POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/15
Mitt Romney “used a tough new campaign speech to personally blast the Obama campaign,” The Hill reports, saying comments earlier in the day from Vice President Biden are “what an angry and desperate Presidency looks like.”
Said Romney: “Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.”
“Romney was responding to Biden’s suggestion that the GOP ticket’s economic policies would ‘put y’all back in chains.’ The vice president made the remark while campaigning in Virginia, during a discussion of Wall Street regulation.”
Meanwhile, Poltiico reports Biden clarified but stood by his remarks: “If you want to know what’s outrageous, it’s their policies and the effects of their policies on middle class America. That’s what’s outrageous.”
Jeffrey Toobin: “Campaign-finance discussions tend to focus on a) the Presidential race and b) the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, but the biggest outrage concerning money in politics has little to do with either. It involves elections that rarely receive the attention they deserve: those for judgeships.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey in New Hampshire finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by six points, 51% to 45%.
Former Reagan budget director David Stockman rips the budget framework proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan:
“The Ryan Plan boils down to a fetish for cutting the top marginal income-tax rate for ‘job creators’ — i.e. the superwealthy — to 25 percent and paying for it with an as-yet-undisclosed plan to broaden the tax base. Of the $1 trillion in so-called tax expenditures that the plan would attack, the vast majority would come from slashing popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, 401(k) accounts, state and local taxes, charitable giving and the like, not to mention low rates on capital gains and dividends. The crony capitalists of K Street already own more than enough Republican votes to stop that train before it leaves the station.”
“In short, Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices. And it couldn’t pass even if Republicans were to take the presidency and both houses of Congress. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have no plan to take on Wall Street, the Fed, the military-industrial complex, social insurance or the nation’s fiscal calamity and no plan to revive capitalist prosperity — just empty sermons.”
Massachusetts state legislative candidate John Villamaino (R) is under investigation into whether he “orchestrated an illegal scheme to cast absentee ballots on behalf of hundreds of voters in hope of winning a primary election,” the Boston Globe reports.
“State election officials were tipped off to the potential voter fraud when a suspiciously large number of residents of the Springfield suburb of East Longmeadow suddenly changed party registration from Democrat to independent, making them eligible to vote in the upcoming Republican primary.”
A new Gallup poll finds just 10% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, tying the lowest reading ever, while 83% disapprove.
Meanwhile, a new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey finds 60% think it’s the worst Congress in history.
At a speech in Iowa, President Obama noted that Mitt Romney has criticized wind energy, saying a windmill can’t be put on top of a car to power it, Politico reports.
Then he had a zinger: “I don’t know he’s actually tried that. I know he’s had other things on his car.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Ohio finds President Obama with a narrow advantage over Mitt Romney, 48% to 45%, unchanged from a late June survey.
“Ohio provides a good illustration of how disgusted voters are with both of their serious choices in this election. They are not happy with the job Obama’s doing, giving him a 46% approval rating with 51% of voters disapproving. But he leads anyway because folks are even less enamored with Romney — just 41% have a favorable opinion of him to 52% who see him negatively.”
The Allentown Morning Call reports Tom Smith’s (R) bid to unseat Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) just got much harder with the entry of Libertarian Rayburn Smith into the race — who threatens to peel away votes both as a third party challenger and as a candidate with the same surname.
“There’s a bit of irony, or perhaps Karmic justice for Democrat Casey that his challenger would face an opponent of the same name. Casey’s father lost his 1978 Democratic primary for governor even as a school teacher and ice cream salesman named Robert Casey won the nomination for lieutenant governor. Casey’s father — who went on to become Gov. Robert P. Casey — ran again in 1986 as the ‘Real Bob Casey.'”
Chelsea Clinton tells Vogue that she’s not ruling out a potential run for office.
Said Clinton: “Before my mom’s campaign I would have said no. Not because it was something I had thought a lot about but because people have been asking me that my whole life. Even during my father’s 1984 gubernatorial campaign, it was, Do you want to grow up and be governor one day? No. I am four.”
She continued: “And now I don’t know… I mean, I have voted in every election that I have been qualified to vote in since I turned eighteen. I believe that engaging in the political process is part of being a good person. And I certainly believe that part of helping to build a better world is ensuring that we have political leaders who are committed to that premise. So if there were to be a point where it was something I felt called to do and I didn’t think there was someone who was sufficiently committed to building a healthier, more just, more equitable, more productive world? Then that would be a question I’d have to ask and answer.”
New York Times: “When Mr. Romney announced that Mr. Ryan would be his running mate, his campaign emphasized the congressman’s detailed knowledge of the federal budget and his chemistry with Mr. Romney. Less well-known are Mr. Ryan’s close ties to the donors and activists who have channeled Tea Party anger into a $400 million political machine, financed by a network of conservative and libertarian donors that now rivals, and occasionally challenges, the Republican establishment behind Mr. Romney.”
“Mr. Ryan is one of a very few elected officials who have attended the Kochs’ biannual conferences, where wealthy donors sit in on seminars on runaway government spending and the myths of climate change.”
First Read: “There was always a definite upside to Mitt Romney picking Ryan Paul as his running mate: You make the presidential contest about a big clash of ideas; Romney’s campaign is now about something. But there also was an obvious downside for Romney: You turn the race into a conversation about Medicare, entitlements and the role of government, relegating a discussion about the economy to the back seat — at least for the time being. Yes, Romney talked about the economy yesterday in Florida. And yes, Ryan talked about it in Iowa, too. But what was yesterday’s dominant political story? Medicare. What’s the subject of the Romney campaign’s heavily played TV ad? Welfare (which is a role-of-government issue). What’s the subject matter of its latest TV ad? Criticizing the Obama campaign over that pro-Obama Super PAC advertisement. And what does today’s official news that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be delivering the keynote at the GOP convention suggest? We’re coming after government. (After all, New Jersey’s unemployment rate stands at 9.6%, well above the national average.)”
“For now, the issue of the economy is no longer driving this presidential contest. And you have to ask yourself: Which campaign benefits the most from that?”
“I think it’s a very bold choice. And an exciting and interesting pick. It’s going to elevate the campaign into a debate over big ideas. It means Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party. And probably lose. Maybe big.”
— Former Bush adviser Mark McKinnon, quoted by Politico, on Mitt Romney’s choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate.
In 2009, as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was railing against President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package as a “wasteful spending spree,” the Boston Globe reports “he wrote at least four letters to Obama’s secretary of energy asking that millions of dollars from the program be granted to a pair of Wisconsin conservation groups.”
“The documents show that Ryan’s attempts to take advantage of the stimulus funds even after he voted against them was more expansive than previously reported… The additional letters include his praise for the energy program’s aims, and clash with his own budget priorities, which call for curtailing many of the same Department of Energy investments that are designed to spur the growth of green technologies and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) “was a pivotal figure in killing the 2010 Bowles-Simpson agreement, which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney now holds out as a model for putting America’s fiscal house in order,” Bloomberg reports.
“The 18-member panel needed 14 votes to send a 10-year plan to trim the debt to Congress for a vote. As his party’s then- ranking member on the House Budget Committee, Ryan led a bloc of three House Republicans who denied the additional votes needed.”
“All three Senate Republicans on the panel backed the plan and one of them, former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, said he believes the House Republicans who rejected it were beholden to an argument by anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist that the measure was tantamount to a tax increase.”
Politico: “Away from the cameras, and with all the usual assurances that people aren’t being quoted by name, there is an unmistakable consensus among Republican operatives in Washington: Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right — and a huge chance of going horribly wrong.”
“It is not that the public professions of excitement about the Ryan selection are totally insincere. It is that many of the most optimistic Republican operatives will privately acknowledge that their views are being shaped more by fingers-crossed hope than by a hard-headed appraisal of what’s most likely to happen.”
Since Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) called Democratic attacks on private equity “nauseating,” he hasn’t appeared once on national television as a surrogate for President Obama and won’t have a high profile speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention next month, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Booker said he regrets the comments because “my words were being used to hurt my friend” and also said he made a mistake trying to walk back the comments in a four-minute video which “only helped fan the flames.”
Said Booker: “I made the dumb decision to do the hostage video. The whole thing became more myth than fact.”
Sen. John McCain told Jon Ralston that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is wrong about his assertion that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years, saying his team that vetted the presumptive GOP nominee in 2008 found no such thing.
Said McCain: “Nothing in his tax returns showed that he did not pay taxes.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will introduce Mitt Romney for his speech to accept the nomination for president on the last night of the Republican National Convention, theTampa Bay Times reports.Candidates, National, Politics