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Riding The Tiger

“I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed.” Harry S. Truman

Friday Round-Up: “The Post-Election Dust Settling”

Barack Obama and volunteers at the Hyde Park, Chicago Obama campaign office make phone calls on Election Day 2012

Barack Obama and volunteers at the Hyde Park, Chicago Obama campaign office make phone calls on Election Day 2012. Photo by TonytheTiger. CC-SA.

  1. President Obama held his first media Q&A session on Wednesday, during which, he outlined a policy agenda for the beginning of his second term. He said that a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform would be the first item on the table after inauguration day. Obama said he was “very confident” he could pass a bill early in his second term. “We need to seize the moment.” He also took the opportunity to reiterate that he would veto any compromise on the ‘fiscal cliff’ that did not raise taxes on those making $250,000/year or more. Obama hinted at the possibility of compromise, emphasizing that if all the Bush-era tax cuts expired, it would be a “bad thing” that was “not necessary.”
  2. President Obama met with Congressional leaders today for discussions on reaching agreement to avoid the Fiscal Cliff. Following the hour-long meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner appeared together, a rare occurrence, and pledged cooperation. McConnell said Republicans “are willing to put revenue on the table,” while the Democrats said they recognized the need to curb spending. It’s likely that the two sides will forge a temporary agreement before December 31 to avoid fiscal contraction, but the agreement could provide a framework for a longer-term overhaul to major programs such as Medicare, as well as major tax code reform.
  3. Romney Explains Loss to Donors: Romney said Obama used the “old playbook” of directing specific official policies to “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.” Several Republicans, especially those with an eye on 2016 including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, quickly denounced the remarks. “We have got to stop dividing American voters,” Jindal said. “I absolutely reject that notion, that description. … We’re fighting for 100 percent of the vote.”
  4. How did the Obama campaign approach the task of ad-buying in an election season with record spending? In the vein of sabermetricians in Major League Baseball, the Obama campaign bought airtime when they would receive the most ‘bang for their buck.’ That is, when they would reach most of the right kind of voters for the smallest price tag. This meant buying airtime outside of expensive primetime programming, and into daytime TV and stations like the Food Network, Hallmark, and Family channel.
  5. Gay voters appear to have been crucial to President Obama’s reelection. According to analysis of exit polls by Michael Cohen at Five Thirty Eight, five percent of voters claimed to be gay, lesbian or bisexual. Among those voters, 76 percent voted for Obama. Meanwhile, Libertarian candidates appeared to play a spoiler role for Republicans in at least nine close state-level races.

Friday Roundup: Election Take-Aways

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

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

  1. Who voted for whom, compared to 2008? According to the Washington Post, in 2012, Mitt Romney won more independents, more white voters, more black voters, and more educated voters than John McCain did in 2008. The big shift: Hispanic voters. Romney was only able to capture 26% of the Hispanic electorate, compared to John McCain’s 35% in 2008. The overall trend in swing states is that Romney did better than McCain did in 2008--but the effort simply was not enough.
  2. How historic is Barack Obama’s second victory? As James W. Ceaser mentions in The Weekly Standard, an Obama’s victory is the first time an incumbent has received less of the popular vote in their bid for re-election--and still been re-elected. Obama’s re-election also means that Democrats have held all 18 “blue-wall” states since 1992, a record that Spencer Green points out is the most states Democrats have won since the formation of the party system in 1828. Green goes on to write that Obama’s swing state strategy varied based on the prevalence of the “old” and “new” Democratic coalitions: working class whites and the combination of young voters, ethnic minorities, and college-educated women, respectively. The Obama campaign succeeded with a historic amalgamation of different voter groups.
  3. What now? President Obama invited congressional leaders of both parties to the White House next week to begin working out a deal to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff.’ John Boehner said he was open to “responsible compromise” that would not include increasing tax rates. Obama responded by saying that any approach needed to be “balanced” and that the American people had expressed their support for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans by re-electing him.
  4. An look at what could have been: Romney set up a transition site in the event he won. It was quickly taken down. Additionally, the Boston Globe disclosed that the Romney campaign purchased and planned an eight minute fireworks victory-celebration in Boston harbor.

Friday Round-up: All or Nothing

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

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

  1. It’s the economy, stupid! The final jobs report before the election was issued this morning and the presidential campaigns have already incorporated the findings into their talking points even though the report is unlikely to make a difference with just four days remaining. Employers reported adding 171,000 jobs in October, which was better than expected and better than September (148,000).  The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent, up from 7.8 percent, but the reason behind the increase was that more people counted themselves as looking for work.
  2. Disaster Politics. Mitt Romney suspended campaigning on Monday and Tuesday, while Barack Obama didn’t return to campaigning until Thursday due to Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane also interrupted early voting efforts in affected states, though not in Ohio. Sandy appears to be benefitting Obama, at least at the margins.  According to the latest release of the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll, President Obama received high marks for his response to Hurricane Sandy. Nearly eight in ten likely voters think the President did an “excellent” or “good job” responding to the disaster. And finally climate disruption has entered the race, thanks to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Independent) who endorsed Obama in an op-ed in the wake of Sandy:

The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of next Tuesday's presidential election into sharp relief ... Our climate is changing. ... We need leadership from the White House.

Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie together surveyed storm-battered New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Romney ignored repeated questions from reporters regarding his position on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In a June 2011 CNN debate, Romney agreed that federal disaster response could be curtailed: “Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”

Economic damages inflicted by Hurricane Sandy could reach $50 billion, according to the catastrophic risk modeling company Eqecat.

  1. According to the Center for Responsive Politics' new analysis of Federal Election Commission data, this election will likely cost $6 billion. The 2012 election will be the most expensive election in American history, with the cost exceeding the next most expensive election by more than $700 million.

Friday Round-Up 10/26: The Final Stage

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on stage at the foreign policy presidential debate. October 22, 2012.

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on stage at the foreign policy presidential debate. October 22, 2012. Photo by Irina Lagunina, courtesy of Voice of America, PD.

  1. The most recent Rasmussen poll has the number of undecided voters at 2%. Setting aside Saturday Night Live’s recent parody of those few remaining, who are those undecideds? What are their common characteristics? Katharine Seelye of the New York Times offers a picture of the “waitress Mom” voter: a woman who voted for President Obama in 2008, who is dissatisfied with his first term, and equally dissatisfied with the Republican alternative. Colloquially, she is no longer a “soccer mom,” to reflect a general decline in her quality of life since the late 1990s. As Jen Doll of The Atlantic notes, Seelye’s piece offers a picture of a particular kind of woman, and is not all inclusive of the female swing vote--which underscores the fact that labels like “soccer mom” have less meaning as the female electorate fragments, defying simple categorization and the phenomenon of single-issue voting.
  2. In an originally “off the record” interview with the Des Moines Register, President Obama said that in his second term he would attempt to work out a “grand bargain” with Republicans to address issues like immigration and the national debt. Obama’s ambiguous second-term agenda has been a source of criticism throughout the campaign. NPR’s Alan Greenblatt asks the simple, most direct question regarding the issue: “What would President Obama do with a second term?” In a piece that compares Obama to Woodrow Wilson, Michael Barone makes the point that the lack of specifics frees Obama’s agenda of constraints--a source of potential unease. The Des Moines interview also showed a rare glimpse of the President talking shop about the campaign: “Since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win [...] is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community.”
  3. The Wesleyan Media Project found that the number of aired political ads this election cycle has increased 44% since 2008 (from 637,000 to 915,000). The total campaign expenditure on television advertising may reach $2 billion. Kantar Media CMAG found that 87% of ads this time around have a negative tone. NPR notes that it is unclear how cost-effective the ads are at actually persuading voters, but “as long as there is one more voter out there to be persuaded, the ad wars [...] will continue.”
  4. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball predicted as of yesterday that Republicans would maintain control of the House, despite losing a few seats. The prediction ended with the claim that Democratic control of the House was no longer among the possible scenarios worth considering--a further sign that the field of possible outcomes is narrowing as the race enters its final stage.
  5. President Obama received two high-profile endorsements this past week. Colin Powell endorsed Obama on CBS Thursday morning. In 2008, Powell famously broke partisan ranks and endorsed Obama--when asked if he was still a Republican, he answered in the affirmative, adding that moderates like him were a “dying breed.” Ken Burns, who criticized Romney after the first debate for his stance on public broadcasting, formally endorsed Obama, writing, “Like FDR, Obama has walked us back from the brink.”

Friday Round-up: Party Bosses

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

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

  1. Polling Week: The most up-to-date RealClearAverage of polls gives Romney a slight edge (2.6%). The most recent Rasmussen Poll, conducted during the three days since the debate, shows a national 48-48 tie, with 2% undecided. This differs from Gallup’s most recent poll, which was conducted over a week-long period, and shows Romney ahead 52-45. Could the Rasmussen poll be an early sign of the effect of the debate? Another Rasmussen poll reports that Romney has “hit the 50% mark in Virginia.” Despite gains in other battleground states, the national polls could be a misleading indicator of outcome, given that Romney has gained significant ground in states he is unlikely to win, like California. Additionally, the validity of the polls continue to be questioned--statistician Nate Silver, for example, pointed out that when Gallup is the outlier, it has often performed poorly. Silver’s FiveThirtyEight forecast, which aggregates national polls, still gives Obama a slight edge in the Electoral College and a 71.6% chance to win the election.  In a memo, the Obama campaign also challenged Gallup’s poll indicating a tie between the candidates among women voters in battleground states.
  2. Labor statistics in battleground states released today reveal mixed trends of continuity and change.

 

Battleground State

April

Unemployment

August Unemployment

September Unemployment

Colorado

7.9%

8.2%

8.0%

Florida

8.7%

8.8%

8.7%

Iowa

5.1%

5.5%

5.2%

New Hampshire

5.0%

5.7%

5.7%

Nevada

11.7%

12.1%

11.8%

North Carolina

9.4%

9.7%

9.6%

Ohio

7.4%

7.2%

7.0%

Virginia

5.6%

5.9%

5.9%

Of these battleground states, only four had an unemployment rate below the national average of 7.8% (Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia); while five came in above the national average (Colorado, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina). Nevada has the highest unemployment rate of all 50 states. However, all of the swing states except Virginia saw a drop in unemployment, which has the possibility of contributing to more positive evaluations of the direction of the economy. As we’ve argued previously, it’s important to pay close attention to economic indicators, as well as to job approval and favorability ratings in these key states leading up to the election. While state-by-state information is not yet available, Real Clear Politics average shows Obama’s national approval rating is up, at 49.4%. On favorability, recent polls show Romney has gained quite a bit of ground. According to a Gallup Poll this week, voters are equally favorable to both candidates. A Pew Research Center poll from last week shows Romney is ahead of Obama by a point, 50 percent to 49 percent (for comparison, a March 2012 Pew poll found Obama had a 55% favorability rating compared to 29% for Romney).

Friday Roundup: Biden Strikes Back

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

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

  1. Pre-Debate Hype. The first presidential debate injected what may have been an anomalous vitality into last night’s vice-presidential debate. The RCP’s national average showed a swing of roughly 4 points (Obama -3, Romney +1), which caused commentators like Andrew Sullivan to lament and the Obama campaign to rally supporters. Both the Huffington Post and Daily Beast published articles that charged Biden with the task of settling the score.
  2. Two facts worth mentioning about the VP debate: [1] The word “CROSSTALK” appears in the debate transcript 49 times, a marked increase from last week. [2] Joe Biden spoke for a little over a minute more than Paul Ryan. What about the generational gap? Scott Conroy of RCP points out that several of the past VP debates have featured candidates with an age gap (Biden is 69, Ryan is 42, and Sarah Palin was 44). To put this into cultural context, when Paul Ryan turned 16, number one songs on the radio featured the likes of Lionel Richtie, Prince, and Genesis, for Biden, it was the Everly Bros., the Champs, and Elvis.
  3. Prior to the debate (in part because of the perceived ineffectualness of Jim Lehrer in the first presidential debate) there was an unusual focus on the VP debate moderator, Martha Raddatz. In an interview after the debate, she said that she was surprised by the number of follow-up questions she was able to ask. Josh Barro notably criticized Raddatz’ performance for failing to bring up important topics such as immigration, monetary policy, housing policy, unwinding the fiscal cliff, and for focusing too narrowly on foreign policy while neglecting China, Latin America and Europe.

Friday Roundup: [CROSSTALK]

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

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

  1. Anticipation for this Friday’s BLS Jobs Report was brewing before the debate, but now it has added an interesting twist after Mitt Romney’s successful performance. In September, the private sector added 114,000 mostly healthcare and transportation-related jobs, bringing the unemployment rate to 7.8%--the lowest it has been since President Obama took office. The BLS also revised the job reports for July and August, increasing the previous gains by a net of 86,000 jobs. The Romney campaign was quick to respond to the report, claiming that if the bureau included the number of individuals who have stopped looking for work, the rate would be at around 11%.
  2. Romney’s well-reviewed campaign performance was followed by dings from fact checkers. Here are some other interesting numbers from this week’s debate:
  • An estimated 67.2 million people tuned into the debate. (Compared to 52.4 million for the first 2008 Obama-McCain debate, and 111.3 million for the last Super Bowl.)
  • President Obama spoke for about three minutes more than Mitt Romney.
  • Debate moderator Jim Lehrer asked only six topic-distinct questions in the 90-minute debate.
  • If it is any indication of the tenor of the debate, the word “CROSSTALK” appears 26 times in the debate transcript. (CROSSTALK is when people speak over each other and what they say can’t be heard…a word we think also aptly describes much of the debate in this polarized election year.)

Friday Round-up: Polls, Polls, Polls

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

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

  1. The top story of this week: polls, polls, and more polls. Romney fell behind this past week in states he must win (Ohio, Florida). He still trails nationally. Journalists confronting Romney and Ryan with the numbers received something more novel then outright optimism this week when Ryan questioned the validity of a Wisconsin Poll that showed his campaign behind in his home state. Romney’s staff has voiced similar dissent when confronted with the numbers, going so far as to say they “hope the Obama campaign” is using those numbers to strategize. Republicans are questioning the validity of the polls, claiming most pollsters are over-sampling Democrats. After dismissing the Wisconsin poll, Ryan declined to get “into all the methodologies of it.” Stay tuned for an Riding the Tiger that will get “into all the methodologies of it” in the coming weeks.
  2. Noam Scheiber of the New Republic says that Paul Ryan has been “deadly” for the Romney campaign. Setting aside Roger Simon’s political satire that has Ryan referring to Romney as “The Stench,” Ryan himself may be the variable responsible for the Romney campaign’s recent slide in the polls—then again, he may not. But both journalists reintroduce a question thought to have been settled a month and a half ago: why Ryan?
  3. Romney comparisons continued to float around this week, the latest of which is even less flattering than Carter (see Justin Peck’s post). Is Romney the new Michael Dukakis?

Friday Roundup: All about Mitt

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

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

In this Friday Round-up, we offer the top ten campaign stories of the week. Tell us what story you found to be an important development or would add.

 

  1. The biggest story of the week was the leaked video of a closed-door fundraiser with Mitt Romney posted by David Corn at Mother Jones magazine (watch the full remarks of part I here and part II here). Much of the commentary over the video centered on remarks Romney made regarding 47 percent of the electorate who believe they are victims, will vote for Obama no matter what, and don’t pay income tax, dividing the nation between moochers and makers. However, he also proclaimed that he did not believe in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, that Palestinians are “committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel,” and called the mullahs in Iran “crazed fanatics.” Meanwhile, Romney’s joke at the fundraiser that it would be easier for him to get elected president if his parents were Mexican was met with sarcasm during the candidate’s appearance on Univision this week. At least the Romney campaign got its wish of moving beyond the candidate’s failed opportunistic response to embassy attacks in the Middle East. By late in the wake, Romney attempted to take control of the spin cycle by attacking Obama on remarks he made in 1998 to demonstrate the president wants “redistribute wealth,” but the WaPo’s Glen Kessler gave Romney four Pinocchios for the truncated clip.

Friday Roundup: The Candidates Views on Energy

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

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

The candidates are stumping on energy policy, but what do their positions and records tell us? In this post, we provide an overview. Spoiler alert: the key differences between the Republican and Democratic tickets are over clean energy, climate policy, government regulation and the Keystone pipeline expansion.

Friday Roundup: Top Ten Articles from the Campaign this Week

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

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

As the race to the bottom continues to spiral, this week, we offer our top ten campaign news stories. Add your suggestion!

  1. Is Harry playing dirty with his pants aflame? We’re not sure, but apparently his fearless allegations that Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years are a winning ploy for team Obama.
  2. Where’s Gepetto with his strings when you need him to rein in the candidates? The noses of both the Obama and Romney campaigns grew this week as the ad wars escalated
  3. Money, Money, Money…President Obama, according to the New York Times, “has spent more campaign cash more quickly than any incumbent in recent history.” The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee have spent about $400 million from the beginning of last year to June 30 this year, investing in field offices, voter registration efforts, and high-tech campaign infrastructure (but a fancy campaign app also has some privacy advocates concerned). Meanwhile Team Romney once again out-fundraised Team Obama in July - $101.3 million to $75 million.
  4. Conservative critics accused Romney of betraying right-wing supporters after the campaign sought credit for the health-care law he signed as Massachusetts governor.
  5. Biting our lips…The veepstakes have narrowed and the top contenders are certainly earning their spot.
  6. Speechify…The Republican convention is “all about Mitt,” according to Texas Governor Rick Perry. The Romney campaign is carefully controlling convention speakers. Neither George H. W. Bush nor George W. Bush will attend, but Donald Trump is set to have a “memorable” role. On the Democratic side, Jimmy Carter will speak to the Convention on the front end by video, while Bill Clinton will play a central role and formally nominate Obama. The Democratic convention will also feature Republicans and a “nightly ‘social contrast’ in which two people describe their personal experience with a hot-button issue — one person lauding the president’s actions, the other taking Romney to task.”
  7. The great crossover that isn’t…A new Gallup poll shows that 86% of voters who say they voted for Barack Obama in 2008 are backing him again this year, while 92% of 2008 John McCain voters say are supporting Romney. The poll also finds that 9% of 2008 Obama voters have switched to supporting Romney this year, while 5% of McCain voters have switched to Obama. While voter partisan identification remains remarkably stable, it is also more polarized now than it’s been since 1988. Eighty-four percent of Republicans view Obama unfavorably, while 80 percent of Democrats feel the same about Romney, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
  8. Too clever by half? Romneyhood vs. Obamaloney.
  9. Putting a young face forward... In attempts to appeal to a younger generation, the Republican Party is de-emphasizing social issues while returning to an emphasis on libertarian values like limited government and individual freedom.
  10. OK, this one isn’t really a campaign news story, but for your entertainment pleasure, this video blast from the past is a good reminder that liberals and conservatives should still share humor. 

MC Switchboard

On August 10, 1927, Calvin Coolidge dedicated Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. In his remarks opening work at the new national monument, Coolidge said:

No one can look upon it understandingly without realizing that it is a picture of hope fulfilled. Its location will be significant. Here in the heart of the continent, on the side of a mountain which probably no white man had ever beheld in the days of Washington, in territory which was acquired by the action of Jefferson, which remained an unbroken wilderness beyond the days of Lincoln, which was especially beloved by Roosevelt, the people of the future will see history and art combined to portray the spirit of patriotism.

Friday Roundup: It’s Economy + Personality, Stupid!

Obama Vs Romney.

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

Today, the Bureau of Labor statistics released its monthly jobs report, which is the last report before the Republican and Democratic National Conventions are held later this month and in early September. As in June, July brought mixed results. One the one hand, payroll employment increased by 163,000, a promising rise after three straight months of disappointing job gains. On the other hand, unemployment ticked up slightly, from 8.2% to 8.3%. Romney reacted to the unemployment in a statement calling it a “hammer blow to struggling middle-class families.” Focusing on the positive aspects of the report, Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement on the White House blog:

While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

So, with less than 100 days until the election, just how important is this jobs report for the presidential race? First, we know from a Gallup Poll released this week that voters rate job creation as the number one priority for the next president to address. However, Romney’s campaign has so far been unable to capitalize on the stagnant economic performance. Even though voters believe that Romney would be a better manager of the economy, personal image is playing an important role in this election. Because the campaigns are primarily being waged in the battleground states, we might look there to get a better sense of the candidate prospects, rather than just relying on the national averages. The table presented below compares the unemployment rates in key states with the most recent Gallup Poll January-June 2012 presidential approval ratings released this week. Read on for more!

 

Toss-ups

June 2012 Unemployment

Obama Job Approval

Colorado

8.2

43

Florida

8.6

46

Iowa

5.2

46

New Hampshire

5.1

43

Nevada

11.6

45

Virginia

5.7

46

 

 

 

Leans Democrat

 

 

Michigan

8.6

49

Pennsylvania

7.5

46

Wisconsin

7

49

 

 

 

Leans Republican

 

 

North Carolina

9.4

45

 

Friday Roundup: Should we be concerned about offshore fundraising?

Obama Vs Romney.

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

On a trip abroad meant to boost his foreign policy credentials, Mitt Romney is also fundraising for his election campaign. Last night, he held a fundraiser in London, which drew attention this week because former Barclays PLC CEO Robert Diamond was originally signed on as a co-host of the event. Romney will also hold a fundraiser while in Israel. President Obama has likewise engaged in the practice and will hold another fundraiser with George Clooney in Geneva in August. So, should we be concerned about the money being raised from abroad? Two interrelated issues might draw our attention: the rising trend of international fundraising and transparency regarding the sources of that funding.

Friday Roundup: The Bain Bane

Obama Vs Romney.

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

The Bain Bane. Romney’s tenure at Bain continued to raise questions this week. While the Obama campaign and Democrats questioned whether he really left Bain in February 1999, Romney insisted that he underwent a “transition period” and ended his day-to-day management role when he took over the Olympics. Yet, SEC filings show that Romney continued to take a salary “of at least $100,000” and campaign advisor Ed Gillespie didn’t help matters when he told CNN that Romney “retroactively retired.” And Olympic documents described Romney as “the founder and CEO,” present tense. At stake in this partisan battle is whether the Obama campaign can hold Romney responsible for Bain investments in companies that laid off workers, declared bankruptcy or specialized in outsourcing. While Romney has demanded an end to the Bain attacks to end and called for an apology, Obama said “we won’t be apologizing” because voters “want to know what is exactly his business experience.”

Show Me Yours…The tax return debate has prominent Republicans calling on the candidate to release the returns and has also created divisions in the Romney camp over whether the candidate should cede to demands. According to a new USA Today/Gallup Poll, the majority of Americans, including almost a third of Republicans, say Romney should release more of his tax returns.

Mo’ Money. According to the aforementioned Gallup Poll, Mormons widely support Romney, but their support also runs deep. Records show that roughly two dozen members of Mormon families provided nearly $8 million of the financing for Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC. According to the WaPo, current and former employees, friends and associates of Romney from his business career have donated at least $5 million to back the candidate, including funds given to the Republican Party and the independent super PAC supporting him. Obama raised roughly $4 million in the Lone Star state earlier this week, breaking his previous single-day Texas record.

Friday Roundup

Ronald Wilson Reagan, Speech to the NAACP Annual Convention, June 29, 1981

The campaign got nasty (again) this week. In this week's Friday round-up, we’re focusing on the two biggest campaign stories: fights over the economy and the NAACP convention in Houston. Plus we leave you with bonus excerpts from Truman and Reagan speeches to the NAACP highlighting the parties competing visions for achieving racial justice and equality. Read on!