POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/18

Romney Explains Obama Voters

hidden camera video of Mitt Romney at a fundraiser shows him talking disparagingly of people who will vote for President Obama.

Said Romney: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”

He adds: “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

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Flashback of the Day

“Is there anyone who believes that dividing America and trying to find some group to tax more is somehow going to create more jobs?”

— Mitt Romney, on Fox News, on April 11, 2012.

The comment is particularly interesting in light of Romney’s remarks captured on a hidden video at a fundraiser.

Romney Leads in Indiana

Global Strategy Group (D) poll in Indiana finds Mitt Romney leading President Obama by six points in the presidential race, 47% to 41%.

In the U.S. Senate race, Joe Donnelly (D) edges Richard Mourdock (R), 45% to 42%.

Romney Says it Would be Helpful to be Latino

hidden camera caught Mitt Romney joking at a fundraiser that he might have a better chance at winning the election if he had Mexican grandparents.

Said Romney: “My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico… and had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”

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A CEO Often Makes a Lousy Candidate

Josh Green: “Romney’s problem is not that he’s brought too little executive rigor to the job of running for president — it’s that he’s brought too much. He’s behaved too much like a businessman (or a consultant) and not enough like a politician. His campaign has all the hallmarks of being run by someone looking only at the numbers, who lacks a true politician’s appreciation for the other dimensions of a race – a feel for the electorate, a convincing long-term plan for the country. Were he forced to defend himself before a board of directors, Romney would actually have a pretty solid case for doing what he’s done.”

Romney’s Comments on Middle East Viewed Negatively

A new Pew Research survey finds that just 26% of those who have followed news on the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East approve of Mitt Romney’s comments on the situation, while 48% disapprove.

In contrast, 45% approve of President Obama’s handling of the recent turmoil, while 36% disapprove.

Nearly Half of Ads Paid for by Outside Groups

“Outside groups have accounted for almost half of all ad spending during this presidential general election,” First Read reports.

“Groups supporting the presidential candidates but not affiliated with the campaign, including Super PACs, have spent $267 million of the $605.7 million spent on television and radio ads… That means about 44 cents of every dollar spent on ads this election has come from outside groups.”

“There’s a big difference between who they’re supporting. Three-quarters of all money spent by outside groups — $212 million — has gone to support Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.”

Wisconsin is a Dead Heat

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin shows President Obama barely edging Mitt Romney among likely voters, 49% to 48%.

In the U.S. Senate race, Tammy Baldwin (D) now leads Tommy Thompson (R), 48% to 45%.

Obama Maintains Massive Lead Among Latinos

The latest impreMedia/Latino Decisions tracking poll finds President Obama solidifying his lead over Mitt Romney among Latino voters by a whopping 68% to 26%.

Also interesting: “Latina voters plan to vote for President Obama by a margin of 74% to 21% for Romney — a 53 point gap.”

The Timeline of Presidential Elections

Highly recommended: The Timeline of Presidential Elections: How Campaigns Do (and Do Not) Matter by Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien.

“Erikson and Wlezien have amassed data from close to two thousand national polls covering every presidential election from 1952 to 2008, allowing them to see how outcomes take shape over the course of an election year. Polls from the beginning of the year, they show, have virtually no predictive power. By mid-April, when the candidates have been identified and matched in pollsters’ trial heats, preferences have come into focus — and predicted the winner in eleven of the fifteen elections. But a similar process of forming favorites takes place in the last six months, during which voters’ intentions change only gradually, with particular events– including presidential debates — rarely resulting in dramatic change.”

Ezra Klein read the book and concludes: “The Romney campaign is in trouble.”

How the GOP Establishment Betrayed the Base

Frank Rich made an attempt “to put myself in the Republican brain by spending a solid week listening to, watching, reading, surfing, and otherwise gorging on conservative media.”

“I came away with empathy for those in the right’s base, who are often sold out by the GOP Establishment, and admiration for a number of writers, particularly the youngish conservative commentators at sites like the American Conservative and National Review Online whose writing is as sharp as any on the left (and sometimes as unforgiving of Republican follies) but who are mostly unknown beyond their own ideological circles. What many of the right’s foot soldiers and pundits have in common is their keen awareness that they got a bum deal in Tampa, a convention that didn’t much represent either their fiercely held ideology or their contempt for the incumbent.”

Will Obama’s Bounce Hold?

Nate Cohn: “If Obama’s four point lead persists through the week, Obama should be considered a very strong favorite for reelection. While it might seem that the heart of the campaign is still to come, the candidate leading two weeks after the in-party convention has gone onto win the popular vote in every presidential election since Truman’s come from behind victory in 1948. And the only other comebacks were also staged by candidates or incumbents who ascended to the presidency or the nomination following resignation, assassination, or a late decision not to seek reelection.”

How Politics Became a Business

New Yorker: “Political consulting is often thought of as an offshoot of the advertising industry, but closer to the truth is that the advertising industry began as a form of political consulting. As the political scientist Stanley Kelley once explained, when modern advertising began, the big clients were just as interested in advancing a political agenda as a commercial one. Monopolies like Standard Oil and DuPont looked bad: they looked greedy and ruthless and, in the case of DuPont, which made munitions, sinister. They therefore hired advertising firms to sell the public on the idea of the large corporation, and, not incidentally, to advance pro-business legislation…”

“No single development has altered the workings of American democracy in the last century so much as political consulting, an industry unknown before Campaigns, Inc. In the middle decades of the twentieth century, political consultants replaced party bosses as the wielders of political power gained not by votes but by money… Political management is now a diversified, multibillion-dollar industry of managers, speechwriters, pollsters, and advertisers who play a role in everything from this year’s Presidential race to the campaigns of the candidates for your local school committee.”

Obama Crams for Debates

Reuters reports President Obama is “cramming” for the upcoming debates.

“Forced to juggle his governing and campaigning responsibilities, Obama is squeezing in debate prep when he can… Obama uses flights to Nevada, Colorado and other election swing states on Air Force One to read up on Romney’s positions, or studies in the evenings at the White House when he’s in town.”

Said David Axelrod: “We don’t have the same luxury that Romney does in terms of time.”

Romney’s Five Problems

Jennifer Rubin says Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has at least five problems “that dull and dampen its message and drive conservatives nuts”: 1) poor surrogates, 2) too slow to respond to events, 3) too little explanation, 4) not enough leadership talk, 5) and not enough context.

Erick Erickson: “It would be easy to dismiss me by saying I never cared for Romney or I’m somehow actually rooting against him. So let me put it to you this way: Jenn Rubin and I are on the same page. That’s either a sign of the apocalypse or there is something really dysfunctional happening within the Romney campaign.”

No Staff Shake Up Likely for Romney

New York Times: “Talk of infighting within the Romney headquarters in Boston has been percolating for months, but the report in Politico drew new attention to it and raised questions about Mr. Romney’s management of the campaign, which includes advisers who have been with him since his first run for Massachusetts governor, since he entered presidential politics, and others like Stuart Stevens and his partner Russ Schriefer, who have become still more prominent this campaign season. Republicans close to the operation say it is not Mr. Romney’s style to dismiss any of his advisers.”

First Read notes the story is infighting “isn’t surprising in a presidential campaign. After all, when the going gets tough, campaign advisers and consultants start pointing fingers. But what is surprising is that such an article is coming so soon, before the debates and before this race is truly decided.”

Ryan Says Congress Will Pick Tax Loopholes to Close

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) tells David Brody why Mitt Romney won’t detail the tax loopholes he says they will eliminate if elected.

Said Ryan: “We have to be able to work with Congress on those details, on how to fill it in and more to the point we don’t want to cut some backroom deal that they did with Obamacare where we hatched some plan behind the scenes and they spring it on the country. We want to do this in front, in the public, through congressional hearings with Congress so that we can get to the best conclusion with a public participation. That’s the process that works the best to ultimate success gets this done. That’s why we’re doing it this way.”

Quote of the Day

“Because he is being graded on a curve with a bunch of guys who jump into the Sea of Galilee because they want to be closer to God.”

— Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), quoted by The New Republic, on why Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has developed a “big thinker reputation.”

Romney Abrubtly Shifts Strategy

Mitt Romney’s campaign “has concluded that the 2012 election will not be decided by elusive, much-targeted undecided voters — but by the motivated partisans of the Republican base,” BuzzFeed reports.

“This shifting campaign calculus has produced a split in Romney’s message. His talk show interviews and big ad buys continue to offer a straightforward economic focus aimed at traditional undecided voters. But out stumping day to day is a candidate who wants to talk about patriotism and God, and who is increasingly looking to connect with the right’s intense, personal dislike for President Barack Obama.”

Meanwhile, Politico reports Romney is rolling out a new and broader strategy to make the election a referendum on “status quo versus change.”

“The shift, which is to include much more emphasis on Romney’s policy prescriptions, means he is scrapping the most basic precept of his campaign. From the time he began contemplating running again after his loss in the 2008 primaries, Romney’s theory of the case has been a relentless and nearly exclusive focus on the listless economy.”

Romney’s Plan

Mitt Romney unveiled a strong new ad that features him talking directly to the camera about what he would do as president.

Jon Karl reports the ad is part of “a new advertising offensive that will focus more on the GOP candidate’s plans to turn the country around.  Sources say several new ads have been cut that feature Romney speaking directly to camera. Romney’s aides are describing the retooling as ‘More Mitt.’ It’s an acknowledgement that attacking President Obama is not enough — Romney still has to make the case that he is a credible alternative.”

See more…

Warren Surges in Massachusetts

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Massachusetts finds Elizabeth Warren (D) surging in her challenge to Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) in the U.S. Senate race.

Warren now holds a two point lead, 48% to 46%, after trailing by five points in the firm’s poll last month.

Obama Maintains Lead in Virginia

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Virginia finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points, 51% to 46%.

When third party candidates are included, Obama leads Romney 49% to 45% with Gary Johnson at 2% and Virgil Goode and Jill Stein both at just 1%.

Key findings: “Virginia continues to look like it may be something of a firewall state for Obama. PPP has now polled it 9 times this cycle, and President Obama has led by at least 4 points on all 9 of the polls. He’s been ahead by 5 points, 5 points, 8 points, and 8 points over the course of the four surveys we’ve conducted in 2012.”

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