POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/11

Romney Faces Test as Republicans Get Jittery

Byron York: “Mitt Romney and his top aides are running an essentially faith-based campaign. Whatever the polls say at the moment, whatever the pundits say, whatever some nervous Republicans say, Team Romney simply does not believe President Obama can win re-election in today’s terrible economy. The president may appear to be defying gravity now, but he can’t keep it up through Nov. 6.”

“The next few days are going to try Romney’s patience and determination. The media is focusing incessantly on Obama’s relatively small move upward in the polls, with some of the coverage bordering on outright celebration. That, in turn, is spooking some already anxious Romney supporters who fear that Romney is going about it all wrong… Meanwhile, Republican nervousness is spreading and threatens to turn into a stampede.”

Dead Heat in Massachusetts

A new Kimball Political Consulting (R) survey in Massachusetts finds Sen. Scott Brown (R) barely ahead of challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) among likely voters, 46% to 45%.

The poll found Brown’s support dropped by 5 points compared to a poll conducted two weeks ago.

Another Poll Confirms Obama Bounce

A new CNN/ORC poll confirms that President Obama comes out of the conventions with an improved image.

Obama now has a 57% favorable rating, as compared with a 52% favorable rating before the conventions. Mitt Romney was viewed favorably by 48%, compared with 50% two weeks ago.

In the horse race, Obama leads 52% to 46%, among likely voters. Just before the conventions, Obama and Romney were tied at 48% each.

Meanwhile, tracking polls by Gallup and Rasmussen show Obama with a 5-point edge

The Next Two Months

Marc Ambinder: “The election in November may well turn on decisions made long ago. After Labor Day, there is little campaigns can do to alter the fundamental physics of a race. The best campaigns simply play defense well. In a close race, whichever candidate is most adroit at handling the unexpected will probably find himself with an advantage.”

Romney Campaign Steals Obama Website

Salon: “After months of telling Democrats that they didn’t build that, the charge may be ironically accurate when it comes to Mitt Romney’s website. The Romney campaign’s ‘victory wallet’ donation page bears a striking resemblance to the Obama campaign’s ‘quick donate’ page. The Obama campaign published its in March and Romney’s site went up in late August.”

BuzzFeed points out all of the similarities.

Does Obama Not Like People?

John Heilemann: “I don’t think he doesn’t like people. I know he doesn’t like people. He’s not an extrovert; he’s an introvert. I’ve known the guy since 1988. He’s not someone who has a wide circle of friends. He’s not a backslapper and he’s not an arm-twister. He’s a more or less solitary figure who has extraordinary communicative capacities. He’s incredibly intelligent, but he’s not a guy who’s ever had a Bill Clinton-like network around him. He’s not the guy up late at night working the speed dial calling mayors, calling governors, calling CEOs…”

“I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know what the root of that is. People have theories about it. But I know in practice he is a guy who likes to operate with a very tight circle around him, trusts very few people easily or entirely. He ran his campaign that way in 2008, he runs his White House that way, and he’s running his campaign that way in 2012.”

Candidate Quits After Allegations of Voting in Two States

Wendy Rosen (D) quit her Maryland congressional race “after her own party told state officials that she had committed fraud by voting in both Maryland and Florida in recent elections,” the Washington Post reports.

Rosen was running against freshman Rep. Andy Harris (R). She released a statement saying that “with great regret, and much sorrow” she was resigning from the contest.

The Baltimore Sun reports the Democratic party “now will hold a vote among the central committees in the First District to select a new nominee.”

Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her.”

— Pat Robertson, on the 700 Club, jokingly giving advice to a viewer about dealing with his wife, adding the man “can’t divorce her according to the Scripture, so I say: move to Saudi Arabia.”

Why George W. Bush Will Decide the Election

Peter Beinart: “Mitt Romney is not a great candidate; Barack Obama is a better one. But without the Bush legacy, Romney would be leading this race. His problem is that except among staunch conservatives, Bush has so hurt the GOP’s brand that Romney doesn’t look like the fresh economic fix-it man that Republicans want to portray him as. Instead, it’s all too easy for Democrats to paint him as George W. Bush the 3rd, just as they painted John McCain as George W. Bush the 2nd.”

“Romney has tried to handle the Bush legacy the same way McCain did: by ignoring it. When Republicans convened in late August in Tampa, as in Minneapolis in 2008, Bush was not there. But in campaigns, ignoring your weaknesses rarely makes them go away. While at their convention Republicans tried to pretend that the Bush presidency never happened, the Obama campaign handed Bill Clinton the microphone and allowed him to define the race as Obama-Clinton versus Romney-Bush. The GOP, in Clinton’s narrative, creates economic messes. Democrats clean them up.”

A Real Tea Party

The New York Times reviews The Boston Tea Party, a children’s book by Russell Freedman.

“Now that Schoolhouse Rock! is no longer around to whip young children into heady waves of patriotism, nonfiction picture books are doing the job — only far more accurately and without putting songs in your head… The goal here is immediacy, but also historical accuracy, and Freedman, who has also won three Newbery Honors and a National Humanities Medal, impressively achieves both. He neither sugar coats nor cherry picks in describing the events of Dec. 16, 1773. He delivers the historical past without ideology or histrionics.”

Emanuel Halts Super PAC Fundraising

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), facing a teachers strike, is backing away from fundraising for Democratic super PACs, Politico reports.

Romney Ahead in North Carolina

A new Civitas Institute Flash Poll in North Carolina finds Mitt Romney with a 10 point lead over President Obama, 53% to 43%.

Big caveat: The poll shows Romney winning 30% of the black vote, which would be extraordinary.

PPP poll released late last night found the race essentially tied.

When Being Fuzzy on Policy Backfires

Mitt Romney made headlines yesterday suggesting he would keep major portions of President Obama’s health care law despite insisting he would repeal it. Then his advisers said he hadn’t changed his position at all.

Ezra Klein: “Romney’s play here was obvious enough: By being a little fuzzy about what, exactly, he was proposing, he could sound like he had a way to protect people with preexisting conditions while still saying he wants to repeal Obamacare. He’d get the best of both worlds. But the problem with trying to strategically confuse people is that you actually confuse them, and that’s what happened here. Rather than coming away thinking Romney had a secret plan to protect people with preexisting conditions, they went away thinking Romney had a secret plan to protect Obamacare.”

“That’s happening to Romney a lot lately. On taxes, for instance, he’s said that his plan won’t cost any money, that it won’t cut the tax burden on the rich, but that it will nevertheless be a huge cut in tax rates. When asked how he’d do all that, he’s said he’ll explain later.”

Quote of the Day

“The goal was never that these defense cuts actually occur.”

— Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), quoted by The Hill, defending his vote for sequestration that Mitt Romney is now saying was a mistake.

Will the Chicago Teacher’s Strike Hurt Obama?

“Chicago teachers began walking the picket line for the first time in 25 years Monday morning, leaving parents to scramble for alternatives for their children,” the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Chris Cillizza: “Yes, we know that President Obama has no role — either way — in the strike. But, that the strike is happening in Chicago, the town where President Obama made his political name doesn’t help him. And that the current Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was Obama’s first presidential chief of staff isn’t much help either. Remember that Republicans are doing everything they can to link Obama to Chicago and Chicago-style politics — thinking that it will turn off independents in the middle of the country. That the teachers strike will be at (or close to) the top of every evening news show until it ends allows Republicans a daily news peg to remind people that Obama is from the Windy City.”

What is a Gaffe?

Marc Ambinder: “So what is a gaffe? Is it an error? Is it a lie? Is it, a la Michael Kinsley, when a politician accidentally tells the truth?… Is it a malicious exaggeration? Or does something become a gaffe when the other side latches on to it and exploits it for partisan advantage? Think of it this way: If you’re a shortstop and miss a ground ball, and a runner scores, no one, aside from the statisticians, will remember it unless it materially affects the outcome of the game, which is something we can’t know at the time.”

“In the case of politics, partisans do everything possible to turn mistakes into things that materially affect the outcome of campaigns. That’s fine for them to do, but we ought to be aware of it, and I think we ought to give politicians a little more wiggle room to be human before we so easily judge them by their less than finest moments.”

Look-Alike Sites Funnel Money to Mystery PAC

National Journal: “The websites have the trappings of official campaign pages: smiling candidate photos and videos, issue pages, and a large, red “donate” button at the top. Except that proceeds from the shadow sites go not to the candidates pictured, but to an obscure conservative group run by an Arizona activist.”

Second-Guessing Romney

Mark Halperin: “The danger for the Romney campaign right now is the congealing conventional wisdom that the Republican emerged from Tampa and Charlotte meaningfully behind and facing some tough electoral college reality.”

“Romney still has the debates, millions and millions in TV ads, and weeks of campaigning to try to turn things around. But he faces the immediate threat of quiet and loud we-told-you-so’s from Republicans who last year had the very worries they fear are being manifested now… Until Romney breaks this cycle, he is in danger of living out the Haley Barbour dictum, in politics bad gets worse.”

Romney Camp Calls Obama Bounce a “Sugar High”

“Responding to the early polling showing President Obama with a bounce — and lead — after the two conventions, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse argues in a memo to reporters that the presidential contest “has not changed significantly,” NBC News reports.

Said Newhouse: “Don’t get too worked up about the latest polling. While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly. The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race.”

He adds: “The key numbers in this election are the 43 straight months of 8% or higher unemployment, the 23 million Americans struggling to find work, and the 47 million Americans who are on food stamps.”

Trenton Mayor Arrested in Corruption Probe

Federal authorities arrested Trenton Mayor Tony Mack and more than half a dozen other people in connection with an ongoing corruption probe, NBC 4 New York reports.

“Mack’s administration has been in turmoil from Day 1, staggering from one crisis to another. A housecleaning of staff at City Hall opened the door for Mack’s own appointees, who quickly turned it into a revolving door. Some left over questions about their credentials, others to face criminal charges.”

Obama Raised More Than Romney Last Month

President Obama’s re-election campaign and supporting committees brought in more than $114 million last month – the first time the incumbent has outraised Mitt Romney since April, CNN reports.

Gaps in Obama’s Leadership

Beginning a publicity tour for his new book, The Price of Politics, Bob Woodward told ABC News that his reporting “reveals a president whom he said lacked the ‘stamina’ in turning personal relationships with congressional leaders into action the way some of his predecessors have done.”

Said Woodward: “President Clinton, President Reagan. And if you look at them, you can criticize them for lots of things. They by and large worked their will. On this, President Obama did not. Now, some people are going to say he was fighting a brick wall, the Republicans in the House and the Republicans in Congress. Others will say it’s the president’s job to figure out how to tear down that brick wall. In this case, he did not.”

He added: “I am not ducking this. I am weighing evidence, and there’s evidence that he got on top of a lot of things, he did a lot of things. And there’s evidence that there are gaps. He did not fix this.”

First Read: “What’s particularly striking about the new Bob Woodward book is that, unlike his past works, he’s making an argument rather than trying to recreate and report on a past event and letting others draw the conclusions.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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