A new daily blog, covering the latest news and controversies across a wide range of races and issues. As the author of three books about influential political campaigns (Upton Sinclair, Nixon-Douglas, Obama), I also bring a certain historical perspective to this very topical task. You can bookmark the blog by clicking my name at the top or by going here.

3:30 MITT TO ISRAEL Yes, he is making the trip. “For Mr. Romney, the trip is an opportunity to appeal both to Jewish voters and donors, whose overwhelming support of President Obama has softened, according to some polls, and to evangelical Christians, whose trust he is still fighting to win. At the March conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby known as Aipac, Mr. Romney vowed that Israel would be the destination of his first foreign trip as president, underscoring the fact that Mr. Obama has not visited here since his election, a sore spot among some Israel supporters.”

2:00 SOCCER TO ME My assistant Max Rivlin-Nadler writes: “NYC minor-league soccer team to play with Romney advertisements on jerseys. The money for the advertisements come courtesy of a donor who said, ‘I love fútbol, I love America, I am a proud Latino-American who believes Mitt Romney needs to be our next president.’ ”

1:00 pm AFTERNOON DELIGHTS Getting a lot of play today: video of Newt Gingrich in Paris bowing to head of “terrorist” group”… Dept. of Justice rejects S. Carolina voter ID move—for second time… Photo: Mitt and Ann Romney riding jet ski… New poll: Public evenly split on SCOTUS health law ruling. Time will tell.

11:30 am HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL Buzzfeed has posted sixty-nine, count ’em, photos of well-known politicians back in the day. That’s Eliz Warren at left, but don’t miss everyone from David Axelrod to (the other) Joe Walsh.

11:00 CHEST FEVER Carly Fiorina, as Romney surrogate: Obamacare would hurt breast cancer victims. Debunked long ago.

10:05 TROUBLE FOR MITT? Our old pal David Corn with new piece: It seems Romney was part of group that invested $75 million in a medical waste firm that disposed of aborted fetuses. This surfaced a few months back but disappeared from view but now new docs obtained my Mother Jones further the story and also raise questions about Romney’s departure from Bain—later than he’s claimed?

RICH RIGHT-WINGERS GET DOWN So you think the Koch brothers and Donald Trump and Sheldon Adelson and the like are only funding Romney and maybe some Congressional candidates? No such luck. Also targeting races down the ballot at state and local level. “Their big checks have helped state-focused GOP groups more than double the cash haul of their Democratic counterparts and open up another front that could help Mitt Romney beat President Barack Obama”… TPM: IRS taking a longer look at “charities” like Rove’s Crossroads GPS.

NOT A RACIST, HE CLAIMS Los Angeles Times talks to GOP ad-maker Fred Davis. Davis is the guy who proposed that campaign linking Obama to Rev. Wright. Also called him a “metrosexual black Abraham Lincoln.” And as a sidelight, he also created the infamous Carly Fiorina “Demon Sheep” ad.

PENALTY vs. TAX Kind of a bombshell: Top Romney adviser admits, Yeah, it’s a “penalty,” not a “tax”… Wash Post analyzes GOP’s decision to continue to campaign for full repeal of Obamacare. Is that a loser with most folks now? Gallup: only 23% support this… Debate continues over whether or not Roberts made last-minute switch to uphold law at last minute… Chart shows that, no, ACA is not “the biggest tax increase in the history of the world”… MoveOn pushing this video of Jon Stewart comparing Romneycare and Obamacare.

OBAMA GIRLS, AND GUYS, EXIT? Major NYT piece on alleged loss of his “youth army” this time around. “Among all 18-to-29-year-olds, the poll found a high level of undecided voters; 30 percent indicated that they had not yet made up their mind. And turnout among this group is expected to be significantly lower than for older voters.” Maybe too much credence given to an online poll that found white 18-to-24-year-olds really giving Romney a good look.

SEIU LATER Politico reports that SEIU and House Majority PAC to put $20 million into Congressional races. This reflects “partnerships cropping up between Democratic-leaning groups to fight the GOP’s financial superiority, and this is a prime example of that trend. SEIU has also teamed up with the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action to run ads courting Latino voters for the president.”

BAIN ATTACKS WORKING Dems and GOPers agree, for once. “Despite doubts among some Democrats about the wisdom of attacking Mr. Romney’s business career, Obama commercials painting him as a ruthless executive who pursued profits at the expense of jobs are starting to make an impact on some undecided voters, according to strategists from both sides, who differ on whether they are causing any substantial damage.”

RED SCARE REDUX? If you missed my piece this weekend inspired by Amy Goodman recalling on Bill Maher’s HBO show Representative Allen West claiming, in the spirit of the late, not great, Joe McCarthy, that there were dozens of Commies now in Congress. My piece, an excerpt from my Nixon-Douglas book, probed the original McCarthyism, and how Truman helped it along, and much more.

PUT YOUR SHORTS ON Major Latino group backs same-sex marriage… PolitiFact with in-depth checking on immigration and 2012 campaign… Sarah Palin: Nancy Pelosi is a “dingbat”Pew survey: only 2 in 10 voters say there is any chance at all they might switch from Romney to Obama or vice versa… GOP congressman personally gained from bank bailout—but campaigns against it… Polls: Support for Obamacare up after ruling… Maybe Rupert Murdoch can’t hack Mitt as candidate. Or so he suggests in a tweet or two…

From the Weekend

THE UNITED STAKES Amy Goodman in her column for the Guardian on Americans fighting Citizens United.

THE MITT-HILLARY AXIS New Romney ad features Hillary Clinton atttacks on Obama—four years ago. “Shame on you,” indeed.

 

SHOCK IN STOCKTON Amazingly little media attention for Stockton, CA, becoming largest city to declare bankruptcy—it has over 250,000 residents. BTW, home of Chris Isaak. Bridgeport, CT, previous largest city going Chapter 9, at 141,000 more than 20 years ago.

CURSES! SPOILED AGAIN TPM has collected politicians swearing, from LBJ to Nixon to Cheney to Obama. Ending with Perry.

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FUND FUND FUND TIL DADDY TAKES THE T-NOTES AWAY Romney camp claims it’s raised $4 million since SCOTUS ruling. Probably not revealing that 90% came from Sheldon Adelson… Ha: video of GOP congress member celebrating false report of Obamacare defeat.

NEW BOOK My book Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady on the notorious Richard Nixon–Helen Gahagan Douglas race for the US Senate in 1950, appeared in a new print edition this past weekend—and for the first time as an ebook. Also, see my piece from Saturday here at The Nation on Helen Douglas’s paving the way for the (still too small number of ) female candidates for Congress ever since. The book also probes 1950 as a high point of the Red Scare in America in all its forms—and, of course, as launch pad for Nixon (and his dirty tricks) in his rise to the White House.