POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/2
Reuters says President Obama “has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.”
“Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence ‘finding,’ broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.”
President Obama hit Mitt Romney over his tax plan, “highlighting a new study that said the Republican challenger’s blueprint could leave poor and middle-class Americans paying more to the IRS to offset tax cuts for the wealthiest,” ABC News reports.
Said Obama: “And here’s the thing: He’s not asking you to contribute more to pay down the deficit, he’s not asking you to pay more to invest in our children’s education, or rebuild our roads or put more folks back to work. He’s asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut.”
Meanwhile, the Romney campaign is pushing back saying the report was conducted by a “liberal” group. However, TPM finds the Romney campaign cited the same group as “objective, third party analysis” during the Republican presidential primary season.
Said Freedom Works spokesperson Andrea Shell: “These guys are going to force Romney to the right. That is our entire mission.”
She added: “If we can elect a really conservative House and Senate that will force Romney to go along with our bold conservative agenda. He’s going to have to really, really go to the right. He’ll be working with guys in the House and Senate. He won’t be able to get away with too many middle of the road policies, especially on things like the deficit.”
Time looks at Virgil Goode’s run for president under the Constitution Party ticket in Virginia.
“His candidacy has Republicans sweating: Goode is pulling fully 9% of Virginia’s vote, according to a mid-July Public Policy Polling survey, leaving Obama ahead of Romney 49% to 35%. In a tight election where Virginia’s 13 electoral college votes could make or break the Romney’s candidacy, even 2% for Goode could pull enough Republicans away to hand the historically red state to Obama in November.”
“Kurt Holland was enlisted to follow Democratic Senate nominee Joe Donnelly in hopes of catching him in an embarrassing situation,” the Indianapolis Star reports.
It turns out it was Holland was following Marion County Judge Jose Salinas by accident. Salinas got a license plate number and had Holland tracked down by police.
Holland told police he was supposed to take pictures of Donnelly to “reveal how ‘the party of the poor’ is actually led by rich people, in nice cars, in rich neighborhoods. The photos were to be used for TV political campaign advertisements.”
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) told the Tampa Bay Times that he’s supporting Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in the U.S. Senate race over challenger Rep. Connie Mack (R).
A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Nelson ahead of Mack by just two points, 47% to 45%.
Huffington Post: “Whether at home or abroad, presidential candidates’ so-called gaffes — and the media’s preoccupation with each inartfully phrased or impolitic remark — have defined the 2012 election. Gaffes get tweeted, blogged, and reported. Cable pundits declare them game-changers. And rival campaigns amplify them through any means possible. When that’s done, the story becomes whether the campaign gaffed in cleaning up its gaffe.”
Todd Purdum: “The greatest presidents? Notable business failures almost to a man, if they had any business experience at all. Abraham Lincoln racked up so many unpaid notes in his brief career as a storekeeper in New Salem, Illinois, that he referred to the obligations as his ‘national debt.’ For 15 years after his haberdashery in Kansas City went under, Harry Truman was still working to pay off his creditors, and was strapped for money until well into his career in the United States Senate. George Washington was a sharp-elbowed, tightfisted planter and entrepreneur (he owned a distillery!), but he spent so much time winning American independence and then inventing the job of president that his financial affairs were a mess by the end of his first term. As for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the spoiled country squire who led the nation through the Depression and World War II: it could be argued that, until he found his passion in politics, he never really worked a day in his life (even if he put in some desultory time as a Wall Street lawyer).”
“This is not to say that no successful businessmen have ever become president. A few have, among them Warren G. Harding (an Ohio newspaper publisher and editor), Herbert Hoover (a multi-millionaire mining engineer, investor, and consultant), and Jimmy Carter (a Georgia peanut farmer and warehouse owner). But no one would argue that the one-term presidencies of Harding, Hoover, or Carter were anything close to successes.”
“Seeing as how Dick – excuse me, Vice President Cheney – never misfires, then evidently he’s quite convinced that what he had evidently read about me by the lamestream media, having been written, what I believe is a false narrative over the last four years, evidently Dick Cheney believed that stuff and that’s a shame.”
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign “is expected to provide more press briefings and heightened access to the candidate in the coming days, and to make changes to the travel pool that will make it more media friendly,” The Hill reports.
“The changes would represent a major shift for the Romney campaign, which so far has offered only extremely limited access to the presumptive Republican nominee, and usually only to favored outlets like Fox News.”
First Read: “One of the most underreported stories of this presidential election is how the Republican brand is in FAR WORSE shape than the Democratic brand. In our most recent NBC/WSJ poll, the GOP’s fav/unfav was 34%-43% vs. the Democrats’ 40%-40%. Indeed, the GOP has had a worse fav/unfav than the Democrats in every single NBC/WSJ poll (that’s 14 of them!!!) since Jan. 2011, after Republicans won control of the House.”
“So as the Tea Party/grassroots/anti-establishment conservative wing of the GOP has become MORE powerful, the GOP’s overall brand image has gone down, especially with indies. It is hard not to believe these two facts aren’t connected. And this raises the question: Will this be a drag on Romney? Or here’s another way to put it: How can this not be a drag on him?”
Nate Silver: “President Obama’s chances of winning the Electoral College improved slightly on Tuesday, to 69.0 percent from 66.9 percent one day earlier, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast model. The change was because of new government data showing faster growth in personal income, one of the seven economic data series that our forecast model uses.”
Johnson was heard shouting “Get me a rope, get me a ladder” after he was the first person to use the zip wire. He continued “I think the brakes got stuck.”
A new Brookings Institution/Tax Policy Center study finds Mitt Romney’s plan to overhaul the tax code would produce cuts for the richest 5% of Americans — and larger bills for everybody else.
The Washington Post notes the researchers seemed “to bend over backward to be fair to the Republican presidential candidate” but “none of it helped Romney.”
“His rate-cutting plan for individuals would reduce tax collections by about $360 billion in 2015, the study says. To avoid increasing deficits — as Romney has pledged — the plan would have to generate an equivalent amount of revenue by slashing tax breaks for mortgage interest, employer-provided health care, education, medical expenses, state and local taxes, and child care — all breaks that benefit the middle class.”
Public Policy Polling notes that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was a big loser in last night’s GOP Senate runoff since he had enthusiastically backed David Dewhurst (R) over the ultimate winner, Ted Cruz (R).
“Our final pre-election poll on this race found that two times more Texas Republicans considered an endorsement from Rick Perry to be a negative than a positive. 35% said they were less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Perry, 15% said they were more likely to, and 50% said they didn’t care either way. Dewhurst’s choice to spotlight his support from Perry so heavily is curious against the backdrop of those numbers.”
“The result tonight provides real world evidence of something that we’ve been finding in our polling for a while now: that Perry’s standing has been significantly diminished in Texas after his failed White House bid and that he could be in serious trouble if he tries for another term in 2014.”
“He comes across sometimes as if he’s Gulliver and he’s tied down by all the Lilliputians when he could actually stand up and exert some strength — he just seems to be tied down by a lot of little things.”
— GOP strategist John Weaver, quoted by Bloomberg, on how Mitt Romney’s campaign is being defined by little things because he doesn’t say what he’d do as president.
New Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times polls find President Obama leading Mitt Romney in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Florida: Obama 51%, Romney 45%
Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 44%
Pennsylvania: Obama 53%, Romney 42%
Just four percent of likely voters in these states are undecided.
Also interesting: “But a torrent of television advertising in the states, particularly in Ohio and Florida, appears to be resonating in Mr. Obama’s quest to define his Republican rival. The polls found that more voters say Mr. Romney’s experience was too focused on making profits at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he led, rather than the kind of experience that would help create jobs.”
A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds President Obama back in the lead over Mitt Romney, 48% to 42%.
Interestingly, Obama’s support grew despite 55% of respondents giving him a negative rating for his performance as president.
Bloomberg: “Mitt Romney returns from an erratic, six-day overseas tour with no discernible boost to his foreign policy credentials, and facing fresh questions about his campaign operation as it enters a critical period.”
“While the presumed Republican nominee’s string of gaffes and international mini-incidents may not sway U.S. voters, whose chief concern is the domestic economy, it has reignited some Republicans’ concerns that the troubles Romney encountered abroad are indicative of his campaign’s weaknesses at home.”
Politico: “As discrete episodes, Romney’s ill-timed criticism of Great Britain’s preparations for the Olympics and his matter-of-fact claim of the cultural superiority of Israelis over Palestinians won’t do damage to him among voters. But what they do, particularly for voters just now engaging in the race, is offer more examples about an ill-at-ease man who says odd or inappropriate things.”
Harry Enten: “It’s fairly clear that Obama is leading in the national polls right now. That lead has been consistent, despite much news in the presidential race. The current steadiness does tell us that these voters won’t change on a whim, but that doesn’t in any way mean they can’t change. The voters who will decide this race are only now starting to pay attention – and probably not really until the conventions. History suggests that almost all races have some sort of movement at some point.”
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