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. Many pundits argued that the major reversal was a long time coming. The move reminded many of the humanity of the issue, and even prompted Andrew Sullivan, who has also discussed the strategic aspects of the move, to tears. Others posited that the statement allows Obama to return his attention to the economy. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer soon followed suit, offering a similar explanation for reversing his opinion to Obama’s.
The Obama campaign appeared to try and raise money off of the president’s support for gay marriage (as did Mike Huckabee) in a text message on Thursday. Mitt Romney responded on Fox News, “You know, I don’t think the matter of marriage is really a fundraising matter either for the president — it’s certainly not for me. I don’t know what our figures look like. I hope the issue as tender and sensitive that the marriage issue is not a source of fundraising for either of us.” Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign has been under scrutiny following the resignation of a gay national security spokesman over “hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues.”
Despite North Carolina’s adoption ban on same-sex marriage by a margin of about 20 points on Tuesday, Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight notes that public opinion has shifted over last year on this issue. According to an average of nine surveys conducted in the past year and included in the PollingReport.com database, an average of 50 percent of American adults support same-sex marriage rights while 45 percent oppose it. John Sides also discussed the possible electoral implications of Obama’s statement.
Romney won all three primary contests on May 8 -- in Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia -- in a race that has narrowed to two remaining contestants: Romney and Ron Paul. Rep. Ron Paul said Wednesday that his goal is not to disrupt the Republican National Convention, but rather to have an impact on the GOP agenda. Rick Santorum finally endorsed Romney. But, Romney came under fire this week and apologized for pranks he conducted in high school.
Stephen Knott placed Obama's advantage in foreign policy in historical perspective for Riding the Tiger earlier this week. Julian Zelizer suggested that Obama’s advantage in foreign policy may not be as significant as it seems and running a campaign on foreign policy could backfire. Daniel Larison responded, “Unless a majority of voters believes that national security is at stake, emphasizing an administration’s foreign policy record is often not very politically useful.” And Noah Millman said the real question is why Romney is running on foreign policy when Obama has the advantage.
VEEPwatch: More than half of Democrats and half of Republicans surveyed in National Journal's Congressional Insiders Poll said that first-term Ohio Senator Rob Portman would make the best veep pick among current members of Congress. Scott Conroy at RealClearPolitics, however, asserted that two-term Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal may be the answer to Romney’s veep question.
Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett won against four other candidates in the Democratic primary for governor on Tuesday. Barrett will face off against Gov. Scott Walker (R) in next month’s recall election, which was prompted after Mr. Walker championed a law reducing collective-bargaining rights for most public employees.
Seventy percent of the 2012 primary ads aired on television were negative, according to new analysis released by the Wesleyan Media Project. In 2008, only nine percent were negative during the same part of the election cycle. The surge of negative ads correlates to the rise in the number of ads sponsored by interest groups; in 2008, 97 percent of ads came from candidates, while this year, 60 percent were sponsored by Super PACs. In related news, the New York Times profiled Jim Margolis, the man behind Obama’s aggressive ad campaign to portray Mitt Romney as insensitive to the plight of working people and beholden to powerful interests.
On Monday, UVa politics and public policy professor Eric M. Patashnik delivered the Peyton and Janet Weary Forum on health care, with a focus on the American public’s opinion about the Obama administration’s push for evidence-based medicine. Watch the Forum online here.
On Wednesday, Peter Bergen discussed his new book, Manhunt, which gives an investigative account of the pursuit and killing of Osama bin Laden in both the Bush and Obama administrations. Watch the Forum online here.
The Miller Center held the National Fellowship Spring Conference May 10-11 and named nine promising young scholars as the 2012–13 Miller Center National Fellows. Each fellow will receive a one-year $20,000 grant to support research and writing on U.S. politics, foreign policy, or global politics.
Get your 2012 election politics fix next Friday, May 18 at the Miller Center forum with Marcus Brauchli, Washington Post executive editor, and Chris Cillizza, Washington Post writer for "The Fix" politics blog.