- Obama pressed on failures at Univision forum
- Does Romney even want to be president?
- Sometimes, losing is winning
- What the Romney campaign is thinking
- What if the election results in an electoral tie?
I kind of empathize with S.E. Cupp on this one:
16:30 The Romney campaign has released a seven-page paper on Romney’s proposed housing policy. The executive summary:
End “Too-Big-To-Fail” And Reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: A Romney-Ryan Administration will protect taxpayers from additional risk in the future by reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and provide a long-term, sustainable solution for the future of housing finance reform in our country.
Responsibly Sell The 200,000 Vacant Foreclosed Homes Owned By The Government: The Romney-Ryan plan will get the federal government out of the landlord business by responsibly selling 200,000+ vacant foreclosed homes in a way that will enhance communities. This will eliminate over half of the foreclosed homes that are blighting neighborhoods.
Make Foreclosure Alternatives Easier: A Romney-Ryan Administration will make it easier for homeowners to get alternatives to foreclosure, such as short sales, deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure and shared appreciation.
Sensible, Not Overly Complex, Financial Regulation That Gets Credit Flowing Again: By replacing the Dodd-Frank Act with sensible regulation, a Romney-Ryan Administration will usher in a new era of responsible lending with sensible regulation to allow banks to approve loans to families with good credit rather than reject their mortgage applications.
Improve The Job Market: The best way to help the housing market is to get the economy going and get America back to work. The Romney-Ryan jobs plan will create 12 million jobs in the next four years.
16:18 Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s doctors have released a letter about their health. According to that letter, Mitt Romney is a “vigorous man” who has “reserves of strength, energy, and stamina that provide him with the ability to meet unexpected demands.”
Romney, who is 65 years old, takes Lipitor daily to lower cholesterol, in part because of a family history of cardiac problems, including heart attacks. The doctor said Romney will undergo regular cardiac evaluations. But he also said that Romney had no “physical impairments” that would interfere with his ability to be president.
As for Paul Ryan, his doctor said his overall health is “excellent.” It also revealed that Ryan has a history of asthma and occasionally uses an inhaler. He also has a herniated disk and a prior knee injury.
Full information here.
16:13 Politico reports that Michele Bachmann raised and spent more money this election cycle than any member of the House except Speaker John Boehner. The total? Almost $16 million through the end of July alone.
Of course, Mrs. Bachmann is still in full fundraising mode. Here’s an example of her most recent fundraising email:
I’ve never needed your support as much as I do today. In 10 days, we must close our financial books and report our fundraising numbers and, unfortunately, we are still short of our fundraising goals by more than $376,000. This is a deficit that we MUST overcome–in the face of senseless attacks from a ruthless opponent, we can’t afford to leave any stone unturned.
16:01 Via Aaron Blake of the Washington Post, let’s apply some history to Mitt Romney’s current position in the polls. As you can see from the charts below, both Barack Obama in 2008 and George W. Bush in 200 were trailing their opponents at this point in the race. Both went on to win.
Yes, the situations are not completely analogous. But they do provide evidence that being behind in September does not necessarily mean that a candidate will be defeated.
15:55 President Obama has hit back at Mitt Romney for saying that he’ll “get the job done from the inside” in Washington. Romney said that after Obama told Univision’s Jorge Ramos yesterday that the biggest lesson he’s learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside.
“What kind of inside job is he talking about,” Obama saked. “Is it the job of rubber-stamping the top-down, you’re-on-your-own agenda of this Republican Congress? Because then we don’t want it!”
“We don’t want an inside job in Washington, we want change in Washington.”
15:15 Former IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg, who reviewed Romney’s tax documents (emphasis added):
These returns reflect the complexity of our tax laws and the types of investment activity that I would anticipate for persons in their circumstances. There is no indication or suggestion of any tax-motivated or aggressive tax planning activities. In my judgment, they have fully satisfied their responsibilities as taxpayers. They have done so by relying on a highly reputable return preparer and other advisors, who have in turn relied primarily on information provided by third parties to them and to the IRS. The end result of that process has been returns that include a multitude of schedules, IRS forms and accompanying statements that provide appropriate transparency and the proper payment of taxes that Governor and Mrs. Romney owe under current law.
15:10 Paul Ryan got booed at the AARP in New Orleans today when he said he would repeal ObamaCare. “I had a feeling there would be mixed reactions,” he said.
14:53 Gallup’s 2012 Trial Heat shows a tie at 47-47 for the second day in a row.
14:26 Alan Colmes, Mike Gallagher, and Megyn Kelly argue about the Obama campaign’s repurposing of the American flag into reelection merchandise.
14:10 The Romney family released its tax returns for 2011. Romney paid a 14.1% rate on $13.7 million in income, according to the National Journal.
The total tax Romney paid was $1.9 million.
Romney’s effective federal tax rate from 1990 to 2009 averaged 20.2%. He never paid less than 13.66%.
Most of his income in 2011 was from investments.
Update 14:16: According to Brad Malt, the trustee of Romney’s blind trust, the Romneys donated about $4 million to charity in 2011, which accounted for about 30% of their income. Put that on top of their 14.1% tax rate, and the Romneys gave away 41.1% of their income to the government or charity.
Moreover, the couple could have paid an even lower rate than 14.1% if they had fully deducted their charitable contributions.
But Romney’s a mean, nasty capitalist pig!
13:57 Two Romney ads for you, both focused on the Obama administration’s “war on coal.” Expect these to get played repeatedly in Ohio and Virginia, both of which have large numbers of coal miners. (h/t Erika Johnsen)
It’s important to note that using coal means more than just maintaining the livelihoods of miners: It also means cheaper energy costs for all Americans. While these ads are good for getting the miners’ votes, I don’t think they hit the right notes for everyday Americans concerned about energy prices.
13:28 So far, 5 Republican Senate candidates have publicly distanced themselves from Mitt Romney’s “47%” comments: Scott Brown (MA), Dean Heller (NV), George Allen (VA), Linda Lingle (HI), and Linda McMahon (CT). Today, Rep. Rick Berg, who is running for Senate in North Dakota, joins them.
“The American way is you probably start at a zero tax rate and you work yourself up,” he said, according to the Washington Post. “I mean, that’s where I come from. I just think it’s unfortunate how that came out. I haven’t talked to him personally about that. But from my perspective, we need to help people up. We need to lift them up, help them have the opportunity to succeed.”
13:20 CNBC analyst Rick Santelli isn’t a big fan of the newest round of Quantitative Easing.
If you want to read some excellent analysis on QE3’s impact, check out AEI scholar John Makin.
11:57 President Obama’s job approval score is nosediving according to Gallup’s three-day rolling average. It currently stands at 46% approval, 48% disapproval. At the beginning of September, he was in positive territory, 52-43.
Achieving a job approval rating of 50%, or close to it, is widely seen as necessary for an incumbent to win reelection, for the simple reason that most people aren’t going to vote for you if they think you’re not doing a good job.
These numbers are somewhat at odds, however, with recent polling showing the president maintaining a lead nationally and in key swing states.
11:41 The Republican National Committee has released an ad, “By His Own Admission,” that hits Obama for his admission that “you can’t change Washington from the inside.”
11:20 A new poll by Reason-Rupe of likely voters shows Obama leading Romney 48-43. When undecided voters are changed into partisan leaners, Obama’s lead grows to 52-45.
Obama leads heavily among women (53-37), African-Americans (92-2), and Hispanics (71-18). Obama’s favorability rating is 52-45, while Romney’s is 49-41.
If Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee, is added into the equation, Obama falls to 49% and Romney to 42%. Johnson captures 6%. He is on the ballot in 47 states.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans supported raising income taxes on incomes over $250,000. But the same number, 57%, said the top 5% of earners shouldn’t have to contribute more than 40% of total federal income taxes. In 2009, the top 5% contributed 59% of total federal income taxes.
By 47-38, voters prefer a Medicare credit system similar to Paul Ryan’s proposal to a payment board system similar to Obama’s.
Seventy percent told the pollsters that they are in favor of auditing the Federal Reserve.
Full poll results here.
10:52 Gallup reports that Americans’ trust in the media has hit a new low this year. Sixty percent of Americans now say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. This is the continuation of a trend since at least 2004.
The current gap between positive and negative views is 20%, and is by far the highest Gallup has recorded. Trust was as high as 72% in the 1970s.
The decline in media trust is driven by Republicans and Independents. For Republicans, trust is now even lower than it was in the 2008 election, although just barely. Independents, meanwhile, are fully 10 points less willing to trust the media than they were in 2008.
Interestingly, Republicans are the most likely to be paying close attention to news about national politics despite their distrust of the mass media. They’re almost 10 points more likely to be paying attention than Democrats, and 15 points more likely than Independents.
10:40 Team Obama has launched a new Medicare attack ad in Colorado, Florida, and Iowa:
10:29 I highly suggest you click this link. The NYT has done a great analysis of the words used at both parties conventions. Want to see how many times the Democrats used the words “middle class” compared to the Republicans? How about “taxes” or “hope”? You can see them all there in a fun, entertaining format. A few highlights:
Democrats mentioned “Obama” 175 times to the Republicans’ 66. But Republicans only mentioned “Romney” a little more than the Democrats, 109-92.
Democrats aid “Middle class” a whopping 47 times to Republicans’ 7.
“Jobs” was about even, 88 for the D’s and 80 for the R’s.
“Government” is still unpopular, with Republicans mentioning it 66 times (likely in negative terms) compared to the Democrats saying it 13 times.
Several sources in Germany said top officials in Washington had made clear in numerous conversations with their German and European counterparts that they would prefer no surprises before the tightly contested election.
“It’s likely the troika report will be pushed back beyond the U.S. election date,” said a Berlin official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Asked if that was a special request from Washington, he replied: “They don’t want any surprises.”
Well, obviously Obama doesn’t want anything to go downhill in Greece before the election, since any signs of failure over there would hurt our economic performance. But if the European governments are actually holding off on solving the Greek crisis for this, that would be a pretty big scandal, although I imagine it would be a bigger scandal for them than President Obama.
9:57 There was another big Senate race debate last night, this one between Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R). The debate was largely uninteresting, except for one statement by Kaine, who said he would be open to “some minimum tax level for everyone.”
Republicans turned that comment into a fresh line of attack. You can see an NRSC rapid-response web video here:
Here are 90 seconds of highlights from the debate, via AP:
9:48 Scott Brown (R-MA) and Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic opponent, squared off in a debate last night. The race has been incredibly close. Brown has been cultivating a likeable, “regular guy” image while Warren is best known for her liberal riff that inspired Obama’s “you didn’t built that” comments.
Brown was aggressive from the start, turning the very first question, about the opponent’s character, into an accusation over Warren’s claim of Native American heritage. He said she used this to get a leg up in her career as a Harvard professor. Warren, meanwhile, defended her claim as based on family lore and said she never benefitted from her Native American claim at work.
Brown repeatedly referred to Warren as “Professor Warren.” Warren held Brown’s feet to the fire on votes he has taken in the Senate over the past two years.
Both candidates largely achieved their objectives for the evening. For Brown, it was to label Warren as a tax-and-spend liberal and an out of touch elitist. He called her “radical” several times.
Warren had two goals. First, to highlight votes Brown has cast that are unpopular with most people in Massachusetts, and to nationalize the race by noting that Brown’s reelection could hand the GOP control of the Senate.
There will be three more debates next month.
Here is video of the full debate:
9:27 President Obama speaks via satellite at 11:30 to the AARP Life@50+ event. His speech will be livestreamed and he will take questions. At 12:45, he speaks at Pfitzner Stadium in Virginia. He returns to the White House by 2:30.
Mitt Romney is holding a 5:05 ET rally at UNLV in Las Vegas. He will discuss housing and Obama’s statement that he can’t change DC from the inside. He then goes to San Francisco for a fundraiser.
Joe Biden has a rally with his wife, Jill, at 1:30 at Dartmouth. Later, he goes to the State House in Concord for a 5:15 rally.
Paul Ryan is speaking at the AARP event in person in the New Orleans convention center at 12:35 ET. His mother, Betty, will join him. Then he goes to Lakeland, Florida, at 3:40.
Michelle Obama attends fundraisers at 5:30 and 7:45 in Baltimore.