In the tradition of my recent months-long (and popular) WikiLeaks and Occupy live-blogs, today marks the start of my daily focus on the 2012 election campaign. Unlike most campaign blogs, this one will remain active nights and weekends, and cover the latest news and controversies across a very wide range of races and issues that progressives care about. (See my preview and personal background here.) As the author of three books about influential political campaigns, 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. Send tips to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And now, away we go, updated from the top—return often for new stuff!
9:30 "MACAMA" MAN WINS Yes, George Allen has easily carried GOP primary in bid to return to U.S. Senate. Returns about to come in from key votes in Arizona--especially the race for Rep. Giffords seat--and Nevada, and TPM has page ready to bring them to you.
6:15 ROOM FOR A HASHTAG, TOO Obama at Maryland fundraiser today on the GOP campaign message: "You can pretty much put their campaign on a tweet and have some characters to spare."
5:25 CITIZENS UNITED REDUX Our own Katrina vanden Heuvel with detailed look at actions actions across USA to un-do the horrific SCOTUS decision.
4:10 JOE WALSH: LIFE IN THE BASH LANE I've had fun from the start (given my Crawdaddy pedigree) with Tea Party candidate, now congressman, Joe Walsh, given the, shall we say, goofy image of the Eagles' guitarist of the same name. Now comes word that the original wacky Joe Walsh has endorsed the opponent of t new wacky Joe Walsh in the latter's tough re-election fight against Tammy Duckworth in Illinois. He'll even play a benefit for her. His statement: "I'm the real Joe Walsh and I'm proud to back a real American success story -- Tammy Duckworth. Tammy's story, her service to our nation and her continued commitment to working families (like the one I come from!) have convinced me that she's the right choice for Congress." And you know you can't forget those lionized.
More from the music world: Pearl Jam's bassist backs Sen. Jon Tester and helping with a September fundraising ploy in Missoula.
3:40 GUNNING FOR MITT The Atlantic picks as its photo of the day this shot (so to speak) via Buzzfeed: Mitt's older brother holding a gun on mom after birth of young WIllard....Bob Shrum, longtime Dem insider and speech writer (I first met him in 1978), joining Daily Beast/Newsweek to pen weekly column.
2:55 OBAMA POLLS: A LIBERAL INTERPRETATION The Fix at Wash Post crunches numbers today and finds (surprise?) liberals remain nearly as strong for Obama--at least in voting preference--as ever. Yes, activists bitch and moan (they say) but even they will vote for Obama, though it is hard to judge the enthusiasm likely to be there on election day, and the funding before then--though many say they "strongly" back the president and are not just "anti-Romney." .... Meanwhile, thecomedy of rightwing obsession with Obama joining (or likely not) lefty New Party in 1996 continues, and Buzzfeed posts new docs and denials.
1:40 CAJUN RAGING FOR OBAMA James Carville and two others for Democracy Corps send Obama a memo that will purportedly “save” his election. A key passage: “It is elites who are creating a conventional wisdom that an incumbent president must run on his economic performance—and therefore must convince voters that things are moving in the right direction. They are wrong, and that will fail. The voters are very sophisticated about the character of the economy; they know who is mainly responsible for what went wrong and they are hungry to hear the President talk about the future. They know we are in a new normal where life is a struggle—and convincing them that things are good enough for those who have found jobs is a fool’s errand. They want to know the plans for making things better in a serious way—not just focused on finishing up the work of the recovery.”
1:35 pm NEW MEXICO RACE From my assistant Zoe Schlanger: Politico reports that five environmental groups are teaming up in New Mexico to support Democratic Senate nominee Martin Heinrich. They unveiled this video ad today blasting former GOP Representative Heather Wilson for taking “$600,000 from oil and gas companies. Hundreds of thousands from lobbyists and corporate polluters.… So when Heather Wilson votes against New Mexico families on clear air and clean drinking water, it makes you wonder: who’s Wilson with? Not us.”
1:20 pm AFTERNOON DELIGHTS Good magazine with very good graphic (with help from Lawrence Lessing’s Rootstrikers) on the cost of money in politics—getting to Congress division… On jobs, Sen. Sherrod Brown tells Greg Sargent Dems must fight-fight-fight… Elizabeth Warren tweets: time for JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to “step down”… Ari Berman here at The Nation: Why aren’t more in media calling out Romney for ideas that plainly will hurt the economy? …Progressive writer (and MoveOn favorite) Norman Solomon not throwing in the towel in his race for Congress in California. He finished in near-tie with GOP candidate for second place (top two finishers meet in November) and mail ballots still being counted. He seeks funds to carry on fight.
12:15 pm AIR APPARENT Photo at left—message for Romney on vote-purging in Florida, courtesy MoveOn.org.
11:25 am BULLY FOR ROMNEY? My old friend Murray Waas has co-authored a Boston Globe probe, just out, that opens: “Former governor Mitt Romney’s administration in 2006 blocked publication of a state antibullying guide for Massachusetts public schools because officials objected to use of the terms ‘bisexual’’ and ‘transgender’’ in passages about protecting certain students from harassment, according to state records and interviews with current and former state officials.” (Graphic at left via Mediaite.)
11:15 am VOTER FRAUD DEBUNKED Lengthy new Rolling Stone report here, based on studies and more.
10:40 am: QUOTE OF THE DAY? Several political sites choosing this one. Obama on not doing much in Wisconsin recall: “Well, the truth is that as president of the United States, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities”… Meanwhile, new Pew poll finds only 18 percent followed Wisconsin vote closely last week.
GIFFORDS SEAT UP FOR GRABS One of the first shots in the 2012 race for control of Congress is being fired Tuesday in Arizona, in the allegedly tight contest for Representative Gabby Giffords’s seat, with one of her former aides taking on the usual right-wing Republican. A new “automated” poll finds a surprisingly wide margin for the Democrat, Ron Barber, over Jesse Kelly. The latter barely lost to Giffords in 2010 but may be getting hurt by his threat to weaken Medicare and Social Security. Giffords stumped for Barber this weekend, although her former astronaut husband did the talking. We’ll be following this all day here but also check out The Fix’s take this morning, The Atlantic (on this being a “preview” of November) and also the Blog for Arizona. Note: the two candidates will likely meet again in November in a redrawn district but running as an incumbent will likely help one of them. See John Nichols’s report yesterday.
HAPPINESS = WARM GUN Elsewhere in Arizona, a GOPer running for Congress continues the growing trend of gun-tooting or -toting candidates blasting away in TV spots:
PROGRESSIVE GROUPS UNITE TO FIGHT Major piece at Politico this am on Super-PACs and activist groups joining together to combat Koch brothers and other thunder on the right. “Two fresh examples debuted this week, as Priorities USA Action and the labor giant SEIU announced they would jointly commit $4 million to Spanish-language television ads blasting Mitt Romney as hostile to working people… ‘Because resources are tight and we’re up against just an avalanche on the Republican side, we knew right away that none of us had resources that we could waste, nor could we in any way duplicate efforts at all,’ said [EMILY’s List president Stephanie] Schriock. EMILY’s List would “move money into whatever vehicle” appears most effective in a given race”… Below: PrioritiesUSA’s brand new “Meet Donnie Box” (worker laid off thanks to Bain) TV spot:
KERREY: the New York Times has just posted major profile coming up in this Sunday’s magazine on Bob Kerrey returning to Nebraska in aim to claim old Senate seat, by Matt Bai.
BROWN NOSING Over the next five months we’ll be paying close attention to the many spirited blogs that cover state politics, such as Blue Mass Group and ProgressMass in Mitt Romney’s home state. They’ve just cross-posted an analysis of a Senator Scott Brown fat cat/Wall Street fundraiser two days ago in Concord, MA., to show what Elizabeth Warren and progressives are up against. “This assembled group of investors, businessmen, and financial services bigwigs paid handsomely to have Republican Scott Brown’s full attention yesterday from 4pm to 6pm. What were these investors discussing with Brown (and asking him for) behind closed doors for two hours? Hey, they were probably just talking about the Boston Celtics’ playoff run—though maybe, just maybe, they were thanking him for watering down regulations on Wall Street and asking him to keep up the great work. Indeed, Republican Scott Brown can raise money from just about whoever he wants. He just can’t honestly call himself an ‘independent’ voice when he is so inextricably tied to the Wall Street set.”
A FAVORITE VICE You still have a chance to catch re-plays of the finale of HBO’s Veep this week, with an episode set in Cleveland, where the female vice president has gone to endorse a candidate for governor—who now doesn’t want her support due to her tanking approval ratings. Well, most bloggers might bring you a clip from the show but, as planned, we will go the extra mile to present… deleted scenes:
COLLEGE TRY This post from Rick Hertzberg is now three days old but it covers one of my pet subjects: how the vast number of Americans (in both blue and red states) are disenfranchised in modern presidential races where, quite literally, the only votes that count are cast in a handful of “battleground” states. He helpfully spotlights the NPV (Natonal Popular Vote) movement which seeks to get around the outmoded and ludicrous Electoral College. Check out the main NPV site here.
WHITE MAKES RIGHT? The Obama team released his first ad aimed at black voters late Monday. But by this analysis, Obama’s re-election hinges mainly on holding down Romney’s almost certain majority of the white vote in November. Obama got 43 percent in 2008 and will struggle mightily to match that. Larry Wilmore on The Daily Show on Monday night warned about what he called “white flight.” More from Jon and the gang last night on the Obama-Romney “gaffe” riot:
TUESDAY POLL WATCH Real Clear Politics average has Obama +1.4 percent in vote and 221-170 in Electoral College in states it “calls.” Electoral-Vote.com gives Obama 263–240 edge (with two states, Iowa and Florida even) and has Dems holding Senate 51-47… Obama now +41 among crucial Hispanic voters… Fact from my old pal Ari Berman: “16.8 million potential new voters turning 18 in 2012.”
RICK ROLLED? Governor Rick Scott of Florida announced late Monday—most suitably, on Fox News, via Neil Cavuto (see video)—that the state will sue the Department of Homeland Security to obtain access to a database it claims will provide more accurate information on the citizenship status of (mainly Democratic) Florida voters. This came after Scott ignored a request from the Department of Justice—and some GOP election offiicals—to abandon efforts to purge eligible voters. Even Senator Marco Rubio has been quiet on the move. The ACLU on Monday filed suit against Florida to stop the vote purge… AFL-CIO today launching giant drive vs. voter suppression…
TV OR NOT TV? You may have read about Representative Paul Ryan’s surprising Mad Men–themed fundraiser last week but we never did see any on-the-scene reports, although it was no doubt just as lily-white as that TV show set in the ’60s. It was also surprising because a Munsters party might have been more apt (on several levels?)
MY DINNER WITH BARACK Team Obama is doing another one of those email blasts trying to get you to join their lottery to dine with the Prez. This morning they added this twist: You can now bring a guest if you win. Perhaps in Comments below you might reveal whom YOU would choose. Let’s see… Steve Earle? Paul Krugman? Naomi Klein? Tom Morello?
A RY RESPONSE The great Ry Cooder, who has long recorded political songs—from Woody Gutrhie’s “Vigilante Man” to his ownattacks on bankers—has a whole album of them coming soon, titled Election Special. A few months back Ry contributed one of my favorite Occupy-inspired tunes:
MORNING SHORT SHOTS: Obama this morning releases new add hitting Romney’s record in Massachusetts… And Senator Scott Brown has a new radio ad aimed at women… Senator Sherrod Brown, in tough Ohio fight, tells Amanda Terkel the left can never match the right in PAC funding: “he said that, first of all, they simply don’t have as much money”… Ryan Lizza in this week’s upcoming New Yorker throws cold water on hopes for Obama aiming, and achieving, high, even if he does win a second term… In an apparent first, a GOP candidate for her old position as governor of Hawaii has founded her own cable channel with “all news all the time” just on her campaign… Gary Johnson on NBC’s Rundown still vows to be on ballots in fifty states and polls in a few places show him getting upwards of 6 percent—but those early numbers always collapse in the fall (except for a Perot). And TPM asks today: Is Romney afraid of Johnson? …Cartoonist Rob Tornoe hits Gov. Chris Christie as “a fraud” in word and image. This is a guy who claims to be one of the state’s biggest Springsteen fans (by shutting out most of the lyrics?)… Greg Sargent hails fellow Wash Post writer Glenn Kessler for “definitive” fact-check takedown of Romney lie on Obamacare… Speculation growing that Rep. Charles Rangel may lose his primary in NY two weeks from today…
Greg Mitchell’s campaign books include The Campaign of the Century (Upton Sinclair, 1934), Tricky DIck and the Pink Lady (Nixon-Douglas, 1950), and Why Obama Won.