A new daily blog, covering the latest news and controversies across a wide range of races and issues. As the author 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.
4:00 LEGAL MOVE vs. KOCH, ROVE Overdue but welcome today. “The Democratic Party’s Senate campaign arm will file a formal complaint on Monday with the FEC against three of the Republicans’ biggest campaign groups, accusing them of willful violations of federal election law and asking that their electioneering be stopped.” Senator Mitch McConnell demurs: “My concern is that selective disclosure would be used to harass people—think President Nixon and his ‘enemies list’—who have participated in the political process or scare others from doing so.”
2:05 LOCO FARMING Hysterical fight between two GOPers in a Missouri senate contest over one of them allegedly donating to an animal rights group—actually a farm animal rights group, clearly a no-no, or a moo-moo, or cluck-cluck. The accused claims it was actually his daughter who donated. Opponent mocks concern for animals’ “feelings,” and asks, “What next, therapy?” Awaiting his music video followup, “Who Let the Cows Out?”
1:00 OUR WATCHDOG PRESS You may have heard about that woman who owns a diner that served Obama over the weekend, who died a short time later, so press asks Jay Carney today if he fears president being food poisoned. A few problems with this: she met him outside diner, and she died of a heart attack, and need we say more? Dave Weigel at Slate comments: “Some rudimentary googling reveals no follow-up stories on whether the Secret Service is investigating the president’s exposure to food that didn’t kill anyone.”
12:50 pm AFTERNOON DELIGHTS Bill Moyers on “the hoax of Citizens United”… Florida GOP chapter gives Donald Trump “Statesman of the Year” award… Robert Reich: “The Wall St. Scandal of All Scandals” (vs. tough competition)….
11:50 am OBAMA TAX CUT Obama testing the waters on dropping the hammer on Bush tax cuts for rich, forcing Romney to defend. Plus, he will extend cuts for those making under $250,000. Update: His speech this morning announces same. Still, Romney charges it won’t help middle-class and claims it is a “tax hike.” But experts show it will help 98 percent. Even those who make over $250,000 get help on portion under $250,000. And the hike on those over $250,000 would impact whopping 1.9 percent.
11:00 DOCTORING THE FACTS Breaking: PolitiFact rules “false” (at last) the longstanding Romney claim that Obamacare puts the feds between you and your doctor. Quote of the Day? “Romney’s campaign offered no evidence to back up this claim.” Plus: “If the health care law did get between doctors and patients, you would think most doctors would complain loudly. While some do, the leading physician advocacy group, the American Medical Association, does not. On the contrary, the AMA supports the law.”
10:20 FDR CAMPAIGNS, 1932 Continuing our series of vintage campaign speeches and ads, here’s some amazing footage (and audio) of “FIghting” Franklin Roosevelt at and around DNC in Chicago eighty years ago.
9:40 AD IMPACT That Planned Parenthood spot we featured recently seems to have had its desired effect of weakening support for Romney among women, poll shows, as Politico reports. “The seven-figure sum that PPAF has spent on the ads is modest in the context of a national race, but as of this weekend they’re also not the only group delivering that message: the Obama campaign is up with swing-state commercials saying Romney would ‘cut off funding for Planned Parenthood’ ”… Meanwhile, American Crossroads launches $40 million ad buy today.
9:50 OPEN THE DOOR, RICHARD Nice piece on Richard Carmona, who has real chance to become first Dem elected to US Senate from Arizona in twenty-two years. “Carmona, the former surgeon general under President George W. Bush, identifies as both a doctor and a law enforcement official. The son of Puerto Rican parents, Carmona grew up poor in Harlem, where he battled hunger and homelessness. He dropped out of high school and joined the Army.” Even GOPers hail him as best candidate in state in years.
WARREN PIECE Preview of upcoming Wash Monthly with major piece on candidate Elizabeth Warren’s legacy (so far), the first year of the Consumer Financial Protection Board and why it is “Too Important to Fail.” Romney wants to gut it, naturally… Meanwhile, news today that Warren raised $8.6M in 2nd quarter, exceeding her 1st quarter by $1.7M.
ROMNEY BEACHED That big Romney fundraiser (one of three) out with his ilk in the Hamptons yesterday, “his motorcade of Chevrolet Suburbans passing a gleaming line of Bentleys, Porsches and a Mercedes Benzes waiting to deposit guests who paid up to $25,000 a head to hear him speak.” One guest said of Obama, “He is a socialist. His idea is find a problem that doesn’t exist and get government to intervene.” He said this “from inside a gold-colored Mercedes as his wife, Carol Simmons, nodded in agreement.” LA Times quoted another guest on Obama killing the economy: “I just think if you’re lower income—one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”
And then there was another and finally a third at David Koch’s mansion, where protesters (see photo above left) tried to ruin the mood. Still, the Romney band played “Margaritaville” while Mitt said, “I spend a lot of time worrying about those that are poor.”
FRUM AND KOCH Interesting tweet from David Frum related to the Hamptons fest: “If Romney loses, this weekends fundraiser will feature in every postmortem.”
MITT NOT A DADDY’S BOY Paul Krugman today compares the Romneys, father and son. “Unlike his father, however, Mr. Romney didn’t get rich by producing things people wanted to buy; he made his fortune through financial engineering that seems in many cases to have left workers worse off, and in some cases driven companies into bankruptcy. And there’s another contrast: George Romney was open and forthcoming about what he did with his wealth, but Mitt Romney has largely kept his finances secret.”
Dems hit Romney on his “offshore” problem all day yesterday. Howard Kurtz today: “My in-box is exploding with DNC missiles about Romney’s tax returns, overseas bank accounts. Dem spokesman blitzing airwaves with same msg.”
SPIKING ROMNEY Due the right thing? Spike Lee, film director, on meeting the candidate: “I was just in D.C. and he was there and he said, ‘What’s up, Spike?’ and I said, ‘What’s happening, Mitt?’ We were in line getting something to eat. So I said what’s up and shook hands. I think [the presidential race is] going to be very, very, very close.”
BEYOND THE SUPER-PACS If you missed the top NYT story from Sunday: “Two years after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision opened the door for corporate spending on elections, relatively little money has flowed from company treasuries into ‘super PACs’ which can accept unlimited contributions but must also disclose donors. Instead, there is growing evidence that large corporations are trying to influence campaigns by donating money to tax-exempt organizations that can spend millions of dollars without being subject to the disclosure requirements that apply to candidates, parties and PACs.”
PUT YOUR SHORTS ON New USA Today poll of twelve swing states finds Obama up 47–45 percent there… Representative Allen West: Social Security payments are “21st century slavery”… Here at The Nation: Limbaugh wants to extend voter suppression—to women… Andy Borowitz: “In America right now the best kind of person to be is a corporation.” More from Andy: “It would be nice to spend billions on schools and roads, but right now that money is desperately needed for political ads”… Tom Junod in Esquire on drone strikes and “The Lethal Presidency.”