POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/29

On Crashing the Convention

Mitt Romney’s campaign complained today that President Obama was breaking “a three-decade precedent by personally campaigning during the opposing party’s convention.”

Alex Burns: “Democrats now counter that Mitt Romney isn’t exactly pure in this respect: In 2008, he traveled to Denver during the Democratic convention and taped a major interviewwith Katie Couric to counter-program Obama’s events… It’s not a parallel situation, since Romney wasn’t on his party’s ticket that year, let alone an incumbent president… But in terms of GOP complaints about Democratic bracketing, Romney’s ’08 role is sort of a complicating factor.”

See more…

Longing for Dirty Tricks

Former GOP operative Roger Stone tells New York magazine he thinks politics has gotten a lot less interesting since his days as a Nixon campaign staffer, mainly because there are “fewer and fewer” dirty tricks.

Said Stone of the Romney campaign: “They don’t even have any clean tricks. I don’t know how you run a one-dimensional campaign.”

(You don’t need dirty tricks when you and your PACs can spend millions lying like a rug! fvm)

Republicans Generally Pleased with Romney

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds 70% of Republicans nationally are satisfied with Mitt Romney as their party’s presidential nominee with 30% wishing for someone else.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “Historically, that figure is not bad. In mid-August, 2008, more than four in ten Republicans said they would prefer someone other than John McCain as the Republican nominee. Thirty-seven percent of Democrats said in August, 2008, that they would prefer Hillary Clinton as their party’s nominee.”

Giffords Forms a PAC

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) has launched a political action committee, Gabby PAC, suggesting her days in politics are not over, Politico reports.

Giffords, who survived being shot in the head in January 2011, resigned her congressional seat in January.

Obama Clings to Iowa Lead

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa finds President Obama barely ahead of Mitt Romney , 47% to 45%.

Obama led by five points in July and by 10 points in May.

Key findings: “Iowa makes yet another swing state where voters don’t really care for either Obama or Romney. Obama’s approval numbers are particularly poor with only 45% of voters approving of him to 50% who disapprove. The fact that he has a small lead in the state despite his under water approval speaks to at least some voters regarding this election as a choice rather than a referendum. Voters aren’t big on Romney either with 47% rating him favorably to 48% with an unfavorable opinion.”

Romney Campaign Downplays the Convention Bump

Mitt Romney’s campaign tried to play down talk that he will receive the kind of significant bump in the polls that candidates traditionally enjoy after their party convention, Reutersreports.

Said adviser Stu Stevens: “I just think all bets are off about any kind of past performance being a predictor of the future.”

The Last Whites-Only Campaign?

Jonathan Chait: “A Republican strategist said something interesting and revealing on Friday, though it largely escaped attention in the howling gusts of punditry over Mitt Romney’s birth certificate crack and a potential convention-altering hurricane. The subject was a Ron Brownstein story outlining the demographic hit rates each party requires to win in November. To squeak out a majority, Mitt Romney probably needs to win at least 61% of the white vote — a figure exceeding what George H.W. Bush commanded over Michael Dukakis in 1988.”

Said the GOP strategist: “This is the last time anyone will try to do this.”

Translation: “This is their last, best chance to win an election in the party’s current demographic and ideological form. Future generations of GOP politicians will have to appeal to nonwhite voters who hold far more liberal views about the role of government than does the party’s current base.”

John Judis: “It could still work in November 2012 — because of Obama’s weakness among the electorate. But it won’t lay the basis for a new Republican majority.”

Rape is Rape, Unless It’s Different

Gawker points us to a priceless video of Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R) calling Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) attempt to categorize rape “abhorrent, insulting” and “disgusting.”

Said Kleefisch: “Rape is a rape. I don’t know how you can categorize it, and it’s disgusting that Todd Akin would have tried to categorize it.”

Then the interviewer informed her that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) co-sponsored a bill with Akin aimed at categorizing rape.

Kleefisch quickly backtracked: “Well, I think there is a way to have a more forcible rape, the same way there are different types of assault.”

See more…

GOP Abortion Plank Very Unpopular

A new DailyKos/SEIU/Public Policy Polling survey finds that 75% of American voters are opposed a constitutional amendment banning abortions without exception — even in case of rape or incest — while 13% support such an amendment and 12% aren’t sure.

Romney Campaign, Then and Now

“You know, in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad. They were embarrassed. Today, they just blast ahead.”

— Mitt Romney, quoted by Greg Sargent earlier this month.

“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”

— Romney pollster Neil Newhouse, quoted by BuzzFeed this morning, after it was pointed out that fact checkers say the Romney campaign’s welfare attacks on President Obama are not true.

Keep an Eye on Santorum

First Read: “In addition to the speeches by Ann Romney and Chris Christie, the Romney camp has been billing Rick Santorum’s address tonight, which he’ll deliver during the 7:00 pm ET hour… Expect the former Pennsylvania senator and GOP presidential candidate to deliver the debunked welfare attack hitting Obama, which would certainly fire up the crowd here. While Christie might be the keynote speaker for suburban America, Santorum might be the keynote speaker for inside the hall.”

Maggie Haberman: “The prime time speeches are Ann Romney and Chris Christie, who will be delivering messages aimed at defining the candidate as both human and leaderly. The Santorum speech involves a messaging hat-trick.”

U.S. Soldiers Involved in Plot to Overthrow Government

Four U.S. Army soldiers “killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect an anarchist militia group they formed that stockpiled assault weapons and plotted a range of anti-government attacks,” the AP reports.

“The prosecutor said the militia group had big plans. It plotted to take over Fort Stewart by seizing its ammunition control point and talked of bombing the Forsyth Park fountain in nearby Savannah, she said. In Washington state, she added, the group plotted to bomb a dam and poison the state’s apple crop. Ultimately, prosecutors said, the militia’s goal was to overthrow the government and assassinate the president.”

Is the Convention Important?

National Journal Convention Insiders Poll finds 66% of Republicans think this week’s Republican National Convention is “very important” or “somewhat important” for their candidate to be elected president.

In contrast, 59% of Democrats think the Democratic National Convention next week it’s “not very important” or “not at all important.”

An Early Election Night?

William Galston looks at the Electoral map and concludes “we’re likely to know quite a bit about the outcome fairly early on election night. If Romney loses Florida, the contest is over. If Obama loses Virginia, he needs to run the table. And if he goes down to defeat in both Virginia and New Hampshire, he’d be on track to lose the election — unless he could replace their electoral votes by hanging onto North Carolina. If not, Obama’s reelection would hinge on the most traditional of all pivots — the Buckeye state. This year, we may well know the name of the next president before we cross the Mississippi.”

Arizona Elections Chief Skips Big Election

Arizona’s leading election official, Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), “won’t be around for one of the state’s most important elections,” the Arizona Republic reports.

Bennett “will be hobnobbing with other politicians and delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa instead of overseeing today’s primary election, in which Arizona voters will pick partisan contenders for U.S. Senate, Congress, the state Legislature and local governments.”

The marquee matchup today is between two House Republican freshmen elected in 2010, Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ) and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ).

Who is the Mystery Convention Speaker?

Republican convention planners appear to have a surprise planned for those tuning in Thursday night, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Buried deep in the convention schedule released Monday is a vague reference to a mystery speaker scheduled for the event’s final evening. ‘To Be Announced’ has a prime speaking slot late in the Thursday program.”

ABC News: “Top Romney advisors claim they have been left in the dark about a mystery speaker who may address the convention on Thursday night.”

Specter Very Sick

Former Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), who survived a brain tumor and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, is ailing from another form of cancer that flared up several weeks ago, according to CNN.

Several sources tell the Allentown Morning Call that Specter is very sick.

Another Poll Shows Tight National Race

A new CBS News poll shows a very close presidential race with President Obama barely edging Mitt Romney among registered voters, 46% to 45%.

Key finding: “Only 41% of Americans said Romney understands their needs and problems, compared to 54% who feel Mr. Obama understands their needs and problems.”

Ronald Reagan, Socialist

Bloomberg: “Ronald Reagan is the Republican Party’s greatest hero, lauded by those who assert that the party must never waiver from the ideals of smaller government, lower taxes and conservative social values. Yet Reagan presided over a federal government that grew by more than 300,000 employees during his eight-year tenure; while lowering the individual tax rate, he raised taxes about a dozen times; and he worked closely with Democratic congressional leaders.”

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