A new daily blog, covering the latest news and controversy 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 some historical perspective to this task. You can bookmark the blog by clicking my name at the top or by going here.
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8:15 'HOMO' TWEET The progressive Democrat, Deb Morrow, running for Congress in S. Carolina has closed her Twitter account after a tweet there labeled Sen. Lindsay Graham and her opponent "homos." At first she blamed a staffer but now claims the account had been hacked. She also mentioned that one staffer had left the campaign an hour before the offending tweets appears, perhaps throwing suspicion on him. She apologized, said "we will not be tweeting anymore" and that as a Democrat she had no issues with gays, but GOPers are fuming.
6:10 MR. ROMNEY, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL Even Wolf “The Beard” Blitzer is on Romney’s case, stating a few minutes ago, according to a colleague’s tweet: If Romney “has nothing to hide, he should open up the books” and release his full tax returns. If you’ve lost Blitzer, you’ve lost America? (See: Cronkite, Vietnam). Meanwhile a Romney surrogate claims it’s the American way to avoid taxes.
5:40 TROUBLING, IF TRUE One of my good friends writes to tell me that one of her friends, who works at a very large national retailer (you’d certainly know the name), tells her the company has sent a message to employees that under Obamacare their health premiums will double next year, and then triple after that—it’s unclear whether that means 3x what it is now or 3x the doubling, but you get the drift. I’ll be checking to see if I can see the message, presuming it’s real, but if true it is all too reminiscent of what happened in the “campaign of the century” to defeat Upton Sinclair in 1934 that I wrote about a length in my book.
5:00 MOVEON OFF? PolitiFact hits the group for two different claims in ads and e-mails re voter purge in Florida and Governor Rick Scott, calling them both, flatly, false. Watch for pushback on this. “The state found 180,000 names that they considered potential noncitizens. But the state government itself does not have the power to remove people from the voting rolls—that power lies with the local supervisors of elections… MoveOn spokesman Nick Berning said that the 180,000 are ‘at risk’ of being thrown off the rolls.”
4:40 WHAT GIVES? New Ezra Klein piece explores point I’ve raised recently: rhat much of the media analysis of what is driving race for White House is hype or bunk. How else to explain poll numbers, and Obama approval ratings, remaining steady month after month despite media-hype gaffes, economic surges and declines, Romney attack ads, Obama attack ads, and on and on. “As a columnist and occasional talking head, I worry this next line will get me kicked out of the guild, but here goes: I have no idea what’s driving this campaign. It’s not what we’re covering in the media. It’s not what we’re seeing in the economy. It’s not what the campaigns are doing. It’s not the personal qualities of the candidates.”
2:20 AFTERNOON DELIGHTS Attorney General Holder calls new Voter ID laws akin to “poll tax”… Good Sherrod Brown quotes on Obama holding line on tax cuts at $250,000… Fun to see few notable liberal female bloggers note, and endorse, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s new hairdo today…
1:40 BAIN AND HIS EXISTENCE New evidence continues to emerge on a key issue: that Romney did not exit Bain in 1999, thereby skirting some of the controversies that followed. Our old friend David Corn looked at new documents last week. Now Josh Marshall at TPM: “I’ve found yet more instances where Romney made declarations to the SEC that he was still involved in running Bain after February 1999. To the best of my knowledge, no one has yet noted these.The documents go into different aspects of Romney’s ownership of various Bain and Bain related assets. But in both Romney had to say what he currently did for a living. Here are two SEC filings from July 2000 and February 2001 in which Romney lists his ‘principal occupation’ as ‘Managing Director of Bain Capital, Inc.’”
Update: Marshall just added in a tweet, “Anyone know what the standard penalty is for knowingly making false statements on an SEC filing?” So, bottom line: Romney either was still at Bain, and lied, or made false claim to SEC, or so it seems. Other recent pieces here from Salon and Fortune.
1:30 AD WATCH The AP with an actually quite tough critique of new Crossroads ad hitting Obama on economy…
12:40 QUOTE OF THE DAY Joe Biden: “Romney wants you to show your papers but he won’t show his.” Obama still hitting Mitt today as most secretive candidate ever.
12:30 pm APP OF THE DAY Talking Points Memo with new mobile “poll tracker” that follows every race and also send you notification of new findings, and more.
11:35 am JACKSON STONEWALLS The mystery of the recent complete disappearance of Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.—who, of course, is up for re-election—has deepened, with no word, and even Senator Dick Durbin calling for an explanation for voters and constituents. TPM: “Adding to the mystery is that one of Jackson’s former fundraisers, Raghuveer Nayak, was arrested by the FBI on suspicion of bribing doctors just four days before the congressman’s office announced the medical leave. While there’s no indication the probe has anything to do with Jackson, the ex-fundraiser has been a problem for him ever since Nayak linked him to the corruption scandal that sent former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to prison for 14 years.”
11:00 THEY STILL LIKED IKE Continuing our series of vintage campaign speeches and ads, here’s a truly wacky one from 1952, as the Stevenson camp tried to tie moderate Eisenhower to conservative GOP leader Robert Taft.
10:35 LIKE CLINTON DENIAL ON LEWINSKY? Love Romney’s claim today, after being hit hard by Dems all week on hidden assets in the Caymans and Bermuda—even Obama joined if for first time—that, to paraphrase, “I did not have financial relaitons with that trustee.” (h/t Zoe Schlanger)
GOPers TURN TO BROWN Karl Rove’s Crossroads launching one million dollar campaign vs. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is leading his Ohio reelectlion bid right now. “That raises spending by outside conservative groups in the Ohio contest to $10.5 million, more than any other senator or Senate candidate in the country has faced. In contrast, progressive groups have spent around $2.5 million to aid Brown, who is running against Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R).” Here’s one of their silly new ads:
CRIME OF THE CENTURY Eugene Robinson at Wash Post on “The GOP’s Crime Against Voters.” Opens with: “Spare us any more hooey about ‘preventing fraud’ and ‘protecting the integrity of the ballot box.’ The Republican-led crusade for voter ID laws has been revealed as a cynical ploy to disenfranchise as many likely Democratic voters as possible, with poor people and minorities the main targets. Recent developments in Pennsylvania — one of more than a dozen states where voting rights are under siege — should be enough to erase any lingering doubt: The GOP is trying to pull off an unconscionable crime.”
And from our own Ari Berman: More challenges to the Voting Rights Act in the past two years than in the previous 45 years combined.
JOINS KRUGMAN Romney surrogate Haley Barbour, like Paul Krugman and others, now says (surprisingly) his man should release more info on taxes. But as humorist Lizz Winstead pointed out late yesterday: “Mitt Romney is neither open minded nor disclose minded.” And Andy Borowitz proposes this campaign theme coming from Donald Trump: ‘We Need a President Who Was Born Here But Keeps His Money Overseas.’”
FUNDING GAP Big NYT piece today on alleged danger for Obama as Romney outraises cash for 2nd straight month. “Mr. Obama’s fund-raising deficit in part reflects how steeply the terrain has shifted since 2008, when many Republican donors embraced the candidate and his campaign raised millions of dollars from Wall Street and other traditionally right-leaning industries. Now those donors are swinging hard back to the Republican Party — and to Mr. Romney, whose promise to curtail regulation and cut taxes has helped draw a torrent of five-figure checks. In a worrisome development for the Obama campaign, Mr. Romney, who until now has been heavily dependent on donors giving the maximum federal contribution, also showed success in June drawing small donors, a traditional strength of the Obama campaign.”
Just now Obama strategist David Plouffe charges: “You’ve got a few very wealthy people lining up trying to purchase the White House for Mr. Romney.” An urgent Obama campaign email claims he is first sitting president to get out-funded.
THE RIGHT SONGS The Nation picks the “Ten Best Republican Songs.” I like “We Will, We Will, Frack You,” “Rove Will Keep Us Together” and “Simple Twist of Facts.” I might add about 100, but for now, how about “Psycho Killer”? Then there’s this, with a little help from Eminem:
DOCTORING THE FACTS 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.
MORNING SHORTS National Journal poll finds 60% back only giving tax break to those making under $250,000, as Obama plans…Latest on Tammy Baldwin race in Wisconsin… GOP governor who said federal “gestapo” would come after you under Obama refuses to apologize, says people upset should blame the feds… New ABC/Wash Post poll finds Obama and Romney dead even but by wide margin there most expect Obama win…
From late Monday
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?”
KOCH, ROVE ON ENEMIES LIST? 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.”
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.”
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)….
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.