns:

“But there is no place for secrecy or, indeed, privacy in a Presidential campaign. If you want the job, you have to subject yourself to the scrutiny. You have to be prepared to stand and explain, indeed, justify, your actions. If they are legal, then so be it… Surely he could not have arrogantly believed that he could withstand any storm that developed by bluffing his way through it? If so, it hasn’t worked.”

“If Romney intends to win, he is going to have to make the tax forms public.”

Quote of the Day

“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”

— British Prime Minister David Cameron, quoted by the Daily Telegraph, slapping back at suggestions from Mitt Romney that Britain wasn’t prepared for the 2012 Olympic games.

Chamber of Commerce Runs Ads Against King

“The first wave of televised political ads by an outside group attempting to influence the U.S. Senate race in Maine is expected to hit local screens today,” the Portland Press Herald reports.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has purchased what appears to be close to $200,000 in ads in Maine media markets, according to several public disclosure documents at local stations. The ads target Angus King, the independent former governor who enjoys front-runner status in recent polls.”

Romney Was a Registered Lobbyist

Mitt Romney wasn’t just the head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, Utah state records show he was also a registered lobbyist for the organization, the Huffington Postreports.

Missouri Lawmaker Plans Gun Raffle

Missouri state Rep. John McCaherty (R) will raffle off an AR-15 rifle at an August 27th fundraiser, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The gun is the same model as one allegedly used in last week’s shooting at a Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead and 58 injured.

Business Owners Now Least Approving of Obama

A new Gallup survey finds American business owners’ approval of President Obama fell in the second quarter of 2012 to 35%, essentially tying farmers and fishers for the lowest approval among major occupational groups.

Overall, professional workers remain the most approving, at 52%.

Cuomo Plans Policy Summit

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) “has studiously avoided talk of a 2016 White House run, but he has positioned himself on two fronts, amassing the nation’s largest gubernatorial war chest and organizing a series of August policy summits with Democratic leaders and academics,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Cuomo has raised nearly $1 million a month since he took office in January 2011 and has about $19.3 million to spend –more than 40 other governors combined… Meanwhile, just two weeks before his party gathers on Sept. 3 for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Mr. Cuomo is hosting a summit of his own, inviting Clinton administration veterans and others to Manhattan for a policy forum.”

Which Candidate is More American?

The New York Times notes the presidential campaign has become a clash over a delicate and personal question: “Are you an American like me?”

“Their choice of words and imagery is a reminder of how powerful undercurrents of identity, wealth, race and religion are shaping this election. These surface in subtle and not-so-subtle ways as two candidates who can have trouble connecting with voters on a personal level try to define each other as detached from mainstream American life.”

“By Mr. Romney’s telling, the president has a ‘strange’ and ‘foreign’ political philosophy. Mr. Obama has suggested that Mr. Romney’s vision of the American dream involves Indian call centers and Caribbean tax havens.”

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