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 Horserace. 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.
In a message to supporters, Ron Paul said he would stop campaigning in primaries but would continue to seek delegates at state-level party conventions, where his dedicated fans could take over and elect their own. The new strategy:
“We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future.”
Mo’ Money. In April, President Obama’s campaign raised $43.6 million and Mitt Romney’s campaign raised $40.1 million. However, the National Republican Congressional Committee raised $6.9 million in April, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $6.5 million.
Mo’ Ads. Where will all that money go? Politico observes that Americans will experience a “Super Bowl-like spectacle of political advertising” and that the 2012 cycle will most likely go down as the most expensive and cluttered in history. Already, the national parties have reserved $72 million in television airtime.
On the attack. The Obama campaign released a series of negative ads on Monday that called Romney a “corporate raider,” “heartless” and a “job destroyer” during his tenure at Bain capital.
Explosive. The Ending Spending super PAC blew up the headlines for a proposal it received to link President Obama with incendiary race-laced comments made by Reverend Jeremiah Wright in an advertising and media blitz timed to the Democratic National Convention later this summer. Billionaire Joe Ricketts is under fire as he had planned to bankroll an ad campaign through Ending Spending with $10 million. Brian Baker, Ricketts' aid and president of Ending Spending, said the proposal was DOA. Mitt Romney immediately repudiated the plan but said he stands by comments made on Sean Hannity’s radio show in February:
And I’m not sure which is worse, him [President Obama] listening to Reverend Wright or him saying that we must be a less Christian nation.
Going positive. Mitt Romney’s first general election campaign ads will highlight his biography to introduce him to voters and will air in Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia next week.
Going bizarre. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is out with his first campaign ad and it features exploding watermelons.
VEEPwatch. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) and Newark Mayor Corey Booker (D) channeled Seinfeld in a parody video for the New Jersey Press Association’s Legislative Correspondents Club dinner on Tuesday. The tag line? Only Christie can handle a call from Romney to be #2. Former Minnesota Governor and co-chair of Romney’s presidential campaign Tim Pawlenty said he wanted his name removed from the veep list, but won’t rule out running for another political office in 2014. Yesterday, Pawlenty attacked Joe Biden as a “professional bureaucrat” who “doesn't have a clue” about job creation. In a Politico op-ed this week, Grover Norquist, president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform, argued that Romney should select Bobby Jindal as his running mate.
Fountain of youth. Crossroads Generation, a new GOP super PAC, launched this week to target young voters in eight key states and is a joint venture of American Crossroads, the College Republican National Committee, the Young Republican National Federation and the Republican State Leadership Committee.
Fountain of strategy. Mary Beth Cahill, John Kerry's 2004 campaign manager, joined the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA as a consultant on strategy and spending.
Surprise winner. With only about one-tenth of the money ($400,000) spent in the primary, Deb Fischer, a conservative family rancher, state legislator, and mother won the Nebraska GOP Senate primary race on Tuesday. Sarah Palin and Joe Ricketts endorsed Fischer in the last couple of weeks of the campaign, which led some analysts to the conclusion that Sarah Palin's power might be underestimated. According to a Rasmussen poll released yesterday, Fischer leads Democratic contender Bob Kerrey in the general election by 18 points.
The Miller Center hosted its final forum of the Spring semester, which featured Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli and Chris Cillizza of the WaPo’s “The Fix” politics blog. Stay tuned for highlights and forum video.
Yesterday marked the 58th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that “separate educational facilities” for black and white students were “inherently unequal” and therefore unconstitutional. Check out the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Program online exhibit featuring calls in which President Lyndon Johnson explains that he was grooming Thurgood Marshall for the Supreme Court as part of his broader efforts to "be the first president that really goes all the way" with Civil Rights.