A new daily blog, covering the latest news and controversy 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 some historical perspective to this task. You can bookmark the blog by first clicking my name at the top or by going here.


11:00 ROMNEY UPS THE ANTI   Incredible, and revealing statement, from Romney at a fundraiser tonight in Montana on getting booed at NAACP confab today for hitting Obamacare:  "Remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy—more free stuff. But don’t forget, nothing is really free.. it has to paid for by people in the private sector creating goods and services, and if people want jobs more than they want free stuff from government, then they are going to have to get government to be smaller."  Well, maybe that will energize his opponents. Earlier today I may have been one of first to suggest that he actually wanted to get booed to help please his base.  Now I see that it is widely shared review, including by Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. 

8:55 DARK KNIGHT OF THE SOUL   New parody of hot summer sequel "Dark Knight Rises," focusing on 2012 campaign and "Bane Capital."  Bane capital punishment, indeed.

8:05 YOUR DAILY BOROWITZ  "I’m all for poor people showing their IDs at polling places if rich candidates show their tax returns."  And a new piece from Andy:  "Romney Receives Standing Ovations from National Association of Rich White People."

4:55 LIT HERO VOTED FOR REAGAN Apparently that much-awaited upcoming bio of the late David Foster Wallace reveals that he once voted for Reagan for president, which may surprise many. “Though Wallace covered John McCain’s 2000 presidential bid extensively, he never wrote plainly about his own politics. According to author Tom Bissell, the biography reveals that Wallace cast a ballot for Ronald Reagan, though he does not say whether it was in 1980 (the year Wallace could first vote) or 1984.”

3:50 BABBLING BROOKS In their weekly online dialogue at NYT site, Gail Collins really gives it to colleague David Brooks in discussing “apathy” in current campaign. “I’m happy to tell you it’s the Republicans’ fault. The normal rule of democracy is that if things are lousy, you throw out the incumbents. But right now the opposition is controlled by people who are totally insane and good at nothing but shutting things down. I would argue that the president, with a Congress composed mainly of Democrats and traditional Republicans, could take care of a lot of our problems. But if people simply want a change, all they’ve got is the Forces of Loony Doom.” Brooks responds by accusing her watching too much MSNBC.

2:25 JUST WONDERING Anyone consider that Romney’s team figured he could firm up base by getting booed at NAACP convention? He just told Fox’s Neil Cavuto that he “expected” to get booed.

2:20 ROMNEY’S ‘SNOB’ COVERUP Almost too good to be true, but it is: Local newspaper reports that Romney camp asks company that handled sound and technical issues for Grand Junction, Colorado, event for first time to cover up its logo. It happens to be: “Snob Productions.” They had to put mask over name on their trucks and not wear company T-shirts! “I wouldn’t say it was because they didn’t like the name, it had more to do with proper media coverage staying focused on the right place.”

2:15 TAMMY IN MOVE? New poll finds surge for Tammy Baldwin, who was far behind, in key Wisconsin Senate contest. Obama also opening up lead there.

1:50 SINATRA BOOSTS KENNEDY Continuing our series of vintage campaign speeches and ads, here’s a real classic: Frank Sinatra with song backing JFK in 1960, with new version of his hit “High Hopes.” Chairman of the Board backs future Commander in Chief. It was a very good year.


1:20 UPDATE ON ROMNEY BOOING GOP operatives are discounting what happened today at NAACP gathering (see report and video below) but others on scene confirm. Some brutal comments by attendees. Perhaps not wise to attack Obamacare when 7 million uninsured African-Americans are getting coverage under it. Steve Benen at Rachel Maddow’s blog has more to say. Next: Perhaps Mitt will appear at Humane Society confab and defend putting dog on roof—teaches dog self-reliance and all that.

12:35 pm BUZZFEED TOO HUNGRY? Don’t miss this response from Obama team after Buzzfeed “reveals” that font for Obama campaign poster may derive from Cuban revolution. An Obama press secretary Ben LaBolt e-mails: “Your GOP operative should have had the courtesy to stay sober before noon, and BuzzFeed should go back to labeling cat slideshows.”

11:40 am ROMNEY SPEAKS TO NAACP Covered fully on MSNBC. Got polite applause at time (underscored by a churchy organ), but was booed lustily when claimed that if they want president who will help African-American community, “you are looking at him.” He responded to booing over Obamacare by citing a Chamber of Commerce survey. Then, ouch: Molly Ball of The Atlantic tweets, “After Romney speech, NAACP MC asks crowd to phone-bank for voting rights.” Representative Emmanuel Cleaver on MSNBC hailed Romney for speaking to group but gave him an “F” for attacking Obama openly before this group, and hitting ACA, and wonders if any of his advisors are African-Americans. Here’s booing:

11:05 TEA PARTY SENATOR vs. SORKIN The new Aaron Sorkin HBO drama The Newsroom took a steady swipe at the GOP lunatic fringe in its most recent episode, and now Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who was name-checked in the episode is protesting that one of his positions was fictionalized in the fictional TV show. I am wondering if former national security honcho Richard Clark has filed a complaint over being IDed as “Richard Clark” on screen in the same episode. And probably every woman has a complaint about the female characters on the show, although Jane Fonda was swell.

11:00 TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE The Nation points out that ten of eleven top Romney funders also have offshore accounts.

10:15 TROUBLING, IF TRUE I posted this late yesterday but now updating and asking readers for other examples: One of my good friends wrote last night to tell me that one of her steady friends, who works at a very large national retailer (you’d certainly know the name), tells her the company has sent a message to employees that under Obamacare their health premiums will double next year, and then triple after that—it’s unclear whether that means 3x what it is now or 3x the doubling, but you get the drift. I’ll be checking toay to see if I can look at the message, presuming it’s real, but if true it is all too reminiscent of what happened in the “campaign of the century” to defeat Upton Sinclair in 1934 that I wrote about a length in my book.

ROVE OVER? HARDLY Roll Call on Crossroads plans to spend $70 million on Senate races. And a visit to their DC offices: “With Rove serving as its premier front man, the political group attracts its fair share of protesters. The staff relishes those attacks, hanging protesters’ posters on the wall like political taxidermy. Staffers hung one poster that declared “Indict Karl Rove” to the wall with masking tape.”

LESBIANS NOW ‘SUPER’ Yes, there’s now a pro-lesbian rights Super-PAC, called LPAC, with a boost for Jane Lynch, Billie Jean King and the daughter of a businessman who has funded anti-Obama activities. It will back “pro-lesbian candidates, whether Democrats or Republicans, male or female, gay or straight. The group intends to back federal and state candidates, as well as some ballot measures. All targets of the group’s support must back an end to discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals; reproductive rights and access to quality health care; and social, racial and economic justice.”

ROMNEY AND NAACP He’s about to speak this morning. A look at his long, troubled history with the group. Ari Berman tweets: “Romney appearing before the NAACP is going to go over about as well as Kim Kardashian speaking at Mensa International.”

NEW PRIORITIES The pro-Democrat PAC, Priorities USA, which has been getting so much attention lately, partly for what turned out to be effective ads vs. Romney on his Bain connections, has posted a new blog “memo” that charges that Romney’s chief calling card has now become a whopper of a liability. One finding: “President Obama is seen as the candidate best served to meet the needs of the middle class. By a 19-point margin, voters in these swing states see President Obama as the best candidate to “stand up for the interests of the middle class” (50% say Obama vs. 31% who say Romney).”

OUTSOURCING MYTHS NYT takes a long look at competing charges of “Outsourcer-in-Chief” flung at both Romney and Obama and finds, surprise, that the GOP in particular is making most of it up. Firms that Romney says got stimulus cash and shipped jobs abroad deny the charges, for starters. But the Times, as usual, will not use the word “lies”… Plus, a tough editorial today rips Romney for failure to disclose tax returns, which “upends” recent tradition and raises suspicions.

OBAMA NOT A SOCIALIST, FILM DIRECTOR TESTIFIES It’s Milos Forman and he’s writing at NYT today. That right-wing charge that flew over the cuckoo’s nest and against the president “offends me, and cheapens the experience of millions who lived, and continue to live, under brutal forms of socialism…. I am not asking Mr. Obama and the Republican leaders to stop playing instruments of their choosing. All I am asking is that every player keep in mind the noble melody of our country. Otherwise the noisy dissonance might become loud enough to wake another Marx, or even worse.”

‘HOMO’ TWEET HACKED? The progressive Democrat, Deb Morrow, running for Congress in South Carolina has closed her Twitter account after a tweet there labeled Senator Lindsay Graham and her opponent “homos.” At first she blamed a staffer but now claims the account had been hacked. She also mentioned that one staffer had left the campaign an hour before the offending tweets appears, perhaps throwing suspicion on him. She apologized, said, “We will not be tweeting anymore” and that as a Democrat she had no issues with gays, but GOPers are fuming. Her opponent, Representative Trey Gowdy, last May compared same-sex marriage to incest and polygamy during a House Judiciary Committee session.

MORNING SHORTS Romney speaking to NAACP today—should be, ah, uncomfortable… Former Bush DOJ official says Texas voter ID law is “doomed”… New polls find Obama now leading in Virginia and tied in North Carolina… More Dems calling on Representative Jesse Jackson to disclose his medical issues, if that’s really what’s behind his disappearance…

From late Monday

MR. ROMNEY, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL Even Wolf “The Beard” Blitzer is on Romney’s case, stating a few minutes ago, according to a colleague’s tweet: If Romney “has nothing to hide, he should open up the books” and release his full tax returns. If you’ve lost Blitzer, you’ve lost America? (See: Cronkite, Vietnam). Meanwhile a Romney surrogate claims it’s the American way to avoid taxes.

PolitiFact hits the group for two different claims in ads and e-mails re voter purge in Florida and Governor Rick Scott, calling them both, flatly, false. Watch for pushback on this. “The state found 180,000 names that they considered potential noncitizens. But the state government itself does not have the power to remove people from the voting rolls—that power lies with the local supervisors of elections… MoveOn spokesman Nick Berning said that the 180,000 are ‘at risk’ of being thrown off the rolls.”

WHAT GIVES? New Ezra Klein piece explores point I’ve raised recently: rhat much of the media analysis of what is driving race for White House is hype or bunk. How else to explain poll numbers, and Obama approval ratings, remaining steady month after month despite media-hype gaffes, economic surges and declines, Romney attack ads, Obama attack ads, and on and on. “As a columnist and occasional talking head, I worry this next line will get me kicked out of the guild, but here goes: I have no idea what’s driving this campaign. It’s not what we’re covering in the media. It’s not what we’re seeing in the economy. It’s not what the campaigns are doing. It’s not the personal qualities of the candidates.”

BAIN AND HIS EXISTENCE New evidence continues to emerge on a key issue: that Romney did not exit Bain in 1999, thereby skirting some of the controversies that followed. Our old friend David Corn looked at new documents last week. Now Josh Marshall at TPM: “I’ve found yet more instances where Romney made declarations to the SEC that he was still involved in running Bain after February 1999. To the best of my knowledge, no one has yet noted these.The documents go into different aspects of Romney’s ownership of various Bain and Bain related assets. But in both Romney had to say what he currently did for a living. Here are two SEC filings from July 2000 and February 2001 in which Romney lists his ‘principal occupation’ as ‘Managing Director of Bain Capital, Inc.’”

Update: Marshall just added in a tweet, “Anyone know what the standard penalty is for knowingly making false statements on an SEC filing?” So, bottom line: Romney either was still at Bain, and lied, or made false claim to SEC, or so it seems. Other recent pieces here from Salon and Fortune.