Politics and Public Opinion, Elections, Pethokoukis

82 days: U.S. 2012 elections live

Friday, August 17th
Image Credit: DonkeyHotey (Flickr) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Image Credit: DonkeyHotey (Flickr) (CC BY-SA 2.0)



Latest news

16:32 Here’s a great map, via Slate, of where Mitt Romney has held campaign events thus far in the campaign.

16:12 More hecklers on the campaign trail for Ryan?

15:31 State unemployment numbers which were released today contain bad news for President Obama. Unemployment rose in 44 states last month, including 9 of 10 battleground states, according to Business Insider.

15:25 The Romney campaign claims to have received over $10 million in online donations since Paul Ryan’s selection as VP.

15:05 In an email to the Weekly Standard, Hillary Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines quashed the “Hillary for VP” rumors—which involved a lunch between Clinton and Valerie Jarrett—with a dose of humor and Dr. Seuss:

This did not happen

They did not have lunch

They did not have any meal

They did not meet this month

They did not meet last month

They did not meet in 2012

They did not meet in 2011, 2010, 2009

This is not happening

Truth is that Ed Klein is an idiot with not a shred of credibility

Truth is that Ed Klein’s motto is “If at first you don’t succeed, lie lie again.”

14:47 Romney campaign officials tell Politico that Romney and Ryan will campaign together again sooner than originally planned. The two will stump together twice next week as part of a new offensive to tackle to the issue of Medicare.

The two had planned to campaign separately until the GOP convention in Tampa, but campaign strategists felt that having the two men together improved both of their performances. In particular, they noticed how much more energized and animated Romney appeared on t.v. with Ryan at his side.

“They really like each other and they feed off of each other,” said campaign manager Matt Rhoades. “There’s an energy, there’s a chemistry.”

14:29 During 2008, President Obama criticized John McCain for proposing to… do exactly what Obama ended up doing in regards to Medicare: Cutting the future rate of growth. Of course, he didn’t exactly explain that McCain was planning to cut the rate of Medicare growth: He presented it as an absolute cut compared to current benefits. Today, Obama is complaining that Romney-Ryan are doing the same thing to him: Presenting his cut (from Obamacare) in the rate of growth as an absolute cut.

What goes around comes around.

13:50 Last evening, Ryan acknowledged that he sent the letters requesting stimulus money after all. “After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled. This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that.”

13:41 Looks like the RNC also noticed President Obama’s ridiculous interview with a New Mexico pop radio station. They’ve come out with a hard-hitting ad:

13:15 Paul Ryan got himself in a bit of hot water yesterday when he claimed that, “I never asked for stimulus money.” A report from The Boston Globe contradicts that claim, saying that Ryan wrote at least four letters of Secretary of Energy Steven Chu for a pair of Wisconsin conservation groups.

You can read the letters here.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2010 that Ryan was among those Republicans who had opposed the stimulus while simultaneously requesting funds for their districts.

13:00 McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed reports that Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate primarily on the advice of those who know him best: His wife and five sons. Coppins:

But while Romney’s staff had their doubts, the Congressman had the support of a separate, and increasingly influential set of advisers who have long had the candidate’s ear: His wife and five sons.

According to people close to the family and campaign, Ann Romney and the most politically engaged of the brothers were early advocates for Ryan to join the ticket, having grown friendly with him and his wife over the course of the summer’s vetting process. Mrs. Romney and Janna Ryan “got along famously” as they got to know each other, said one source, while Tagg Romney — an increasingly crucial adviser to his father this year  — grew to like and respect Ryan as he crossed paths with him on the campaign trail.

This shows a more human side to Romney: If he were the robotic man that he is presented to be, wouldn’t he have gone with whomever his staff told him would be most beneficial to being elected?

12:40 A Franklin & Marshall College poll of Pennsylvania finds that Obama leads Romney 47-42, with 7% of voters truly undecided. This is a narrower lead than most previous surveys. Romney holds an advantage among working-class whites, a key GOP constituency.

The president’s personal favorability ratings and job approval declined since June, while Mitt Romney’s favorability has slightly improved. Romney also took a slight lead on economic issues which he did not enjoy in the June survey.

11:41 President Obama hasn’t formally taken questions from the White House press corps in over two months. But he did have time for these 8 questions from local radio and Entertainment Tonight, courtesy of BuzzFeed:

  1. If you had a super power, what would it be?
  2. What’s your favorite song to work out to?
  3. Is [the campaign bus] comfortable?
  4. Do you actually get to use your blackberry?
  5. Red or green [Chiles]?
  6. What’s your favorite New Mexican food?
  7. If we were to visit Chicago, what place would you recommend to get some really good soul food?
  8. “I know your real favorite song has got to be ‘Call Me Maybe.’ You can tell us. It’s okay.”

Man, those gosh-darned Republicans are really distracting the campaign from the real issues, aren’t they? Who wants to talk about Medicare reform when you really need to know what Obama’s favorite workout song is?

If you care (you shouldn’t), you can read the president’s answers via the BuzzFeed link above, or listen to his radio interview below.

11:19 Thank God for Toure! If he wasn’t around, we would never know what’s “racist” and what isn’t. Fortunately, he’s on MSNBC to clear things up, although silly ol’ S.E. Cupp just doesn’t seem to get it. I’ll break it down for her: GOP = racist.

10:54 The GOP has launched a “Countdown to Medicare’s Bankruptcy,” which features a timeline of President Obama’s actions and statements regarding the program. It’s pretty slick.

10:47 The Republican National Committee took in $37.7 million in July, ending the month with $88.7 million in cash on hand. It has spent about $21 million on attack ads against Obama since the second week of July.

“Once again, the R.N.C. has set a monthly fund-raising record, illustrating the tremendous enthusiasm for a new direction in this country,” said chairman Reince Priebus in a statement. “This money allows us to get our message out to voters across this country on the ground and on the air.”

10:41 CNN reports below that Chris McMurray, a small business owner of the ‘Crumb and Get It’ bakery, refused to host Vice President Joe Biden and his entourage yesterday. Why would he turn down the free money and publiciy? Quite simply: “You didn’t build that.”

What more proof do you need that the “you didn’t build that” comment is having a real effect on the campaign?

10:30 This ad, from American Crossroads, is just too funny for commentary. Keep running, Joe!

10:22 The Elizabeth Warren campaign has released a new ad, “Accountability,” which promotes Warren as a populist champion of the middle class. Check it out:

10:08 Ad spending in the 2012 campaign has now topped $500 million. That means we’ve already spent more money on advertising than in the entire 2008 general election, according to NBC. And there’s still 82 days to go!

About half that money comes from outside groups like Super PACs. These groups have spent $238 million on the 2012 general election campaign, and about 90% of that has gone in support of Mitt Romney or to attacking Barack Obama.

That means that only 25% of all pro-Romney ads have come from Romney’s campaign. Eighty-six percent of Obama spending has been from his own campaign.

9:36 Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, will play the role of Paul Ryan during mock debates with Vice President Joe Biden, the New York Times reports.

Van Hollen has spent many hours with Ryan and his budget plan, so he was a natural choice.

John Kerry will be playing Mitt Romney in Obama’s practice debates.

9:20 Team Obama is pushing back on Romney’s Medicare attack with its first ad on the subject. The narrator promotes Obamacare, saying it “cracks down on Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse” and “strengthens guaranteed benefits.” The ad will air in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada.

The big news from this ad is that the campaign is using the word “Obamacare” in its own ads. Guess they’re embracing the name since it’s going to stick anyways.

9:10 President Obama has no public events today, spending most of the day at the White House. He will campaign in Columbus, Ohio, next Tuesday and in Nevada on Wednesday.

Mitt Romney is fundraising in New York. He has no public events until next week, when he will hold his 100th town hall together with Paul Ryan on Monday.

Joe Biden has no public events scheduled and will head home to Wilmington later in the day.

Paul Ryan has rallies at 11:35 in Glen Allen and at 3:40 in Springfield. His mother will join him tomorrow for a 10 AM rally at The Villages in Florida.

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