Tuesday marked the start of my daily focus on the 2012 election campaign, covering the latest news and controversies across a very wide range of races and issues that progressives care about. (See my preview and personal background here.) As the author of three books about influential political campaigns, 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. Send tips to me at epic1934@aol.com. Frequent updates, from the top.

The Thursday edition of this blog now posted.  Sorry for the glitches that slowed the Wednesday edition.

1:35  CASINO ROYALE   Sheldon Adelson gives cool $10 million to pro-Romney PAC.

12:55  QUOTE OF THE DAY  Democratic operative Dave "Mudcat" Saunders told the Daily Caller he has signed up with Wayne Powell (D) to take on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).   The campaign’s message: "He screwed us, and us is pissed."  (h/t Taegan Goddard)

12:45 p.m.  AFTERNOON DELIGHTS  John King loses CNN show, returning to campaign beat…. Why does anyone in media even bother to cite never credible Rasmussen poll showing Romney suddenly topping Obama in Wisconsin? … PolitiFact scorecard for Joe (Sam) the Plumber in his race for House seat in Ohio so far:  one statement mostly true, one false, one "pants on fire."  Yes, Joe said Obama’s parents were both "communists." 

DEMS HOLD GIFFORDS’S SEAT In special election yesterday, Democrats retained Representative Gabby Giffords’s seat as her aide Ron Brewer topped Jesse Kelly. Now, as the Blog for Arizona ponders, can the Dems hold it in November? GOP is now frantically looking for another candidate, since Kelly had previously lost to Giffords herself, but he’s not going away. In any case, a nice bounce back for Dems after last week’s Wisconsin debacle.

AIN’T THAT A SHAME Senator Sherrod Brown’s team sent out email blast today seeking funds to combat enormous PAC spending against him in Ohio race. They even mention recent ads by ex-rock star (and longtime GOP enthusiast) Pat Boone. Here’s one of them that I somehow missed:


DAKOTA BANNING Bunch of wacky right-wing-generated ballot measures in North Dakota voted on yesterday, such as eliminating property taxes (it was easily turned aside). Enjoyed this tweet from the AP: “BREAKING: North Dakota residents vote to let university scrap Fighting Sioux nickname, avoid sanctions.”

RETURN OF “MACACA MAN” Yes, George Allen easily won GOP primary in Virginia yesterday in drive to return to US Senate. Epic battle with Tim Kaine coming up. DailyKos has report on other contests across USA, from Nevada to S. Carolina. For full primary vote returns TPM has page ready to bring them to you.  The two major parties picked their candidates for key Maine race to succeed Sen. Olympia Snowe–but wily independent Angus King expected to take it in November.

FIGHTING A PURGE Jon Stewart had some fun with Florida Governor Rick Scott and pathetic failure of his voge purge efforts, and yes, he does look like “Mr. Clean.” John Oliver later interviewed (destroyed) John Fund and went to Florida himself to fihd GOP election official also doubting Scott.

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire brings us news that Diana Newland and Edward Lapeyre tied in their runoff election last week for the Webster, TX, city council, with 111 votes each. A dice roll was needed to break the tie. Newland won on the third roll of the dice… 

DIMON NOT THIS GIRL’S BEST FRIEND  Jamie Dimon, the JP Morgan CEO, testified in Congress today and quickly Code Pink and other protestors were tossed out of the room.  But Elizabeth Warren, the Senate candidae in Massachusettts, "sees JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s Wednesday testimony before the Senate Banking Committee as an opportunity to push the government to strengthen financial reform, to increase pressure on Dimon to resign from the New York Fed Board — and to tie her Massachusetts Senate opponent Scott Brown to the Wall Street excesses that crippled the U.S. economy. But the longtime reform advocate worries that powerful financial interests still control Congress and their own regulators, and that the window is closing for using JPMorgan’s eye-popping losses on bets with depositor funds to tighten regulations on Wall Street.”

WEDNESDAY POLL WATCH Nate Silver at his popular NYT “FiveThirtyEight” blog explains in exquisite wonk fashion how to read his update models over the net, oh, 20 weeks. His latest forecast numbers: Obama over Romney 289–248 in electoral votes, a 62 percent chance of winning he will take the big prize, and win popular vote by 50.4 percent to 48.5 percent. Don’t bet the house, of the House, on it… Nate later had some fun with this tweet: “Obama’s support CRATERED among elderly gay Hispanic Jews in the latest tracking poll.”

RAND RETORT When Senator Rand Paul forsook his (still-a-candidate) dad to endorse Romney, many Ron Paul supporters went upside his head. Dave Weigel of Slate yesterday collected some of the art work parodying this that he found at Facebook. One example at left.

OBAMA LEAKAGE Huff Post on Public Citizen publishing today leaked Obama trade document that supposedly gives lie to some of his campaign promises and suggests new powers for corporations and multinationals.  Getting big play already.

DEMOCRATS’ PAC-MEN (AND WOMEN) TPM IDs the “top Democrat Super-PAC backers.” Includes: Jeffrey Katzenberg and Bill Maher. But “These top seven ‘liberal’ donors have combined to donate $10,180,042 so far to outside spending groups—less than has been individually spent by both Sheldon and Miriam Adelson and Harold and Annette Simmons, who have donated $25,000,000 and $15,200,000, respectively, to conservative groups.

ROMNEY WINS THIS "HORSE RACE" EASILY   Stephen Colbert last night mocked Mitt’s "equestrian" appeal to blue-collar voters.


SWINGERS LOSE SWAY?  My assistant Max Rivlin-Nadler reports: An ABC/Washington Post poll finds that independent voters are receptive to neither economic plans offered by the two presidential candidates. The mysterious "swing voters" have again become the focus of intense scrutiny and discussion. We’re reminded that individuals who are torn between Obama and his opponent are not necessarily a bellwether of the campaigns, but are more likely seriously uninformed who don’t really hold much sway (or vote) in the general election. The candidates win by rallying their base.

OBAMA’s EDGE John Cassidy at The New Yorker says Obama still has enough edges over Romney (e.g., with women and Hispanics) that he can still win even if economy remains weak. “The key to success is to wage a campaign not just against Mitt, who is something of a cipher, but against the entire Republican Party, which is widely (and correctly) seen as an extremist organization.”

MORNING SHORTS A lot being written this week on the ease, and impact, of texting donations to candidates, such as hereGood magazine with very good graphic (with help from Lawrence Lessing’s Rootstrikers) on the cost of money in politics—getting to Congress division… The Daily Show tweets: “Jesse Ventura Likens GOP and Dems to Bloods and Crips. Bloods and Crips demand immediate apology”… Ari Berman here at The Nation: Why aren’t more in media calling out Romney for ideas that plainly will hurt the economy? …

From late Tuesday

ROOM FOR A HASHTAG, TOO Obama at Maryland fundraiser today on the GOP campaign message: “You can pretty much put their campaign on a tweet and have some characters to spare.”

CITIZENS UNITED REDUX Our own Katrina vanden Heuvel with detailed look at actions actions across USA to un-do the horrific SCOTUS decision.

JOE WALSH: LIFE IN THE BASH LANE I’ve had fun from the start (given my Crawdaddy pedigree) with Tea Party candidate, now congressman, Joe Walsh, given the, shall we say, goofy image of the Eagles’ guitarist of the same name. Now comes word that the original wacky Joe Walsh has endorsed the opponent of the new wacky Joe Walsh in the latter’s tough re-election fight against Tammy Duckworth in Illinois. He’ll even play a benefit for her. His statement: “I’m the real Joe Walsh and I’m proud to back a real American success story—Tammy Duckworth. Tammy’s story, her service to our nation and her continued commitment to working families (like the one I come from!) have convinced me that she’s the right choice for Congress.” And you know you can’t forget those lionized. And more from the music world: Pearl Jam’s bassist backs Senator Jon Tester and helping with a September fundraising ploy in Missoula.

OBAMA POLLS: A LIBERAL INTERPRETATION The Fix at Wash Post crunches numbers today and finds (surprise?) liberals remain nearly as strong for Obama—at least in voting preference—as ever. Yes, activists bitch and moan (they say) but even they will vote for Obama, though it is hard to judge the enthusiasm likely to be there on election day, and the funding before then—though many say they “strongly” back the president and are not just “anti-Romney”… Meanwhile, thecomedy of rightwing obsession with Obama joining (or likely not) lefty New Party in 1996 continues, and Buzzfeed posts new docs and denials.

Greg Mitchell’s campaign books include The Campaign of the Century (Upton Sinclair, 1934), Tricky DIck and the Pink Lady (Nixon-Douglas, 1950), and Why Obama Won.