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, 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 me tips at epic1934@aol.com.

6:10  MARCO SOLO?  And now, after a full day of reports that Romney had axed Marco Rubio as a Veep contender, he comes out and says Rubio is being "thoroughly vetted."   Maybe the fact Rubio is 1) fundraising for Romney today and 2) has a book coming out today, had something to do with it.

4:40  OBAMA WANTS CROSSROADS DONORS UNVEILED  Just out via NYT:  "The lawyer for President Obama demanded on Tuesday that Crossroads GPS disclose its donors, saying in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission that the group is plainly a ‘political committee’ subject to federal reporting requirements. In the complaint, obtained by The New York Times, Robert F. Bauer, the campaign’s chief counsel, writes that the group — founded by Karl Rove, among others — can no longer shield the identity of its donors by defining itself as a ‘social welfare’ organization."

4:30  HOOSiER SHRINK  Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party darling who upset Sen. Dick Lugar in GOP primary in Indiana, now says employers not only should not have to cover contraception (if they are opposed) but also–drop coverage for something like cancer if they objects to cost.

4:00 BARRY HUMOROUS  It seems like it came out a month or so ago, but actually today is release date for the David Marannis book about Obama.  New York magazine responds with a fun "26 Minor Facts" about Obama that emerge in those many pages.  Sample: Obama "loved to peek at us when bathing," his Indonesian step-cousin Noeke recalls.

3:00 PLUMBING THE DEPTHS  In new video ad for his House campaign in Ohio, Joe (Sam) the (Former) Plumber blames the Holocaust on gun control. 


2:50  BREAKING  I am not  being vetted for Veep slot by Romney.  Neither is Rubio, and here is analysis of what that means.

2:20 AFTERNOON DELIGHTS  The bomb squad: Our own Ari Berman counts 12 Romney advisers who want to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran. … Obama’s step-by-step plan to make the GOP nothing but straight white men.  So far so good…Speak of the devil, Romney now says he would not only extend Bush tax cuts but even cut more for the super-rich, won’t say how to pay for it (let me guess).  Poll finds only 18% back extending the tax cuts for the wealthy. … Andy Borowitz tweets:  "When the right wing attacks, you will usually win on spelling."

12:30 MADISON’S OLD COLLEGE TRY  As some may have guessed by now, one of my pet peeves (re: our democracy) is the good old Electoral College, which guarantees that the vote of hardly anyone in USA now counts in presidential elections.  Now here’s a great piece at the Fair Vote site on how even James Madison wanted to make changes.  "One of the most common criticisms of plans to modify or eliminate the Electoral College is that to do so would be to deviate from the wisdom of the Founders of the American political system. But the ‘Father of the Constitution’ himself, James Madison, was never in favor of our current system for electing the president, one in which nearly all states award their electoral votes to the statewide popular vote winner. He ultimately backed a constitutional amendment to prohibit this practice."

11:05 GOOD WILLS HUNTING You may have heard yesterday about one of Obama’s former esteemed teachers, Roberto Unger, now advising folks to not vote for him—charging that he has sold out progressives. Now the great Garry Wills writes about the "purity" of politics at the New York Review of Books’ blog (plus video of the teacher). Wills prefers Unger to Obama but concludes: "If people like Professor Unger, people too highly principled for us folks who muck around in the real world, get their way, they will not give us a prince turned into a frog, but America turned into Texas."

10:40 PUPPY LOVE Yes, there’s a Good Dog/Bad Romney site devoted to Gail Collins’ favorite subject. Check out this video:


10:30 FRANKING, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN That’s what most privileged members of Congress probably say about about criticism of their longstanding free-mailing services. Roll Call has a lengthy, interesting report on the financial and political costs—and how it’s used to aid incumbents in campaigns. Note the hypocrisy, etc.

10:25 LEBRON HELPS SHERROD BROWN? Politico reports on pro-labor Workers Voice PAC with big ad buy around the NBA finals vs. the GOP candidate for Senate in key Ohio race, Josh Mandel. It’s a takeoff on former Cleveland star Lebron James’ habit of tossing chalk before game and his chalk commercials for Nike. Yes, Mandel is being probed by the FBI… Meanwhile Politico reports that hapless Mandel is only "being kept afloat" by outside cash.

9:55 WAWA WTF? You may have seen or heard about Romney’s "WaWa" moment yesterday—expressing boyish amazement in the ordering of a convenience store sandwich—but now it turns out that MSNBC rather selectively edited the tape. But his larger remarks also raise questions, and likely engage in truth-stretching.

THE ‘MAGIC UNDERWEAR’ ISSUE Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg View looks at Romney remaining quiet on his Mormonism and asks, "Is that faith stranger than most others, or not?  "Mormons’ equanimity in the face of derision is refreshing, and speaks to the confidence they have in their religion. The Romney camp should also have confidence, and understand that not every reporter asking questions about their man’s religious practices is trying to subvert Romney’s candidacy or his church."

ALMOST CRAVEN, WEST VIRGINIA  Three top Dems in West Virginia plan to snub Obama by skipping party convention this summer, and Gov. Manchin among those who say they don’t know if they will  even vote for him in November. This from the state that virtually led list of places that lead the nation in most Google searches for the "N-word."  A federal inmate recently won 40% of the vote in the Dem primary running against the president.  

THE VAGINA DIALOGUES  A crowd of maybe 5000 turned out yesterday for a reading of The Vagina Monologues in Michigan yesterday, home of the wild "vagina" controversy.  Author Eve Ensler was on TV yesterday, of course, and Jon Stewart did his bit later, below. Our own Ari Malber appared in video takeoff on "Sex in the City."  And more fun: Stephen Colbert, like that rightwing "reporter," interrupts Obama in the Rose Garden. And talks to Paul Krugman.


POLL APART Huff Post: Obama may actually be slightly farther ahead in Gallup Poll than reported, because it consistently undercounts his supporters—by about 1% total—among blacks and Hispanics due to their response rates.  Much more at TPM on Romney’s "Latino" problem and clip of GOP backlash. Polls show DREAM move popular with voters, including 2 of 3 independents.

NOT EASY BEING GREEN  Big funding push for Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president–site has map on their ballot access, more.

WATCH THE GAP  Norman Solomon continues to close on opponent in full counting of votes in California primary full count, Marin paper now finds it at just 596.

MORNING SHORTS   ABC claims Marco Rubio is not being vetted for Veep, too many "liabilities."… Scott Brown refusing TV debate, even though good old Tom Brokaw would moderate… Okay, maybe a little off topic, but love the great Charles Pierce’s grand slam of writer trying to make rightwing icon out of baseball teen star Bryce Harper. …Texas Democratic Party backs decriminalization of pot…. Mike Bloomberg, NYT says, will be "neutral" in prez race, doesn’t like either guy…

From late Monday

THE $100 MILLION MAN   CNN confirms Sheldon Adelson plans to spend a cool $100 million this year on campaigns, but spreading it widely–not just to Romney to Karl Rove’s group and the Koch brothers’ activities.   Money and fun for all.  "The requests are coming fast and furious," the source said.  Adelson is the 7th richest man in USA.  (h/t Zoe Schlanger)

TAMMY A TARGET Americans for Prosperity with giant ad buy to hit Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin Senate race. 


THE GREAT DIVIDE Poll finds 71% of Republicans calling themselves "consevative"—while only 39% of Dems self-identify as "liberal."

GOP NO LATIN LOVERS: Longtime GOP strategist Ed Rollins tells Greg Sargent today: "If we ever lose the Hispanic vote the way we’ve lost the African American vote, there’s no way we’ll win in presidential politics." Hasn’t that horse already left the barn?

MITT BIZ PIX BuzzFeed collects eight photos from Romney’s business career. Number four is a classic. (h/t Zoë Schlanger)…  Meanwhile, in a not surprising bit of casting (or typecasting), Obama has reportedly picked Sen. John Kerry to stand in for Romney in the presidential debates. Good fit:  rich, white, tall, thin, from Massachusetts—and barely lifelike.

SANTORUM ANOTHER NAME FOR….BLOOD? The show’s creator says the inspiration for a True Blood vampire was Rick Santorum.  Alan Ball: "For me the jumping off point was watching the Republican primaries, watching Michelle Bachman, Rick Santorum, and asking what would it be like to have a theocracy in America—which is way more terrifying than any fictional monster could ever be.

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.