A new daily blog, covering the latest news and controversies 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 a certain historical perspective to this very topical task. You can bookmark the blog by clicking my name at the top or by going here.

7:00 EVENING UPDATES  Representative Patrick Murphy, Iraq vet, on MSNBC just now said group in Congress seeking Joe Walsh to resign over maligning Duckworth’s service (see  original report down the page)… Sarah Palin broke the “Are you kidding?” barrier so completely that even someone like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio now a “serious” VP possibility… Please, don’t cite current heat wave as “proof” of climate change—then mock wingers who cite big snowstorms. Stick to yearly data etc.

1:25 OFFSHORE ENOUGH? Bill Burton, the Obama PAC guy, weighs in on Vanity Fair revelations (see below) in e-mail: “Today’s Vanity Fair article confirms what the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported but the Romney campaign falsely denied. Unlike the vast majority of Americans who pay their fair share of taxes, Mitt Romney is avoiding taxes by stashing millions of dollars in the Cayman Islands. This matters in the presidential campaign because it is just these types of loopholes for the wealthy that Romney would protect, forcing more of the tax burden onto the middle class. As Governor Romney vets his potential nominees for Vice President, you have to wonder, is he asking potential candidates about just such investments? And if Romney gave the McCain campaign 23 years of tax returns, how many years of tax returns is his team examining from each of the candidates?”

12:05 pm AFTERNOON DELIGHTS WSJ: Wonder why Obama hasn’t gone after banks so much? Check out campaign contributions… Romney camp touting big funding surge after SCOTUS ruling (though mainly from the usual fat cats)—but House Dems had best week ever (and will need it)… David Brooks in today’s NYT column offers laughable defense of GOP healthcare plan—and says if GOPers can’t make the case in the fall  they should quit “public life.” So let’s hold him to giving up his column in November.

11:05 am ARTICLE OF THE DAY Surely it is this mammoth and much-needed Vanity Fair probe of Romney’s investments, particularly with his ill-gotten Bain money and sent abroad, especially to the Cayman Islands: “the murky world of offshore finance, revealing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to skirt tax laws, and investigating just how much of Romney’s fortune (with $30 million in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands alone?) looks pretty strange for a presidential candidate.”

10:30 WHEN HE GOT THE NAME “TRICKY DICK” PBS segment on Richard Nixon’s “Red Scare” campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas, subject of new edition and ebook for my Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady book.


10:20 BIG POLL SWITCHEROO OF YEAR Check out these numbers from Ohio on how black voters viewed gay marriage before and after Obama finally backed it… Plus: the eleven strongest pro-gay rights Congress members.

9:55 THE BRIGHT SIDE Anti-democratic Electoral College means voters for president in dozens of states—the vast majority of America—disenfranchised, but at least we miss most of the TV ads!… And there’s this: Are we back to square one? GOPers worried that they did indeed nominate the worst candidate for this era—due to Romneycare and Bain?

QUOTE OF THE DAY From the reliable Bill Kristol, who said, re: Romney backing a health care “tax” in Massachusetts but hitting it on federal level: “You don’t need to be a virigin to oppose promiscuity”… Runnerup: Representative Joe Walsh saying vet, opponent and double-amputee Tammy Duckworth not a ‘true war hero”—because she talks about her service.

BRIAN WILSON’s WAR NYT piece looks at, of all things, the reunited Beach Boys in the context of today’s politics and campaign. Even i did not know they played a Romney funder in 2008 (invitation at left), or that Brian Wilson got arrested at a 1984 GOP bash. We also observe an alleged Brian blue state vs. Mike Love red state divide.

WEIGHTY ISSUE First Anderson Cooper comes out of the closet (duh) and now Chris Christie opens up about his obesity (double duh). Gastric bypass too risky, he says. Given his nasty temper, perhaps shutting off his just-as-big mouth for a few days might be an idea. Just yesterday he trashes another reporter. Hey, pick on someone your own size!

SUPREME IRONY Wash Post poll finds 41 percent in US still haven’t heard about SCOTUS decision on health law. Honk if this surprises you… and 15 percent think SCOTUS overturned the law... Representative Joe “Lying Eyes” Walsh opposes Obamacare—but took advantage of provision allowing his 24-year-old kid to go on his swell insurance plan. Shocker!

PUT YOUR SHORTS ON PolitiFact checks Governor Rick Scott on three issues and declares: Liar, Liar and Pants on Fire… New Gail Collins book just out on how the not-so-great state of Texas has so horribly influenced USA. Aside from all the great musicians… Chuck Todd airs yet another Obama attack ad in swing states vs. Romney as “Outsourcer” (Obama is ‘Insourcer”)… The Mormon vote in Nevada: Overhyped? …Think Progress: 29 GOP governors may turn aside Obamacare funds, telling 9.2 million tough luck… Even Obama campaign now using “Obamacare” in ads…

MITT TO ISRAEL Yes, he is making the trip. “For Mr. Romney, the trip is an opportunity to appeal both to Jewish voters and donors, whose overwhelming support of President Obama has softened, according to some polls, and to evangelical Christians, whose trust he is still fighting to win. At the March conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby known as Aipac, Mr. Romney vowed that Israel would be the destination of his first foreign trip as president, underscoring the fact that Mr. Obama has not visited here since his election, a sore spot among some Israel supporters.”

From late Monday

SOCCER TO ME My assistant Max Rivlin-Nadler writes: “NYC minor-league soccer team to play with Romney advertisements on jerseys. The money for the advertisements come courtesy of a donor who said, ‘I love fútbol, I love America, I am a proud Latino-American who believes Mitt Romney needs to be our next president.’ ”

AFTERNOON DELIGHTS Getting a lot of play today: video of Newt Gingrich in Paris bowing to head of “terrorist” group”… Dept. of Justice rejects S. Carolina voter ID move—for second time… Photo: Mitt and Ann Romney riding jet ski… New poll: Public evenly split on SCOTUS health law ruling. Time will tell.

TROUBLE FOR MITT? Our old pal David Corn with new piece: It seems Romney was part of group that invested $75 million in a medical waste firm that disposed of aborted fetuses. This surfaced a few months back but disappeared from view but now new docs obtained my Mother Jones further the story and also raise questions about Romney’s departure from Bain—later than he’s claimed?

HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL Buzzfeed has posted sixty-nine, count ’em, photos of well-known politicians back in the day. That’s Eliz Warren at left, but don’t miss everyone from David Axelrod to (the other) Joe Walsh.

CHEST FEVER Carly Fiorina, as Romney surrogate: Obamacare would hurt breast cancer victims. Debunked long ago.

NEW BOOK My book Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady on the notorious Richard Nixon–Helen Gahagan Douglas race for the US Senate in 1950, appeared in a new print edition this past weekend—and for the first time as an ebook. Also, see my piece from Saturday here at The Nation on Helen Douglas’s paving the way for the (still too small number of ) female candidates for Congress ever since. The book also probes 1950 as a high point of the Red Scare in America in all its forms—and, of course, as launch pad for Nixon (and his dirty tricks) in his rise to the White House.