A new daily blog, updated often, covering news and controversy across a wide range of races and issues. As author of three books about influential political campaigns (Upton Sinclair 1934, Nixon-Douglas 1950, Obama 2008), I also bring historical perspective to this. You can bookmark the blog by going here.
9:15 THE 'NO APOLOGY' TOUR Obama says again to Mitt, don't hold your breath. No regrets, no tears goodbye.
7:55 MITT ROMNEY, SOCIALIST Must-read piece at Bloomberg View today on how the candidate really made so much dough for himself and Bain partners all those years. "He did so, in large part, through heavy use of tax-deductible debt, usually to finance outsized dividends for the firm’s partners and investors. When some of the investments went bad, workers and creditors felt most of the pain. Romney privatized the gains and socialized the losses."
4:40 AFTERNOON UPDATES Sen. Dick Durbin says Mitt running from Bain "like a scalded cat"... Bob Woodward: Who cares about SEC docs?.... Key: Since Romney paying high price for not releasing tax returns one assumes there is stuff in there that he feels would be far more costly. And here conservative pundit ask same question....Full wrapup here from NYT on the Sunday talk show Obama "barrage".... GOPers claim John Kerry only released 2 years of tax returns, though (surprise) not true... Lizz Winstead: "I am a virgin #Retroactively."
2:25 VOTE SUPPRESSION Nate "The Great" Silver at NYT estimates GOP-led voter ID push could depress vote by 2-3 percent and effect outcome in swing states, and therefore the election. But he also finds some false stats and myths.
11:30 PUT ON YOUR SHORTS Josh Marshall on why Romney stumbles coming from candidate not his campaign...Given infamous Gillespie quote today (see below), great name for roots-rock group now: The Retro Actives...One of Romney's former Bain colleagues makes the case--for outsourcing....Obama channels Elizabeth Warren....Chris Cillizza: "Obama golfing today. Cue outrage."
10:30 QUOTE OF THE DAY From top Romney adviser (formerly with Bush) Ed Gillespie on his "exit" from Bain:"He took a left of absence and in fact he ended up not going back at all, and retired retroactively to 1999 as a result." Although this perhaps more important: Bill Kristol: Romney "should release his tax returns tormorrow." David Frum today tweets the coming "pain" from need to release returns. Others who have called for this: Barbour, Matt Dowd, George Will.
10:00 THIRTY-FIVE, FORTY OR FIGHT Good from Forbes: 35 questions Romney must answer if he wants to put Baingate behind him. This will keep him busy. No. 8 for example: "Are there other companies that pay you six figures a year as earned income, not investment income, for which you have no involvement?" Plus: Huff Post finds another doc that contradicts timing of Bain exit.
5:00 SHORT SHOTS Breaking ranks, GOP governor of Alabama calls on Mitt to release taxes...So much for this bit of GOP propaganda: CBO finds that, yes, 99% of those getting food stamps live below poverty level...All six of Romney's interviews yesterday--in 60 seconds:
2:00 WITH ONE BIG DIFFERENCE Howard Fineman tweets: "2012 is 2004 redux: not-so-popular president aims to destroy strongest claim of aloof Boston challenger. But Mitt's allies have WAY more $." But leaves out: Swiftboating based on lies, Bain bashing not.....For example: Andy Borowitz--"Mitt Romney is a proven job creator. In China." By view: You may be deluded thinking bad two Bain days for MItt will lead to Obama spike in polls--40% against him locked in and only watching Fox.
12:45 NEXT OBAMA BAIN AD? Perhaps an ad with edited version of Mitt singing Woody Guthrie, "This Land Is...My Land."
11:00 NEW OBAMA AD Toughest one yet? Romney singing "America the Beautiful" his outsourcing / offshoring records rolls along.
9:00 am ROMNEY AND EVOLUTION More from the Boston Globe on how Romney's statements on Bain have, to put it delicately, "evolved."
7:30 pm AND OBAMA RESPONDS TO MITT His camp “not satisfied” with his Bain answers tonight and they are certainly not apologizing.
7:25 YOUNG OBAMA STAFFER DIES On a sad note: Obama staffer collapses and dies at age 29 at Chicago office. Alex Okrent’s HeyAOK@ has this profile: “I am in earnest. I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard.” It comes from William Lloyd Garrison. He had worked on last campaign also. Obama called office and Romney offered condolences.
6:50 ROMNEY on NBC Asked repeatedly if he attended “any” meetings by phone or in person he kept making more general comments about not being engaged in “ongoing” activities or making decisions. Doesn’t “recall” meetings re: Bain but in 2002, it turns out, he recalled them very easily.
6:10 ROMNEY on ABC and CNN: Full trancript. Denies any responsibility whatsoever on Bain 1999–2002. “I left any responsibility whatsoever, any effort, any involvement whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999.” Then interviewer goes into Condi and OIympic interviews. And on CNN he says he draws line at two years of tax returns: “That’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances.” This will kill him.
6:05 ROMNEY on CBS: OBAMA OWES HIM ‘AN APOLOGY’ So the round of promised interviews begins with this tonight from CBS, as Romney acts hurt about being called a liar or a felon. “What kind of president would have a campaign that says something like that about the nominee of another party?” Romney said. “This is reckless and absurd on his part, and it’s something that’s beneath his dignity. I hope he recognizes that even fellow Democrats have said that.” He also claims only one interested in his tax returns is the Obama campaign.
5:40 OBAMA: BUCK STOPS WITH ROMNEY On local TV show today, the president made it clear he is upping the “anti” on Romney’s Bain woes. Dig these quotes, after he cited Truman saying “the buck stops here,” via TPM : “Now, my understanding is that Mr. Romney attested to the SEC, multiple times, that he was the chairman, CEO and president of Bain Capital, and I think most Americans figure if you are the chairman, CEO and president of a company that you are responsible for what that company does. Ultimately Mr. Romney, I think, is going to have to answer those questions, because if he aspires to being president, one of the things you learn is, you are ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations, but again that’s probably a question that he’s going to have to answer and I think that’s a legitimate part of the campaign.”
4:40 BAIN UPDATES: GASOLINE ON THE FIRE Rachel Maddow’s blog collects much of it… Daily Kos finds press release describing Romney “part-time” at Bain in 1999 after he supposedly exited fully… Many folks who have followed the Bain saga closer than I have feel this Politicker piece is very damaging, with quotes from 2002 on Romney still acting CEO-ish. See what you think… Fun head for Dave Weigel’s Slate piece on more contradictions in Romney/Bain scandal, refers to “Swift Yachting.” Clever, except in the case of Kerry there was nothing there.
3:05 TAIBBI ON MITT’S ‘NEW LOW’ Leave it to Matt “The Bat” Taibbi to smack Romney for his “free stuff” statement and more this week. “Not merely unlikable, and not merely a fatuous, unoriginal hack of politician, but also a genuinely repugnant human being, a grasping corporate hypocrite with so little feel for how to get along with people that he has to dream up elaborate schemes just to try to pander to the mob…. A guy who feels like he has to take a dump on the N.A.A.C.P. in Houston in order to connect with frustrated white yahoos everywhere else is a guy who has absolutely no social instincts at all.”
2:54 GREEN FOR ROMNEY Tough for this NY Jets fan to take, but big piece on team owner, Woody Johnson, being chief NY area fat cat fundraiser for Romney. (Expect a Tebow or Rex Ryan endorsement any day.) The legendary Rick Lazio says, “You can see why he owns a football team. He loves the competition. He loves the rah-rah camaraderie. He is all in on this campaign. I think he is the indispensable player in New York City.”
2:30 MITT ON TV TO STOP BLEEDING? Politico reports that Romney giving interviews—rare for him—with all three major networks this afternoon for possible airing tonight, probably to answer Bain charges. Presumably he will have a ready answer and some kind of partial response to questions about releasing taxes. Also likely talking to Fox—I mean, why not? … And Jonathan Chait: “On the Mitt desperation scale, 10 being ‘saw off your own leg and eat it to avoid starving,’ interviews with 3 television networks is a 9.5.”…
2:15 ROMNEY NO LONGER LINKED IN (Update: page finally shut down this afternoon.) Someone naturally has created/hacked a Mitt Romney page at LinkedIn (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.”
12:25 pm SERVING RICE The great songwriter/lefty Steve Earle with mock love letter to new GOP Veep “frontrunner” (according to Drudge, at least, see below) “Condi.” With nod to “Rosalita.”
11:30 am GOP SEX ALLEGATIONS Oh, geez, from Miami Herald: trial exposes alleged “lesbian sex encounter” featuring Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll. “The charges could prove explosive among social conservatives who form the backbone of the Republican Party and have long admired Carroll. But Carroll’s defenders are likely to point to credibility questions arising from the criminal charges Cole faces.” Note: Just one person’s “evidence” on this. Read more here.
10:55 NEW ATTACK AD Obama camp’s Truth Team out with brand new ad hitting Romney on yesterday’s latest news on his Bain tenure. Strong stuff.
10:30 am BROWN’S NOSE GROWS SOME MORE First he claimed he hobnobbed with kings and queens, now Senator Scott Brown claims he often gives advice to Obama and Hillary Clinton. But Boston Globe says Clinton has called exactly twice and Obama once. Or maybe he called them.
10:25 SPITTING IMAGES Huff Post has some with politician/cartoon lookalikes, and asks you to vote for best (includes Barney Frank, Bernie Sanders, Karl Rove as the Brave Little Toaster, many more)… More fun: Time’s Michael Scherer on Obama saying he spent too much time on preparation and not inspiration: “Obama now admits Christopher Walken was right. Not enough cowbell.”
9:30 am TOTAL (DON’T) RECALL New Andy Borowitz piece—an alleged note from Mitt’s doctor on his memory loss. “Having said that, I do not believe that Mr. Romney’s bouts of amnesia should in any way prevent him from having a full, active public life. In running for the Presidency, they may even be an advantage.” And a new tweet from Andy: “In a Romney Presidency, it will be terrible to be a dog or a person but awesome to be a horse.”
VEEP WATCH? Democratic PAC has launched a new site called “Veep Mistakes,” already ramping up the oppo-research (and videos) on potential Romney picks for the second spot on the ticket (Rubio, Pawlenty, Portman—now Condi Rice?). “Four years after Sarah Palin, Republicans are once again poised to put forward a deeply flawed candidate as their vice presidential nominee. But you don’t have to take our word for it. See what’s in the cards and decide for yourself.” The “cards” are all…jokers.
MORE BAIN DOCS Current TV and host Jennifer Granholm late last night with report 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.”
THAT BAIN PROBLEM: THE DAY AFTER Here are some takes following on yesterday’s Boston Globe blockbuster: TPM’s Josh Marshall points out cogently that CEOs on the hook at companies even if, like Romney, “away”… Politico with couple new issues here—and notes Romney denials still vague… Ben Smith at Buzzfeed on how Romney “walked into Bain trap” set by Obama team a couple weeks back… Romney campaign demanding “retraction” from Boston Globe for its bombshell report—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.”
AT THE VIP ENTRANCE Paul Krugman on that Romney funder in the Hamptons and the super-rich: “They want to be revered, too, and given special treatment in the form of low taxes. And that is more than they deserve. After all, the “common person” also makes a positive contribution to the economy. Why single out the rich for extra praise and perks?”
MORNING SHORTS Ezra Klein: This is the worst Congress ever… More good news for Obama: some signs of economic uptick… Serious voter ID issues in Tennessee… Dan Kennedy tweets: “How great is it that Romney was on the board of a company named Lifelike”?… Kevin Drum: Why Romney really doesn’t want to show you his tax returns… Nate Silver: Obama’s strength may go beyond misleading approval ratings.
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 “front-runner,” no less. Well, she shares this with Mitt: she wants to black out period of 2001–02, 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.’ ”
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 day…
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.
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…”
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.
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?”
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.