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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

American Crossroads: Final-Week Senate Ads

In Wisconsin, comparing "extremeTammy Baldwin with pragmatic Tommy Thompson:

In Montana, hitting Tester again for going Washington:


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crossroads GPS, Final-Week Hits

Crossroads GPS is running ads in Senate races.

Against Tim Kaine in Virginia, -- linking him to Obama:

Another against Kaine -- highlighting his support for cap and trade:

 Against Heitkamp in North Dakota -- depicting her as a roadblock to a Romney agenda:

Against Berkley in Nevada -- hitting her ethics very hard:

Against Sherrod Brown in Ohio -- linking him to economic decline:

Against Angus King in Maine -- attacking his ethics and support for Obamacare:

Early Voting, One Week Out

Fifteen percent of registered voters nationwide have already cast their ballots in this year's election, according to Gallup Daily tracking for the week ending Oct. 28. That is up sharply from 5% a week earlier. The overall percentage either having already voted or planning to vote before Election Day has also increased -- to 33%, from roughly 25% in each of the prior three weeks.
Americans' self-reported plans for when they will vote are similar to what they were at roughly the same point in 2008. Gallup polling conducted Oct. 24-26, 2008, found 17% of registered voters saying they had already voted and 16% still intending to vote before Election Day, totaling 33%. By the end of the campaign, in Oct. 31-Nov. 2 Gallup tracking, 27% reported they had already voted and an additional 5% intended to vote early -- totaling 32%.
The percentage of likely voters who have either already voted or plan to vote early is now 36% -- indicating that this will probably be the percentage of early voters in the actual electorate.
Michael McDonald reports that 16.3 million votes have already been cast.  If total turnout is 135 million, then the Gallup figure indicates that 20 million people have voted early.  The poll is actually consistent with the hard count, since it's reasonable to assume that 4 million or so people have filled out ballots that have not yet arrived at polling places or shown up in the reported figures.

American Crossroads in the Final Week

Mark Halperin writes at Time:
The outside groups supporting Mitt Romney have a shared sense that Obama’s need to make sure he protects Ohio leaves other states on his flank potentially vulnerable.
According to news accounts and a Republican source familiar with the outside group activity, Americans for Job Security went up with TV ads in Pennsylvania over the weekend, and Restore Our Future goes on the air there Tuesday.
And now both this source and Karl Rove speaking on Fox News Monday evening suggest American Crossroads just might also go on the Keystone State TV airwaves as early as Wednesday.
National Journal reports:
American Crossroads is going on the air in Nebraska for the final week of the Senate campaign, according to a source tracking media buys. It's a signal that Republicans are concerned about state Sen. Deb Fischer's prospects in the wake of recent polling showing a closer race with former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey.
Crossroads GPS had been on the air in Nebraska early in the campaign, targeting Kerrey shortly after the May primary. But polls over the spring and summer showed a big lead for Fischer in the Senate race, and a Fischer win has been considered very likely.
And American Crossroads airs a new presidential ad:


Monday, October 29, 2012

Mailer in Berman-Sherman Race

At Buzzfeed, John Stanton posts a mailer in the Berman-Sherman race:

The mailer is evidently trying to get Republicans to vote against the liberal Berman and vote for the just-as-liberal Sherman.

The mailer lists LA City Councilman Dennis Zine under the heading of Republicans who've endorsed Sherman, but in 2011, Zine changed his registration to "decline to state"

"Californians for Integrity in Government" is a Super PAC whose expenditures go almost exclusively to this race.  Its top contributors are the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters ($225,000) and S&S Business Holdings ($100,000).  

More on the GOP's House Advantages

At National Journal, Reid Wilson lists five reasons why the GOP will keep the House.  Redistricting and Democratic retirements have come up in earlier posts.  He also notes that Representatives John Tierney (D-MA) and David Cicilline (D-RI) are in ethics trouble.  A couple of other reasons:
Staying on offense: That Democrats would have to spend money in Cicilline's district, which gave President Obama 65 percent of the vote in 2008, speaks to a deeper success Republicans have had. While a new majority's instinct after a wave election is to defend their incumbents, Republicans this year have continued to pursue Democratic-held seats.
And to judge by the way Democrats are spending their campaign cash, it's working. The DCCC had spent money in 43 districts through the end of last week, according to data culled from Federal Election Commission records. Of those districts, 16 are currently held by Democrats. (That doesn't include the two races in which an incumbent Democrat is running against an incumbent Republican after redistricting combined their districts.)
The $315,000 the DCCC is spending to defend Cicilline, or the $1 million Democrats have spent defending Rep. Mike McIntyre and open seats in Connecticut and Illinois, is money that isn't being spent to prosecute a case against a Republican incumbent. All told, Democrats have spent $8.5 million on races they currently hold.
Advertising early:   ...
Through the end of last week, the NRCC had spent far more on advertising than the DCCC, which had scheduled its advertising for the stretch run. So far, the NRCC has spent more than $55 million on television advertisements in 49 races, while the DCCC spent about $34 million in 43 races.
Such a bet carries certain risks. Republicans are banking on well-financed candidates being able to sustain themselves over the final weeks of a campaign, and on other Republican super PACs and outside groups filling in the gaps. But at a moment when money is flooding into the political system, Democrats have been outspent in key races so far.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The House: Game Over

The Washington Post  reports that Republicans will hold the House in 2012 but that Democrats think they have a shot in 2014.
Republicans, however, believe they have used congressional redistricting to shore up enough of their seats to remain in power for years to come. Rather than aggressively seek more seats, Boehner’s leadership team counseled Republican-led state legislatures to fortify those Republicans already serving on Capitol Hill.

The result has been that House Republicans start off with 190 districts that have a historic performance safely in their corner, while Democrats begin with just 146 such districts, according to an analysis by the independent Cook Political Report.
That leaves just 99 districts viewed as regularly competitive, an all-time low. Democrats will likely have to carry 72 of those 99 seats to reach the bare majority of 218.
“That’s a really bad omen for Democrats, not just this year but in future years,” said David Wasserman, the House editor for the Cook report.
Though more than 80 GOP freshmen are standing for reelection, just two dozen are facing tough challenges and only 15 are in significant danger of losing. Take Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), whose 2010 victory over a Hispanic Democratic incumbent defied the odds because the district was nearly 75 percent Latino. Legislators drew him into a new district running north of Corpus Christi along the Gulf of Mexico, which tilts 60 percent toward Republicans.
Rather than a one-hit wonder, Farenthold, 50, could now serve in Congress for decades to come.
Similarly, the Philadelphia suburbs have served as political ground zero for past House majority battles. In 2006, the National Republican Congressional Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent a combined $5 million battling over the 7th Congressional District to the west of Philadelphia, followed by another $1.3 million in 2010.
Now, that district snakes across five suburban counties, encompassing the most Republican-leaning sectors of each, allowing freshman GOP Rep. Patrick Meehan to cruise to re-election. 
And at USA Today, Susan Davis has a useful reminder:
Trying to assess where House races rank in the 2012 elections can be summed up by a take on the classic self-help line: It's not about them. The House has not changed majority control in a presidential election year since 1952. The past three turnovers — in 1994 for Republicans, 2006 for Democrats and 2010 back to Republicans — all occurred in midterm election years.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Filling Gaps in the White House Website, Part 81

In an interview with KUSA in Denver -- not available on the White House website -- the president did not directly address the question of whether the Libyan consulate asked for help during the attack.
KYLE CLARK: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we'll all find out after the election?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we're going to bring those folks to justice. So, we're going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn't happen again but we're also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.
KYLE CLARK: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I've said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we're going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn't happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we're going to find out exactly what happened, but what we're also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.

Jerry Brown is Losing It

Polls show that California Governor Jerry Brown's tax-increase initiative is losing ground.

On KCBS-TV, Governor Jerry Brown loses his composure:

The station adds:
Gov. Brown also responded to CBS2′s Thursday report, in which he was heard referring to Goldstein as acting “like a thug.”
“I think jumping in your face at the funeral of Mervyn Dymally and only wanting to know about something that’s in his phone…that he forces me to look at while he puts a camera in my face and a microphone….I don’t think that is the civility and the gentility that I expect from the old CBS network,” Brown said.
Goldstein said CBS2 never spoke with the governor at the funeral. The interview with Brown took place two days later in Burbank.
  The Sacramento Bee reports:
Brown kept up his criticism of an $11 million donation from a secretive, out-of-state nonprofit group to a committee opposing Proposition 30 and supporting a controversial campaign finance measure, Proposition 32.
"I don't know where these people are from, because they're hiding, they're wearing masks," Brown said. "Remember the people who liked to run around in hoods because they didn't want people to see who the hell they are?"
Asked later if he was referring to the Ku Klux Klan, Brown said, "No."
"What it is, is that when people do things, sometimes they don't want to be exposed for what they're doing," he said. "I think they ought to unmask themselves, yes, or whatever you want to say, come out of the shadows, or tell me their names."
In 2010, Brown compared his opponent to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Read more here:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Outside Groups Kept Romney Alive

At Ad Age, Elizabeth Wilner writes about the historic role of American Crossroads, Restore Our Future, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity:
Between April and August, Romney had fewer resources to devote to advertising. To the extent that the race "broke" temporarily for President Barack Obama, it only happened in September. By keeping the heat on Obama and amplifying every drag on the country's slow-healing economy, these groups kept the race tight for four months and, for the most part, continue to boost Romney today. Americans for Prosperity did its heavy lifting for Romney back in August and early September; the other three are still on the air in a big way.

[T]hese groups helped facilitate the historic shrinking of the swing-state map. Along with Priorities USA Action, the GOP super groups carried out the testing of other possible battlegrounds beyond the original eight states. They were the first ones into Wisconsin; the nominees eventually followed. They sponsored the TV advertising in Pennsylvania before that state was sidelined in Democrats' favor; Romney never advertised there. Even now, they continue to carry his water in Michigan and Minnesota.

With the super groups able to advertise in states that may be more of a reach for one side or the other, the nominees' campaigns have now been able to focus on just nine states all the way up until mere days before Election Day, without having to decamp from any of them. In the olden days of 2004 and 2008, late October typically brought tough decisions about pulling ad spend from some states in order to shore up others. In 2012, the campaigns have the luxury of not having to make those decisions.
This tiered approach -- with campaigns focusing on states fully in play and super groups taking on the rest -- has resulted in a 2012 presidential advertising battlefield that has stayed remarkably stable and compact. On October 19, 2008, 112 markets saw presidential advertising on broadcast TV. Four years later, that number was cut nearly in half: 61 markets saw presidential advertising on broadcast TV on October 19.

Battle for the Legislatures

In 2010, Republicans made historic gains in state legislatures. Thanks in part to redistricting, they are poised to keep most of them. Reid Wilson writes at National Journal:
This year, voters in 45 states will cast ballots in state legislative elections. Both Democrats and Republicans have a chance to switch control of the gavels in key states. Some of these battles are in the same states that President Obama and Mitt Romney are fighting over; in others, partisan majorities are fighting against statewide trends that benefit the other side.

Democrats hope to take control in states such as Colorado, where Republicans hold a one-seat majority in the state House; Maine, where Republicans have six-seat advantages in the 35-member Senate and the 151-member House; Minnesota, where Democrats hold 29 Senate seats to the Republicans’ 37; and New York, a perpetual battleground where Republicans cling to a two-seat advantage in the (soon-to-be) 63-member Senate. Democrats also think they will be able to snag control of Oregon’s House, where the two parties each hold 30 seats.

But Republicans have made a concerted effort to play both offense and defense. Their efforts have put several Democratic-held chambers in jeopardy this year. Democrats will defend the Colorado Senate, where they hold a five-seat advantage in a 35-member chamber; the Iowa Senate, where they have a 26-24 majority; and Nevada’s 21-member Senate and Wisconsin’s 33-member Senate, both chambers where they hold a single-seat majority. Republicans feel optimistic about winning back seats in Minnesota’s House, where 81 Democrats set the agenda over 72 Republicans, and in the New Mexico House, where 36 Democrats control a 70-seat chamber.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Latest Crossroads GPS Ads in House Races

Crossroads GPS gets tough again in Nevada 4:

Another hit on Tim Bishop's ethics in New York 1:

A tax attack in CA 21:

And in Indiana 2, the Democrat is "one of them."

Nuts and Bolts: Finance, Ground, Digital

Politico has good reporting on nuts and bolts of the campaign.

A previous post described victory committees.  Romney's reliance on this device comes at a cost:
To wit, Romney Victory revealed in a Monday report that it had transferred $44 million to the state parties in Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont and $12 million to the GOP’s national congressional committees — which can’t coordinate with Romney. While the expectation in Boston is that the state party committees will use the cash to fund get-out-the-vote activities in key swing states, the plan carries some risk, representing a sort of outsourcing of critical campaign activity that most campaign operatives prefer to control themselves.
Yet Romney is going to be forced to rely more on others down the stretch, since, at the end of September, the RNC and Romney Victory had $120 million in the bank compared with the Romney campaign’s $63 million.
Obama Victory, by contract, had transferred only $6.6 million to affiliated state parties — instead shipping most of its cash to Obama’s campaign committee. Partly as a result, it finished last month with $99 million in the bank compared with less than $50 million held by the DNC and Obama Victory 2012.
More on the ground game:
The Romney-RNC numbers by last Saturday are larger: 45 million voter contacts by last Saturday — up from the 24 million Bush-Cheney 2004 benchmark. They say they’ve knocked on 9 million doors — three times more than at the same point in 2008. But that total includes knocks that went unanswered, where volunteers left pamphlets for residents, which the Obama campaign doesn’t include in its totals.
There is a digital divide:
The Obama campaign has spent $47 million on online ads so far, compared to Romney's $4.7 million, according to election filings. The president’s mobile app lets volunteers get lists of homes in their neighborhood that need lawn signs and banners, while Romney’s provides press releases and upcoming events. The Obama camp consistently scores digital “firsts,” such as geotargeting direct messages via Twitter this week. Within minutes of Obama's "horses and bayonets" zinger at the last debate, the campaign had posted video of it on YouTube.

“There was no mention whatsoever of the debate for days on the homepage, which is shocking,” said Eric Frenchman, a key online consultant for John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, after the debate in which Romney was said to have dominated. During the 2008 debates, the McCain campaign was blogging, creating ad spots and developed a microsite for Joe The Plumber overnight.
“They can’t believe that, but if they do we’re in so much more trouble than I thought,” said the online campaign director for a GOP Senate candidate in a swing state, who like many other Republican consultants declined to be quoted by name. “We have our own operation, but it’s a presidential year, so they’re supposed to light the way. It’s not a disaster, but it’s all so average and they’re going up against Mickey Mantle.”

POTUS and Private Equity

"When some people question why I would challenge his Bain record, the point I've made there in the past is, if you're a head of a large private equity firm or hedge fund, your job is to make money," Mr. Obama said. "It's not to create jobs. It's not even to create a successful business - it's to make sure that you're maximizing returns for your investor. Now that's appropriate. That's part of the American way. That's part of the system. But that doesn't necessarily make you qualified to think about the economy as a whole, because as president, my job is to think about the workers. My job is to think about communities, where jobs have been outsourced."
At ABC, Jonathan Karl reports:
President Obama has spent much of the past six months hammering away at Mitt Romney’s career in the private equity business, but for a time, as a state senator in Illinois, Obama sang the praises of the private equity sector, saying it offered “the best opportunity for economic vitality” in Illinois.
“As many of you know venture capital and private equity is one of the key mechanisms by which we finance new businesses in the state of Illinois,” state Sen. Obama said in a speech before the Illinois Senate on May 30, 2003. “For a variety of reasons, Illinois has been lagging behind some of our competitor states in the formation of venture capital and its deployment in terms of seeding and funding new companies.”
To help make Illinois more competitive in attracting venture capital, Obama proposed the formation of a special task force on private equity – and made it clear he was doing it at the request of those in the business.
“This is an issue that has piqued the interest of various persons in the industry, and so they have asked that we form this Private Equity Task Force to examine these issues,” Obama said, according to an Illinois Senate transcript from May 2003.
Here’s a link to the transcript (Senator Obama’s speech begins on page 161)
The task force was created with Senate Resolution 89, a bill offered by then Sen. Obama that described private equity as the key driver of the state’s economy.
The development of the private equity sector of the Illinois economy,” the resolution said, “offers the best opportunity for long-term economic vitality, for the expansion of jobs, for the improvement of productivity and a quality standard of living, and for providing the greatest number of citizens with genuine opportunity.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crossroads GPS: Emotional Appeal for Romney

CA 23 Race

Crossroads GPS is running the "Vision" ad against Paul Ruiz, who is challenging Mary Bono Mack (R-CA):

 The Desert Sun reports:
Police agencies from across the Coachella Valley and the state’s largest police union joined forces Monday to challenge Dr. Raul Ruiz to explain how he has supported law enforcement in light of remarks he once made about men convicted of murdering officers.
Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s political campaign flew in a retired FBI agent, who has spoken vigorously against the convicted Leonard Peltier for more than two decades, and paid for his overnight stay after he spoke at a news conference with the officers. 
Standing side-by-side, the officers played recently uncovered audio from a 1999 rally in which then-Harvard medical student Ruiz gave a speech at a National Day of Mourning rally honoring Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, two men convicted of killing law enforcement officers.
An ad from Mary Bono Mack:

Crossroads GPS v. Donnelly on Obamacare

In Indiana, Crossroads GPS links Democratic Senate candidate Joe Donnelly to Obamacare:


Crossroads Generation: Dollar Saved Club

An odd web ad from Crossroads Generation will amuse some young conservatives but won't change any minds:

Third Debate: Snap Polls

David Jackson reports at USA Today:
President Obama won Monday's foreign policy debate in a pair of instant polls, one of them decisively.
In a survey by CBS News, 53% awarded the debate to Obama, to 23% for Republican Mitt Romney and 24% undecided.
An instant CNN poll found a closer closer contest, with 48% favoring Obama and 40% going with Romney, and the remainder undecided.
Now both campaigns will be looking to other polls to see if the debate moves actual votes. Election Day is two weeks away.
The CBS survey did include some good news for Romney, in that "both candidates enjoyed a bump regarding whom the voters trust to handle international crisis."

Monday, October 22, 2012


In the debate, the president suggested that bayonets are obsolete.

The US Marine Corps has a different point of view.

Tough New Videos

From American Crossroads, an attack on Obama's "not optimal" gaffe:


 From Americans for Prosperity, silence at the dinner table:


Crossroads GPS v. Berkley

Crossroads GPS take another hard ethics hit against Shelley Berkley in Nevada:

Big Political Dollars Today, Big Political Dollars Tomorrow

The Los Angeles Times reports that outside spending will continue after Election Day:
"Super PACs" and tax-exempt advocacy groups — on track to spend roughly $1 billion on federal races, an unparalleled sum — are poised to expand their influence even further.
Amid the white-hot final weeks of this election, outside groups are already plotting their next targets: the year-end battle over the federal budget, the 2014 congressional races and a possible fight over the next Supreme Court nominee.
"Our goal was to build an enduring institution on the conservative side to counter the outsized power of organized labor on behalf of Democratic causes and candidates," said Steven Law, president of the super PAC American Crossroads and its nonprofit sister, Crossroads GPS.

"I do think this will be seen as a watershed year when parties were not as strong as they have been in previous cycles," said AFP President Tim Phillips. "Now groups like AFP have significant financial resources and massive grass-roots networks that in many ways mirror the party. We are going to beat up on bad guys, and we are absolutely going to hold accountable Republicans."
Another nexus of influence: the two Crossroads organizations, guided in part by veteran Republican strategist Karl Rove. Crossroads GPS plans to be active around the "fiscal cliff" debate over automatic tax increases and spending cuts slated to occur at year's end. And if Mitt Romney wins the White House, it will help promote a "first 100 days" agenda. Meanwhile, American Crossroads is working on an initiative to better coordinate the resources of its allies, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Job Security, a business-backed nonprofit.
"To the extent that Crossroads isn't going anywhere, AFP isn't going anywhere, and they will have programs in the midterm elections, then I don't think we can cede that ground even for a second," said Rodell Mollineau, president of American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC founded by conservative-turned-liberal activist David Brock that provides opposition research for the left. "You have to fight with all the tools you have."
Meanwhile, outside and party money had helped Team Red keep up with Team Blue. From the Center for Responsive Politics:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Very, Very, Very Close Race

Recent polls show Romney tying Obama, both nationally and in key states.

A late surge in support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has put him in a dead heat with President Barack Obama with just over two weeks to go before the election, according to a new nationwide Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday.
Among likely voters, the candidates are now tied, 47% to 47%, in a race that appears on track to be one of the closest in U.S. history.
Mr. Romney has pulled abreast of the president for the first time all year in the Journal poll, erasing a three-point lead among likely voters that Mr. Obama had in late September and a five-point lead earlier that month. Mr. Romney's surge followed his strong debate performance in Denver early this month and a contentious second debate with Mr. Obama last week.
With the contest deadlocked and just 5% of voters undecided, the campaigns will now turn heavily to state-by-state efforts to rouse their base and get out the vote.
From Public Policy Polling:
PPP's newest Ohio poll finds Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 49-48, down from a 51-46 advantage a week ago. Romney's closing the gap thanks to a lead among independents (49/42) and because the Republican base is continuing to become more unified around him with 90% of GOP partisans now saying they'll support him compared to 85% a week ago. Ohio voters think Obama won the debate this week 48-39, but that doesn't seem to extend to more people voting for him.
Obama does have one big advantage in Ohio though- he's already winning the election there. 21% of voters in the state say they've already voted, and they report having supported Obama 66/34. Romney has the 52/44 advantage among those yet to cast their ballots but obviously it's easier to count on votes that are already in the bank.
There are some troubling signs for Obama in the poll though. Ohioans trust Romney more on the economy by a 51/47 margin and trust him more on Libya 49/47. Obama had the advantage on each of those issues in our poll last weekend. Voters do trust Obama over Romney by a 52/44 margin on women's issues, and Obama leads 55/41 with female voters in the poll.
Romney's growing momentum in Ohio is built on strong support from men (57/41) and white voters (55/42). Obama continues to have the small overall advantage based on his strength with women, African Americans (91/9), and young voters (52/39).

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Big Money in California Ballot Measures

Supporters and opponents of the 11 propositions on the November ballot already have contributed nearly $300 million toward passing and defeating those measures, with more than two weeks still to go until election day, according to a new analysis of campaign funding.
Groups that monitor money in politics said the funding is among the highest ever in California.
The analysis was conducted for The Chronicle by MapLight, the nonpartisan Berkeley organization that tracks money in politics. It found that as of this week, $292 million had been collected by dozens of committees advocating support or opposition to the propositions.
That total undoubtedly will climb as election day approaches.
Common Cause is linking a ballot measure to Karl Rove, as The San Jose Mercury News reports:
Common Cause of California on Friday called on the state's political watchdog to order a secret out-of-state group to reveal its donors after it dropped $11 million into a ballot measure campaign.
Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership created a storm earlier this week with a contribution to the Small Business Action Committee that was the single largest undisclosed donation in California history.
The group is running campaigns in favor of Proposition 32, the initiative to curb unions' ability to collect dues for political purposes, and against Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-hike initiative.
"Eleven million dollars doesn't just drop out of the sky -- this doesn't pass the laugh test that suddenly this level of money appears in California from an organization with no track record here, without the knowledge of the donors who put that money into the organization," said Derek Cressman, Common Cause's regional director.
Under Internal Revenue Service rules, the Arizona group is not required to reveal its donors because of its status as a nonprofit 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. Americans for Responsible Leadership declares on its Facebook page that it "seeks to promote the general welfare by educating the public on concepts that advance government accountability, transparency, ethics, and related public policy issues."
The law firm for Americans for Responsible Leadership is run by Jill Holtzman Vogel, a Republican legislator in Virginia and chief counsel for the Republican National Committee.
It shares office space with Republican strategist Karl Rove, whose American Crossroads has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns this year. It also has done work with groups affiliated with David and Charles Koch, the conservative oil magnate brothers, who have also combined to wield influence on elections around the country with hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions.
"We think it's clear as day that this is money that knows what it's doing, that was given for a specific purpose that is part of a national agenda aimed at reducing taxes and weakening labor unions," Cressman said.
Perhaps stretching the battlefield is the point.  The Los Angeles Times reports:
Labor unions are unloading tens of millions of dollars against a ballot measure that could limit their political clout in California, but the spending could come at a cost for one of their biggest allies: Gov. Jerry Brown.
The unions are pooling their money to fight Proposition 32, which would eliminate their primary political fundraising tool — paycheck deductions — at the same time Brown is counting on their support for his tax-hike initiative also on the ballot next month.

Polls show support for his measure ebbing as election day nears. But although Brown has signed labor-backed legislation and pushed high-speed rail construction that would create union jobs, there's only so much money to go around.
"Labor dollars are being stretched," said Steve Maviglio, a Democratic political consultant who has worked with unions but is not involved in either campaign.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Electoral College: Split or Tie?

A few months ago, there was speculation that Romney could win the electoral vote while losing the popular vote.  Now the speculation runs the other way. Charles Cook writes: 
Although history and this column have argued that the popular vote and the electoral vote usually go in the same direction (that’s what happened in 53 of 56 presidential elections), today, Romney’s national popular-vote situation is different than his Electoral College challenge. Romney’s scar tissue in swing states—the damage inflicted on him by negative ads funded by the Obama campaign and Priorities USA, targeting Bain Capital, plant closings, layoffs, outsourcing, income taxes, and bank accounts in Bermuda, the Caymans, and Switzerland—is still a huge problem. This is compounded by the fact that before the ads aired, voters knew very little about Romney; because of that, they had no positive feelings or perceptions to help him weather the assault. As a result, the attacks stuck as if he were covered in Velcro. Hence, the swing states, many of which have endured saturation advertising since June (73,000 ads in Las Vegas alone), behave differently than the fortysomething other states that have seen little advertising.

Chad Pergram reports at Fox:
The House then elects the new president based on how a majority of state delegations vote. In other words, one state, one vote. For instance, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) is the only House member from Alaska. He makes up the entire House delegation. Presumably, Young would vote for Mitt Romney. Democrats hold a significant advantage in California’s 53 House seats. So it’s expected that California would vote for President Obama.
The key here is that the winning candidate must secure 26 of the 50 state delegations in the House.
With the election more than two weeks away, it’s not possible to know the precise breakdowns of state Congressional delegations in the Congress that convenes in January. But it appears that Republicans should control 28 delegations with Democrats only slated to have the majority in 12. The other 10 states are toss-ups. For instance, Colorado has seven House members. Four are Republicans and three are Democrats. However, Democrats are trying to unseat both Reps. Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Scott Tipton (R-CO). By the same token, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) faces a challenging re-election bid. So it’s unclear which party will have a majority in that delegation. Other states with fuzzy majorities are Nevada, Arizona,
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and perhaps Illinois. Some like New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Nevada could have splits between Democratic and Republican House members.
Regardless, there should be a GOP majority in the House that puts Mitt Romney in the driver’s seat if the electoral college is a tie.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

American Crossroads v. Obama on Libya

The Daily Beast reports:
That may not be the optimal choice of words either. In an interview with The Daily Show taped Thursday, President Obama said the attacks in Benghazi were “not optimal.” Responding to Stewart’s suggestion that the administration did not have “the optimal response” to the attacks, Obama responded “If four Americans get killed it is not optimal … and we are going to fix it, all of it.” Stewart also asked Obama whether he still believes “we don’t have to trade our values for our security,” with Obama responding “We don’t, there’s some things that we haven’t gotten done, I still want to close Guantanamo, we haven’t been able to get that done.”

2004, 2008, and the House Elections of 2012

At National Journal, Josh Kraushaar writes that the GOP is in a strong position to hold the House:
With Mitt Romney running ahead of Obama nationally, 2004 is shaping up to be a much more instructive baseline for the upcoming elections than Obama’s historic win in 2008. Indeed, only eight House Republicans hold districts that John Kerry won in 2004. That, more than anything, explains how the Democratic expectation of being within striking distance of the majority is falling far short of reality. Call it the 2008 illusion.
He explains that the Illinois gerrymander is likely to fall short.  Pennsylvania will disappoint Dems, too.
It’s not just Illinois. This week, Democrats canceled costly ad reservations in the Philadelphia media market originally designed to use against suburban Philly GOP Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Jon Runyan, R-N.J., districts that usually go Democratic in a good year for the party. The party and outside groups also withdrew attack ads against Rep. Scott Rigell, representing the one (Tidewater) bellwether district in the battleground state of Virginia. In Florida, even Democratic operatives are now sounding pessimistic about their prospects of defeating outspoken conservative Rep. Allen West, despite early predictions that he’d be one of the most vulnerable Republicans from the freshman class. These are all districts Obama carried in 2008.

If Democrats want to regain the majority, they’ll need to dominate in the suburbs of major metropolitan areas. The fact that Republicans are holding their own there isn’t a good sign for the party, or for the president.
Democrats are looking good in California and some other places, but...
The lasting legacy of the 2012 election could end up being the unexpected stability of the House Republican majority over the next decade, thanks to gerrymandering and key elements of the Obama coalition (minorities, college students) clustered into districts overwhelmingly favoring Democrats. Democrats continue to struggle in predominantly white districts, only contesting 14 of the 110 districts, according to an analysis from House Race Hotline Editor Scott Bland. The GOP wave ushered in 84 freshman House Republicans, but relatively few of them are in trouble.
Democrats have been crowing that polls show the GOP party brand is in the toilet, which makes it all the more significant that they are not in striking distance of taking the majority. But to understand why a promising environment isn’t translating into results, they’ll need to recognize that it’s not 2008 any more.

Crossroads GPS v. "Taxing Tammy"

As it has in other ads, Crossroads GPS is throwing the e-word -- "extreme" -- back at the Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate race:

A 501(c)(4) in the California Ballot Wars

Steve Harmon reports at The San Jose Mercury News:
A shadowy Arizona group has inserted itself into California politics by pouring $11 million into a campaign fighting Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-hike initiative and backing a measure to strip unions of their ability to collect dues for political purposes.
The Americans for Responsible Leadership donated the money to the Small Business Action Committee, a California group that has been waging simultaneous TV and radio wars against Proposition 30 and for Proposition 32. The former raises taxes on sales and the wealthy; the latter curbs labor's ability to use members' dues for campaigns.
But if anyone wants to know who's behind the Arizona group, they won't get that chance, even in a state with the most rigorous campaign disclosure laws in the nation. Its donors don't have to be disclosed because it was formed under the IRS code 501(c) 4, designed for nonprofit groups operating as social welfare organizations. But the code has a loophole that allows the groups to participate in politics.
The development sent shock waves through two campaigns -- the labor-backed No on Proposition 32 and Brown's Proposition 30.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

California Ballot Propositions

There are important measures on the California ballot this year. Here are some of the more prominent:

Proposition 30 would increase personal income taxes on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years, and raise the sales and use tax by 1/4 cent for four years.  The state Legislative Analyst estimates that it will raise about $6 billion a year.  If it fails, $6 billion in budgetary "trigger cuts," mostly to education, will take effect.  Governor Brown, Democratic leaders, unions, education groups, and some big businesses are for it.  Against it are taxpayer groups and small-business organizations.

Proposition 38, a competing measure by civil rights attorney Molly Munger, would hike income taxes on a sliding scale for 12 years, from 2013-24.  It would raise about $10 billion a year, mostly for education, child care and preschool, and debt payments.  Even though it raises more money than Prop 30, however, the tax increases don't start until 2013/14 and the "trigger cuts" would still go into effect unless the Legislature changes them. The State PTA is for it.  Supporters of Prop 30 are against it, along with Chamber of Commerce and the taxpayer groups that also oppose Prop 30.

Proposition 32 would forbid unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted funds for state and local political purposes.  It would also forbid union and corporate contributions to state and local candidates and their committees.  It does not limit their ability to make independent expenditures and does not affect any contributions in federal campaigns.  California corporations generally don't use payroll deductions for contributions to state and local campaigns, so the main impact would fall on unions.  Accordingly, unions oppose the measure vehemently.  Supporters are conservative groups, taxpayer groups, and small businesses.

Proposition 34 would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life without parole. Supporters include the League of Women Voters, Calilfornia Democrats, and civil rights organizations.  Opponents include the California District Attorneys Association and numerous law-enforcement groups.

Proposition 37 would require the labeling of genetically-engineered foods.  It would forbid the labeling or advertising of such food or (possibly) other processed foods as "natural." It would also allow consumers to sure for violations. Supporters include makers and sellers of organic foods  Opponents include farm groups and major corporations such as Monsanto.

Crossroads GPS Up in Maine and Other States

Crossroads GPS takes a hit against Angus King in Maine:

Against Kaine in Virginia:

Against Donnelly in Indiana:

Against Heitkamp in North Dakota:

Against Tester in Montana:

Snap Polls: Edge to Obama

Previous posts have looked at snap polling after debates.

CBS reports:

President Obama edged Mitt Romney for a win in the second presidential debate Tuesday night, 37 percent of uncommitted voters said in a CBS News instant poll.

Moments following the debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., 37 percent of voters polled said the president won, 30 percent awarded the victory to Romney, and 33 percent called it a tie. After some particularly animated exchanges between the two candidates, 55 percent of voters said Mr. Obama gave direct answers, but 49 percent also said that about Romney.
As for who would do a better job of handling the economy, the president made some headway on closing that gap. Before the debate, 71 percent said they believed Romney would, while only 27 percent said they thought Obama would; after the debate, 34 percent said the president would better handle the economy, with 65 percent saying Romney would.

Obama would also be more likely to help the middle class, according to 56 percent of voters after the debate, compared with 43 percent who said that about Romney

CNN reports:
Forty-six percent of voters who watched Tuesday night's presidential debate said that the president won the showdown, according to a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Tuesday night's faceoff here at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island. Thirty-nine percent questioned said Republican nominee Mitt Romney did the better job.
Obama's seven-point advantage came among a debate audience that was somewhat more Republican than the country as a whole and is within the survey's sampling error.
The president's edge on the question of who won the debate appears to be the result of his much better than expected performance and his advantage on likeability. But the poll also indicates that debate watchers said Romney would do a better job on economic issues. And the two candidates were tied on an important measure - whether the showdown would affect how the debate watchers will vote. Nearly half said the debate did not make them more likely to vote for either candidate, with the other half evenly divided between both men.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Damn Right" Redux

From NRSC, an attack on Tammy Baldwin:

 The attack reprises themes from a Crossroads GPS ad:

American Crossroads: "Sack It"

AP reports:  on another American Crossroads ad that starts with Obama talking to the camera.
A Republican-leaning independent group supporting Mitt Romney's presidential bid is spending $11.1 million on new television ads aimed at women.
The ad campaign, set to begin Tuesday and run for a week in eight closely contested states, is part of a big push in the final three weeks before the Nov. 6 election.
Polls have shown President Barack Obama with a wide lead over Romney among women, but some surveys suggest that gap has narrowed recently.
The ad, "Sack It," shows a woman watching one of Obama's campaign commercials. "Mr. President, here's what I want to know," she says, asking about the jobs he has promised and wondering what the federal spending he has pushed for has produced.

American Crossroads v. Obama and "More of the Same"

Monday, October 15, 2012

GOP Super PAC Money v. Romney

At The Atlantic, David Graham writes about data from Northwestern University's Lazer Lab:
The most telling stat -- both in terms of how negative super PACs are and how much Democrats are being outspent -- is that Republican super PACs spent more trying to sink Mitt Romney during the Republican primaries than the president's Democratic allies have spent in favor of him during the entire campaign, $4.7 million to $3.2 million. Here's a screenshot of the state of the race on September 13 (click for larger size):

Does Obama Have an Early Voting Edge?

Reuters reports:
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are neck and neck in opinion polls, but there is one area in which the incumbent appears to have a big advantage: those who have already cast their ballots.
Obama leads Romney by 59 percent to 31 percent among early voters, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling data compiled in recent weeks.
Romney political director Rich Beeson notes that the sample is small and that over 90 percent of the early vote is still outstanding. He also explains a key difference in the campaigns' approaches:
Many of the Democratic ballots are from high propensity voters who would almost certainly be voting on Election Day – meaning that President Obama is cannibalizing his turnout on November 6th. Governor Romney’s early voting effort has been, and will continue to be, focused on low propensity voters, which means his Election Day turnout will not be negatively impacted by the early vote program.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Union Moneyball

Politico reports:
Organized labor is playing “Moneyball” this fall, and President Barack Obama isn’t winning.
Four years ago, organized labor came out early and often for Obama, from major endorsements in the primary to multimillion-dollar ad buys later in the year.
Now, with smaller memberships, less excitement and a languishing economy, unions aren’t guaranteed to be the help they once were. It doesn’t help that Obama has at times disappointed labor on issues ranging from trade to environmental regulations to the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall vote.
Despite the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision opening the door to direct and unlimited union (and corporate) contributions, several high-ranking union officials and Democratic operatives confirm that labor’s overall presidential race spending will likely be down from four or eight years ago. The Center for Responsive Politics found at least $206 million in political spending from unions in 2008, although that figure is incomplete because not all spending has to be disclosed.
As a result, unions are taking a Moneyball-like political approach to maximize the effect of the money and muscle they do have. That may mean money goes to a congressional race or ballot initiative rather than to Obama. It also means that instead of spending big on TV ads like the outside groups helping Republican Mitt Romney, unions are preaching old-school political fundamentals: phone banking, door-knocking, member-to-member outreach.

Campaign Tech and Privacy

Cross-posted from Bessette-Pitney Text:

Previous posts have discussed campaign technology. As the New York Times reports, the Romney and Obama campaigns insist that they respect voter privacy when using this technology.
In interviews, however, consultants to both campaigns said they had bought demographic data from companies that study details like voters’ shopping histories, gambling tendencies, interest in get-rich-quick schemes, dating preferences and financial problems. The campaigns themselves, according to campaign employees, have examined voters’ online exchanges and social networks to see what they care about and whom they know. They have also authorized tests to see if, say, a phone call from a distant cousin or a new friend would be more likely to prompt the urge to cast a ballot.

The campaigns have planted software known as cookies on voters’ computers to see if they frequent evangelical or erotic Web sites for clues to their moral perspectives. Voters who visit religious Web sites might be greeted with religion-friendly messages when they return to or The campaigns’ consultants have run experiments to determine if embarrassing someone for not voting by sending letters to their neighbors or posting their voting histories online is effective.

“I’ve had half-a-dozen conversations with third parties who are wondering if this is the year to start shaming,” said one consultant who works closely with Democratic organizations. “Obama can’t do it. But the ‘super PACs’ are anonymous. They don’t have to put anything on the flier to let the voter know who to blame.”

While the campaigns say they do not buy data that they consider intrusive, the Democratic and Republican National Committees combined have spent at least $13 million this year on data acquisition and related services. The parties have paid companies like AcxiomExperian or Equifax, which are currently subjects of Congressional scrutiny over privacy concerns.

Vendors affiliated with the presidential campaigns or the parties said in interviews that their businesses had bought data from Rapleaf or Intelius, companies that have been sued over alleged privacy or consumer protection violations.

The Romney Ad Surge

Obama did a lot of spending early. Romney is mounting an October surge. The Washington Post reports:

Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his allies are banking heavily on a high-risk, high-reward media strategy in the final weeks of the campaign, hoping that burying President Obama in ads will give them a crucial edge on Election Day.
Ad purchases in the presidential race doubled or in some cases tripled last week in swing states such as Colorado, Florida, Iowa and Virginia, tracking data show. The surge is being driven by Romney and well-funded allies, who decided against running more ads earlier in the campaign in favor of a big bang at the end.

Restore Our Future, a super PAC dedicated to helping Romney, has booked $14 million worth of ads in nine states for the final week of October — more than it spent on ads during the month of September. The group is also ramping up its spending, airing a mix of ads criticizing Obama and extolling Romney in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia.
Charles R. Spies, the super PAC’s treasurer, said conservative groups “have been very effective in leveling the playing field” with Obama. “That effort will continue at an increasing level going forward,” he said.
For weeks, the story was that Obama was ahead in advertising and spending.
Since the Republican convention in late August, the Obama side has run 28 percent more ads than Romney and all the groups behind him combined, according to estimates from Kantar Media/CMAG. Democrats spent slightly more than Republicans during that time, taking advantage of rules mandating cheaper ad time for campaigns and also seeking out less-expensive airtime at different times of day.
But Romney and GOP groups are now flooding the airwaves in force, spending about 50 percent more on ads than Obama this week, according to tracking data. The surge comes at a fortuitous time for Romney, who is now even or ahead of Obama in many national and swing-state polls.

Vendors and Non-Coordination Coordination

At The Washington Post, T.W. Farnam explains that it is lawful for campaigns and party organizations to share vendors with outside spending groups, yet another form of non-coordination coordination.  The paper has identified at least 30 such vendors, including Targeted Victory, which does online ads for Romney, the Crossroads groups and others.
Targeted Victory uses Internet video ads to persuade people to oppose Obama and vote for Romney. It also uses a stockpile of data it has collected on Web users to reach them with ads for both Romney and Crossroads.
Separately, Targeted Victory keeps a record of those who have visited the Romney campaign Web site or the Crossroads site, and stores that information in the same location.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the campaign’s vendors “understand the law and follow it.”
Targeted Victory’s chief executive, Michael Beach, said in an e-mailed statement that the company has separate teams of strategists for the two clients, crafting ad messages and finding potential voters online. Those teams work on opposite sides of a “firewall” described in FEC regulations, he said.
“Targeted Victory takes its compliance responsibilities seriously and continually reviews its operations to ensure compliance with the FEC rules,” Beach wrote.
He said the rules allow some employees to work for both Romney and Crossroads, including “personnel who merely forward the Internet ad buys to placement firms.”
FEC regulations specifically point to those working on “the selection or purchasing of advertising slots” as employees with the potential to share inside information that could be used for coordination..
 Storing data together and using the same employees to represent Romney and Crossroads is not coordination under the law. To break the rule, an interest group would have to use inside information on the candidate’s needs or wishes to shape its own ad campaign.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

House Dems May Not Net Many Seats from Illinois

Redistricting has been a challenge for the minority party in the HouseAt the Daily Beast, James Warren reports that Democrats were hoping for a huge seat haul from the Illinois gerrymander, the subject of unsuccessful legal action.
But trial testimony underscored the active involvement of the Washington-based Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in creating the Illinois map, including emails about “how to destabilize Republican incumbents” and one that heralded that its aim was “seemingly accomplished” by the map.
Conventional wisdom at the time was that GOP incumbents Walsh, Judy Biggert, Robert Dold, Schilling and the soon-to-retire [Tim] Johnson were seriously endangered..

But interviews with campaign consultants and party officials on both sides suggest that, with less than a month to go, the Democrats’ belief that they could recapture five, even six, Republican seats appears to be folly.

The consensus today seems to be that it’s hard to envision the Democrats picking up more than three Republican seats. Several Democrats said they would safely wager only on a pick-up of just two. A mix of factors seems at play, including several weak Democratic candidates and campaigns; poor coordination by the party apparatus; and several million dollars in super-PAC contributions from outside the state helping some Republicans, including Walsh.

Some campaign officials in both parties say internal polling shows a softening of support for Obama compared with the levels of enthusiasm he generated in their districts four years ago. He’s done little personally to boost Democratic candidates back home, with Sen. Dick Durbin seen by some as the only member of the state’s party elite to be working hard for their elections.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Crossroads GPS Goes Up in House Races

AP reports that Republican outside groups are entering the House battle:
A late spending splurge by outside political groups helped Republicans take over the House two years ago. The floodgates are opening again, but this time Democrats say they're better prepared.
So far in 2012, Democratic groups have generally been able to keep pace with the competition. Outside groups have spent about $60 million trying to help GOP candidates since June 1 and about $49 million trying to help out Democratic candidates, according the Sunlight Foundation.
But some of the Republican support groups are just getting started. Beginning Saturday, Crossroads GPS, one of the deep-pocketed groups co-founded by Karl Rove, is launching a three-week, $8.1 million broadcast campaign in 11 House districts in New York to Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Nevada, Indiana and California, according to Nate Hodson, the group's spokesman.
The Chamber of Commerce launched an $8 million ad campaign last week on behalf of 20 GOP candidates in close House races in California, New York and Illinois. It also weighed in for two Democratic incumbents. Until then, the chamber had focused most of its spending on Senate races.
American Action Network and the Congressional Leadership Fund, two Republican support groups led by former Sen. Norm Coleman, have spent about $3.1 million so far on House races. This week they said they will spend at least $13.5 million more during the campaign's final month.
 Crossroads GPS has a tough hit in Nevada 4:

Several GPS ads are variations of this one in New York 25:

Polls on the VP Debate

Ryan was stiff, Biden was manic, and the poll results were mixed.

Forty-eight percent of voters who watched the vice presidential debate think that Rep. Paul Ryan won the showdown, according to a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Thursday night's faceoff. Forty-four percent say that Vice President Joe Biden was victorious. The Republican running mate's four point advantage among a debate audience that was more Republican than the country as a whole is within the survey's sampling error.

Half of all debate watchers questioned in the poll said the showdown didn't make them more likely to vote for either of the candidates' bosses, 28% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and 21% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect President Barack Obama.
Fifty percent of uncommitted voters who tuned into Thursday night's vice presidential debate in Danville, Ky., said they see Vice President Joe Biden as the winner over Mitt Romney's GOP running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., according to an instant poll taken by CBS News.

Of the 431 polled immediately following the debate, 31 percent deemed Ryan the winner, and 19 percent said they felt it was a tie. Party-wise it's a switch from last week's presidential debate, which uncommitted voters handed easily to Romney over President Obama.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DNC Chair: Wrong, But Not False

In August, Politico reported on dissatisfaction with Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
Many of Obama’s advisers have quietly begun questioning whether they should have picked Wasserman Schultz, an outspoken Florida congresswoman, as his DNC chairwoman. She has clashed with Chicago over her choice of staff and air-time on national TV shows — and they think she comes across as too partisan over the airwaves
Obama’s brain trust secretly commissioned pollster David Binder to conduct an internal focus study of the popularity of top Obama campaign surrogates. Number one was former press secretary Robert Gibbs, followed by Cutter. Traveling press secretary Jen Psaki, who was added to a second study, was third. Axelrod, Plouffe and current White House press secretary Jay Carney were bunched in the middle. Wasserman Schultz ranked at the bottom.
Her recent exchange with Piers Morgan probably confirms these doubts:
Piers Morgan, CNN: The really important horse that should be flogged is the behavior and the statements of those who are in positions of responsibility and we would assume knowledge. And it's pretty unAmerican, pretty unAmerican to be putting up completely false statements before you know the facts, isn't it?
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC chair: Piers, it is not okay for you to be saying that the administration was putting out completely false statements. They put out information that they had at the time based on the intelligence that they were given --
Piers Morgan: That turned out to be completely wrong.
Wasserman Schultz: Well that doesn't mean it was false. It doesn't mean that it was deliberate. It means that.
Morgan: What?! Now wait a minute. If you put out a false statement, then it's false, it's wrong. It's both of those things.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Heritage v. The Administration on Libya

Following a similar video by American Crossroads, Heritage takes on the administration's changing account of the Libya terror attack:

Smaller Super PACs in House Races

The New York Times reports on smaller Super PACs that are focusing on a limited number of House races:
With some of the groups backing Democrats and some supporting Republicans, they are picking a few Congressional races in which advertising is cheaper or the airwaves less cluttered and transforming them with a barrage of outside money, swamping incumbents and challengers alike.
In Utah and Georgia, a group known as Center Forward, headed by a retired Democratic lawmaker turned Beltway lobbyist, has spent $1 million attacking two Republican candidates. In Florida, the Treasure Coast Jobs Coalition has spent nearly $1 million against Patrick Murphy, a Democratic candidate, and supporting Representative Allen B. West, the Republican incumbent.
Now or Never PAC, a Missouri-based group, has spent more than $900,000 to aid a Republican incumbent in neighboring Illinois, Representative Joe Walsh, a Chicago-area lawmaker who had been outspent by his Democratic challenger until the group entered the race.
TVNewsCheck finds that super PACs have a rate problem on TV:
Super PACs and other third-party political advertisers have been spending heavily on TV advertising in the run up to the Nov. 6 election and they are paying as much as four times as much as the candidates for comparable ad time, according to a TVNewsCheck spot check of stations' online political ad files in three markets in the swing states of Ohio, Florida and Nevada.
The disparity is not surprising. Federal law mandates that stations sell time to candidates at the lowest unit rate — that is, at the rate stations charged their most favored commercial advertisers. Since super PACs and other groups not directly affiliated with a candidate don't qualify for the federal discount, stations are free to charge them whatever the market will bear and they do.