Politics and Public Opinion, Elections

43 days: U.S. 2012 elections live

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16:41 According to Chris Cillizza (aka The Fix) of the Washington Post, the GOP is set to hold onto the House of Representatives this year. He’s projecting that the Republicans will win 226 House seats while Democrats will capture 182. There are 27 pure tossup seats.

Even if Democrats won all 27 of those seats, they would be short of the majority by 9. If Republicans win all those seats, however, they will gain 11 seats and control an even larger majority.

The GOP is in such strong control that Cillizza says, “… right now, the race ratings suggest the GOP House majority is pretty safe, if not iron-clad.”

Here is an interactive chart of the competitive races, created by Wilson Andrews and Serdar Tumgoren of the Post’s graphics team. Full version of the chart here.

16:25 You bring up an interesting point there, Chuck Todd…

16:22 Paul Ryan is showing signs of embracing his inner wonk on the campaign trail, according to the National Journal. Recently, he has started using a PowerPoint presentation on the campaign trail.

“I’m kind of a PowerPoint guy, so I hope you’ll bear with me,” Ryan told the audience as he began clicking through four slides. They showed graphs of America’s debt held by the public since 1940, debt per person in the U.S., percentage of debt held by foreign countries, and a breakdown of federal spending.

Ryan has held three town halls in the last two weeks, making him more accessible to ordinary Americans and returning him to a speaking format which he is comfortable with. He has also begun going into greater policy detail regarding his Medicare reform program. In particular, he’s pushed back against the Democratic attack that he’s proposing a “voucher” system.

“Let me explain: That’s a poll-tested word basically designed to scare today’s seniors. Here’s what a voucher is: A voucher is you go to your mailbox and you get a check and you go buy something and you’re on your own. Nobody’s proposing that.”

15:59 Mitt Romney raised $6 million for his campaign in one Beverly Hills fundraiser last night. Full story here. Question: Didn’t the Romney campaign promise that he’d spend less time at fundraisers and more on the campaign trail?

15:50 Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Securities Law Clinic at Cornell Law School William A. Jacobson has charged that Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for Senator in Massachusetts, practiced law in her state illegally for many years.

Via Legal Insurrection, Jacobson’s blog:

Warren is not licensed to practice law in Massachusetts. Warren’s name does not turn up on a search of the Board of Bar Overseers attorney search website (searches just by last name or using Elizabeth Herring also do not turn up any relevant entries).

I confirmed with the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers by telephone that Warren never has been admitted to practice in Massachusetts.  I had two conversations with the person responsible for verifying attorney status.  In the first conversation the person indicated she did not see any entry for Warren in the computer database, but she wanted to double check.  I spoke with her again several hours later, and she indicated she had checked their files and also had spoken with another person in the office, and there was no record of Warren ever having been admitted to practice in Massachusetts.

Warren’s own listing of her Bar admissions is consistent with not being licensed in Massachusetts.  In a June 25, 2008 CV  Warren listed only Texas and New Jersey.

Warren’s Texas Bar information indicates she is not eligible to be licensed in Texas, but does not indicate when she went on that inactive status.  Consistent with our finding that Warren was not admitted in Massachusetts, Warren listed only one other place of admission on her Texas record, New Jersey:

Warren became licensed in New Jersey in 1977.  She famously and speculatively claimed to be the “first nursing mother to take a Bar exam” in New Jersey.

Warren, however, is not currently licensed in New Jersey:

While the date of termination of her New Jersey license is not on the website, telephone inquiries to the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners and the New Jersey Lawyers Fund For Client Protection indicated that Warren resigned her license on September 11, 2012 (one of the people remarked to me “that’s a memorable day”).  It’s odd that in the middle of a campaign Warren would take the time to resign her New Jersey Bar membership, particularly since she would have to retake the Bar exam to be readmitted.

Neither office in New Jersey could state whether her license was continuously active until her resignation because the computer only shows the current status, so I have made the request in writing as instructed.  By resigning her New Jersey license earlier this month, Warren made it more difficult for the public to determine her pre-resignation status.

By all available information, Warren never has been licensed in Massachusetts, but at varying times has had active law licenses in Texas and New Jersey, although currently she is not licensed in either jurisdiction.  It is unclear whether during the years she represented Travelers and others Warren was actively licensed anywhere.

Read the full post for more detail. This could seriously undermine her credibility.

15:11 This is a clip from President Obama’s “60 Minutes” interview over the weekend that wasn’t aired. In it, President Obama admits that some of his campaign’s ads may go “overboard.”

15:00 The National Journal reports that the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Super PAC of conservative Senate stalwart Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), will likely help Todd Akin in his Senate race against Claire McCaskill in Missouri. But it will only provide assistance if a condition is met: Akin must support a ban on earmarks that the group favors.

Akin has agreed to the ban, according to the NJ, which is a major change from his prior position. Indeed, Akin has a long history of arguing in favor of earmarks, as the McCaskill campaign video below shows.

Akin is in desperate need of money because national GOP leaders have essentially cut him off in the wake of his “forcible rape” comments earlier this year. But if he starts compromising his positions, the McCaskill campaign will have a whole new line of attack on him.

14:47 Bill Clinton isn’t sure whether President Obama will have enough support among the under-30 vote this year (h/t Jonathan Miller):

“We still don’t know who’s going to vote,” Clinton said on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. “He won an enormous victory with people under 30 [in 2008]. But they are disproportionately likely now to be the unemployed or stuck in part time jobs that can be frustrating. I think for all kinds of reasons they’re going to be unlikely to vote in large numbers for Gov. Romney, but will they vote?”

Clinton was also asked whether Romney’s now-infamous “47 percent” quote had “an element of truth to it.” After a lengthy pause, Clinton said, flatly, “No,” but added, “Do I think there are some Americans who are trapped in the cycle of dependency? Yes, I think that is a problem. That’s why I supported welfare reform.”

14:39 Scott Brown’s campaign has released a new ad in its Massachusetts Senate race that focuses once again on questions surrounding Elizabeth Warren’s alleged Native American heritage.

The question of whether Warren lied about her heritage in order to obtain favorable advantages in her career as a Harvard professor has dogged the liberal darling’s campaign for months. Admittedly, her campaign’s inept handling of the question gave this issue more life than it should have, but it’s unknown how much this actually moves voters.

Polls in the state have shown a very close race all year, with Warren recently taking a lead of 2.6, her highest of the year. Maybe the Brown campaign’s decision to reopen the Native American question reflects a feeling that they are falling behind?

14:09 In Bob Woodward’s new book, The Price of Politics, which is an insider account of the Obama presidency, there is a fascinating moment in which President Obama, the most powerful man in the world, is literally put on mute by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in a way that I would consider very disrespectful of the office of the president. From The Hill’s report:

President Obama’s fraught relationship with congressional leaders during his first term extended to Democrats as well as Republicans, according to a new book by the legendary Washington journalist Bob Woodward. In one scene during negotiations over the 2009 economic stimulus package, Woodward reports that when Obama called then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to discuss the bill, she put the president on speakerphone so that the group of Democratic lawmakers in her office could hear him, according to a report in The Washington Post. But when Obama began making an “uplifting speech” over the phone, Pelosi pressed the mute button. “They could hear Obama, but now he couldn’t hear them,” Woodward writes in “The Price of Politics,” according to the Post. “The president continued speaking, his disembodied voice filling the room, and the two leaders got back to the hard numbers.”

Ouch. Team Romney has turned this moment into an effective political ad:

13:58 The Obama campaign is taking Mitt Romney out of context in this new video. It’s actually pretty darn funny.

13:37 The latest Rasmussen poll shows that 52% of voters want to repeal Obamacare while 41% want to keep it. Forty-one percent of voters Strongly Favor repeal while 32% Strongly Oppose doing so.

The poll shows that Independents favor repeal by an astonishing 18 points (55-37). They think that repeal would help the economy by a margin of 30 points (50-20). By a 16-point margin (51-35), they think Obamacare will be bad, not good, for the country.

13:29 A new Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll finds President Obama leading in Florida by 1 point, 48-47, among likely voters. Only 4% were undecided. The president leads by 11 points among Independent voters.

The same poll in July showed Obama leading 46-45, with the number of undecideds declining by 3 points.

Fifty-two percent of Florida voters say the nation is heading in the wrong direction while 43% say it’s on the right track. Voters are evenly divided over who they trust to improve the economy, with Independents narrowly favoring Obama.

Forty-seven percent approve of Obama’s job performance while 45% disapprove. Forty-six percent have a favorable impression of the president while 43% have an unfavorable one. Romney’s numbers are 43-39.

13:07 President Obama has opened up a narrow, 2-point lead in Gallup’s daily Trial Heat. The poll is of registered voters, so it leans a little Democratic, and has a 2-point margin of error. So basically, the national race is a dead heat, at least according to Gallup.

12:58 This is a nice little clip for the Obama campaign. It shows Paul Ryan speaking at the Chamber of Commerce in 2010, and he calls the Cayman Islands “the place you hide your money” during an effort to reform the corporate income tax. Given that Team Obama is constantly hitting Romney for having assets in the Caymans, I’d be surprised if this didn’t end up in an attack ad someplace.

11:58 Here’s how the Electoral College looks like right now according to the latest RealClearPolitics polling:

11:52 Last week, President Obama said that one of the biggest lessons he’s learned in his presidency is that it’s impossible to change Washington from the inside. Mitt Romney pounced on the comment, and since then the Obama campaign has been trying to turn it around by putting the focus on the American people. Those dirty politicians can’t change Washington from the inside, it has to be the goodness and virtue of the American people applying pressure from the outside!

The only problem is that Team Obama thought they could change Washington from the inside when they got into office. Check out this clip, via BuzzFeed, of then-White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe saying that Obama would work with Congress on issues to change Washington from the inside out.

11:32 Rasmussen reports that only 23% of Americans think the Middle East protests were caused by the anti-Islamic video “The Innocence of Muslims.”

Instead of that movie, most voters think the protests and violence were preplanned. Fifty-seven percent of those polled said the protests were largely planned in advance.

Meanwhile, 72% of respondents in another Rasmussen poll said protecting freedom of speech is more important than not offending other nations and cultures. Only 15% said not offending others was more important while 13% were undecided.

In a Rasmussen poll from May of this year, 39% said most Muslims see the U.S. as an enemy while 35% disagreed. Twenty-seven percent were unsure.

10:55 In a new, 3-page memo, the RNC is bragging about its ground game operation. Some highlights:

  • 2.2 million swing voters identified.
  • 26 million voter contacts made, 30 million expected by end of this week.
  • 73,000 volunteers.
  • 2 million more doors knocked on than in 2008.
  • 6 times as many phone calls as in 2008.

The full memo has a state-by-state comparison between 2012 and 2008 for those who are interested.

10:37 On the roundtable for ABC News’s “This Week,” Univision’s Jorge Ramos (who grilled President Obama during an interview on Univision last week) explained why most Latinos are supporting President Obama despite his many failings, particularly his failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform:

What happens is that, even though Latinos do care about jobs and education and healthcare — immigration is a symbolic issue. It’s personal for us. More than 50 percent of all Latinos were born outside the United States [among those] over eighteen years of age and older.

So president Barack Obama is supporting immigration reform. He’s supporting the DREAM Act. But we — I had to confront him. He broke a promise, and I had to ask him about that. And also, he has deported more immigrants than any other president in the history of the United States.

… So here you have Latinos having to decide between a president who broke a promise, but, on the other hand, they have a candidate who’s really — and whose party [has been] attacking Latinos and immigrants for a long, long time.

The Daily Caller’s Matt K. Lewis has some great analysis on this. To summarize, lots of Republicans are frustrated by the fact that Hispanics continue to support the president despite the fact that the economy is disproportionally hurting them and that Obama id deporting illegal immigrants faster than Bush did. In the end, though, none of those facts really matter because people vote based on emotion. And Hispanics have an emotional connection to Obama, and an emotional disconnect with the GOP.

10:29 President Obama gave several answers in a Sunday night “60 Minutes” interview that could come back to hurt him, and if they had been said by Mitt Romney the media would be in an uproar about them. Here’s one example, when the president calls the death of four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, a “bump in the road” of the Arab Spring.

10:14 This clip from NBC does a great job of summarizing the current state of the race.

10:05 The two campaigns are battling over the issue of China. First, check out this ad from the Romney campaign. After, take a look at this memo released by Team Obama that pushes back on Romney’s China attacks.

9:52 From yesterday’s “Meet the Press,” check out the roundtable analysis of Romney’s campaign.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

9:36 Team Obama has put out an effective ad, called “No Taxes,” that hits Romney for his 47% comments and juxtaposes them with the fact that Romney’s own taxes are the subject of so much controversy. The tagline at the end: “Maybe instead of attacking others on taxes, Romney should come clean on his.”

9:29 A new Politico/George Washington University battleground poll of likely voters shows President Obama ahead 50% to 47%. That’s within the margin of error. His job approval rating stands at 50%, considered a minimum threshold needed for reelection. Forty-eight percent disapprove.

Mitt Romney’s unfavorable rating increased from 46% to 49%. Fifty-three percent view President Obama favorably.

Only one in ten respondents said they’d consider supporting someone other than their candidate. Meanwhile, 60% of people expect President Obama to win.

Romney leads among Independents by 2 points, but Obama ties or leads Romney on every major issue except the federal budget and spending. Romney lost his lead on jobs, with the respondents split over who is best equipped to put Americans back to work. For those who say creating jobs is the top priority, Obama leads by 11 points.

The president’s lead on foreign policy has shrunk from 15 points to 9. Fifty percent approve of his handling of the issue.

Romney’s standing among women has increased slightly; he trails the president by 9 and leads among men by 6. Romney commands 55% of the married vote to Obama’s 41, while Obama wins single voters 67% to 28%.

Thirty-seven percent think that the country is headed in the right direction: The most since spring 2010.

9:13 President Obama leaves the White House at 1 for New York. He tapes an appearance on “The View” with Michelle at 4. At 8:30 he attends a closed-press reception for visiting heads of state at the Waldorf Astoria.

Mitt Romney holds a rally in Pueblo, Colorado, at 3:10 ET.

Joe Biden has lunch with Obama and no other public events.

Paul Ryan starts off a bus tour in Lima, Ohio at a 3:10 ET town hall.

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