POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/31

Romney Closes the Gap in Michigan

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by just three points, 49% to 46%.

Said pollster Bernie Porn: “It gives us an idea where things are before Romney makes his speech. We were at six points, now it’s three. It’s tightening up. It could be even after Romney’s speech tonight.”

 

Base Strategy May Be Too Narrow for Romney

Nate Silver: “The argument for a base strategy is something like this: there are very few undecided voters left, and hardly anything has moved the polls. With the election being so close, the contest will come down to turnout. So get your voters as motivated as possible.”

“A risk for Mr. Romney, however, is that even with a favorable turnout, the Republican coalition may have become slightly too narrow for him to win, given that the party is struggling with Hispanics and other minority voters.”

 

Romney Bounces Into the Lead

The Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll finds Mitt Romney has moved into a narrow two point lead over President Obama in a small bounce for him from the Republican National Convention, 44% to 42%.

Romney entered the week with Obama leading by four points, 46% to 42%.

 

Harvard Investigating Cheating Scandal in Congress Class

The Crimson: “Harvard College’s disciplinary board is investigating nearly half of the 279 students who enrolled in Government 1310: ‘Introduction to Congress’ last spring for allegedly plagiarizing answers or inappropriately collaborating on the class’ final take-home exam.”

 

Many Fewer Viewers for Paul Ryan Than Sarah Palin

Rep. Paul Ryan drew just slightly more than 20 million viewers for his speech last night at the GOP convention, significantly less than the 37.2 million that Sarah Palin attracted four years ago, Businessweek reports.

 

Palin’s Contract at Fox News in Jeopardy

Gabrielle Sherman: “Last night’s kerfuffle between Sarah Palin and Fox News was a classic display of Sarah Palin being, well, Sarah Palin. But her Facebook outburst complaining about Fox canceling her appearance at the Republic National Convention reveals something deeper about Palin’s often rocky relationship with the network. Palin’s contract is up in January, and according to sources, Fox News executives are now weighing what kind of deal they would sign, if they sign one at all.”

 

The Obama Mobile War Room

Democrats have a presence at the GOP festivities in Tampa, the New York Times reports, “a 30-person pop-up shop in a storefront one block beyond the security perimeter of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the Republican National Convention is being held, and dedicated to pushing back against the hurricane-strength messaging of the Republicans.”

Said Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter: “There are now 70 days left until the election, and we’re not going to cede any one of them.”

 

Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law

A federal court blocked Texas from enforcing “a strict new voter identification law, ruling that the state had failed to prove that the mandate would not disproportionately suppress turnout among eligible voters who are members of minority groups,” the New York Timesreports.

Rick Hasen: “Texas is likely to appeal this case to the Supreme Court, and I would expect to see an application for an emergency injunction allowing Texas to use its voter id law during the upcoming election. If this happens, this will be a major question for the Roberts Court, and it would have to be decided in short order. Given the closeness to the election, it is not clear to me that even if the Supreme Court disagrees on some of the analysis with the district court that it would grant such emergency relief.”

 

Tea Party Forgotten

The Tea Party — which energized and even seemed to overtake the Republican Party in 2010 — has been virtually invisible at this Republican National Convention, BuzzFeedreports.

“Not a single one of the 38 speakers during the convention’s key prime time hours has even mentioned the phrase, according to an examination of their transcripts — a sign both of Romney’s own distance from the movement and that polls have suggested that voters view the movement negatively.”

 

The Poster

That was quick: Crossroads Generation is out with a new ad featuring the imagery of thefaded Obama poster mentioned in Paul Ryan’s GOP convention speech last night.

See more…

 

Worst Jokes at the Republican Convention

BuzzFeed compiles clips of the worst jokes from speakers at the Republican National Convention.

See more…

 

Missouri Senate Race Still Tight

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Missouri finds Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) leading embattled challenger Todd Akin (R) by just one point, 45% to 44%.

Key findings: 53% of voters say that they accept Akin’s apology for his comments last week to 40% who do not.

Meanwhile, a Wenzel Strategies survey done for the Family Research Council finds Akin leading 45% to 42%.

 

The Most Dishonest Convention Speech Ever?

Jonathan Cohn: “Paul Ryan’s speech on Wednesday night played well with GOP loyalists in Tampa, with television viewers across the country, and may eventually resonate with the swing voters who will decide the election. But what Ryan actually said last night is objectionable because he was so brazenly willing to twist the truth. At least five times, Ryan misrepresented the facts. And while none of the statements were new, the context was. It’s one thing to hear them on a thirty-second television spot or even in a stump speech before a small crowd. It’s something else entirely to hear them in a prime time address, as a vice presidential nominee accepting his party’s nomination and speaking to the entire country.”

Ezra Klein: “Ryan’s claims weren’t even arguably true. You simply can’t say the president hasn’t released a deficit reduction plan. The plan is right here. You simply can’t say the president broke his promise to keep your GM plant open. The decision to close the plant was made before he entered office — and, by the way, the guy at the top of your ticket opposed the auto bailout. You simply can’t argue that the Affordable Care Act was a government takeover of the health-care system. My doctor still works for Kaiser Permanente, a private company that the government does not own. You simply can’t say that Obama, who was willing to follow historical precedent and sign a clean debt ceiling increase, caused the S&P downgrade, when S&P clearly said it was due to congressional gridlock and even wrote that it was partly due to the GOP’s dogmatic position on taxes.”

 

Ryan’s Speech Not Likely to be Remembered

First Read: “We want to make a final point about Ryan’s acceptance speech, and it’s the same one we made yesterday: Don’t get carried away by a strong VP speech; it typically doesn’t have a long shelf life. Think Ferraro in ’84, Bentsen in ’88, Kemp in ’96, Lieberman in ’00, and Edwards in ’04. The exception, of course, is Sarah Palin in ’08. But she isn’t the rule.”

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), quoted by the Washington Post, on the Republican party’s challenge.

 

Bush to Defend His Family

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush said he would open his speech to the Republican National Convention tonight “with a defense of his brother George because President Obama keeps running him down,” Politico reports.

Said Bush: “I just feel compelled to do this because almost every day I hear the current incumbent feeling compelled to push down the past to make himself look better. When I was growing up, we were spanked when that happened.”

 

Democrats Must Give Up Identity Politics

Joe Klein: “The Democrats have a serious problem. It is a problem that stems from the party’s greatest strength: its long-term support for inclusion and equal rights for all, its support of racial integration and equal rights for women and homosexuals and its humane stand on immigration reform. Those heroic positions, which I celebrate, cost the Democrats more than a few elections in the past…. If the Democratic Party truly wants to be a party of inclusion, it must reach out to those who are currently excluded from its identity politics. It needs to disband its caucuses. It needs to say, We are proud of our racial and ethnic backgrounds, our different religions, our lifestyle differences. But the things that unite us are more important than the things that divide us. We have only one caucus– the American caucus.”

 

Quote of the Day

“College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

— Rep. Paul Ryan, during his convention speech last night.

 

The Federal Bailout that Saved Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney helped secure a federal bailout to keep Bain & Company from collapsing, according to government documents obtained by Rolling Stone.

“Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC – the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers – out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds.”

 

Why Tonight May Be More Important Than Debates

Charlie Cook: “For whatever reason, his campaign is just now getting around to attempting to establish a personal connection between Romney and the public. That connection cannot be made in a debate; the format doesn’t lend itself to it. Romney desperately needs to leave Tampa having created that relationship.”

“Focus groups show that people perceive Romney as aloof and wonder whether he would even speak to them. His friends say that this is ridiculous, that he’s a terrific guy. But the doubts persist. Tonight is the night Romney needs to fix that.”

 

Obama Has Edge in Ohio

A new Gravis survey in Ohio shows President Obama edging Mitt Romney, 45% to 44%.

Nate Silver: “A one-point lead isn’t much, and Mr. Obama has gotten some better numbers than that in Ohio. So why does this qualify as good news for him? Because this firm has had Republican-leaning results in the other states that it has polled, putting Mr. Romney up by 2 points in Florida, 1 point in Colorado and 17 points in Missouri, making it several points more Republican-leaning than the consensus of surveys in those states. Once the model adjusts for the firm’s “house effect,” it treats Mr. Obama’s nominal 1-point lead as being the equivalent of a 4- or 5-point lead instead. Thus, Mr. Obama’s chances of winning Ohio rose somewhat based on the survey.”

 

Romney’s Job Offer

The New York Times reports that just after Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race in early 2008, finance titan Julian Robertson “flew to Utah to deliver an eye-popping offer. He asked Mr. Romney to become chief executive of his hedge fund, Tiger Management, for an annual salary of about $30 million, plus investment profits.”

“But Mr. Romney was uninterested. His mind — and his heart — were elsewhere, still trained in the raw days after his political defeat not on Wall Street but on the White House and an urgent quest: to be understood by an electorate that had eluded him.”

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