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 campaigns, I also bring historical perspective to this. You can bookmark the daily blog by going here
11:25 YOUR 'DAILY SHOW' RE-CAP For those blocked from watching, despite recent pact, Jon Stewart with strong opening segment on media and politicians asking that we not talk about guns after gun massacre in Colorado. Good line: "They want a waiting period for THAT." Then rips Brian Ross of ABC for horrendous error (though nothing new for him), though could have been worse--could have confused Jim Holmes with famous dead porn star John Holmes....Then on to "Gay Watch," with Boy Scouts "crackdown." But the Boy Scouts itself is "the gayest organization in America." Then Chick-fil-A's proud anti-gay moves based on Bible. So Jon reads from The Book on various odd marriage rules. Then guest "for 400th time" as Jon says (embarrassed?) was Fareed Zakaria, on Syria.
7:50 QUOTE OF THE DAY From novelist Martin Amis, now livin’ in the USA: “I’ve had the great pleasure of watching the incredible convulsions of the Republican Party. They’ve been pathetic. And I do think it’s a reaction to having a black president—despite everything they say, it’s been killing them.” More here, including his wish the GOP had gone whole-hog and nominated ticket of Sarah the Pit Bull and Joe the Plumber.
6:50 STAT OF THE DAY That’s what Chris Cillizza of the Wash Post calls this: “American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have spent $94 million on TV ads so far in the general election.”
6:40 CANDIDATE SITE OF THE DAY Young New Yorker running in state race named Mindy Meyer has pinkish site and, uh, special music. Folks have had fun with this all day, but she says she is not joking.
5:30 DOJ PROBES BAD ID We earlier cited claims about 1 million voters imperiled in Pennsylvania and now there’s a new report that the DOJ is looking into state’s effort to target minorities.
4:30 HILLARY TAKES LEAD FOR 2016! This tests the notion that it’s-never-too-early but here’s report on the first polling on the next race for the White House—naturally, in Iowa—with Hillary Clinton leading (even older by then) Joe Biden 60-18, with Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Cuomo drawing 3 percent. GOP leaders: Huckabee and Santorum.
4:10 MORE ON ‘BUILD THAT’ DISTORTION I’ve covered the blowback on Romney camp manipulation of now infamous Obama (non-)quote, and as noted below, even Glenn Kessler at Wash Post today hit the GOP spin as “ridiculous.” Here’s a new overview from Campaign for America’s Future.
3:20 MEDIA ‘LAPDOGS’ NOT ‘WATCHDOGS’ New blast just now from the First Amendment Center on recently exposed widespread practice of reporters allowing campaign operatives, and others, to “edit their quotes.” Excerpt: “The reason for the system is not even a laudable if misguided desire for accuracy. Rather, it’s a self-serving, hat-in-hand posture of trading independence for access. It’s a complete reversal—no, it’s an abandonment—of the free press’ obligation to report to the public. It’s liberty sold outright in return for an interview that presumably otherwise would be withheld.”
2:50 HOT ISSUE THIS FALL? Somehow I doubt it, but here’s segment from latest BIll Moyers show with Chris Hedges on destruction of pockets of America due to “inequality.” Capitalism’s “sacrifice zones.” Watch:
1:30 BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS? Shockingly strong NY Daily News editorial (that is, speaking for the newspaper) charging that the two candidates for president both have “blood on their hands” for Aurora. “Through their inaction and their silence, Obama and Romney have fallen into line with all those who enabled Holmes to take hold of that AR-15 and will enable others to do so in the future unless America’s political leaders develop the courage to fight to save lives.”
1:15 AFTERNOON DELIGHTS Ari Berman tweets: “1 million registered voters in PA don’t have acceptable voter ID, according to University of Washington expert”… Sen. Scott Brown with his own “they didn’t build that” manipulations vs. Elizabeth Warren… MoveON launching “What Is Mitt Hiding?” contest to pick top, witty, submissions… Cast members of The Wire to help fundraise for Obama (legally)… “Death panels” faux issue revived in Illnois Congressional races… Is Rep. Michele Bachmann, with more missteps this month, now vulnerable in her district?
12:45 BROWN AND GREEN We brought you the saga last week of that conservative blogger exposing the scandal of Sen. Sherrod Brown, in Ohio re-election fight, hugging a female journalist—of course, it turned out it was his wife, noted columnist Connie Schultz. Now, in new e-mail, he is fundraising around it.
12:15 pm SAME-SEX MARRIAGE OUTLOOK New polls find ballot vote on marriage equality very much up for grabs in Washington and Minnesota. “In both states, the groups supporting equality have out-fundraised their opponents by wide margins, but now they have to spend their money in ways to support the momentum toward equality not reflected in these polls.”
11:40 am SWING VOTERS BARELY EXIST Polling finds that the number of important but sometimes almost mythical undecided voters shrinking again to record low numbers: about 6 percent who say open to changing their minds. Another 13 percent say it is, at least, possible, though far from likely. The rest, as I have estimated before, locked in.
11:30 ‘THE JOKER’ BUT NO ONE’S LAUGHING First current photo of alleged Aurora terrorist, James Holmes, in court today (left). TV video shows him somber, without the swagger, unemotional, perhaps realizing his fate. Or drugged, sleepless… Local gun range decided Holmes too wacko to allow him to shoot—but there was no problem selling assault rifle to him… Would you sell an assault rifle to young man at the left?
10:40 READY FOR RECOUNTS? This question put to the Obama camp by Bill Daley, who was so involved in the Bush-Gore debacle in 2000, and it’s none too soon. “Daley says that Axelrod responded to his advice by pointing out that the campaign has lots of lawyers on hand. But the former White House chief of staff, who has stayed on good terms with Obama’s team, came away with the impression that the possibility of a Florida replay wasn’t on the campaign strategists’ radar screen”… After three-day break, Obama camp back on the attack today.
10:20 SWING VOTERS BARELY EXIST Polling finds that the number of important but sometimes almost mythical undecided voters shrinking again to record low numbers: about 6 percent who say open to changing their minds. Another 13 percent say it is, at least, possible, though far from likely. The rest, as I have estimated before, locked in.
9:25 SUPER-RICH MEAL Money from the top doesn’t trickle down—it floats safely off shore. A new study estimates that the “global super-rich elite” are hiding at least $21 trillion in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, The Atlantic reports. “And that number is just cash, like real dollars, and doesn’t account for real estate or property that would bolster a rich person’s net worth. James Henry wrote The Price of Offshore Revisted for the Tax Justice Network. Using data from Bank of International Settlements, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and national governments, Henry…called $21 trillion a conservative estimate and said the figure might be closer to $32 trillion. As the BBC notes, that’s more than the U.S. and Japanese economies combined. Somewhere, Mitt Romney is preparing a statement saying he’s not a member of the ‘global super-rich elite.’”
9:20 TESTER SCORED GOP opponent of Sen. Jon Tester in Montana in ultra-key race hits him for allegedly falsely attacking him on cutting cancer funding.
9:15 THE ROMNEY DEFENSE NCAA lowers (partial) boom on Penn State just now. If Paterno still alive he could cite Romney’s defense: I wasn’t retroactively there from 1998-2001.
ROMNEY BY A NOSE The candidate loves to mention the “Pinocchios” that Obama and the Dems have gotten from the Wash Post’s fact-check guy Glenn Kessler, most recently re some of the Bain / tax claims. He probably won’t mention the latest Kessler probe, which ends by giving Mitt and the GOPers three “Pinocchios” for the misleading, out of context and donwright “ridiculous” use of Obama’s recent “they didn’t build that” quote… And in 2002, Romney told Olympians they didn’t get there “by your own power”… CJR on the real issues raised by Romney’s Bain tenure: lessons he’d bring to White House.
TAMPA-ING DOWN CONVENTION PROTESTS Occupy and others are on the way to protest GOP. So: “In an effort to control demonstrations and prevent disturbances, officials in Tampa are taking unusual steps that they say will help ensure public safety but that many demonstrators and civil liberties advocates say will place unacceptable limits on public dissent. In May the city adopted a temporary ordinance that will clamp down on protests in dozens of blocks near the Tampa Convention Center. Among other things, the ordinance requires a permit for groups of 50 or more to gather in parks; sets a limit of 90 minutes on parades; and bans an array of items, including glass bottles, aerosol cans and pieces of rope longer than six feet. It also provided for an official parade route for protesters along with viewing areas” (emphasis added)…
THE POST-AURORA CAMPAIGN We’ll have to see how rhetoric—and TV ad buys—change this week, if much at all. Romney is going abroad. Denver Post covers Obama in Aurora, and his campaign says will keep ads off TV in Colorado for rest of the week… Tom Edsall in NYT column claims Obama making biggest ad push to win votes of white working-class voters with no college degree, or inspire some to stay home on election day, by going negative on Romney… News of a second Anna Wintour celeb fundraiser for Obama, this one involving Harvey Weinstein.
OBAMA WON’T MOVE ON GUNS Obama spokesman makes it official, says he will not push for new gun control measures. Read it and (literally) weep: “Carney said that includes a reauthorization of the Clinton-era assault-weapon ban that lapsed during the George W. Bush administration. ‘As you know, there’s been opposition to that since it expired within Congress….The president is focused on doing the things that we can do that protect Second Amendment rights which he thinks is important but also make it harder for individuals who should not under existing law have weapons to obtain them”… Colorado Governor Hickenlooper: Tougher gun laws wouldn’t have stopped wacko shooter….Congresswoman McCarthy: politicians “don’t have a spine” on guns…. Even Bill Kristol says Dems being “foolish” to not push for new “sensible” gun measures.>
CALIFORNIA NO LONGER GOLDEN FOR GOP Gratifying NYT story that California—home to Reagan and Nixon and so many other famed Republicans (George Murphy and Shirley Temple Black, also)—is shutting out the party at top levels. “We are at a lower point than we’ve ever been,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy, the No. 3 Republican in the United States House of Representatives. “It’s rebuilding time.” Registered Republicans “now account for just 30 percent of the California electorate, and are on a path that analysts predict could drop them to No. 3 in six years, behind Democrats, who currently make up 43 percent, and independent voters, with 21 percent.”
MORNING SHORTS Bob Kerrey’s Senate comeback in Nebraska still “an uphill climb,” Karen Tumulty writes in Wash Post… Bloomberg to publish thirty-two-page magazine during conventions and may stick around afterward, politics chief Al Hunt is helming… Bill Clinton to endorse Maggie Hassan in NH governor’s race this week—huge because she has two opponents in Dem primary… Democratic congressman in Massachusetts in trouble over massive gambling probe of various close relatives… Tommy Thompson getting help from Ted Nugent on Thursday… Once again we have to say: It’s not “Swift Boating” Romney if what is being claimed is largely true. This seems lost on many in national media…
Greg Mitchell is author of more than a dozen books, including three on highly significant campaigns of the past century (Upton Sinclair 1934, Nixon-Douglas 1950, Obama 2008).