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 Biden’s 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 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.
You’re not fired, you’re invited to dinner. Romney is jumping on the “dine with me to raise support for my campaign” bandwagon, offering supporters the chance to have dinner with him, Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich. If you missed dinner with Obama and George Clooney, Sarah Jessica Parker is hosting the next celebrity dinner with Obama at her home in New York or supporters can give for a chance at an evening with Bill Clinton.
Persuasion power? New polls by Washington Post-ABC News suggests that Obama may have persuaded the public on same-sex marriage - strong support for gay marriage now exceeds strong opposition to it, especially among African Americans. John Sides notes, however, that “Obama’s potential leadership in this case doesn’t suggest presidents have broad persuasive powers.”
What you see is what you’ll get. Richard Cohen opined in the WaPo that, if elected, Romney would not govern from the center because he will have to work with a party that punishes extreme moderation. Mark Halperin at Time Magazine conducted a lengthy interview with Romney on his plans for reviving the economy, trade policy, cutting taxes, reforming healthcare, and trimming the budget. Noam Scheiber profiled Bob White, Mitt Romney’s most trusted adviser. According to Scheiber, “Since the start of the Republican primaries, White has served as the chief advice-broker within the campaign.” The two, who have been pals since being colleagues at Bain, share a distinct worldview, “To them, business and finance aren’t just amoral, but forces for good. They believe achievement in the corporate world is virtuous, not merely lucrative.”
Romney vowed to lower unemployment to six percent by the end of his first term: “I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we’d put in place, we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, and perhaps a little lower.”
Foreign Policy. James Mann argues in The American Prospect that Romney has offered no clear vision on foreign policy or America’s role in the world. The only thing learned from the primaries is that Republicans have rejected Ron Paul’s libertarian isolationism. Meanwhile, former State Department Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller opined that “Despite his campaign rhetoric, Romney would be quite comfortable carrying out President Obama's foreign policy because it accords so closely with his own.” The reason? There is a durable post-September 11 partisan consensus on foreign policy.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was on the media circuit this week. He came out in favor of same-sex marriage on CNN’s The Situation Room, but declined to give President Obama his endorsement on the “Today” show, saying he owes it to the Republican Party to keep his options open. On MSNBC, Powell said, “C’mon, Mitt, think,” in response to Romney’s statement that Russia was the country’s top geostrategic threat. He added that some of Romney’s foreign policy advisers are “ quite far to the right” and their recommendations should “get a second thought.” Jon Huntsman also commented on Romney’s anti-China rhetoric, saying it’s typical to raise China as an issue in the campaign, but Romney will probably change his tune once in office.
Promises, promises. A new Romney ad gives a preview of “Day One” of his presidency. The ad begins with promises that on "Day One, President Romney announces deficit reductions, ending the Obama era of big government, helping secure our kids' futures.” He also promises to stand up to China on trade and repeal “job-killing regulations.” Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is shifting their $25 million ad campaign this month away from attacks on Bain to focus instead on the president’s commitment to veterans, killing Osama bin Laden and efforts on Medicare. An ad inviting Iowans to Obama’s speech at the state fairgrounds this week, however, poked fun at Romney’s visit there in 2011 when he said “Corporations are people too.” Joe Scarborough cautions that Obama’s campaign message of “populist resentment and class warfare” is misguided and won’t win him reelection in the fall.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a new Super PAC. PAC+, a new pro-Latino super PAC launched its first ad attacking Romney this week in Arizona. Julie Martinez Ortega, president of PAC+, told the Los Angeles Times: “We want to draw attention to the political significance of the state,” which has been at the center of debate over cracking down on illegal immigration through vigorous — some say unduly harsh — enforcement efforts. Arizona “has taken on a level of symbolic importance for a lot of people, whether they’re Latino or not, who see the protection of civil rights as an important part of an inclusive America.”
VEEPwatch. Ohio Senator Rob Portman is reportedly on the short list. While refusing to speculate on his prospects Bobby Jindal didn’t deny his interest to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd this week. Emily Schultheis at Politico gives a run-down of recent quotes by prospects. Notably, Kelly Ayotte said this week that she’d enjoy debating Joe Biden and Mitch Daniels said he would disconnect his phone if he thought the call was coming. The Moderate Voice advocated Liz Cheney for VEEP. Virginia’s law requiring ultrasounds before abortions and questions about his national security credentials may hurt Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s chances.
Miller Center Senior Fellow Barbara Perry was quoted in a Bloomberg News article this week on Mitt Romney touting his business credentials in the bid for the presidency. According to Perry:
Our entire system of government is meant to preclude models and skills used in the corporate world, which may be why presidents with business experience are not our most successful presidents.
In commemoration of Memorial Day on Monday, we leave you with two excerpts of presidential speeches from our archives. Hat tip to Sheila Blackford for digging up links.
On May 30, 1963, Lyndon Johnson remarked on the status of Civil Rights at Gettysburg, 100 years after slaves had been freed.
Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men's skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact. To the extent that the proclamation of emancipation is not fulfilled in fact, to that extent we shall have fallen short of assuring freedom to the free.
On May 28, 1984, Ronald Reagan honored the “Unknown Soldier” who served in the Vietnam War.
The Unknown Soldier who is returned to us today and whom we lay to rest is symbolic of all our missing sons...About him we may well wonder, as others have: As a child, did he play on some street in a great American city? Or did he work beside his father on a farm out in America's heartland? Did he marry? Did he have children? Did he look expectantly to return to a bride?
We'll never know the answers to these questions about his life. We do know, though, why he died. He saw the horrors of war but bravely faced them, certain his own cause and his country's cause was a noble one; that he was fighting for human dignity, for free men everywhere. Today we pause to embrace him and all who served us so well in a war whose end offered no parades, no flags, and so little thanks. We can be worthy of the values and ideals for which our sons sacrificed—worthy of their courage in the face of a fear that few of us will ever experience—by honoring their commitment and devotion to duty and country.