Politics and Public Opinion, Elections

54 days: U.S. 2012 elections live

Friday, September 14th
Obama and Romney

Image: Malwack (Wikimedia) (CC BY-SA 3.0)

HEADLINES

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Latest news

16:45 The Wall Street Journal is hitting Team Obama for using their name in campaign commercials to assert that Mitt Romney wants to raise taxes on the middle class. I’ll let them speak for themselves (h/t Erika Johnsen):

President Obama is running another ad pretending Mitt Romney has a secret plan to raise taxes on the middle class, which Freudians would call projection. We’re not sure what they’d call the President’s bid to make us his accomplices by invoking The Wall Street Journal, but our term for it is political sociopathy. …

Apart from taking our name in vain, the larger problem is citing a month-old blog post about what is a single and now discredited report. The Tax Policy Center authors—Samuel Brown, William Gale and Adam Looney, the last a former Obama Administration economist—concluded that Mr. Romney’s tax plan was “mathematically impossible” and therefore to avoid increasing the deficit he would have to dip into the lower-income brackets for more revenue. …

Egged on by the likes of the Tax Policy Center, the media are demanding an absurd level of detail from Mr. Romney that no candidate in history has ever been required to offer. (What will you do about the tax treatment of municipal bond interest?) Meanwhile, Mr. Obama is awarded with a get-out-of-policy-jail-free card for his budget that proposes to take on debt indefinitely until the economy crashes. A middle-class tax increase is far more likely—we’d say a certainty—under Mr. Obama’s plan than it is under Mr. Romney’s.

16:14 Enjoy this little flashback to an Obama radio interview in late 2007, during which he promises that Muslim hostility will cease upon his inauguration.

16:08 Alex Roarty of the National Journal brings up an interesting point about Team Obama’s ad strategy. Namely, that they seem to think that the best offense is a good defense.

Time and time again in this race, [Obama’s] campaign has responded directly to Romney attacks. His first ad of the presidential campaign, in fact, was a rebuttal to an outside group attack on government loans to the failed solar company Solyndra.

Other instances in which the Obama campaign responded:

  • The campaign in April aired an ad on domestic oil production in response to a spot from the American Energy Alliance.
  • In June, the campaign played defense on China, criticizing a Romney ad in which he said he would “stand up to China.” Although not word-for-word, the ad is essentially the same spot the Obama campaign revealed on Friday.
  • And in August, the Democrats’ team responded directly to the Romney campaign’s suggestion that Obama had “gutted” welfare reform.

Responding to a rival’s ads isn’t unusual for a campaign, but the Obama campaign’s pattern in this race is unusually aggressive. And it seems to indicate a concern, on issues such as welfare reform or ethics, that the attacks could fester if left unchecked.

15:52 Todd Akin isn’t dead yet. His campaign has released a pretty devastating new ad that pummels Claire McCaskill for her close connection to Obama, in particular her vote to pass Obamacare. It’s ads like these that remind us why Missouri was poised to be the GOP’s easiest pickup this fall.

15:32 Here’s a nice chart from Ezra Klein on the Wonkblog that shows how the White House plans to implement the sequester cuts. You can read the full (394-page) report here.

15:27 For a nice behind-the-scenes look at the Democratic convention, check out this video from Team Obama:

15:22 Shockingly, the White House said today that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius would probably not be punished after federal investigators determined she had violated the law when campaigning for President Obama earlier this year.

15:18 On this morning’s “Good Morning America,” George Stephanopoulos asked Mitt Romney, “What would dinner be like at the Romney home?” Stephanopoulos asked the question in response to a poll question that showed Americans would rather have dinner with Obama by a 19-point margin.

Romney’s response:

“It’d be chaotic, all right?” Romney replied, laughing. “You’d have grandkids climbing all over you. Probably some food would be thrown from one side of the table to the other by one of my grandkids. It’d be a lot of fun. By the way, that’s my favorite dinner in the world is with my kids and my daughters in law and with my grandkids.”

“So I can’t tell people who would have more fun at whose table,” Romney continued. “But I can tell you the president’s a person that a lot of people like. I don’t dislike him myself and wish him the very best. But I think the American people are looking for someone who has the capacity to help them get good jobs and more take-home pay. And I do.”

Seems like the latest version of Romneybot has some humanizing features programmed in!

15:08 Fox News reports that the bodies of the four Americans murdered at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, have arrived back in the United States.

15:04 Team Obama is now relying on “the world’s biggest propaganda machine” for its attacks on Mitt Romney:

Reporters Without Borders called Xinhua the world’s biggest propaganda machine in a 2005 report. From that article:

With more than 8,000 employees and 105 branches worldwide, the official news agency, Xinhua, is at the heart of censorship and disinformation put in place by the communist party. To mark the 56th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, Reporters Without Borders releases a report of an investigation into how this highly unusual news agency operates. …

Although it is more and more regularly cited as a credible source – nearly one third of the news reports on China selected by Google News originate from the agency – Xinhua, the head of which has the rank of minister, is the linchpin of control of the Chinese media.

Successor to the agency, Red China that was founded by Mao Zedong, Xinhua adopted its current name in January 1937. Since October 1949, this state-run news agency has been completely subordinate to the CCP.

The Reporters Without Borders’ report includes accounts from several Xinhua journalists who agreed, on condition of anonymity, to explain how the control imposed by the CCP’s Propaganda Department operates on a daily basis.

With the help of former French journalist on Xinhua, Reporters Without Borders exposes the distortion of facts, hatred for its enemies (particularly the United States and Japan) and its support, through the treatment of international news, for the world’s worst regimes.

Hmmm, do you think that Romney’s hard line on China may have contributed to Xinhua’s desire to paint him in the worst possible light to American voters?

15:55 Paul Ryan’s speech at the Value Voters Summit contained a good deal of Obama-bashing, but he also spent some time talking up Mitt Romney. Here’s a short clip of him explaining why Romney is actually a really good guy. For additional confirmation, check out this AEIdeas blog post from February.

14:50 Obama may be leading among women, Hispanics, African-Americans, and the youth, but there’s one constituency that’s clearly pro-Romney: Bears.

Or maybe they’re just anti-Obama?

14:46 The Obama administration has confirmed that it asked YouTube to “review” the anti-Islamic movie that supposedly caused the protests outside U.S. embassies across the Muslim world.

As of Friday afternoon, the video is still online in the United States, but it has been blocked in other countries.

During a press conference earlier today, White House spokesperson Jay Carney said an official apology for the video was not an option. “We cannot and will not squelch freedom of expression in this country.”

Then why are you asking YouTube to “review” the video? What does “review” mean other than “take it down.” And why did you have the chairman of the joint chiefs personally telephone an anti-Islamic preacher in Florida asking him to keep quiet?

14:37 The AP reported today that Mitt Romney will begin receiving regular intelligence briefings from the Obama administration. I wonder if he’ll actually attend them?

14:33 Gallup’s Election 2012 Trial Heat shows Obama with a 5-point lead, 49-44. That’s actually not as great for the president as it sounds, though, because the poll is based on a seven-day rolling average and it’s of registered voters, not likely voters. So today’s number includes Obama’s convention bounce, and likely voter pools tend to favor Republicans.

14:22 Rasmussen’s daily Presidential Tracking poll continues to show Obama’s convention bounce dissipating. In today’s release, Romney leads Obama 48-45% among likely voters, while 5% are undecided.

Obama leads by one point in Ohio and two in Florida, while Romney leads once again in Missouri and gets 51% of the vote in North Carolina.

Despite the recent spate of foreign policy news, only 6% of voters consider national security the most important issue during this election. Prior to the attacks, only 5% said it was. President Obama leads Romney by 3%, 46-43, on national security.

14:14 The House passed a six-month extension to the current year’s spending yesterday. This means that the budget battle will take place next year, with a new Congress, and perhaps a new president. The vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan (329-91), and GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan voted for it.

Ryan’s vote in favor was a signal to Tea Party freshmen to get in line and support the measure.

The fiscal cliff itself was basically ignored, except that House Republicans voted for a separate measure which demands a plan from President Obama on how to avoid the defense cuts of sequestration.

14:01 In another sign of growing conservative discontent with Mitt Romney’s campaign, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has attacked Romney for running a “lackluster campaign” and “Putting a bag over” VP nominee Paul Ryan’s head.

“Mitt Romney right now should be leading by 10 or 15 points and the fact that he’s not is Mitt Romney’s problem. It’s because he’s running such a lackluster campaign that has been so vague on ideas. What plan is he offering the American people?”

He also said, “They put a sock in Paul Ryan’s mouth. When he came on board there was tremendous energy from the grassroots. It was the Ryan-Romney ticket. If it was still the Romney-Ryan ticket – if he was still given the opportunity to be Paul Ryan – I think they would be a hit.”

Fischer was upset at Ryan’s speech before the AFA’s summit earlier today because he didn’t mention the issue of marriage. “If they won’t send a solid, clear, unambiguous message on social issues, how do they expect to engage the pro-family community?” Fischer asked.

Statements like these are beginning to pile up by conservative leaders, and represent a threat to Romney’s campaign. He needs to have the conservative base riled up and ready to head to the polls, and so far he isn’t taking the steps necessary to make that happen.

13:51 President Obama has a 5-point lead over Romney in New Hampshire according to the latest WMUR of New Hampshire poll. WMUR lays out all the important data in this 90-second clip.

13:35 New NBC/WSJ/Marist polls show Obama leading 49-44 in Florida, 50-43 in Ohio, and 49-44 in Virginia. When looking at registered voters instead of likely voters, Obama’s lead expands to 7 in Virginia, 8 in Florida, and 9 in Ohio. Only 5-6% of voters in each state say they’re undecided, and more than 80% signaled that they strongly support their candidate.

In Florida and Virginia, Obama and Romney are essentially tied on the question of who would do a better job handling the economy. Obama leads by 4 on this question in Ohio.

Obama’s job-approval ratings exactly match his ballot position in these states.

12:00 President Obama is clinging to a small 3-point lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Obama leads 49% to Romney’s 46%, which is within the poll’s margin of error.

Obama has a large, 12-point advantage among women while Romney leads among men by 8. Voters older than 65 prefer Romney by 15 points while Obama leads among all other age groups.

Obama leads by 21 points among voters whose household income is under $50,000, while Romney leads by 16 among those earning more than $100,000.

The president leads 51-43 among registered voters, but likely voter samples are more predictive of the eventual outcome.

11:33 During a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala in D.C. last night, Vice President Joe Biden called the Hispanic population the “most powerful force in American politics.”

“I’m here to say thank you, and tell you how much this great country owes you and how much more can be done with the infusion of new blood, of new ideas,” Biden said.  “Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to become, and already have, the most powerful force in American politics.  Exercise that power well, and the country will embrace you.”

Hispanics accounted for 16.7% of the population in 2011 according to the Census Bureau, and the Pew Research Center has projected that almost 1/3 of America’s population will be Hispanic by 2050.

10:40 Libyan officials have announced the arrest of four people in the attack on America’s consulate in Benghazi. Check out the report brought to you by the Today show:

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

10:12 Team Obama is renewing its offensive on Romney’s tax returns today, releasing two web videos attacking him on the issue. Here they are:

10:08 NBC reports that Ann Romney will attend a fundraising lunch at the home of former President George W. Bush on Tuesday. The lunch will be hosted by former First Lady Laura Bush, and is part of a Romney fundraising swing through Texas.

Ann and Laura held a similar joint event together last Monday, September 10th, at a home in Oklahoma City. Ticket prices ranged from $1,000 for general admission to $25,000 for VIP treatment.

It wasn’t clear whether Mr. Bush would attend the event at his home, or at a separate event with Romney later that evening.

9:44 President Obama and Michelle welcome the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House at 10. Obama will then have lunch with Vice President Biden at 12:30. Michelle attends a fundraiser at 1:35 in DC while the president has one at 7 PM. Biden is in meetings all day.

Mitt Romney is speaking at a 3 PM rally at Lake Erie College in Painesville.

Paul Ryan speaks to the Value Voters Summit at 10:30, then goes to Harrisonburg, Virginia, for a 2 PM rally. Later, he flies to Roanoke, arriving at 5:40. He’ll campaign in Florida tomorrow.

Jill Biden is attending a noon rally, a 2:30 Women for Obama-Biden rally, and 3:45 student-focused rally, all in Minnesota.

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