- House GOP votes to fully extend Bush tax cuts
- Economic forecasting model predicts Obama will lose in near-landslide
- Obama flip flops on layoff warnings
- Is the Tea Party the new “establishment?”
- Obama vs. the suburbs
- Rove: Obama’s ad blitz isn’t working
- Obama extends electoral college advantage
- Romney’s comeback plan
- Yes, Obama is building a lead in the swing states
16:52 An AP story reports that Romney had somewhat terse relations with the Massachusetts legislature during his time as governor. Some key quotes:
But his top-down, corporate management style soon rankled Democrats who overwhelmingly controlled the state House and Senate and saw themselves as an equal partner in the government. His approach jolted a clubby political culture where schmoozing over after-hours drinks and cutting backroom deals are well-worn pathways to success.
Gosh, what a jerk. How could he mess with those schmoozy backroom deals? Doesn’t he know that’s what being a politician is all about?
Some Democratic lawmakers accused Romney of being aloof, unapproachable and not much interested in working with them to build the kind of friendships and alliances that are needed to help pass legislation. They say Romney’s legislative agenda on big issues like transportation and higher education fizzled as a result.
Aloof, unapproachable, and not much interested in working with the legislature? Sounds like our current president.
16:42 Both campaigns have recently released smartphone apps, and apparently they’re pretty successful. Obama’s app, which is a grassroots organizing tool and voting rights guide rolled into one, is the 21st most downloaded app on the Apple store. Romney’s app, which is less intricate, is the 54th most downloaded app.
16:14 As ridiculous as this whole Chik-fil-A controversy is, it’s apparently big political news, so here you go, via ABC News:
Chick-fil-A posted “record-setting” sales on Wednesday as thousands of people swarmed the chicken chain for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day after the chain’s chief made anti-gay comments.
“While we don’t release exact sales numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day,” Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A’s executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement.
My only question is whether people realize that the massive crowds are there to support economic freedom, not traditional marriage.
16:05 New information regarding the Solyndra scandal. Recently released emails show that former Solyndra Chief Executive George Kaiser referred to the White House as the “Bank of Washington.” While the White House has denied that political influence had a hand in their decision to keep funding Solyndra, White House visitor logs show that Kaiser went to the White House at least four times before the loan was approved. Kaiser was a major Obama fundraiser during the ’08 campaign.
Also, the WaPo reports that career OMB staff members circulated a series of emails emphasizing the riskiness of the Solyndra loan restructuring. Essentially, the White House knew that Solyndra was extremely unlikely to recover from its downward spiral, yet threw more money at it anyways.
This provides an opening for Mitt Romney, who gave a speech in front of Solyndra’s shuttered doors a few months ago. It, and the other failed “green” companies who received money from the administration, should make for an effective political attack.
Here’s a recent ABC report on the issue:
15:36 Via Karl Rove, a nice cheat sheet for the presidential election. It covers the most important issues, approval ratings, and other important statistical data over the last five elections and the current one. As you can see, Obama’s numbers don’t look very good. In fact, they are the worst since Carter.
15:07 AEI’s Marc Thiessen absolutely demolishes Harry Reid’s line of attack against Mitt Romney. Remember, you heard it here first: Harry Reid beats his wife.
14:48 Jon Stewart lays into Harry Reid for his completely unsubstantiated claim that Romney paid nothing in taxes for 10 years.
14:33 The Obama campaign has released a “tax calculator,” which allows you to “see the clear choice between President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s tax plans.” It’s another way for the Obama campaign to hit Romney by using the Tax Policy Center study released yesterday. That study is quickly becoming a centerpiece of the Obama campaign.
The Romney camp, meanwhile, has responded to the study thusly: “This is just another biased study from a former Obama staffer that ignores critical parts of Governor Romney’s tax reform program, which will help the middle class and promote faster economic growth.”
While it’s true that one of the report’s co-authors is a former Obama economic adviser, another sat on George H.W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. Moreover, the Tax Policy Center notes that it actually included an alternate analysis in which Romney’s proposals started an economic boom, and found that it didn’t change the outcome.
14:12 New orders for manufactured goods decreased $2.1 billion, or 0.5%, to $465.8 billion according to the Census Bureau. This follows a 0.5% May increase, but is the third of the last four months to see declines. New orders decreased 1.8% while shipments decreased 1.1%, or $5.3 billion. See the full report for more details, but this is another worrying sign that the economy is going nowhere fast—and may be in danger of recession.
13:54 Did Obama’s campaign manger Jim Messina violate federal law? That’s the charge levied by Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide to Mitt Romney.
“On its face this appears to be a violation of the law that all official communications be preserved,” Fehrnstrom told reporters on a conference call this morning.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce recently released a report on transparency in the White House. It was revealed in this report that Messina had used his private email account to email a lobbyist. Another email showed an aide setting up a meeting at a coffee shop across from the White House to avoid reporting the meeting in the White House visitor log.
“The only thing this administration is transparent on is our national security secrets,” said Fehrnstrom.
An Obama campaign aide responded, “Apparently, Mr. Fehrnstrom didn’t go to law school.”
13:35 RCP’s generic Congressional vote has Republicans up 43.0-41.8 (R+1.2). The polls have been tight since January.
13:32 A new Obama ad is out today: “Stretch.” The ad hits Romney over his low tax rate and claims that under his tax plan, “He pays less, you pay more.”
13:10 Obama’s job approval in North Carolina stands at 47%, with 51% disapproving, according to the latest Rasmussen poll. Forty-six percent of voters strongly disapprove of the president while only 31% strongly approve. Romney currently leads Obama by five points in the state, 49-44.
11:57 Americans seem largely unaware of outside groups such as SuperPacs. In a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll, a plurality of 39% had heard “nothing at all” about increased spending in this year’s election by outside groups.
60% didn’t know what the term SuperPac referred to.
Unsurprisingly, 51% said that this increased spending wouldn’t benefit one candidate over the other. In reality, of course, Mitt Romney is benefitting far more from outside spending than President Obama. So far, Republican-aligned outside groups have spent more than $144 million on ads in swing states while Democratic SuperPacs have spent only about $20 million.
Here’s a chart, via Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake of the Washington Post, which shows the top 10 spenders on TV ads thus far in the election.
11:32 Trouble in Europe. Yields on Spanish 10-year debt rose above 7% again. Investors were unhappy with the lack of direct action by ECB President Mario Draghi.
Markets are bound to interpret Mr. Draghi’s apparent policy timidity as a clear indication that his actions are severely constrained by a German Bundesbank that is resolutely opposed to additional ECB purchases of European periphery government bonds. Against the backdrop of a very difficult economic and political outlook for Greece, Italy, and Spain, this is all too likely to set the stage for a major sell off in those countries’ sovereign bond market in the weeks ahead.
Obama really doesn’t want the euro crisis to intensify again before the election because it could slow U.S. growth even further (or even push us into recession). Unfortunately for the president, the latest news makes such a scenario seem more likely.
11:14 According to Nate Silver of the New York Times, Obama now has a 70.8% chance of winning the electoral college, up from 65% last week.
The reason for the big jump is the Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT polls released yesterday which gave Obama large leads in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
Obama has led in 11 of the 13 polls in Ohio since May 1 and in all 11 polls conducted in Pennsylvania since that date.
In Florida, Obama has led 10 times while Romney has led 6 times.
What accounts for Mr. Obama’s numbers in Florida and Ohio is hard to say – I personally am a bit surprised by the numbers, especially in Florida where the economy remains quite weak.
Advertising spending is one potential culprit. Although advertising spending is hard to track, especially with the proliferation of “SuperPACs,” most analyses suggest that Mr. Obama’s campaign has spent more on advertising in these states in recent weeks.
11:01 Obama has attended 195 fundraisers since he filed for re-election on April 4, 2011.
10:47 Obama is campaigning in Florida and Virginia today, focusing on attacking Romney’s tax cut plan. The plan came under fire yesterday with the release of a Tax Policy Center study that concluded that the plan would disproportionally help wealthy individuals and increase tax bills for everyone else.
Here’s an alternative view on Romney’s tax cut plan.
Romney, meanwhile, is headed to Colorado to meet with 10 Republican governors. Among them are several potential VP picks, including Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, and Bob McDonnell. It will be his first campaign appearance since returning from his overseas trip to Israel, Poland, and the UK.
10:33 The latest electoral map from RealClearPolitics:
10:21 Time to update our views on establishment vs. Tea Party?
“In the early days, the Tea Party was basically a grassroots movement, didn’t have a lot of prominent people behind them, didn’t have a lot of money. But now they have big money. They can bring outside resources into a state election, and prove to be very decisive. So they are getting institutionalized as a movement: They have major political figures who are behind them; they have money that is behind them. So they have emerged as a different type of ‘establishment’ organization.”
Cruz won in large part because of out-of-state politicians and organizations who campaigned and raised money on his behalf. Cruz’s campaign was outspent 3-to-1 by Dewhurst, but that disparity is misleading because groups like the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and Tea Party Patriots spent big to attack Dewhurst and promote Cruz.
It’s a whole new ball game.
10:09 The Senate races in Massachusetts and Virginia are the two to watch, according to the executive directors of both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Both men agreed that those races would determine control of the Senate.
10:03 Gallup measures U.S. unemployment in July at 8.2% without seasonal adjustment, 8.0% with adjustment. This is an increase from their 7.8% measure in June.
Underemployment, however, declined for the third straight month, to 17.1%. That’s the lowest level since Gallup started collecting employment data.
Another positive sign: The percentage of workers employed full time rose to 66.6%, the highest level Gallup has measured to date.
9:54 Weekly jobless claims went up again after a sharp drop the previous week. For the week ending July 28th, the seasonally adjusted initial claims figure was 365,000, and increase of 8,000 from the previous week’s figure. The 4-week moving average is 365,500, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week’s average.
Another sign that Friday’s jobs report isn’t going to contain good news for the president.
9:50 Obama and Romney are deadlocked among suburban voters 46-46, according to a new poll from the National Center for Suburban Studies. This is an improvement for Romney, who trailed Obama by 8 points, 48-40 in November.
The suburbs are likely to decide the election because urban voters heavily favor Obama and rural voters heavily favor Romney.
Obama leads among women, minorities, youth, and those with college degrees or more. Romney leads among men, whites, those 35 and older, and those with some college education or less.
9:44 According to political scientist Douglas Hibbs’s “bread and peace” model, Romney should win 52.5% of the popular vote to Obama’s 47.5%. The model incorporates two main factors: per capita real disposable income and cumulative U.S. military fatalities in overseas conflicts.
Read more about the model and its prediction here.
9:38 The House voted yesterday 256-171 to extend the expiring Bush tax cuts at all income levels for another year. Only one Republican voted against the measure while 19 Democrats voted for it.
The House also rejected a Democratic alternative, 170-257, which would have kept the tax cuts for incomes up to $250,000 but allowed them to expire for higher incomes.
The Bush tax cuts are just one part of “Taxmageddon,” which could drain over $600 billion from the U.S. economy next year and potentially throw us back into recession.