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Friday Roundup

Obama Vs Romney.

Obama Vs Romney. Photo Courtsesy Malwack, CC BY-SA.

It’s the economy, stupid. According to the monthly Labor Department report, the economy added 80,000 jobs in June, but unemployment remained at 8.2 percent. Mitt Romney seized upon the new report to attack President Barack Obama’s economic record. Nate Silver added an economic index to his election forecast model. He noted:

The historical evidence is robust enough to say that economic performance almost certainly matters at least somewhat, and that poorer economic performance tends to hurt the incumbent party’s presidential candidate. Likewise, it seems clear that the trend in performance matters more than the absolute level.

Healthcare. Mitt Romney said Wednesday that the individual mandate is “a tax,” contradicting a statement made by his senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom on Monday in which he said the former Massachusetts governor rejected the court’s characterization and believed that the individual mandate was a penalty. Seven states with Republican governors have given a flat ‘no’ to the Medicaid expansion since the Supreme Court ruling and another eight are leaning towards rejection, striking a blow to President Obama’s promise of expanded coverage, according to The Hill. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds American attitudes are split down the middle on the court ruling, with 43 percent holding favorable impressions of the ruling, and 42 percent holding unfavorable ones. The poll also finds a partisan split in attitudes with 80 percent of Democrats holding favorable views of President Obama’s plans for health care. Meanwhile 62 percent of Republicans have positive views of Mitt Romney’s ideas. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll also finds the public split at 41 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable, and 18 percent undecided. It also demonstrates a partisan divide.

Potpourri. A Wall Street Journal editorial outlining Romney’s hesitance to detail his policies from healthcare to immigration and other policies with any specificity is letting down Republicans. According to the WSJ:

All of these attacks were predictable, in particular because they go to the heart of Mr. Romney’s main campaign theme — that he can create jobs as President because he is a successful businessman and manager. But candidates who live by biography typically lose by it. See President John Kerry.

The biography that voters care about is their own, and they want to know how a candidate is going to improve their future. That means offering a larger economic narrative and vision than Mr. Romney has so far provided. It means pointing out the differences with specificity on higher taxes, government-run health care, punitive regulation, and the waste of politically-driven government spending.

Meanwhile Ann Romney told CBS News she worries that President Obama's entire campaign strategy is "kill Romney."

What would a second term for President Obama look like? One of the most important policy issues he could address is climate change. He might also champion immigration reform and address a more robust aid agenda for developing countries. According to Ryan Lizza:

If Obama aims to leave a legislative mark in his second term, he’ll need two things: a sense of humility, and a revitalized faction of Republican lawmakers willing to make deals with the President. Given the polarized environment and the likelihood of a closely divided Congress, it seems more implausible to suppose that Obama would turn radical in his second term than that he would cool to his Democratic base.

Friday Roundup: the Supremes’ Moment in the Spotlight

Obama Vs Romney.

Obama Vs Romney. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The High Court’s Week in the Spotlight. With scholars, experts, pundits and journalists waiting with bated breath, the Supreme Court issued its ruling on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) yesterday. According to the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, indi­vidual mandate was upheld, but “must be construed as imposing a tax on those who do not have health insurance,” not as “a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.” It is important to note that in making the case for the bill, President Obama repeatedly said that the mandate was not a tax. Eric Patashnik, Associate dean of the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, explained:

Chief Justice Roberts found a middle path, granting the main conservative argument against the law (the federal government's regulatory powers are not unlimited) but also allowing implementation of the law to go forward.

But, as Patashnik and Jeffery Jenkins wrote earlier this year, “The main impact of the Court’s decision will be to shape the political ground on which the health reform struggle will continue.”

Responding to the ruling, Mitt Romney said:

This is now a time for the American People to make a choice. You can choose whether to have a larger and larger government making intrusions into your life... Or whether instead you want to return to a time where Americans have their own choice in health care.

He added, “What the Supreme Court did not do on its last day in session, I will do in my first day in office. I will act to repeal Obamacare.”

President Obama also delivered a response to the ruling and said: 

I knew the idea wasn't politically popular and resisted it when I ran for this office. … It should be pretty clear by now that I didn't do this because it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the country. ... Now's the time to focus on the most important challenge of our time: putting people back to work.

Romney’s campaign said this morning that it raised $4.2 million online following the Supreme Court's decision. The Obama campaign also seized upon the ruling to raise funds, but the campaign would not reveal how much.

Both CNN and Fox News falsely reported the outcome of the SCOTUS Healthcare ruling on the first take.

Among other rulings, the Supreme Court also handed down its decision in Arizona vs. United States, the 2010 Arizona immigration law (S.B. 1070). With a 5-3 vote, the Court upheld the most hotly contested provision of the law – the so-called “show me your papers” provision – but blocked other provisions on the grounds that they preempted the federal government’s role in setting immigration policy. In a separate ruling issued on Monday, the Court solidified its Citizens United ruling by striking down a Progressive Era ban on corporate giving in the state of Montana. In its 5-4 decision, the Court said there is “no serious doubt” that the Citizens United ruling applies to the state, disappointing those who viewed the Montana case as a means to challenge the controversial ruling on corporate campaign spending.

Friday Roundup: Pandermonium

Obama Vs Romney.

Obama Vs Romney. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Each week in the Friday Roundup, Riding the Tiger takes a look at the major news stories of the week involving the presidential election of 2012.

Pandermonium. President Obama elaborated on his decision to no longer deport undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children in a Time Magazine op-ed.  Meanwhile Romney received mixed reactions after delivering an address to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in which he called for loosening some immigration restrictions, including lifting caps on skilled worker visas and speeding the processing of applications for temporary agricultural work visas. In Arizona, Republican Representatives David Schweikert and Ben Quayle, who are running against each other in one of this year’s more competitive member-vs.-member primaries, each introduced legislation this week that would prohibit implementation of the Obama administration’s plan to stop deporting some illegal immigrants. Meanwhile Obama is reminding various constituents within the Democratic coalition of other accomplishments (contraception, support for gay marriage). In a new TV ad, Obama for America touts the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as the first bill signed by the president after his inauguration.

All the pandering this election season raises the question: Does the candidate or the party matter more? Gary Wills reminded all the “high-minded” voters who say they vote for the candidate and not the party that two are inseparable. According to Wills, “The man being voted for, no matter what he says, dances with the party that brought him, dependent on its support, resources, and clientele… The party has some continuity of commitment, no matter how compromised. What you are really voting for is the party’s constituency.” Jonathan Bernstein quibbled a bit, but mostly agreed that we choose between sets of constituencies. For more in-depth recent political science theorizing on the subject, read this paper.

The Real Candidates. David Maraniss’ new biography, Barack Obama: The Story, challenges the president’s memoir, Dreams of My Father. Maraniss shared excerpts of the book here and Ben Smith has a review of the book that is worth reading here. Meanwhile, the Washington Post profiled Romney’s path to success at Bain Capital. And the New York Times exposed the selective truths both candidates use in the campaigns.

It’s the economy, stupid! According to a new Gallup poll, “Americans become progressively less positive about economic conditions the farther away from home they look. Forty-nine percent rate economic conditions in their local area as excellent or good, but that drops to 25% when rating the U.S. economy, and to 13% when assessing the world as a whole.” Andrew Gelman graphed the partisan breakdown at The Monkey Cage and found that Democrats are more optimistic about the economy than Republicans. Meanwhile, according to a new Pew Research Center poll, Obama leads Romney on eight different character traits. However, Romney has the advantage when it comes to voter beliefs about who would improve economic conditions, and the economy dominates voter concerns.

Friday Roundup

Obama Vs Romney.

Obama Vs Romney. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Each week in the Friday Roundup, Riding the Tiger takes a look at the major news stories of the week involving the presidential election of 2012.

Vox Populi. Pressure is building for President Obama to do something more for Latino voters as his policies havehave produced few gains for them. The administration attempted to respond today with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announcement that the Obama administration will block deportations of hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants who had been brought to the country as children. Jeb Bush said that Mitt Romney needs broader ideas on immigration if he is going to appeal to Hispanic voters.

According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 43 percent of voters expressed a favorable impression of President Obama’s plan for the economy, while 37 percent say the same of Romney.

According to a new poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, global approval of President Obama’s policies has declined significantly. Except among Americans and Indians, there is considerable opposition to the Obama administration’s use of drones.

Jonathan Bernstein debunked five myths about swing states.

It’s the economy, stupid! President Obama delivered a major address in Ohio on economy telling voters, “This November is your chance to render a verdict on the debate over how to grow the economy, how to create good jobs, how to pay down our deficit.” Romney sought to frame the president’s speech in his own address on the economy, telling voters not to “forget he’s been president for 3 ½ years, and talk is cheap. Actions speak very loud.” The RNC also hit back with this video.

Friday Roundup

Obama Vs Romney. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Obama Vs Romney. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Each week in the Friday Roundup, Riding the Tiger takes a look at the major news stories of the week involving the presidential election of 2012.

Vox Populi. A new Pew Research poll finds that the values and basic beliefs of American voters are more polarized along partisan lines than at any point in the past 25 years, and nearly all of the increase has occurred during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The GOP base is coalescing around Mitt Romney faster than expected. According to one Republican consultant, “Conservatives don't universally claim Romney as one of their own, but they appear to have united behind him, perhaps reluctantly, but without question.” The right has been romanced.

In a new Purple Strategies poll, President Obama leads by a narrow two-point margin among voters in swing states.

A Fox News poll finds Republican Mitt Romney tops President Barack Obama on economic issues, while Obama’s biggest strengths are mainly foreign policy and fighting terrorism.  

Ezra Klein argued that elections do not give presidents mandates.

Battle for the Ballots. Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, shared the campaign's conceptualization of the current electoral map. The map counts Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Colorado as “tossups” and places the current electoral count at 243 for Obama and 191 for Romney. Governor Scott Walker might add Wisconsin to the list of states in play. After retaining his seat, Walker had this advice for Mitt Romney:

“The best thing he can do between now and November, because this is a very competitive state and we hope to see him here throughout the next several months, but is to get out and make a very compelling case about how he’s willing to take on the tough challenges.”

Michigan may also be in play. A new poll from EPIC-MRA shows Romney leading Obama 46%-45%.

Larry Sabato and his team have two new political maps – one that shows states in play based on current Crystal Ball Electoral College ratings and one that shows states in play by unemployment. From these views, the nation looks pretty divided.

Before we read too much more into what the Walker recall election results means for the presidential campaign, Nate Silver has numbers from the past 40 years that show the party identification of a state’s governor has said little about how presidential candidates will fare there.

A POLITICO review of public speeches and news clippings shows that six Cabinet members have made more than 85 trips this year to electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The trips meld politics and policy with fiery defenses of administration policies mixed with off-the-clock fundraising. More support for Todd Purdum’s argument that Obama’s Cabinet members are not much more than mascots.

Friday Roundup

Obama Vs Romney. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Obama Vs Romney. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Each week in the Friday Roundup, Riding the Tiger takes a look at the major news stories of the week involving the presidential election of 2012.

Vox Populi. The Real Clear Politics average for May 9-30 shows President Barack Obama polling +2.3. According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 41 percent of Americans express positive views of Mitt Romney compared to 52 percent for President Barack Obama. But, Republican women are rallying to Romney now that other party candidates have dropped out. Obama and Romney are in a dead heat in three swing states – Iowa, Nevada and Colorado – according to a new Marist-NBC poll. Marco Rubio predicted that Latino voters will align with Romney as they learn more about the economic differences between the candidates. According to a new Gallup poll, Romney now enjoys a 24-point lead over Obama among Veterans. Larry Sabato keenly observes that rather than try to predict the winner based on presidential polling in June, we might as well flip a coin.

It’s the economy, stupid! Romney went on the offensive after clinching the nomination on Tuesday. He went after President Obama’s economic policies on Thursday with a campaign stop at the closed Solyndra facility, calling it a “symbol of failure.” Romney also attacked Obama’s job creation record in a coal mining community in Colorado. Meanwhile Democratic leaders across the country say they are largely united behind the Obama campaign’s strategy to go after Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. On Thursday, David Axelrod attempted to go after Romney’s “economic philosophy and his failed economic record in Massachusetts” at an event in Boston, but was drowned out by Romney supporters. Ann Romney said she “completely” supports “90 percent of where Mitt is.” (This week Mrs. Romney also got a new press secretary, Sarah Haley, who previous served as the Santorum campaign’s national coalitions director.) Meanwhile, former first lady Nancy Reagan endorsed Romney and said her husband would have liked his business background and strong principles.

The government released its monthly jobs report this morning that found U.S. employers added just 69,000 jobs in May – the fewest in a year – with unemployment rising slightly to 8.2 percent. To mark Jobs Day, we bring you this “Cap the Knife” clip from the Miller Center archives. In the clip, President Richard Nixon makes it perfectly clear to Caspar Weinberger, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, that he is to spend money on creating jobs and bringing down the unemployment rate from around 6.2 percent, regardless of the impact on inflation or the budget.

Friday Roundup

Obama Vs Romney. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Obama Vs Romney. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Electoral Horse race. New polling from NBC and Marist College give President Barack Obama a slight edge over Mitt Romney in Florida (48-44), Ohio (48-42), and Virginia (48-44). Public Policy Polling gives Romney a 50-43 advantage in Arizona and a Civitas Institute Poll shows Romney leading 47-45 in North Carolina. According to a new Gallup poll, Vice President Joe Bidens favorability ratings have dropped to 42%, suggesting he may not be as a big of an asset when deployed by the Obama campaign.

An NBC-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll shows that Obama leads Romney by 34 points among the Hispanic community. Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake at the Washington Post's The Fix suggest that the Republicans’  “Hispanic problem” didn’t happen overnight, but they “need to find ways to begin growing their support among Hispanics or they run the risk of struggling to build majority national coalitions in 2016, 2020 and beyond.” Meanwhile, the Romney campaign is quietly beginning an outreach effort to black voters.

Joseph Gerth at the Courier Journal provided a visual representation of the vote breakdown and explained that Kentucky snubbed President Obama in the primary mostly as a result of widespread and emphatic opposition to many of his policies.

Ron Paul’s campaign is making good on his promise to continue to build support in the states. Or at least that’s the case in Nevada where top Republican party officials resigned in a dispute with Paul supporters just weeks after supporters swept the state convention.

Friday Roundup

Obama vs Romney

Obama Vs Romney. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Each week in the Friday Roundup, Riding the Tiger takes a look at the major news stories of the week involving the presidential election of 2012.

Electoral Horse Race. Chris Cillizza, writer of the Washington Post’s “The Fix,” spoke at the Miller Center’s forum today on how the Post will cover the election, and said that President Obama starts with an edge in the race for electoral votes. Larry Sabato also gave Obama an edge at the starting block with 247 electoral votes, while Romney starts with 206. During his appearance on “The View” on Monday, President Obama said he is “going to win” the election. But, according to Gallup, Romney is gaining favorability, with a rating this week of 50%, nearly matching Obama’s 52%. Meanwhile, a USA Today/Gallup poll examined the American public’s beliefs about who will win. According to the poll’s findings: 

Fifty-six percent of Americans think Barack Obama will win the 2012 presidential election, compared with 36 percent who think Mitt Romney will win. Democrats are more likely to believe that Obama will win than Republicans are to believe Romney will. Independents are nearly twice as likely to think that Obama, rather than Romney, will prevail.

Friday Roundup

President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America, in the Cabinet Room.

President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC’s Good Morning America, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, May 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Each week in the Friday Roundup, Riding the Tiger takes a look at the major news stories of the week involving the presidential election of 2012.

News this week was dominated by President Obama’s affirmation that same-sex marriage should be legal. This week's roundup also highlights foreign policy in the elections, primaries, VEEPwatch, the  Wisconsin recall election and 2012 negative primary ads.

Friday Roundup

President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai exchange documents after signing the strategic partnership agreement at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 1, 2012.

Each week in the Friday Roundup, Riding the Tiger takes a look at the major news stories of the week involving the presidential election of 2012.

The one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden and President Obama’s surprise visit to Afghanistan to sign the Strategic Partnership Agreement dominated headlines this week and drew attention to the role of foreign and national security policy in the election. Romney and Obama have started the attacks early and, folks, it ain’t pretty. 

Friday Roundup

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio, photo by Gage Skidmore

Each week in the Friday Roundup, Riding the Tiger takes a look at the major news stories of the week involving the presidential election of 2012.

This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Arizona’s 2010 immigration law, S.B. 1070. Media reports suggested the Court, based on their questions, appeared to be rediscovering federalism and might be inclined to uphold a controversial part of the law. In a post for Riding the Tiger earlier this week, Anna O. Law provided historical context to the debate over who should control immigration policy, and conversations from the Miller Center's Presidential Recordings Program examined the historical relationship between immigration and the economy.