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.
Massachusetts physician Jill Stein won the Green Party presidential nomination this week, beating out comedian Roseanne Barr. Stein also previously challenged Romney for governor in Massachusetts.
Mo’ Money. The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee out-fundraised the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee in May. Romney and the RNC together raised $76.8 million, while Obama and DNC only raised $60 million.
Foreign Policy. Michael Cohen and Micah Zenko argue that Romney’s foreign policy speeches inflate and mischaracterize the threats that America faces. At the same time, the authors argue, his speeches project weakness by having no confidence in America’s ability to meet any such challenges. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush told CBS that President Obama’s foreign policy was “modeled after 43,” and “a little tip of the hat would be a nice thing.” Jonathan Bernstein argues that the GOP is AWOL on Afghanistan.
Ad wars. The Obama campaign released a new ad attacking Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts. The campaign also released an ad blasting Congress for refusing to pass the president’s jobs plan. “Hope” has given way to “Fear,” at least according to a new ad from Republican super PAC American Crossroads that attacks President Obama.
VEEPWatch. Go ahead, add Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to the list. A new Quinnipiac poll shows that Governor Bob McDonnell would not help Romney in Virginia. Several VEEP contenders have been named honorary co-chairs to Romney’s new Hispanic Steering Committee, “Juntos con Romney”: Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Brian Sandoval, and Governor Susana Martinez. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is on the campaign and fundraising trail this weekend for Romney and McDonnell.
A new segment I like to call - For Crying Out Loud! It’s not even November, and there’s already talk about 2016. Jill Biden said her husband “would make a great president.” After becoming the first governor in American history to win a recall election, pundits are speculating Scott Walker as a frontrunner for the Republican nod. Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi said Hillary Clinton is “our shot” for 2016.
Potpourri. Mitt Romney chose Michael O. Leavitt, former Utah governor and Health and Human Services Secretary under President George W. Bush, to lead his transition team. Leavitt is quietly drawing up the blueprint, called “Project Ready,” for the Romney administration, should he win office in November.
Former President Bill Clinton has a bully pulpit of his own and the Obama campaign can’t control his message. He’s been making waves this week for calling Romney’s record at Bain “sterling.” He stood with President Obama at a fundraiser New York, saying a Romney presidency would be “calamitous for our country and the world.” But by Tuesday, Clinton was in trouble again for undercutting the president’s stance on extending Bush-era tax cuts. He apologized.
Congratulations to Anne Carter Mulligan, coordinator for academic programs in the Miller Center’s Democracy and Governance Studies and managing editor of Riding the Tiger. Anne was recently awarded a 2012 Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award, the highest honor U.Va. staff can receive for their dedicated service to the University.
The Miller Center's Presidential Recordings Program (PRP) has been awarded a new grant for the coming year by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission for work on Richard M. Nixon's 1971 telephone tapes as well as John F. Kennedy's civil-rights tapes. Stay tuned to Riding the Tiger for some great new material!