A new daily blog, updated often, covering the latest news and controversy across a wide range of races and issues. As author of three books about influential political campaigns (Upton Sinclair, Nixon-Douglas, Obama), I also bring some historical perspective to this. You can bookmark the blog by first clicking my name at the top or by going here.
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11:20 MORE BAIN DOCS Current TV and host Jennifer Granholm with report tonight claiming they have new docs further linking to Romney work with Bain after 1999. They call it "additional documentation from the Massachusetts Ethics Commission that Mitt Romney filed and signed on May 27, 2003 which continue to prove he played an active part in Bain Capital." They show "Mitt Romney was the 100% stakeholder in 11 Bain Capital entities later than 1999."
9:10 ROMNEY LINKED IN Someone naturally created / hacked a MItt Romney page at Linked In (here, before they kill it), with job title,"Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional," and with fun details, such as "Skills: Oursourcing." And under his Bain achievements: "Terminated thousands of workers, burdened companies with debt, sent profitable businesses into bankruptcy, reaped huge personal profits, set up bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman." Goal? "To be President of the United States without releasing income taxes." (Note at 10:00 pm: page still up, and can even find it via Search.)
8:00 CONDI RICE FOR VEEP: OVERCOOKED? Drudge had headlined "secret" choice for Romney's ticket rising near top this afternoon--seemingly to distract attention from Bain reports, especially since he did not name names. Now it emerges he was referring to Condi Rice. And as "frontrunner," no less. Well, she shares this with Mitt: she wants to black out period of 2001-2002, in her case for Iraq war runup. Love this Drudge line: "It was Condi who received two standing ovations at Romney's Utah retreat a few weeks ago, and everyone left with her name on their lips." And: "In recent days, she emailed supporters: '2012 is perhaps a turning point for the United States.'"
6:45 THREAT TO SHOOT MICHELLE OBAMA The First Family has been targeted since day one, according to the Secret Service, but this a little different: Washington Post just reported that the threat allegedly came from a DC police officer who worked as a motorcycle escort—for the White House. “The officer allegedly said he would shoot the First Lady and then used his phone to retrieve a picture of the firearm he said he would use. It was not immediately clear what type of firearm was allegedly shown.”
5:00 AFTERNOON DELIGHTS PolitiFact shoots down GOP claim that 83 percent of doctors will quit under Obamacare… Tammy Duckworth reports fantastic money-raising success lately—special thanks to loony opponent Joe Walsh… New Pew survey simply the worse ever for Romney, and that was before past two days… Romney campaign now demanding “retraction” from Boston Globe for its bombshell report this morning—and an “apology” from Obama campaign chief Stephanie Cutter for strong remarks about it. I’m waiting for Romney to announce re those SEC filings: “I did not have financial relations with those documents”… Serious voter ID issues in Tennessee…
3:55 DOES A BEAR SIT IN THE WOODS? Continuing our series of classic campaign ads, here’s one of the most influential ever—the Reagan “bear” ad vs. Carter in 1980, when Russia was still very much on voters’ minds.
2:20 NOT EASY BEING GREENS NYT with major piece today on Green Party candidate for president Jill Stein and current state of party. “When she officially accepts the nomination at the Green Party’s convention this weekend in Baltimore, she will be the party’s first candidate to have qualified for federal matching funds—a milestone for this eleven-year-old alternative party and potentially a major boost for a campaign that does not accept corporate donations. The Green Party of the United States expects to be on the ballot in at least forty-five states and to spend about $1 million on its campaign. At the moment, it has secured ballot access, an organizational test in itself, in twenty-one states, including the battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, Michigan and Ohio…”
2:00 WARREN & WEDDINGS Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren had no sooner tweeted today that she was celebrating anniversary with longtime hubby today, and offering “I love you,” that she returned to Twitter to mark amazing coincidence involving her opponent: “Scott Brown & Gail are also celebrating their anniversary! I’ve sent flowers to wish them a happy anniversary & many more years of happiness.”
1:40 ROMNEY’S NEW DOG PROBLEM Wild quote from Senator Harry Reid just now on Romney if he was appointed to something right now: “He not only couldn’t be confirmed [by the Senate] as a cabinet secretary, he couldn’t be confirmed as dog catcher,” Reid told reporters at a Capitol press briefing, in response to a question from TPM. “Because a dog catcher, you’re at least going to want to look at his income tax returns.” At least dog catchers would try to free pups latched to car roofs.
12:55 RIGHT-WINGERS GET WRONG WRIGHT Greg Sargent of Wash Post: “Right wing hitting Biden for mentioning ‘Rev Wright’ in speech. Obama spox tells me it’s different Wright, old friend from Delaware.” Here, for example, was Michelle Malkin, even with a photo of the wrong Wright. “I just heard it with my own ears during VP Joe Biden’s speech to the NAACP this morning. He talked about ‘learning so much’ while ‘sitting in Rev. Wright’s church.’ Who thought resurrecting the race-hustling reverend was a good idea?”
12:15 pm OBAMA CAMPAIGN CHiEF: ROMNEY A LIAR OR A FELON Yes, that’s the only way to take remarks by Stephanie Cutter in conference call with reporters just now. We quoted her below in more bland formal statement but now. “Cutter said that there were two ways to interpret the story. The first: Mitt Romney was ‘misrepresenting his position’ at Bain to the Securities and Exchange Commission, ‘which is a felony.’ Or, he was ‘misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people. If that’s the case, if he was lying to the American people, that’s a real character and trust issue,’ Cutter said.” And earlier this week top adviser David Axelrod used the “N” word—charging that Romney is “most secretive” candidate since Nixon.
11:35 am BIDEN PREACHES TO NAACP No surprise that the Veep got thunderous response just now at NACCP confab, the day after Romney booing and “free stuff” charge, but surprising at his ultra-serious, even almost angry preachy tone and frequent name-checking of GOP nominee. Crowd so into it they even hooted when Biden said he was about to finish—first time anyone ever asked him to go on and on? Got special wild response for hitting GOP on attacking voting rights and vote suppression. (Some video here.) “This ain’t your father’s Republican Party.” NACCP head Ben Jealous then on MSNBC hails speech saying he hit all his marks. David Corn on MSNBC says not a “messaging” problem, as some GOP moderates claim, but where they stand. “They made a decison that they will suppress votes…throw kids off Head Start.” Where is Jack Kemp when party needs him?
11:20 MORMONS EVEN MORE SECRETIVE THAN MITT? A surprising Bloomberg BusinessWeek cover story today probes Mormon finances and secrecy. “What is remarkable is how varied the church’s business interests are and that so little is known about its financial interests. Although a former Mormon bishop is about to receive the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and despite a recent public-relations campaign aimed at combating the perception that it is ‘secretive,’ the LDS Church remains tight-lipped about its holdings. It offers little financial transparency even to its members, who are required to tithe 10 percent of their income to gain access to Mormon temples.” Perhaps they also have Swiss bank account.
11:00 MITT DINES WITH ‘DARTH’ CHENEY Tonight’s the big night of the laying on of hands in a blessing, but what if the hands belong to Dick Cheney? He will dine with Romney tonight after big fundraiser (big oil guys featured) out in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and then the farce will be with him. Mitt on Dick: “That’s the kind of person I’d like to have—a person of wisdom and judgment.” But see Rachel Maddow’s blast last night at “spoonfed” Wash Post report on the dinner that claimed Romney actually wants to keep distance from Cheney.
ROMNEY AND OBAMA CAMPS RESPOND TO GLOBE After blockbuster report (see below) on candidate apparently not telling truth on exit from Bain in 1999, Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter responds: “This puts him at the center of responsibility for troubling investments involving outsourcing and bankruptcies. It also raises serious questions about why he misrepresented the date of his ‘departure,’ and whether he is concealing his tax returns because there is still more about this period and beyond that he doesn’t want people to know. It’s time for Mitt Romney to come clean so that the American people can make their own judgments about his record and his motivations.”
A Romney spokesman says he “had no input on investments or management of companies after that point.” but as Howard Kurtz tweets: “Romney camp doubles down against ‘inaccurate’ Globe story, saying Mitt left Bain in ’99. But SEC docs say he owned the place.” As a former SEC commissioner in story put it: “You can’t say statements filed with the SEC are meaningless. This is a fact in an SEC filing…. Are you telling me he owned the company but had no say in its investments?” Obviously there’s need for full SEC probe now—and release of Romney tax returns for 1999–2002 (don’t hold your breath).
GLOBE WiTH MORE BAIN TROUBLE FOR MITT This charge has been gaining momentum in past week, as we’ve chronicled here, but now really hits the heights with Romney’s “hometown” Boston Globe stating flatly (based on documents) that he remained as CEO at Bain three years longer than he has long declared—an outright lie and with other wide implications, placing him at company during some troubling dealings. “Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney’s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings. The timing of Romney’s departure from Bain is a key point of contention because he has said his resignation in February 1999 meant he was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date.”
This comes on same day Romney camp has released this ad charging that Obama can’t be trusted because he lies about Romney outsourcing at Bain—exactly the issue raised by the Globe’s report on his Bain exit.
ROMNEY: BLACKS JUST WANT ‘FREE STUFF’? Incredible, and revealing statement, from Romney last night at a fundraiser in Montana (hosted by Charles Schwab) on getting booed at NAACP confab today for ripping Obamacare: “Remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy—more free stuff. But don’t forget, nothing is really free.” Well, maybe that will energize black voters and other opponents. Earlier today I may have been one of first to suggest that he actually wanted to get booed to help please his base. Now I see that it is widely shared review, including by Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. And Biden speaks to NAACP today.
MORE ROMNEY OUTSOURCING WOES Another scoop from our old friend David Corn, this time involving China. Get used to it. “This previously unreported deal runs counter to Romney’s tough talk on the campaign trail regarding China.”
DARK KNIGHT OF THE SOUL New parody of hot summer sequel Dark Knight Rises, focusing on 2012 campaign and “Bane Capital.” Bane capital punishment, indeed.
YOUR DAILY BOROWITZ “I’m all for poor people showing their IDs at polling places if rich candidates show their tax returns.” And a new piece from Andy: “Romney Receives Standing Ovations from National Association of Rich White People.”
MORNING SHORTS: Medical marijuana makes Mass. ballot… Romney to host $60,000 a plate dinner on July 29—in Jerusalem… NYT with major piece on consevatives upset that Romney is not “counterpunching” enough. Bring back Herman Cain? …J Street with new ads vs. Congress members (e.g., Joe Walsh and Allen West) who are ultra-hawkish on Israel… If you somehow missed Joe Walsh screaming (like his Eagles counterpart in mid-song) at Tammy Duckworth… Watch new Obama ad: it hits Romney on tax cuts for wealthy vs. Obama plan…
From late Wednesday
LIT HERO VOTED FOR REAGAN Apparently that much-awaited upcoming bio of the late David Foster Wallace reveals that he once voted for Reagan for president, which may surprise many. “Though Wallace covered John McCain’s 2000 presidential bid extensively, he never wrote plainly about his own politics. According to author Tom Bissell, the biography reveals that Wallace cast a ballot for Ronald Reagan, though he does not say whether it was in 1980 (the year Wallace could first vote) or 1984.”
BABBLING BROOKS In their weekly online dialogue at NYT site, Gail Collins really gives it to colleague David Brooks in discussing “apathy” in current campaign. “I’m happy to tell you it’s the Republicans’ fault. The normal rule of democracy is that if things are lousy, you throw out the incumbents. But right now the opposition is controlled by people who are totally insane and good at nothing but shutting things down. I would argue that the president, with a Congress composed mainly of Democrats and traditional Republicans, could take care of a lot of our problems. But if people simply want a change, all they’ve got is the Forces of Loony Doom.” Brooks responds by accusing her watching too much MSNBC.
JUST WONDERING Anyone consider that Romney’s team figured he could firm up base by getting booed at NAACP convention? He just told Fox’s Neil Cavuto that he “expected” to get booed.
ROMNEY’S ‘SNOB’ COVERUP Almost too good to be true, but it is: Local newspaper reports that Romney camp asks company that handled sound and technical issues for Grand Junction, Colorado, event for first time to cover up its logo. It happens to be: “Snob Productions.” They had to put mask over name on their trucks and not wear company T-shirts! “I wouldn’t say it was because they didn’t like the name, it had more to do with proper media coverage staying focused on the right place.”
UPDATE ON ROMNEY BOOING GOP operatives are discounting what happened today at NAACP gathering (see report and video below) but others on scene confirm. Some brutal comments by attendees. Perhaps not wise to attack Obamacare when 7 million uninsured African-Americans are getting coverage under it. Steve Benen at Rachel Maddow’s blog has more to say. Next: Perhaps Mitt will appear at Humane Society confab and defend putting dog on roof—teaches dog self-reliance and all that.
SINATRA BOOSTS KENNEDY Continuing our series of vintage campaign speeches and ads, here’s a real classic: Frank Sinatra with song backing JFK in 1960, with new version of his hit “High Hopes.” Chairman of the Board backs future Commander in Chief. It was a very good year.
BUZZFEED TOO HUNGRY? Don’t miss this response from Obama team after Buzzfeed “reveals” that font for Obama campaign poster may derive from Cuban revolution. An Obama press secretary Ben LaBolt e-mails: “Your GOP operative should have had the courtesy to stay sober before noon, and BuzzFeed should go back to labeling cat slideshows.”