POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/4

Obama Still Leads in Colorado

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Colorado finds President Obama continuing to hold the lead over Mitt Romney, 49% to 46%.

Last month, Obama was ahead by a 49% to 43% margin, but Romney continues to trail in the state because of his struggles with independents. Obama has a 48% to 41% lead with them, a trend that’s been consistent in our polling there all year.

Team Obama Thinks They’ve Already Won

Major Garrett reports President Obama’s team “conveys such a visceral sense of self-confidence that even protestations to the contrary take on air of comically profane absurdity.”

Said David Axelrod: “They didn’t give people anything to grab on to, and they allowed us to define him before he could define himself. And now they are playing catch-up. And now they are running bio ads. The summer is when candidates and races get defined. That’s why we made a strategic decision that it was better to muscle up in the summer. I can’t think of a presidential race determined by paid media after Labor Day.”

“That’s Axelrod’s understated way of saying… that he thinks the election is already over. In fact, campaign officials purposely approach the race as closer than they truly think it is. For more than two months, the campaign has been subtracting 2 points from internal polls that consistently show Obama ahead nationally and state by state.”

Meanwhile, Nate Silver notes his forecast model “has moved toward Mr. Obama over the past few days; it now gives him a 74.5 percent chance of winning the Electoral College, his highest figure to date.”

Navy SEAL Wrote Book After a Slight

New York Times: “The former Navy SEALs member who is a co-author of a first-person account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden was willing to break ‘the code of silence’ honored by many commandos because of ‘bad blood’ with his former unit, the elite SEAL Team 6, according to a new e-book written by other Special Operations veterans.”

“The e-book says the author, Matt Bissonnette, who wrote the book No Easy Day under the pseudonym Mark Owen, was effectively pushed out of SEAL Team 6 after he expressed interest last year in leaving the Navy and starting a business. Upset at how he had been treated, Mr. Bissonnette felt less compunction about writing a book that he knew might upset colleagues, the e-book authors say.”

Romney Exited Bain Capital with Rare Tax Benefits

“Before Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital, the enormously profitable investment firm he founded, he made sure to lock in his gains, both realized and expected, for years to come,” the Washington Post reports.

“He did so, in part, the way millions of other Americans do — with the tax benefits of an individual retirement account. But he was able to turbocharge the impact of those advantages and other tax breaks in his severance package from Bain in a way that few but the country’s super-rich can ever hope to do.”

“His severance package, for instance, allowed him to continue sharing in the profits of the company as if he were still a partner managing it, according to his 2010 tax return and interviews with present and former Bain executives. And because he benefited from the firm’s investments as if he were an active Bain partner, he paid taxes at a lower rate on these earnings than if they were treated as ordinary retirement income.”

Worst Convention Speech Since Dole

A new Gallup poll finds just 38% rated Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention as excellent or good — the lowest rating since Bob Dole’s GOP acceptance speech in 1996 — while 16% rated it as poor or terrible.

Obama Plays to Win

New York Times: “As he faces off with Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, Mr. Obama’s will to win — and fear of losing — is in overdrive. He is cramming for debates against an opponent he has called ‘ineffective,’ raising money at a frantic pace to narrow the gap with Mr. Romney and embracing the do-anything-it-takes tactics of an increasingly contentious campaign.”

“Even by the standards of the political world, Mr. Obama’s obsession with virtuosity and proving himself the best are remarkable, those close to him say. (Critics call it arrogance.) More than a tic, friends and aides say, it is a core part of his worldview, formed as an outsider child who grew up to defy others’ views of the limits of his abilities. When he speaks to students, he almost always emphasizes living up to their potential.”

Said close friend Marty Nebsitt: “He has a general philosophy that whatever he does, he’s going to do the very best he can do.”

Obama Says Romney Will Raise Your Taxes

The Obama campaign is out with a new ad that claims Mitt Romney will raise your taxes.

See more…

Romney Hunkers Down for Debate Preparation

“As Democrats stage their national convention next week, Mitt Romney is planning three days of intensive preparations for his debates with President Obama,” the Washington Postreports.

“The Republican presidential nominee is leaving the campaign trail Saturday night to spend Sunday and Monday at his vacation home in Wolfeboro, N.H. He plans to then spend Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday preparing for the fall debates with his top advisers in a secluded mountainous area of Vermont.”

Biden vs. Ryan

New York Magazine: “Suddenly, with the spotlight trained on Ryan, whose speech last week at the Republican convention roused the hall and popped off the TV screen, Biden was bathed in luminescence, too. Suddenly, amazingly, the undercard mattered–with next month’s toe-to-toe between the No. 2’s elevated from a sideshow to a marquee event.”

“Biden, to be sure, has been here before; in 2008, his debate with Palin garnered a larger audience than any of the televised tangles between Obama and John ­McCain. The task before Biden this time around will be different, though, and not just because he isn’t seen as the prohibitive favorite. With Ryan now providing the ideological and intellectual heft on the GOP ticket, the Democrats intend to spend the next 60 days talking as much about him as about Romney. Yet the vice-­presidential debate will be their only opportunity for direct engagement with Ryan–and Biden, not Obama, will be the one doing the engaging.”

“Thus is Biden facing the last great challenge of his last campaign. Unless, of course, it isn’t.”

Why Obama Doesn’t Call Romney a Flip-Flopper

Ryan Lizza: “In November, not long after the round of golf, Messina and Axelrod made a pilgrimage to Clinton’s Harlem office. Messina brought a PowerPoint slide show and briefed the former President on campaign strategy. At the time, the Obama team was alternating between two arguments about Romney. One presented him as an inveterate flip-flopper, the other as a right-wing ideologue who would return the country to a pre-New Deal dystopia.”

“Clinton advised them to stick with the second argument. It would help with fund-raising, he said; liberal donors would be more motivated to fight a fierce conservative. If they defined Romney as a flip-flopper, undecided voters might think that he could return to his moderate roots once he was in office. ‘They tried to do this to me, the flip-flopper thing… It just doesn’t work.’ He told the Obama aides that voters never held the flip-flopper attacks against him because they felt that he would simply do what was right. After Clinton agreed to appear at several fund-raisers, Obama turned him into a leading character in his stump speech.”

Democrats Feel Good

First Read: “Heading into their convention here this week, the Obama campaign and Democrats are feeling pretty good after Tampa. The polls… suggest that Mitt Romney got little to no bounce from the GOP convention, at least so far. Romney’s speech, while addressing his likeability and gender gaps, is still being criticized for what it omitted… And then there was the whole Clint Eastwood debacle. So Democrats are feeling good, but feeling good isn’t the same as being in good shape. Indeed, the presidential race remains close and competitive. And all the shortcomings from last week only put pressure on the Democrats to do better.”

The Other Goal for Democrats

Charlotte Observer: “National political conventions used to be about just two things: Nominate a presidential ticket, then sell it to the American electorate with a big TV show. This year, there’s a third goal: Win North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes – and perhaps a second term in the White House – by using the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte as a campaign organizing tool.”

Quote of the Day

“One thing about being president or running for president — if you’re easily offended, you should probably choose another profession.”

— President Obama, in an interview with USA Today, commenting on Clint Eastwood’s criticisms in his speech at the GOP convention. He added: “I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan.”

No Sign of a Bounce for Romney

Frank Newport: “We do have some new data that reinforce the tentative conclusion that the Republican convention did not change the race. The results, from data gathered Friday and Saturday and set to be released on gallup.com Monday morning, show that both the self-reported impact of the GOP convention and  evaluations of Romney’s speech were at the very low end of the scale compared with the previous years in which we have asked the same questions about other conventions and nominees.”

Dead Heat in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds President Obama and Mitt Romney all tied up at 48% each.

Key findings: “Just as we found in Florida, the Republican convention doesn’t seem to be giving Romney much of a bounce. 34% of voters say that the convention made them more likely to support the GOP this year, 33% said it made them less likely to do so, and 33% said it didn’t make a difference to them either way. Romney’s lack of a convention bounce could simply be a product of his not being that good of a public speaker. 56% of North Carolina voters say Obama gives better speeches compared to 35% for Romney.”

A new Elon University poll shows Romney with a small lead, 47% to 43%.

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