POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/21

Obama Maintains National Lead

A new Monmouth Poll finds little movement in the presidential horse race over the last two months ago despite the addition of Rep. Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket.

President Obama leads Mitt Romney by four points, 45% to 41%. That advantage narrows to 46% to 45% among voters who are considered the most likely to vote at this time.

Akin Not Dropping Out

Rep. Todd Akin (R-M) said that despite some media reports, he is not leaving the Missouri U.S. Senate race, Politico reports.

Said Akin: “I was told that there is a decision has to be made by 5 o’clock tomororw but I was calling you and letting you know that I’m announcing today that we’re (staying) in.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes Akin saying, “I’m not a quitter.”

Obama Maintains Lead in Swing States

A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds President Obama with a slight lead over Mitt Romney in the 12 battleground states likely to decide the election, 47% to 44%. That’s better than his standing in the non-battleground states, where Romney leads 47% to 45%.

“Despite airing millions of dollars in TV ads and taking a high-profile trip abroad, Romney has failed to budge in the swing states, stuck at 44% or 45% since April. In that time, Obama has maintained a steady 47% despite a string of disappointing monthly jobs reports and an 8.3% national unemployment rate.”

Why Conventions Still Matter

National Journal: “At 181 years old, the national party convention is showing its age. But despite the guaranteed attacks from those who yearn for the old days of floor fights, multiple ballots, and delegates stampeded by rousing rhetoric, the modern convention is hanging in there, still playing a pivotal role in presidential campaigns. Surprisingly, when Republicans raise the gavel on their convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 27 they will be opening what could be the four most important days of Mitt Romney’s fall campaign.”

Romney as Church Leader

The Washington Post looks at Mitt Romney’s record as a leader of the Mormon church and finds “his actions sometimes clashed with his political positions… Romney’s decades as a lay church leader — first as bishop and later as stake president, which gave him dominion over all the churches in and around Boston — shaped a man as orthodox and committed to his faith as any presidential nominee in history. It is an experience that demonstrates Romney’s mastery of the institution and confidence in his authority.”

Are Romney’s Tax Returns Hiding Voter Fraud?

Though many theories have been advanced as to why Mitt Romney won’t release additional tax returns, The Guardian suggests it may be to hide voter fraud.

“Tax returns require taxpayers to state their residence address, and the Romney returns already produced, although partially redacted, state clearly that they lived in ‘Belmont, MA 02478’ in 2012 (tax year 2011) and 2011 (tax year 2010)… But the Romneys, arbitrarily, refuse to disclose a copy of the returns they filed in 2010 or 2009 (for tax years 2009 and 2008) – which, perhaps not coincidentally, bracket the time period when Romney allegedly committed fraud by voting in Massachusetts when he actually resided in California. So here’s the question: did Romney put his son’s basement’s address on the returns he filed in 2009 and 2010? Or did he truthfully use his real (non-Massachusetts) address, thus implicating himself in voter fraud?”

Massachusetts Ad Spending Truce in Holds

Boston Globe: “A groundbreaking pact between Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren to prevent third-party ads has survived, to the amazement of partisans around the country who expected it to crumble in the midst of what may be the nation’s most competitive Senate race.”

Democrats Tie Republicans to Akin Comments

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz sent an email attempting to tie Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comments about abortion to the entire Republican Party and GOP presidential ticket, Politico reports.

From the email: “Can you imagine — the same Republican House that refuses to pass a jobs bill jumped at the opportunity to make life harder for victims of rape? And what do Romney and Ryan think of Akin’s latest statement? They’ve been trying to distance themselves from it — but Congressman Ryan has already partnered with Akin on a whole host of issues that restrict women’s ability to make their own health care decisions.”

It’s reasonable to expect the Democrats will try to keep this issue in the headlines for the entire week.

When Ryan Supported Stimulus Spending

While Rep. Paul Ryan is strongly critical of President Obama’s economic stimulus package passed early in his presidency, MSNBC reports he was a vocal supporter of the same strategy during President George W. Bush’s first term.

Meanwhile, the AP finds more instances of Ryan quietly lobbying for stimulus money despite his public denials.

See more…

GOP Reeling After Akin Remark

Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) “damning statement that victims of ‘legitimate rape’ rarely get pregnant is just the latest in a string of unforced errors by the GOP Senate candidate that has Republicans fretting about his chances of beating Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill,”Politico reports.

“And a loss in Missouri would almost certainly quash the party’s hopes of reclaiming the Senate majority.”

Nate Silver: “No two controversies are alike, and we’ll have to wait for polling data to see what impact this has on the race. But based on some loose historical precedents, the remarks could be enough to swing the polls to Ms. McCaskill.”

Mark Halperin: “The Obama campaign, the DSCC, the DCCC, and the DNC will all make a huge deal of this, stoking the gender gap, making the Romney-Ryan position on abortion a bigger deal than they already are, and looking to stir up division and trouble in almost every race in the nation.”

Repackaging Romney

New York Times: “Working from makeshift offices at a hockey arena here, a team of Romney advisers, producers and designers have been staging and scripting a program for the Republican National Convention that they say they hope will accomplish something a year of campaigning has failed to do: paint a full and revealing portrait of who Mitt Romney is.”

“Instead of glossing over Mr. Romney’s career as a private equity executive, they will highlight it in convention videos and speeches as the kind of experience that has prepared him to be the economic steward the country needs.”

“And rather than shy away from Mr. Romney’s faith, as some campaign aides have argued he should, they have decided to embrace it. On the night Mr. Romney will address the convention, a member of the Mormon Church will deliver the invocation. On Sunday, this new approach was apparent as Mr. Romney invited reporters to join him at church services.”

McKay Coppins has a fascinating dispatch from the church service with Romney.

Romney Keeps Up Welfare Attack

Mitt Romney’s latest ad hits President Obama once again on welfare, this time prominently citing a Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial.

Alex Burns: “Romney’s attack on Obama’s welfare policy has been pretty well panned by the independent fact-checking crowd, since it’s not actually a removal of work requirements, but rather a waiver system that allows states to ask to try other work-requirement methods. Which it why it makes sense for Romney to cite the Times-Dispatch in this ad, giving the attack a greater level of credibility.”

See more…

Quote of the Day

“It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape. The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive.”

— Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), in a statement on her rival’s controversial position on abortion.

GOP Lawmakers Caught in Skinny Dip Scandal

Politico: “The FBI probed a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee that involved drinking, numerous GOP freshmen lawmakers, top leadership staff – and one nude member of Congress, according to more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses. “

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