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.
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8:50 THE LATE ADDITION Update: No (human sexual) response from Sheldon Adelson so far to Sarah Silverman's offer to take care of him sexually. See video at 2:35 pm below. Rightwing site Newsbusters comments: "How far are some of Hollywood's liberals willing to go to get Barack Obama reelected?" ... Ari Berman: John McCain, cosponsor of McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act, votes against Disclose Act and to keep Super PAC donors secret...
7:40 MITT'S HANDS TIED Will Romney slap Obama for the U.S. Olympics uniforms getting outsourced to China? Maybe not. It seems he outsourced them to Burma (leading human rights violator) in 1992 when he was running the show. Or maybe he will claim he was back at Bain then.
6:30 DID AL GREEN PROTEST? That new Romney ad that mocks the president’s rendition of “Let’s Stay Together” (see below) has suddenly been taken down, with explanation that there was copyright claim by BMG Rights. BMG is an international group of companies that manages rights to music, including licensing, royalties from that and so on, and presumably control “Let’s Stay Together.” Obama camp had no such problem when they used Romney singing another, if weaker, standard, “America the Beautfiul.”
4:30 FRONTLINE BOMBSHELL ON ADELSON PBS has just posted a lengthy probe of Sheldon Adelson’s “empire,” including his venture in Macau, by two of the top investigative journos around, Lowell Bergman and Stephen Engelberg. “Now, some of the methods Adelson used in Macau to save his company and help build a personal fortune estimated at $25 billion have come under expanding scrutiny by federal and Nevada investigators, according to people familiar with both inquiries…
“Las Vegas Sands denies any wrongdoing. But it has told investors that it is under criminal investigation for possible violations of the US anti-bribery law. Adelson declined to respond to detailed questions, including whether he was aware of the concerns about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act when he directed payment of the bill from Alves’ law firm. The documents depict Adelson as a hands-on manager, overseeing details of the company’s foray into Macau, which is now the world’s gambling capital.”
Plus, this newsy tidbit: “A filing with the Federal Election Commission last night shows that Adelson and his wife, Miriam, gave $5 million to the “YG Action Fund,” a Super PAC linked to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican.”
2:55 QUOTE OF THE DAY From James Carville: “The only person who has seen Romney’s taxes is John McCain and he took one look and picked Sarah Palin.”
2:35 INDECENT: SARAH WOULD ‘SCISSOR’ SHELDON ADELSON You may recall comic/actress Sarah Silverman’s bold offer in 2008 to go to Florida to help Obama by wooing old Jewish people. Now she returns with this video, “An Indecent Proposal,” offering to perform a certain sex act with Romney’s sugar daddy, Sheldon Adelson, if he will merely donate to Obama instead. She claims this will give him “bragging rights” with his billionaire friends—to have had a “Jewess” in this way. She even demonstrates—and there’s a website. Potentially not safe for work—or for Sarah!
2:25 HEINZ, HEINZ and MITT William Rivers Pitt of Truthout with this Facebook post folllowing Romney’s demand on Fox this morning (see video below): “So let me get this straight: Mitt thinks Theresa Heinz Kerry’s tax records are relevant. A large chunk of Mitt’s money is in overseas accounts and under his wife’s name. Has Ann Romney released any of her tax returns?” He calls this “memo to Obama campaign”… Politico with new story on Bain investing in software company—in China.
2:00 WHO LET THE DOG IN? Photo and caption (lower left in photo) of the day, via Daily Kos, takes off on Gillespie claim that Mitt retired from Bain “retroactively”: Romney’s dog finally gets to ride inside the car. Years of bad press, and big cleanup problem, averted. Gail Collins loses out.
1:15 GOING GREEN—BUT HELPING ROMNEY? Quadrennial question emerges again as Green Party presidential nominee launches campaign, and will be on ballot in key states. Boston physician Jill Stein bested second runner (and former sitcom star) Roseanne Barr by a 41 percent margin, winning 193.5 of a total 294 delegates. Stein, who ran against Romney in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial election and won 3 percent of the vote, is running on a platform centered on her Green New Deal, an ambitious plan that would guarantee full employment of all Americans at a living wage, develop a green economy based on renewable energy sources, tax banker bonuses at a 90-percent rate, and legalize marijuana.”
12:05 pm AFTERNOON DELIGHTS Elizabeth Warren: “We need the DISCLOSE Act”… Chris Cillizza of Wash Post calls Romney’s Bain problems “unsolvable”… With access to new data, Florida vows to restart voter purge… New TV ad for Deb Fischer in Nebraska… And big controversies involving e-mails in key Texas education board elections… Among PACs filing with FEC: Raptors for Jesus and My Cat for a Better Tomorrowl
11:35 am THE FIRST ATTACK ADS ON THE SCREEN It may surprise some of you to learn that it happened as far back as 1934, and featured two rather famous if disparate Americans: Irving Thalberg and Upton Sinclair. Both were boyhood socialists, by the way.
11:15 KUCINICH NOT GOING AWAY The longtime Ohio congressman, who lost in big to retain seat in gerrrymandered district, forms Kucinich Action PAC. “I’m giving people the tools they need to be able to change the outcome, not only with respect to campaigns for candidates, but on issues that affect our community, our state and our nation.”
11:10 AMERICAN DEMOCRACY Paul Begala echoes point I’ve made often: fewer than 1 million voters in six states will actually decide the next president. Even if that’s too strict, there’s no question that vast majority of Americans have been disenfranchised in race for White House thanks to Electoral College.
10:50 ROMNEY’s IRA GAINS NOT PROVISIONAL Finally, a good look, from Bloomberg (again) at the greatest mystery of all—how Romney grew his IRA to $100 million, which seems to some impossible without some hanky-panky. Of all his financial “black holes.… He should put explaining his magical IRA at the top of the list.”
10:25 REWRITING HISTORY Not sure why this surprises me at all, but I was not aware how common reporters, right up to NYT, give campaign operatives and politicians in general—even sons of candidates—full “quote approval” in return for access. Taking back revealing comments, cutting curse words, making them sound smarter, and much more.
10:10 ROMNEY DEFENSE GOES BETTER WITH COKE To combat Obama charge of Romney maybe committing felon re Bain reports, Fox and Friends revisits today the young Barack’s illegal…cocaine use. Of course, Obama admitted this long ago in a book so there’s hardly a coverup going on, and voters don’t buy that he is some kind of druggy. Expect a Drudge siren: “What is Michelle REALLY growing in that White House garden?” And Donald Trump on Fox this morning said Romney should not release tax returns until Obama reveals college records. Next: GOP and Fox go back to full Birther?
9:30 ROMNEY CONFIRMS: NO NEW TAX (RETURNS) Romney on Fox and Friends and chuckles and then confirms will only release two years of tax returns and to do more would only help Obama oppo-research. Then mentions John Kerry’s wife… Also, turns out Mitt called for opponents to release returns in 2002 and 1994… John Harwood of NYT tweets: “Will Romney release more tax data? Senior aide #1: ‘we’re not taking the bait.’ Sr aide #2: ‘To my knowledge, we’re staying the course.’”
VEEP PICK NEAR? NYT suggests that Romney may name Veep pick soon (to deflect Bain crisis?) and that it may well by Tim Pawlenty (the T-Paw that refreshes), or maybe Rob Portman. Democrats quake? Chris Cillizza of Wash Post points out via Twitter that he may have to act fast because Olympics coming in just eleven days. Others suggest this could be mistake as choice may well be seen as uninspiring and fizzle way before convention (still six weeks away). Romney camp used Drudge to capture media on Condi pick—now playing NYT? And Bain/tax/offshore/outsource angles won’t go away.
GREEN, WITH ENVY New web ad from Romney camp follows the Obama one (see at bottom of page) with Mitt singing—with the president doing his Al Green imitation, suggesting he is “so in love” with secret donors. Man, I could listen to those few seconds forever… Dave Weigel at Slate points out absurdity of this line of attack coming from Romney camp, which refuses to release names of biggest donors and “bundlers.”
MORNING SHORTS Dana Carvey doing Romney: “I hate poor people and I want to kill them!… I mean, I hate that people are poor and that it kills them”… David Corn finds nugget in sworn testimony by Mitt that undercuts his claims on Bain exit, and suggests calendars might wrap up the case… John Cassidy of The New Yorker has four possible reasons Romney won’t release more returns…
NYT FAILS TO ADVANCE After lagging on the latest Romney/Bain reports (and well behind its Boston Globe corporate cousin), the Times weighs in today tracing the “convoluted” trail but adding nothing new and if anything whitewashing a bit… On the other hand, we have TPM’s Josh Marshall: “Romney’s point seems 2b that Satan took over as CEO of Bain immediately after his departure; started doing awful stuff he’d never have done.”
PERSONAL = POLITICAL Today’s Paul Krugman column: “So how can the Obama campaign cut through this political and media fog? By talking about Mr. Romney’s personal history, and the way that history resonates with the realities of his pro-rich, anti-middle-class policy proposals. Thus the entirely true charge that Mr. Romney wants to slash historically low tax rates on the rich even further dovetails perfectly with his own record of extraordinary tax avoidance—so extraordinary that he’s evidently afraid to let voters see his tax returns from before 2010.”
WHEN ROMNEY WANTED PRESS TO… PRESS From an unlikely source, Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard comes this gem from Romney’s book: “I admit to having been more than a little surprised that many of the serious challenges facing America today were not forcefully examined by the media during the 2008 primary and general election campaigns.”
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.”
THE ‘NO APOLOGY’ TOUR Obama says again to Mitt, don’t hold your breath. No regrets, no tears goodbye.
AFTERNOON UPDATES Senator 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 released only two years of tax returns, though (surprise) not true… Lizz Winstead: “I am a virgin #Retroactively.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
NEW OBAMA AD Toughest one yet? Romney singing “America the Beautiful” his outsourcing/offshoring records rolls along.