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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crossroads GPS v. "Obama-Claire"

On September 22, 2010, Claire McCaskill said on the Senate floor:
These are social welfare organizations, 501(c)(4)s, like Crossroads, which is one that sprung up. It has been the top spender. It hasn't been the Republican committees or the Democratic committees. The top spender in the Senate races is a group we have no idea what it is or who is writing the checks.

We have to realize they don't even have to file anything with the government, with the IRS, until February, March, April. How many people think these organizations are going to be around after November? Really? How naive are you?

Nearly two years later, Crossroads GPS is still around, as Bloomberg reports: 
It’s the quickest shorthand for understanding how Crossroads GPS, the committee inspired by Bush political strategist Karl Rove, is playing its well-financed hand in the 2012 elections — and not only the presidential race.
Crossroads is airing a TV ad in Missouri, where Democratic Claire McCaskill faces a serious challenge to her re-election in November, that opens with the question: “Obamacare? More like Obama-Claire, because Senator Claire McCaskill has voted with President Obama 90 percent of the time.”
Supporting the “New Majority Agenda,” the ad explains, requires ousting McCaskill — pictured alongside Obama at every turn of the 30-second spot. That agenda is Crossroads’ game-plan.

This is no new attack. Crossroads GPS has aired six ads in the Missouri race a total of 3,354 times, starting in July and counting through early May, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which monitors advertising. Four of the six ads included a picture of Obama and McCaskill together. 

Economic Clouds

In the past week, the media have asked whether Donald Trump's birtherism will hurt Mitt Romney.  That's silly.  There is no evidence that ordinary voters either know or care about Trump's comments.  Trump has "overshadowed" Romney only to the extent that reporters say that he has done so.  Such comments are what linguists call "performance utterances" or "performatives" -- they create social reality rather than just describe it.  One example is Trump's own trademark phrase, "You're fired."

Meanwhile, far more important news is coming out. CNBC reports:
Jobless claims rose last week, private employment growth disappointed while growth was less than originally reported in the first quarter, according to reports that provide few bright spots for the economy.

Private-sector jobs growth came in at a disappointingly weak 133,000 from April to May, according to a report from ADP and Macroeconomic Advisors that adds to a bleak outlook for employment.
A day before the government releases its report for nonfarm payrolls in May, the ADP report showed that job growth continues to slow.
Economists had expected the report to show nongovernment jobs grew by 150,000.
"This number could have some weather payback in it, but I think basically it confirms and reinforces the notion that there was a sharp deceleration of employment in the springtime months," Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisors, told CNBC's "Squawk Box."
Bloomberg reports:
The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell in April by the most in a year, indicating the U.S. housing recovery remains uneven.
The index of pending home resales dropped 5.5 percent following a revised 3.8 percent gain the prior month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 42 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for no change in the measure.
Consumer confidence fell to a five-month low in May, according to a closely watched survey that showed Americans less optimistic about current labor market and business conditions, as well as the short-term outlook.
The survey released Tuesday by The Conference Board, a business research firm, showed an overall index reading of 64.9, down from 68.7 in April. Economists surveyed by had expected confidence to tick up to 69.4 in the latest survey.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stable Polls So Far

Gallup finds that Obama and Romney remain roughly tied.
The May 7-27 aggregate shows that Obama continues to do particularly well among blacks, Hispanics, and nonwhites more generally, as well as among Democrats, liberals, and those who are not religious. Romney does particularly well among Republicans, conservatives, those who are highly religious, non-Catholic Christians, those who are married, older voters, and whites. Complete trends by subgroup for rolling three-week periods, including sample sizes for each subgroup, are available each week on

A Billion on the Outside

Although outside Democratic groups are having trouble raising funds, the GOP will be awash in outside money.  Politico reports:
Republican super PACs and other outside groups shaped by a loose network of prominent conservatives – including Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – plan to spend roughly $1 billion on November’s elections for the White House and control of Congress, according to officials familiar with the groups’ internal operations.
That total includes previously undisclosed plans for newly aggressive spending by the Koch brothers, who are steering funding to build sophisticated, county-by-county operations in key states. POLITICO has learned that Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections - twice what they had been expected to commit.

Just the spending linked to the Koch network is more than the $370 million that John McCain raised for his entire presidential campaign four years ago. And the $1 billion total surpasses the $750 million that Barack Obama, one of the most prolific fundraisers ever, collected for his 2008 campaign.
Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, proved its potency by spending nearly $50 million in the primaries. Now able to entice big donors with a neck-and-neck general election, the group is likely to meet its new goal of spending $100 million more.
And American Crossroads and the affiliated Crossroads GPS, the groups that Rove and Ed Gillespie helped conceive and raise cash for, are expected to ante up $300 million, giving the two-year-old organization one of the election’s loudest voices.
“The intensity on the right is white-hot,” said Steven Law, president of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. “We just can’t leave anything in the locker room. And there is a greater willingness to cooperate and share information among outside groups on the center-right.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

American Crossroads and Public Equity

The Hill reports:
The Republican super-PAC American Crossroads is trying to flip the script on the Obama campaign's repeated attacks on Mitt Romney's private-equity past.

American Crossroads, the outside spending group affiliated with Karl Rove, released a new Web video Tuesday blasting the president for his "failed investment strategies" with public funds, most notably the now-bankrupt solar company Solyndra.

"Obama's attacking private equity, but what's his record on public equity investing?" asks a narrator in the video.

The attack ad came on the same day that the Romney campaign revived GOP criticism of Obama's green-energy programs.


Advice for Romney

At The Financial Times, Lloyd Green writes:
Leaven your new-found enthusiasm for Representative Paul Ryan’s austerity budget with a commitment to combating a disease. Focus on Alzheimer’s. The public is rightly terrified of it. As the population ages, it threatens to blow a hole in an already strained Medicare programme. Independent voters do not want to see you led by the nose by the Tea Party or as a rubber stamp for the House Republicans. Fighting Alzheimer’s is a way to push back against the president and your party.
With the primaries in effect over, there is no pressure to bash illegal immigrants. Follow Senator Marco Rubio’s lead. He is attempting to find a political third way, combining a commitment to securing America’s borders while recognising that illegal aliens are part of the US landscape.
Your wife, Ann, is as good an ambassador to soccer moms as you could have hoped: she is accessible; she has beaten serious illness; her rebuttal of Hilary Rosen, after the Democrat activist attacked her for being a stay-at-home mom, was masterful. It reminded America of cultural faultlines the Democratic party would prefer Americans forget.

The Word from the Fat Cats

John Heileman's New York profile of the Obama campaign is getting attention for acknowledging that it will run a fear campaign against Romney. More significant material lies deeper in the piece.  Bill Burton says he is having trouble raising money for the pro-Obama Super PAC because of the president's past denunciations of such groups.
But one of the most vaunted fat-cat-wranglers in Democratic history tells me that this is only part of the story. “There are several things going on,” this person explains. “Number one is the shabby treatment the president has given his donors. Unlike Clinton, who loved them and accommodated them, Obama announced he didn’t like big money and gave them the back of the hand. Point two is the president’s campaign announced—or not announced, they let it out, it got in the press, it got in the ether—that they were going to raise $1 billion. So when they come to you and say, ‘We need two-fifty,’ the answer is, ‘What the f--- do you need my two-fifty for? You’re going to raise a billion! Not a hundred million. A f---ing billion dollars!’ You’re getting into federal-budget territory with that kind of claim.

“Three is the Obama donors aren’t scared. They think this is a slam dunk. They don’t think the president’s in trouble. They look at the Republican-primary process and say, That group of f---ing clowns? Fourth, Burton and his partner are great guys, but they have no experience in fund-raising. They thought that with the patina of the White House, the checks would just roll in. Wrong.

“Then, everybody looks to George Soros. ‘Why won’t George throw in?’ I know George pretty well. Early on, he wanted to come in to make his case on the economy. George doesn’t want legislation tweaked. He doesn’t want a rule changed. He wants his ideas heard out. But George couldn’t get a meeting in the White House. And then George is saying, ‘Where are the Obama money people with their 5 and 10 million dollars? Where is Penny Pritzker, Exhibit A? Why isn’t she throwing in 10 million?’ And that is a very good question.”

A prominent private-equity player in Gotham who supports Obama agrees with all of that but adds another insight. “Among rich Republicans, the view of Obama is that he’s the Devil,” this person says. “But on the Democratic side, certainly on Wall Street, there’s no visceral reaction against Romney. So if I give $10 million, I’m out the $10 million, and I’m gonna pay more in taxes if Obama wins. And I’m doing it against somebody who—I may not agree with his social views, but I don’t think he’s a bad person. And I’m not really into negative advertising, which is what a super-PAC would do … Then there’s the fact nobody on Wall Street thinks Obama gives a s--- about them. They think his attitude is, ‘If I lose Wall Street, it’s not the end of the world.’ And they’re right.”

Monday, May 28, 2012

Center to Protect Patient Rights

Matea Gold and Joseph Tanfani write at The Los Angeles Times:
The financial firepower that fueled the rise of a network of conservative advocacy groups now pummeling Democrats with television ads can be traced, in part, to Box 72465 in the Boulder Hills post office, on a desert road on the northern outskirts of Phoenix.
That's the address for the Center to Protect Patient Rights, an organization with ties to Charles and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankroll a number of conservative organizations.
During the 2010 midterm election, the center sent more than $55 million to 26 GOP-allied groups, tax filings show, funding opaque outfits such as American Future Fund, 60 Plus and Americans for Job Security that were behind a coordinated campaign against Democratic congressional candidates.

INTERACTIVE: The money behind the air war
The money from the center provided a sizable share of the war chest for those attacks, which included mailers in California, robo-calls in Florida and TV ads that inundated a pocket of northeastern Iowa. The organizations it financed poured at least $46 million into election-related communications in the 2010 cycle, among other expenditures.
In that campaign, outside groups — the vast majority backing Republicans — reported spending a record $304 million, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Democratic-allied groups are still trying to match their success.
With such spending set to reach unprecedented levels in the 2012 election, the activities of the Center to Protect Patient Rights — whose existence was first reported this month by the Center for Responsive Politics — provide a glimpse into the network of deep-pocketed conservative advocacy groups that have already begun an air war against President Obama.
SPREADSHEET: Center to Protect Patient Rights grantees
Also see Center for Responsive Politics report 

Veterans Favor Romney

U.S. veterans, about 13% of the adult population and consisting mostly of older men, support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama for president by 58% to 34%, while nonveterans give Obama a four-percentage-point edge.


Veterans in the U.S. today are mostly male and two-thirds are aged 50 or older. In a population that is currently evenly split in its preferences for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney for president, veterans stand out for their 24-point preference for Romney. About a fourth of men are veterans, and it is their strong skew toward Romney that essentially creates the GOP candidate's leading position among men today. Among nonveteran men, Obama and Romney are essentially tied.
Why veterans are so strong in their preference for the Republican presidential candidate is not clear.Previous Gallup analysis has suggested that two processes may be at work. Men who serve in the military may become socialized into a more conservative orientation to politics as a result of their service. Additionally, men who in the last decades have chosen to enlist in the military may have a more Republican orientation to begin with.
Veterans' strong preference for Romney in this election occurs even though Romney himself is not a military veteran -- though Obama shares this nonveteran status. This will be the first election since World War II in which neither major-party candidate is a veteran.
Barring unforeseen developments such as the re-institution of the military draft, the proportion of the male population in this country that will have served in the armed forces will decrease in the years ahead as the older population dominated by veterans dies off. These data suggest that Democrats could get an overall boost from this demographic phenomenon as these apparently reliable Republican voters become a smaller and smaller proportion of the population.
Fox News reports:
Large pockets of veterans live in such states as Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. But whether they can assemble a big enough voting bloc to help either candidate win or lose a state remains unclear.
The most likely place will be Florida, a key election state with 1.6 million veterans, Martin Lee, spokesman for Vets for Romney, said Saturday.
"If we can motivate veterans to go to the polls, with elections so close now, the difference of 100,000 votes could change the election," said Lee, a Navy veteran.
While jobs and the economy are likely to remain the major topics of the general election, veterans' affairs, including high unemployment, will be a factor, especially since their votes could influence the tight race.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Mormon Issue

Brookings reports:
In a new research paper and attitudinal study, Matthew Chingos and Michael Henderson, assistant professor of political science at the University of Mississippi, examine what may happen to Romney’s viability as voters learn more about the LDS church and his affiliation with it over the course of the general election campaign. Questions explored in the study include: Will Romney’s religion drive a wedge between him and evangelical Christian voters? Will a general election campaign that informs evangelical Christians about Romney’s religion and emphasizes the differences between the Mormon faith and their own demobilize this segment of potential Republican voters?
Chingos and Henderson designed a survey experiment that simulated the effect of learning more about Romney’s religion and the beliefs of the Mormon church on political opinions. This study demonstrates that concerns over Mitt Romney’s “religion problem” have been overblown and quite possibly miss a compelling counter-narrative. More specifically:
  • Respondents in general—and white evangelicals in particular—were just as likely to support Romney regardless of what they were told about Romney’s religion.
  • Information about Romney’s religion may actually increase his support from conservative voters, including among conservative white evangelical Christians.
One problem with the study, however, is that many media messages about the LDS church are mocking, negative, or inaccurate. See Lawrence O'Donnell's bigoted rant.  For another example:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Obama, Super PACs and Wall Street

The Hill reports:
Conservative super-PACs are attempting to gin up disillusionment among President Obama’s supporters and keep their turnout low in November’s election, in part by highlighting his ties to Wall Street.
Within the past month, three separate ads — two from the American Future Fund and one from Crossroads GPS [These groups are 501(c)(4)s, not Super PACS. -- ed.]— have assailed Obama from broadly comparable perspectives. Especially striking are the American Future Fund ads which make the kind of anti-Wall Street argument heard largely on the left.
The outside groups' message contrasts with the one being pushed by Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, who has called the Obama's "the most anti-business administration" since President Carter's.
Asked whether at least part of the super-PACs intention was to persuade voters who might otherwise support Obama to stay home, Republican strategist Keith Appell said:
“Sure. It helps. Part of [the purpose] is to raise questions in that 2008 Obama voter’s mind. Many of them may feel so disillusioned by his record. So, yes, I think that’s part of it.”
Appell, who is not affiliated with either of the groups behind the ads, also noted that they could fuel the sense that there was no material difference between Obama and Romney with regard to their closeness to the business world.
“If they are both cut from the same cloth people will say, ‘A plague on both your houses,’” he said.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Class and 2012

In an election year in which the economy ranks as Americans’ top concern, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney holds significant advantages over President Obama among white voters who are struggling financially and buffeted by job loss, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Asked which candidate would do more to advance their families’ economic interests, middle-class white voters who say they are struggling to maintain their financial positions chose Romney over Obama by a large margin — 58 percent to 32 percent.
Gallup reports:
Barack Obama has a significant lead over Mitt Romney among the 24% of American working voters who are classified as professionals, and among the 13% who are service workers. The two are tied among clerical and office workers. Romney leads among all other job categories, including in particular the small segments of voters who work in farming and fishing, construction, and who own a business. He also has an edge among executives and managers.
At National Journal, Ron Brownstein writes of the four white quadrants:  men and women, with and without college degrees.
If Obama stays close to his 2008 level of support among minority voters and maintains or slightly increases their turnout, Romney has to capture about 60 percent of whites to reach a national majority. The good news for him is Republicans reached exactly that level among whites in the 2010 Congressional elections, according to the Edison Research exit poll. 
But in scaling that height, Republicans benefited from a movement in their direction from all whites. In 2010, the GOP not only drove down the Democratic vote to 35 percent or less among white men and women without a college degree and college-educated men, but reduced the Democratic numbers among college white women to just 43 percent, according to the exit poll. (Democrats did much better with those college women in some key Senate races, including California and Colorado.)
If Obama can maintain majority support among those well-educated women, while remaining close to his four-fifths support among minorities, the president can win a national majority while capturing only a little more than one-third of all other whites. Even that isn't impossible for Romney: In 2010, Republicans actually held Democrats to about that level of support with those other whites. But it's not a hill Romney should want to climb: no Republican presidential nominee since 1988 has dominated the other three quadrants of the white electorate to quite that overwhelming extent.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

GOP Goes After Youth

Earlier posts have discussed cooling enthusiasm for Obama among young people. Crossroads Generation is   an American Crossroads project to peel off some of these voters. There is further activity, as Clare O'Connor writes at Forbes:
The College Republican National Committee has been drafted in to handle the 18-24 demographic on 1,800 college campuses; they’ve already blasted XG’s first video, Join The Movement, to their vast listservs.

The Young Republican National Federation (YRNF) is responsible for the 24-29 age group: young professionals who might have voted Obama in 2008 but have since become disaffected. They’ll handle door knocking, coordinating with each state’s Republican party and organizing surrogates as the election approaches. The partner groups will also work on media outreach — a crucial component for winning Millennials, says YRNF comms chief Soren Dayton.
Move up Move down

“Media statements that young people will vote for Obama have become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Dayton said. “Peer pressure develops to not be a Republican. The more people see their friends voting Republican, the more comfortable they’ll feel.”

Crossroads Generation is certainly not the only political group going after Millennials online in hopes of securing a Romney win. D.C.-based nonprofit Generation Opportunity has already spent more than XG’s $750,000 budget on marrying social media with grassroots, on-the-ground organizing. [Note:  it is a Koch operation.]

The group has 24 paid employees but is growing fast, making field staff hires in key states like Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia. And they’re huge online, says president Paul Conway. Generation Opportunity boasts more than 3 million Facebook fans, 1.5 million of whom ‘liked’ their ‘Being American’ Facebook page, where they share an average of two stories a day focused on issues plaguing the young, like gas prices and job scarcity.

Conway’s background as chief of staff for the Department of Labor means his focus is on Millennials he believes have fallen through cracks in the workforce — and that Romney can still win. These include the 1.2 million young people who have dropped out of the job market entirely, as well as returning military veterans, young parents and those learning trades. “This demographic is up for grabs,” Conway says. “And we will be as aggressive as possible.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Democratic Divides

Josh Kraushaar writes at National Journal that Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s  criticism of the Obama campaign’s attacks on private equity exposed the tension between Democratic moderates and liberals:

Conversations with liberal activists and labor officials reveal an unmistakable hostility toward the pro-business, free-trade, free-market philosophy that was in vogue during the second half of the Clinton administration. Former White House Chief of Staff William Daley, who tried to steer the Obama administration in a more centrist direction, is the subject of particular derision. Discussion of entitlement reforms, at the heart of the GOP governing agenda, is a nonstarter. The fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats are now nearly extinct on Capitol Hill.
Moderate Democratic groups and officials, meanwhile, privately fret about the party’s leftward drift and the Obama campaign’s embrace of an aggressively populist message. They’re disappointed that the administration didn’t take the lead advancing the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction proposal, they wish the administration’s focus was on growth over fairness, and they are frustrated with the persistent congressional gridlock. Third Way, the centrist Democratic think tank, has been generating analyses underscoring the need for Democrats to appeal to middle-of-the-road voters, to no avail.
“There are not a lot of moderates left in the Democratic Party, and Cory is one of the few of them left,” said former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, an early Obama ally who has become increasingly estranged from the party. “I would like to think Cory speaks for a lot of voters in the Democratic Party, but sadly he doesn’t speak for a lot of Democratic operatives within the party. This isn’t Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party anymore.”

At The Washington Post, Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blakewrite about Obama's showings in yesterday's primaries, where "Undecided" won 42% in Kentucky, and an obscure Tennessee lawyer named John Wolfe won 41% in Arkansas.
Obama under-performs a generic Democratic candidate in Appalachia (Kentucky and West Virginia) and in some portions of the South. Of course, we knew that after the 2008 election; just check out this terrific map highlighting counties that went more Republican in 2008 than in 2004.
While race is clearly an element of the opposition among some Democrats in these regions, it’s far from the only factor. Unhappiness with the policies his administration has pursued — particularly with regards to environmental standards — and a distaste with the national Democratic Party also fuel the discontent, according to politicians and strategists in these states.
North Carolina could be tougher sledding for Obama than we might have thought. Remember that Obama lost 21 percent of the vote in the North Carolina primary to “uncommitted” and that, outside of the Democratic Research Triangle, there are lots and lots of rural, culturally conservative voters who have a fair amount in common with people in Arkansas and Kentucky. (The same goes on Southeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.) Remember too that in the best year for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996, Obama carried the Tar Heel State by just 0.4 percent in 2008. What does that tell us? He doesn’t have much of a margin for error in November in that state.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ron Paul Followers and Congressional Elections

At The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman writes:
Armed with an inherited fortune and a devotion to Ron Paul, John Ramsey, a 21-year-old college student from Nacogdoches, Tex., plunged into a little-watched Republican House primary in Northern Kentucky this spring to promote his version of freedom.

More than $560,000 later, Mr. Ramsey’s chosen standard-bearer, Thomas H. Massie, a Republican, cruised to victory Tuesday in the race to select a successor to Representative Geoff Davis, a Republican who is retiring.
The saturation advertising campaign waged by Mr. Ramsey’s “super PAC,” Liberty for All, may be the most visible manifestation of a phenomenon catching the attention of Republicans from Maine to Nevada.
With their favorite having lost the nomination for president, Mr. Paul’s dedicated band of youthful supporters are setting their sights down-ballot and swarming lightly guarded Republican redoubts like state party conventions in an attempt to infiltrate the top echelons of the party.

In Minnesota, Paulites stormed the Republican gathering in St. Cloud last weekend, bumping aside two conventional Republican candidates to choose one of their own, Kurt P. Bills, a high school economics teacher, to challenge Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, this fall.
Backers of Mr. Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, crashed Republican conventions in Iowa, Maine, Minnesota and Nevada in recent weeks, snatching up the lion’s share of delegate slots for the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August, a potential headache for the national party and its presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney.
And Paulite candidates for Congress are sprouting up from Florida to Virginia to Colorado, challenging sitting Republicans and preaching the gospel of radically smaller government, an end to the Federal Reserve, restraints on Bush-era antiterrorism laws and a pullback from foreign military adventures.

Crossroads Basketball

Today, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS) announced a new $9.7 million issue ad that will run for three weeks on TV to frame the national debate on jobs, the economy, taxes and government debt.
The new ad, “Basketball,” details the Obama Administration’s poor results on fixing the troubled economy, cutting the debt, keeping taxes low and other key issues. The initial television buy includes network affiliates in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The new spot will start airing Wednesday, May 23 and run for three weeks with a rotation of :60 and :30 second versions.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Electoral College Mischief?

Michael Medved writes at The Daily Beast:
In looking ahead toward the November election, Republican strategists should take proactive steps to avoid a damaging, dangerous conclusion to the presidential race and to prevent the very real chance that Mitt Romney will win the Electoral College even while losing the popular vote badly to Barack Obama.
The problem stems from the lopsided margins President Obama will surely pile up in a few uncontested states with big populations, including California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Romney, meanwhile, will likely prevail by comparable margins in only relatively small states: Utah, Idaho, the Dakotas, Alabama, and Alaska. The big states that offer Romney his most plausible path to Electoral College victory probably will be won by much smaller margins, leaving Obama with a clear popular-vote advantage.
Also consider the unlikely -- but not impossible -- scenario of a tie.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Money and the Battle for Capitol Hill

Conservative interest groups have dumped well over $20 million into congressional races so far this year, outspending their liberal opponents 4 to 1 and setting off a growing panic among Democrats struggling to regain the House and hold on to their slim majority in the Senate.
The surge suggests that big-spending super PACs and nonprofit groups, which have become dominant players in the presidential race, will also play a pivotal role in House and Senate contests that will determine the balance of power in Washington in 2013.
Interest groups on both sides have reported spending $29.7 million on congressional races so far this election cycle, according to a Washington Post analysis of Federal Election Commission reports.
The spending is more than twice the amount similar groups had spent at this point ahead of the 2008 elections. It’s also higher than the $25.2 million spent during the 2010 midterms, when several high-profile special elections and primary fights drove outside expenditures to new heights.
Spending among the largest groups favors Republicans by about 4 to 1, although that is due in part to a number of fierce Republican primary fights, the data show. GOP Senate primaries in Indiana and Texas, for example, have each drawn more than $4 million in spending by independent groups.
The Hill reports:
House Republicans raised almost $7 million in April, out-raising their Democratic counterparts by almost one-half million dollars.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $6.9 million to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s $6.5 million. With $31 million in the bank, Republicans also have a cash-on-hand advantage over Democrats of more than $6 million.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Crossroads Theatre

The Hill reports:
Conservative super-PAC American Crossroads released a Web ad Friday, mocking the Obama administration in the style of the long-running "Masterpiece Theatre" drama series.

The video features past clips of President Obama comparing his foreign-policy accomplishments to other those of presidents, and defending the economic problems facing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as the worst since Alexander Hamilton. The video also derides Vice President Biden for a spelling gaffe.
"America's fourth greatest president, second greatest Treasury secretary and 47th greatest vice president," says a British accented narrator in the video. "Together only they could raise the debt limit to $16 trillion and keep 13 million American out of work."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Crossroads, Promises, Response, Rejoinder

A Crossroads GPS ad on President Obama's promises has provoked a response from the Obama campaign and a rejoinder from Crossroads GPS CEO Steven Law:


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Romney Catching Up in Fundraising

Michael Shear reports at The New York Times:
Mitt Romney almost matched President Obama in fund-raising during April after securing his party’s presidential nomination and joining forces with theRepublican National Committee, the campaign will announce on Thursday.
Mr. Romney and the R.N.C. raised $40.1 million in April, just shy of the $43.6 million that Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised for the month.
The contributions on behalf of Mr. Romney represent a huge jump over the $12.6 million that his campaign raised in March. The increase was made possible by donors coalescing around Mr. Romney as the nominee and the larger donations that can be directed to the party, campaign officials said.
“Voters are tired of President Obama’s broken promises,” said Reince Priebus, the chairman of the R.N.C. in a statement. “Mitt Romney has the record and plan to turn our country around – that is why he is receiving such enthusiastic support from voters across the country.”
Aides to Mr. Romney noted that the total might have been even higher if the joint fund-raising effort — known as the “Victory” campaign — had begun sooner. The campaign and the R.N.C. announced they were joining forces on April 4 but did not hold the first combined event until April 14, nearly halfway through the month

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crossroads GPS v. Obama on Promises

Crossroads GPS has announced a new $25 million issue advocacy initiative over the next four weeks to frame the national debate on jobs, the economy, health care, and government debt. The initial television buy includes network affiliates in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The new spot will start airing Thursday, May 17 and run through May 31 in an $8m initial buy. The ad urges citizens to support the “New Majority Agenda.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Strategies: 2008 v. 2012

Erin McPike writes at RealClearPolitics:
President Obama is attempting to shore up the 2008 coalition that helped him achieve a decisive victory over John McCain, but he is doing so in a more piecemeal way this time around.
As an incumbent, Obama's method is to target various constituencies -- albeit ones that supported him four years ago -- and make the sale with this argument: On the issues they care most about, he has advanced specific policies to help them, programs opposed by the Republican Party and its presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney.
Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei write at Politico:
Mitt Romney and his top aides are building a strategy, partly by design and partly because of circumstance, around what they consider John McCain’s disastrously run campaign in 2008.
The strategy: Whatever McCain did, do the opposite.
Many of the current strategy discussions are centered on not falling into the traps McCain did: looking wobbly as a leader and weak on the economy in the final weeks of the campaign. The private discussions include ruling out any vice presidential possibilities who could be seen as even remotely risky or unprepared; wrapping the entire campaign around economic issues, knowing this topic alone will swing undecided voters in the final days; and, slowly but steadily, building up Romney as a safe and competent alternative to President Barack Obama.
Charlie Black, an outside adviser to the Romney campaign, said the biggest lesson to learn from 2008 is, “Do whatever it takes not to get outspent.” Much of the Romney money is being invested heavily early to eat into Democratic strengths, especially with technology. By the time Romney finishes his current hiring spree, about one-fourth of his 400 staffers will be on the digital team — fundraising, communications and organizing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ron Paul Sorta Suspends

At The Washington Post, Jonathan Bernstein comments on Ron Paul's decision not to campaign in primaries anymore:

Rep. Ron Paul is sort of, in a sense, ramping down his presidential campaign; he’s not going to campaign anymore in the states that still haven’t held primaries or first-stage caucuses, although he’ll continue to fight for delegates where the rules allow for contested caucuses and conventions.
Dave Weigel suspects that the timing may be related to coming primaries in Paul’s Texas and his son Rep. Rand Paul’s Kentucky; contesting and getting clobbered in those states might be an embarrassment for the libertarian crusader. Could be, but I think it’s more straightforward. With the media no longer paying any attention to the primaries, there’s really not much of a point in maximizing vote share. Suppose that hard campaigning could lift the Paul vote from 5 percent to 20 percent; how exactly does that do him any good if no one is paying attention?
My best guess? Ron Paul pushes for votes on a few platform issues, and settles for platform committee losses on most of them but gets one or two minor victories, with something about the Fed probably the most likely. After that, his delegates then behave themselves in Florida but do wind up trying to generate some favorable publicity for him (and Rand Paul) without doing anything to harm Mitt Romney. And since reporters will be looking for stories, they’ll succeed, at least to some extent.
Keep an eye on the platform.  A number of Romney delegates may be sympathetic to Paul's position on the Fed and other issues.  In 1988 and 1992, by way of comparison, a number of delegates committed to George H.W. Bush were actually supporters of the Christian right.  The Bush campaign had to keep a close watch on the platform committee lest it provide ammunition to the Democrats.  The Romney campaign would be wise to do likewise.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

More Fundamentals

Six months before election day, electoral fundamentals favor Republicans according to the latest Resurgent Republic national survey of 1000 registered voters conducted April 30-May 3, 2012. The sample contains five percentage points more Democrats than Republicans (Democrats 35 percent, Republicans 30 percent), consistent with other recent national polling. ...
These results present a different perspective on the two candidates than much of the political punditry. It is Barack Obama, not Mitt Romney, who is viewed as outside the ideological mainstream.
American voters' top priority remains the economy, and they overwhelmingly believe the country is stuck in a recession, President Obama's economic plan is not working, and that it's time to try something else. President Obama has spent much of 2012 talking about fairness, but center-right candidates should not shy away from this debate either, especially with Independents who prefer conservative definitions of fairness and opportunity. In addition, a wide majority of Independents believe President Obama's energy polices have been bad for the country. The fact that much of the President's early re-election messaging has centered on energy is a tacit acknowledgement of the potency of this issue in 2012.
We will see how voters' views change over the six months leading up to the 2012 election, but as of today President Obama could not win a referendum on his leadership and his record.
AP reports on dour views of the economy in new Associated Press-GfK poll.

And the gloomier outlook extends across party lines, including a steep decline in the share of Democrats who call the economy "good," down from 48 percent in February to just 31 percent now.
Almost two-thirds of Americans — 65 percent — disapprove of Obama's handling of gas prices, up from 58 percent in February. Nearly half, 44 percent, "strongly disapprove." And just 30 percent said they approve, down from 39 percent in February.
These findings come despite a steady decline in gas prices in recent weeks after a surge earlier in the year. The national average for a gallon of gasoline stood at $3.75, down from a 2012 peak of $3.94 on April 1.
Of all the issues covered by the poll, Obama's ratings on gas prices were his worst.
The public's views tilt negative on his handling of the overall economy, 52 percent disapprove while 46 percent approve. In February, Americans were about evenly divided on his handling of the issue.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage: The Impact

A majority of Americans, 60%, say President Barack Obama's newly announced support for same-sex marriage will make no difference to their vote. Twice as many say it will make them less likely to vote for Obama as say more likely, though roughly half of the "less likely" group are Republicans who probably would not support Obama anyway.

Specifically, 23% of independents and 10% of Democrats say it makes them less likely to vote for Obama, while a smaller 11% of independents and 2% of Republicans say it makes them more likely to vote for Obama. Those figures suggest Obama's gay marriage position is likely to cost him more independent and Democratic votes than he would gain in independent and Republican votes, clearly indicating that his new position is more of a net minus than a net plus for him. However, those figures also underscore that it is a relatively limited group of voters -- about one in three independents and fewer than one in 10 Republicans or Democrats -- whose votes may change as a result of Obama's new stance on gay marriage.
The president's stand is helping on the fundraising front, as AP reports:
President Barack Obama has seen an uptick in fundraising since he announced his shift on gay marriage, with some Democratic rainmakers citing renewed interest from gay and lesbian donors who had been urging the president to clarify his stance on the divisive social issue.

"The phone calls went on until one in the morning after the president spoke — people calling saying `Where do I go, what can I do to help, what events are coming up,"' said Robert Zimmerman, a Long Island, N.Y., Obama bundler. "People I've been seeking out for campaign support for months have been calling me saying, `I'm ready to give."'

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama Endorses Same-Sex Marriage

Vice President Biden's comments on marriage have prompted a White House shift. In an ABC interview yesterday, President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage.  At Politico, Charles Mahtesian writes:
No doubt, Obama gets some political pluses out of supporting same-sex marriage Wednesday — energizing LGBT voters and donors, adding a new line to his Mitt Romney’s-a-throwback brief, kick-starting college turnout or in simply reminding people that yes, he came to Washington to do big things.
But for all the polls showing movement toward greater public acceptance of gay marriage, for all the signs of increased tolerance and changing mores, there’s one undeniable fact: A full embrace of gay rights has never been a winner in the political arena.

Fifteen years of ballot measures in more than 30 states from coast-to-coast show an issue that has been rejected nearly every time it’s gone before the voters — often by large margins.
He identifies seven states where the president's change of position may hurt:

  • North Carolina, which just passed a ban on same-sex marriage (and where some voters may see the president's statement as a rebuke);
  • Florida: "Four years ago, Obama and an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment shared the Florida ballot. Obama won the state narrowly, the amendment won by a landslide. And the amendment won 600,000 more votes than Obama."
  • Colorado, home of Focus on the Family;
  • Nevada, with lots of Mormons;
  • Iowa, where in 2010 voters ousted three judges who voted to allow same-sex marriage;
  • Missouri, with many social conservatives;
  • Ohio, where "polls continue to show that a majority in Ohio oppose gay marriage, compared with only about one-third of voters who support it.

Michael Barone writes:
Barack Obama certainly made news today with his announcement that he has changed his position and now favors same-sex marriage. But one part of his statement has evidently aroused a firestorm in the conservative blogosphere. “When I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors,” he said, “who are out there fighting on my behalf . . . .” “My behalf”? They are fighting on behalf of the United States of America of which Obama is, like all his predecessors have been and all his successors will be, temporarily president and commander-in-chief. Obama could have accurately said “at my command,” since that is literally true. But that would conflict with his campaign message that he ends wars rather than wages them. And if he were a constitutional monarch like Elizabeth II he could, I suppose, say “on my behalf.” But we're not a monarchy and he's not royal.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

(Mostly) Bad Numbers for Democrats

Gallup reports a good number for Democrats:
Registered voters are nearly twice as likely to say Barack Obama, rather than Mitt Romney, is the more likable of the two presidential candidates. Obama's 60% to 31% advantage on this characteristic is the largest for either candidate on five separate dimensions tested in a May 1-2 USA Today/Gallup poll.
Another Gallup number is not so good:
Thirty-two percent of 18- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. workforce were underemployed in April, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment. This is up from 30.1% in March and is slightly higher than the 30.7% of a year ago.
At the Daily Beast, Ben Jacobs reports an ominous number from Wisconsin:
Tuesday was a bad night for the labor movement. In Wisconsin, with only token opposition, incumbent Gov. Scott Walker got 97 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, and almost as many votes were cast for him than in the entire Democratic primary combined. This is a bad sign for Democrats. The percentage of the vote Walker received seemed more appropriate for Mugabe than the former county executive of Milwaukee.
At The Washington Post, Rachel Weiner reports a bad number from West Virginia:
Keith Judd, who is serving a 17 1/2-year prison sentence for extortion at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas, took 41 percent of the vote in West Virginia’s Democratic primary Tuesday night — 72,000 votes to Obama’s 106,000. He would qualify for convention delegates, if anyone had signed up to be a Judd delegate. (No one did.)
How did Judd get so many votes?
It’s likely not his past careers as a superhero and religious leader. Or his passionate FEC report ramblings. Simply put, West Virginia does not like Obama.
Alex Roarty writes at The Atlantic:
The overwhelming North Carolina vote to define marriage as legal only between a man and woman is an unequivocal reminder that gay marriage remains unappealing in many parts of the country, even as its support grows overall nationally.
That's a warning for President Obama, who is currently positioned somewhere between supporters of gay marriage -- who include campaign backers and members of his own administration -- and resistant voters like those who helped pass the gay marriage ban this week in the Tar Heel State.
Obama's description of himself as "evolving" on the issue amounts to a public flirtation, and has prompted speculation that he'll become a gay-marriage supporter in time for the Democratic National Convention this summer in Charlotte. But the president is counting on North Carolina and demographically similar states, like Virginia, to lift him to a second term. Assuming an unpopular position on such a high-profile issue is politically perilous in those states and others where he may need every last vote to beat back Republican foe Mitt Romney.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Administration's Gay Marriage Muddle

At The Washington Post, Dana Milbank goes full-metal snark:
If Vice President Biden continues to make public appearances during this campaign, White House press secretary Jay Carney should be offered a membership in the janitors’ union
As things stand, the spokesman does not have the supplies necessary to clean up the mess Biden made in his appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Biden gave his full support to same-sex marriage — a position conspicuously at odds with the public stance of his boss, President Obama, who is widely assumed to share Biden’s views but who says that his own thinking is “evolving.”
At Politico, Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Martin, and Glenn Thrush report:
“They had the best of both worlds going up until this weekend where they didn’t have to rock the boat of actually coming out for it. The gay community was fully happy in their belief that he ‘wink, wink’ supported it,” a top Democratic communications strategist said. “Now, in their efforts to contain the [Joe] Biden fallout, they seem to be digging in against gay marriage, emphasizing how they are not for it. That is the opposite of what they have successfully been doing all along.”
At The Washington Post, Peter Wallsten and Dan Eggen add a fascinating datum:
About one in six of Obama’s top campaign “bundlers” are gay, according to a Washington Post review of donor lists, making it difficult for the president to defer the matter. Activists are planning a campaign for the adoption of a pro-gay-marriage plank in this year’s Democratic Party platform. And a series of referendums this year on same-sex marriage — including one in the swing state of North Carolina on Tuesday — are putting the issue at the forefront.
And today, North Carolina voters will probably pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.  The Democratic national convention is taking place in that very state, leading a Daily Kos blogger to write:
This is very, very, very late in the game to consider, but does Charlotte, North Carolina deserve to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention if the state passes a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions?
Logistically, it is past the point of no return to suggest that the 2012 DNC be moved to another host city. And it is destructively punitive to hold the city of Charlotte responsible for the bigotry of an entire state, but how can the Democratic Party reward such deplorable electoral behavior?

Soros Antes Up

Nicholas Confessore writes in The New York Times:
After months on the sidelines, major liberal donors including the financier George Soros are preparing to inject up to $100 million into independent groups to aid Democrats’ chances this fall. But instead of going head to head with the conservative “super PACs” and outside groups that have flooded the presidential and Congressional campaigns with negative advertising, the donors are focusing on grass-roots organizing, voter registration and Democratic turnout.

The departure from the conservatives’ approach, which helped Republicans wrest control of the House in 2010, partly reflects liberal donors’ objections to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which paved the way for super PACs and unbridled campaign spending.
But in interviews, donors and strategists involved in the effort said they also did not believe they could match advertising spending by leading conservative groups like American Crossroads and Americans for Prosperity, and instead wanted to exploit what they see as the Democrats’ advantage in grass-roots organizing.
“Super PACs are critically important,” said Rob Stein, the founder of the Democracy Alliance, a group of liberal donors who will convene near Miami this week to discuss where to steer their money this year. But the liberal groups, he said, believe that local efforts and outreach through social media “can have an enormous impact in battleground states in 2012.”

Monday, May 7, 2012

Outside Groups: Impact and Tax Status

At The New York Times, Thomas Edsall writes:
Douglas Schoen, a Democratic consultant who is not part of the Obama campaign and has been very critical of the president, wrote in an email that
it is a huge, and potentially dispositive disadvantage that Obama is not raising super PAC money. I expect Romney to have $400-500 million to spend in what will ultimately prove to be 5-8 crucial swing states.
In addition to the financial advantages, Schoen wrote, Republican super PACs
can and will run ads without disclosure or with any real review of their accuracy. So Romney can and will insulate himself from the most noxious and offensive and probably inaccurate ads as well — as he did in the primaries.
The second Schoen comment is not quite accurate.  Unlike 501(c)(4) groups, super PACs do indeed disclose their contributors to the FEC.  And blogs, advocacy groups, and news organizations are quick to point out inaccuracies in ads.   For instance, PolitiFact recently noted a dubious statistic (85 percent of recent college grads purportedly moving back with their parents) in an American Crossroads ad.

TPM reports:
Democrats say super PACs are necessary for them to stay competitive in races that were hit by an influx of super PAC money in 2010.
“The pitch is that we are the firewall against outside Republican money,” Andy Stone of House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, told TPM. “We all know what happened last cycle, in so many close races where Republican outside groups came in at the last minute, dumped a whole much of money and ended up winning the race. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen this cycle.”
Allison said that super PAC money can often benefit challengers most.
“The problem that every challenger has is name recognition. What super PACs are able to do is drive up the negatives of their opponent while creating a warm, fuzzy image of their candidate,” Allison said. “It’s a huge equalizer for challengers I think.”
Dan Froomkin and Paul Blumenthal writes at The Huffington Post:
Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, the political ad-buying organization cofounded by Republican strategist Karl Rove in 2010, has officially submitted its first tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service, and as expected, the group is formally requesting that the IRS treat it as a nonprofit operating under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code.
But that's a tricky proposition for a group that spends the vast majority of its money on ads decrying one political candidate or another.
The hitch is that the tax code says 501(c)(4) groups "must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare" -- the promotion of which "does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Narrow Electoral College Path for Romney?

Is Romney's electoral college path so narrow?  At Salon, Steve Kornacki offers some sense:
Don’t believe the hype about the supposedly narrow path to 270 electoral votes that Mitt Romney faces. The idea, advanced in a Washington Post story today, is that the presumptive GOP nominee faces an extra burden this fall in the specific swing states that will ultimately decide the presidency.
The claim has been made by others recently, and there’s really nothing to it. At its core, it reflects a very simple fact: Barack Obama won the 2008 election. Just consider the opening line of today’s Post story:

Mitt Romney faces a narrow path to the presidency, one that requires winning back states that President Obama took from Republicans in 2008 and that has few apparent opportunities for Romney to steal away traditionally Democratic states.
The first part of that sentence, as Nick Baumann pointed out, is “literally true of every nominee for the party that lost the previous election.”
This speaks to the political world’s very human tendency to treat the patterns that defined the most recent election as more fixed than they are – which inevitably leads to wild overreactions when those patters are obliterated by the next election. Remember the “permanent Republican majority” that Bush and Rove put together in 2004? And how just two years later Democrats won back the House and the Senate? Or how Barack Obama put together a 40-year majority in 2008, only to watch Republicans score one of history’s most thorough midterm landslides in 2010?
Simply put, any candidate who wins more than 51 percent of the popular vote is extremely likely to win the electoral vote, and by a disproportionate margin.   As Al Gore learned, however, things get a lot trickier when the popular vote winner is ahead by less than a percentage point.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Fundamental Things Apply...

Shortly after Friday's unemployment report, Jay Cost wrote:
Another terrible jobs report today: The establishment survey reported the economy added just 115,000 jobs. While the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, according to the household survey, it was once again for the wrong reason. The unemployment rate is simply a ratio – the number of people counted as unemployed divided by the number of people in the labor force. The rate fell because of a notable drop in the latter, fewer folks are looking for work.
In fact, the household survey actually found 170,000 fewer jobs in the country this month. What’s more, the broadest measure of employment – the employment population ratio – isunchanged over the last year, despite a drop in headline unemployment from 9 percent to 8.1 percent. The employment population ratio is just 58.4 percent; a level that, prior to this recession, we had not seen in over a generation.
What does this mean for Obama’s reelection prospects, as well as the Romney campaign?
The economic picture is the bleakest for any president seeking reelection in a long time. As Sean Trende argued in late January, a composite view of the economic data suggests 2012 is a worse economic climate than 1968, 1976, 1992, and 2000 – in all those years, the incumbent party lost. It is comparable to 1960 (another losing year for the incumbent party) and only the disastrous cycles of 2008 and 1980 saw a worse economic climate for the incumbent party. In other words, no incumbent party has won reelection in a negative climate quite like this.
Bloomberg reports:
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index shows that Americans are still worried about their economic future. The index dropped last week to a two-month low as more Americans grew concerned about their personal finances. The index fell to minus 37.6 in the week ended April 29 from minus 35.8, surrendering gains that had lifted it to a four-year high last month.
While Americans remained pessimistic about the economy, their views did improve with the index rising to minus 64.3 from minus 66.4.
Real median household income in March was down $4,300 in since Obama took office in January 2009 and is down $2,900 since the recovery started in June 2009, according to an estimate from Sentier Research, an economic-consulting firm based in Annapolis, Maryland.
At Politico, Charles Mahtesian writes of House races:
There’s a curious disconnect between the widely-held opinion among the political class (that the Democrats probably can’t win back the majority this year) and the narrative that the media continues to report (that the GOP House majority is on a razor’s edge or the tide is turning in favor of the Democrats).
David Wasserman, the House analyst for the highly respected and non-partisan Cook Political Report, highlights that perception gap in a new report that looks at the House landscape.
Wasserman's view: “Democrats and DCCC Chair Rep. Steve Israel have done an impressive job pitching their overall prospects to donors and some members of the media.”
According to his own detailed assessment of the House map, Wasserman doesn’t see enough evidence at this point to suggest Democrats are poised to win back control.
He points to the party's “impressive ability to keep pace in the money chase at both the candidate and committee level,” but reports there’s no sign of a national wave that would throw the House GOP out of power.
Not only that, a dozen of the most vulnerable House Republicans saw their districts shored up in redistricting. Then there is the open seat issue: Democrats must defend 20 of them, compared to 16 for the GOP.

Friday, May 4, 2012


At CBS, Leigh Ann Caldwell reports:

When the Obama campaign unveiled its fictional character Julia, officials hoped she might become a household name to show how the president's vision for the United States would benefit millions of Americans, especially women.
Instead, she is getting attention from Republicans who hope to use her to symbolize what they see as Mr. Obama's failures: An overreaching government.
According to the Twitter analytic Topsy, #Julia has been mentioned more than 20,000 times in the past two days as Republicans have been gleefully attacking Julia with their own interpretation of what she represents.
In "The Life of Julia," the Obama campaign released a web slideshow that takes the viewer through the life stages of a fictional woman named Julia. At age three, a slide says Julia is enrolled in the government Head Start program, which says presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney would slash. Later in life, the web tool says Julia received cheaper student loans, a Pell Grant and a tax credit. She benefited from the health care law and in her older years, Julia received Medicare and Social Security.
To Republicans, she represents a society increasingly dependent on government handouts.
As the Labor Department's announcement Friday morning that the economy added just 115,000 new jobs in April, Republicans took to Twitter to say "Julia needs a job."
RNC Research@RNCResearch#Julia Needs A Job May 12