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.

4:20  QUOTE OF THE DAY   "I don’t live a middle class life any more," Vice President Joe Biden said at a campaign event in Iowa. "I live in a beautiful home. They fly me around. You know what I mean?"   (h/t Zoe Schlanger)

4:00 THE FULL MONTY  Amazing collection of Monty Python sketches that have been referenced in the 2012 campaign so far, collected by the National Journal.  Watch them all, hard to pick one, but here goes–Cleese in prescient impersonation of, let’s say, Romney as super-rich banker who can’t imagine helping poor.

3:15 SKIPPING RECORD  Sen. Claire McCaskill joins long list of Dems planning to skip her party’s convention (does she think this well make voters think she is weak on Obama?).  TPM has full current list, which it titles "Running for the Hills." Includes Sen. Joe Manchin, Sen. Jon Tester (who prefers hanging with Pearl Jam or his tractor), and various Reps.

3:10  MORE SHORTS  Glenn Beck’s electoral map is all red except for Colorado which he gives to Obama for some reason…New polls shows dead heat in Mass. race for Senate…. Biden says Romney "devastated" American communities at Bain… Slate:  Koch Brothers "hostile takeover" of Cato Institute ends in rare defeat… Do women’s health issues threaten Rep. Eric Cantor’s re-election bid?… Obama hushed a crowd today booing Romney, saying he is "patriotic American." 

3:00  KYL POLICY   Yes, Sen. John Kyl does say that perhaps they should impeach Obama over the DREAM move.  Or joking about Bosox trading Youklis.  Naming his dog Bo.  Or something…. And a GOPer running for Congress in Minn. — and in competititve race–now promising to go ahead with impeachment if elected, also over DREAM.

12:00 AFTERNOON DELIGHTS Obama calls Florida governor Rick Scott—but it’s only to talk about the big (weather) storm… Study finds new Obama ads hitting Romney as outsourcer-in-chief could have big impact… Ari Berman: “New voting restrictions pending in MI & NH. They’d be 19th and 20th state to pass voting restrictions since start of 2011”… As noted below, it’s primary day in NY and Charles Rangel still can’t figure out why Obama has not endorsed him… Condi Rice: Yeah, Romney’s foreign policy wouldn’t be much different than Obama’s. For rare time, she may be right.

10:50 HERE AND THERE A few good links via my assistant Zoë Schlanger. Governor Rick Scott has a “secret” list of 180,000 allegedly ineligible voters in Florida… Business Insider: Obama still rules in Silicon Valley fundraising—but Romney making some progress… Top TPM story today: Five sure signs you are an anti-Obama “Fast and Furious” conspiracy person… Herman Cain and Ken Blackwell with new video hitting Eric Holder on “voting rights.”

10:10 COURT MAY “SWING” AND MISS FOR MITT Much-ignored point and details raised by The Hill today: several key swing states will be among most affedted adversely if SCOTUS kicks out Obamacare. “If the court throws out the entire law, about 22.4 million people who would have gotten access to insurance coverage will remain uninsured.… Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan would each see more than 500,000 people lose access to Medicaid or subsidized private insurance.… Neither benefit is in place yet, as the bulk of the Affordable Care Act does not take effect until 2014. No one would lose coverage they already have—rather, some would not gain coverage they were set to receive.” (h/t Wonk Wire)

10:10 MONTANA HITS BACK Two top state officials, a Dem and a GOPer, hit Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, boost ElectionsAreForUs.org and upcoming votes for constitutional amendment to overturn.


9:45 BUFFETT CASH FOR KERREY Bob Kerrey, striving to retrieve his old Senate seat in Nebraska. will be getting some much needed funding from another Nebraska star, Warren Buffett. Politico reports that he will host a fundraiser for Kerrey this summer—although he will not finance a Super Pac. “I am 100 percent behind Kerrey,” Buffett said. “I will not be doing super PACs of any sort. I think allowing unlimited contributions to campaigns is a terrible idea and an important and unfortunate step toward a plutocracy.”

BABBLING BROOKS ON THE BOSS Just last week we noted that Bruce Springsteen had rejected attempts by super-sized (and home state) fan Governor Chris Christie to hang out with him. We noted that Christie, a possible Romney veep choice, and another notable fan, David Brooks, must be able to tune out many of the The Boss’s lyrics from recent decades. Now Brooks with NYT column on seeing Bruce shows in Europe lately and crowd reaction. Clueless, this leads him to offer advice to leaders and “everyone” that may strike you as counter to Springsteen’s message. He does this by proving that he tunes out his current (and-standing) progressive views and instead acts as if Springsteen’s earlier “Jersey” sense of place is still mainly where he’s at. Update: Todd Gitlin comments here.

YOUK GOT TO BE KIDDING Via Taegan Goddad: President Obama “tried to tweak Bostonians tonight as he thanked the Red Sox for trading Kevin Youkilis to his hometown Chicago White Sox, but instead he triggered a chorus of boos from fans still a bit raw over the deal,” the Boston Globe reports. Said Obama: “Finally, Boston I just want to say—thank-you for Youkilis.” As boos swelled up, Obama chuckled adding, “I’m just saying, he had to change the color of his socks.… I didn’t anticipate boos out of here.” However, Boston media writer and prof Dan Kennedy tells me this morning, “On TV, seemed pretty clear no one was booing,” instead moaning, Yooouuukkk!!!

THE CORPORATE COURT Must-read opinion from NYT’s David Firestone on SCOTUS and Citizens United decision on Monday concludes with: “It ignored friend-of-the-court briefs urging the justices to restrain the calamity it caused in 2010 and allow individual states to impose their own limits on corporate spending.” That left Justice Stephen Breyer, speaking for Ms. Ginsburg as well as Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, clearly deflated. In their dissent, he said grave doubt had been cast on the majority’s belief that independent expenditures cannot corrupt. But he made it clear the majority hasn’t the slightest interest in reconsidering or altering its decision”

RUBIO vs. STEWART The Florida Senator, another possible Veep pick, visited The Daily Show last night to flack new book, while calling Obama the most divisive president—ever—and defending GOP filibusters. Below is part of the “extended” interview available only online. Here is Jon judging Obama and Romney pandering. And here’s Colbert on Romney and dispute with Florida governor Rick Scott.


NEW YORK PRIMARY Today, at last, is the day with some key races for House nods, including ones involving Charlie Rangel in NYC and picking a Dem to oppose Representative Nan Hayworth upstates, more. Turnout key everywhere. Will bring results later.

PUTTIN’ ON YOUR SHORTS Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. takes leave of absence, citing exhaustion… Think Progress: eight issues Romney won’t take a stand on… Nate Silver (and he’s an expert): “Problems With Forecasting, and How to Imrprove”… Elizabeth Warren’s hit vs. Romney last night re Citizens United… Chris Cillizza: Why the SCOTUS ruling won’t help Obama win AZ… Buzzfeed interviews woman in charge of bringing minorities into the Tea Party via Freedom Works… Top GOP leader in Pennsylvania thinks voter ID move will guarantee Romney, behind in polls, carries state…

CHECKERS ANYONE? If you have somehow never seen, or not viewed it for years, here is complete Nixon “Checkers” speech as he was maybe about to get pushed off ticket with Ike in 1952? It’s all here, with the dog and Pat’s “Republican Cloth Coat.” With, ahem, strong claim that taxpayers should not pay a dime for campaigns… Note: my book on the notorious Nixon-Douglas 1950 race, Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady, published in new print and ebook editions this past weekend.


From late Monday

MITT & MONEY James Downie at Wash Post on the three key weekend hits on Romney’s jobs and money deailing, in the Post, NYT, Boston Globe. “While there is room for debate about the effect of Romney’s business approach on the health of the American economy, what’s important for the election is how Romney’s approach to running Bain translates to what he’d do as president.”

SAVING PRIVATE CRYIN’ Did you know our troops stormed Normandy to defend the tight of corporations to be considered people and exericse “free speech” by buying elections willy-nilly? So says this new ad, also starring brave warrior, Mitch McConnell. (h/t Dave Weigel)


UNITED IT FALLS SCOTUS shoots down Montana case against Citizens United. “Montana, supported by 22 states and Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), had argued that their law should be allowed to stand because of the state’s unique history of corruption around its mining industry, which led to its passage by referendum. The court ruled against them 5-4, the same majority that determined Citizens United.” Much more here.

GOING PUBLIC Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, along with his fiancé, Sean Eldridge, are starting a new 501(c)(4) called Protect Our Democracy that will parter with Governor Cuomo’s administration to push for publicly funded campaigns. (h/t Zoë Schlanger)

BAIN OF THEIR EXISTENCE Latest Obama Super Pac ad hitting Romney and Bain for closing down Muncie factor. Like “we built our own coffin.”


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 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.