The Fix: Mitt Romney

What Mitt Romney learned about Chris Christie in 2012 and why it matters for 2016

What Mitt Romney learned about Chris Christie in 2012 and why it matters for 2016

When Mitt Romney went searching for a vice presidential running mate last year, he and his team gave New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) a good long look. Two times. What they found is notable not just for what it says about 2012, but what it might also say about 2016.

The details surfaced in “Double Down,” a book about the 2012 campaign due to hit bookshelves Tuesday. In their account, authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann describe a difficult vetting process in which Christie’s team provided incomplete information about a host of potential red flags pertaining to his record. Here’s why it all matters: Christie may run for president in 2016, and if he does, the media and his opponents could give some or all of the information fresh attention.

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The eight best tidbits from ‘Double Down’

The eight best tidbits from ‘Double Down’

The sequel is here.

Journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann followed up their 2008 campaign book “Game Change” with “Double Down,” a detailed account of the 2012 presidential campaign complete with behind-the-scenes looks at pivotal moments, tense exchanges, and colorful details from the race. The book is due out Tuesday, and The Washington Post has obtained a copy. Here’s a look at the eight most notable tidbits:

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The seven best tidbits from Dan Balz's 'Collision 2012

The seven best tidbits from Dan Balz's 'Collision 2012

It's time to revisit the 2012 election.

"Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America," a highly-anticipated read from The Washington Post's Dan Balz, is out. The book covers the 2012 election and its aftermath, from Mitt Romney's decision to run for president through to his post-election reflection on his loss to President Obama. (Many of the most notable passages involve Romney.)

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Mitt Romney makes campaign contribution to Paul Ryan

Mitt Romney offers 2016 advice (VIDEO)

Mitt Romney sat down with NBC's Jay Leno on Friday for a chat on a range of issues, including 2016. So what advice would he give candidates running for president? Among other things, "get used to eating Iowa corndogs."

(Check out the complete interview here.)

Mitt Romney reportedly building new Utah home

Who was Bob Perry?

Who was Bob Perry?

One of the Republican Party's biggest donors, the largest funder of one of the most well-known attack ad campaigns in modern campaign history, and the man who helped Mitt Romney in a big way last year died on Saturday night at the age of 80.

His name was Bob Perry.

Who? Exactly. While the low-profile, behind-the-scenes lifestyle Perry kept up meant that few people outside of his inner circle and the nerdiest-of-nerdy political types knew who he was, most people are probably familiar with some of the causes on which he spent his fortune. Here's a look back at where Perry made his mark in politics:

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Mitt Romney was right (on taxes)

Mitt Romney was right (on taxes)

More than eight in 10 Americans believe that you should do everything you can to pay the lowest tax rate possible, according to new Washington Post-ABC News polling, a finding that suggests that people likely hold politicians to a standard of conduct they themselves don't adhere to.

Eighty-five percent of Americans -- and 86 percent of registered voters -- say they approve of people "doing everything within the law to lower their taxes." Nearly six in 10 say they "strongly" approve of doing all you can to pay as little as possible. Those numbers are remarkably consistent across party lines, with 90 percent of self-identified Republicans expressing that view, as well as 83 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of independents.

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What Twitter has meant for politics (and what it hasn't)

What Twitter has meant for politics (and what it hasn't)

Twitter turns seven years old today.

So it's worth looking back at the most important ways the microblogging tool has impacted the world of politics. In short, Twitter has been the staging ground for political scandals both large and small and has rapidly increased the speed and scope of campaigns and campaign coverage. And yet, for all its influence and reach, Twitter has fallen short as a broad gauge of the public's reaction to big political events.

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What Scott Prouty and '47 percent' meant

What Scott Prouty and '47 percent' meant

Years from now, Scott Prouty's name may simply be the answer to a presidential trivia question or the subject of a wait-wait-don't-tell-me moment for most Americans.

But political operatives and candidates-in-waiting won't soon forget the name of the man who filmed Mitt Romney's "47 percent" video. Why? Because his decision crystallized a reality of the modern day campaign: The cloak of privacy doesn't cover nearly as much ground as it once did.

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Romney: Chris Christie and Hurricane Sandy didn't cost me the election

Romney: Chris Christie and Hurricane Sandy didn't cost me the election

Mitt Romney said in an interview airing Sunday that he doesn't blame New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) or Hurricane Sandy for his loss in the 2012 presidential race.

In his first public interview since the election, on "Fox News Sunday," Romney instead blamed his own "47 percent" comments and his failure to connect with minority voters.

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The next Romney

The next Romney

Mitt Romney's political career is over, but it didn't take long for the Romney family to be a part of the political dialogue again.

Over the weekend, two Romneys were rumored as candidates for a recruiting hole in the Massachusetts Senate special election: Mitt's wife, Ann Romney, and their eldest son, Tagg Romney. Tagg took himself out of contention Monday afternoon and Ann seems uninterested at the moment.

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Jay Leno on a $47,000 inauguration package (video)

NBC's Jay Leno spotted a pricey inauguration package at a Washington D.C. hotel and offered some thoughts on his Friday night show.

"The Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C., listen to this -- is offering an inaugural Town and Country package. Two people; it includes four nights, a private car, a driver, a social media butler, and the cost is $47,000," Leno said in his "Tonight Show" monologue. "Unfortunately, the only people that can afford that kind of money voted for Romney."

Check out the joke below.

Jay Leno on the 'fiscal cliff' deal's impact on Mitt Romney (video)

Congress's passage of an eleventh-hour deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" earlier this week got NBC "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno thinking about what that means for Mitt Romney.

"Congress has approved some version of this ‘fiscal cliff' bill thing. It's going to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Boy, first the election, now this. That Mitt Romney -- he just can't catch a break," Leno said in his Wednesday monologue on his late-night show.

Check out the joke below.

Latinos didn't cost Mitt Romney the election

Republicans have a major Latino problem, but it didn't cost them the 2012 election.

According to a Fix review of election results, Mitt Romney would have needed to carry as much as 51 percent of the Hispanic vote in order to win the Electoral College -- a number no Republican presidential candidate on record has been able to attain and isn't really within the realm of possibility these days.

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Both Romney and Obama ran $1 billion campaigns

Both Romney and Obama ran $1 billion campaigns

The Obama campaign got a lot of things right in the 2012 election. One thing they didn't get right: that it wouldn't be a billion-dollar campaign.

The Obama and Romney campaigns and allied committees both cracked $1 billion in reports filed late Thursday with the Federal Election Commission, making 2012 the most expensive presidential race on record.

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The Daily Show' on the Obama-Romney lunch (VIDEO)

President Obama and former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had lunch at the White House on Thursday, marking their first face-to-face meeting since the election.

Why did the lunch have to take place at the White House? wondered Comedy Central's Jon Stewart on his Thursday night program.

"Obama couldn't have met the guy at a restaurant? Had to make him come to the White House," Stewart said. "That's some cold brew. Hey, Romney, what's up man? Hey, isn't it funny? You almost lived here.'"

Check out the complete clip below.

What Mitt Romney did right

What Mitt Romney did right

In an op-ed for the Washington Post on Wednesday, Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist for Mitt Romney's unsuccessful presidential candidacy, made the case that his candidate did lots (and lots) of things right in the race.

Wrote Stevens:

"Nobody liked Romney except voters. What began in a small field in New Hampshire grew into a national movement. It wasn't our campaign, it was Romney. He bested the competition in debates, and though he was behind almost every candidate in the GOP primary at one time or the other, he won the nomination and came very close to winning the presidency."

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Romney's final share of the vote? You guessed it: 47 percent.

Romney's final share of the vote? You guessed it: 47 percent.

Call it irony or call it coincidence: Mitt Romney's share of the popular vote in the 2012 presidential race is very likely to be 47 percent.

Romney's campaign, of course, was doomed in large part by comments made on a hidden camera in which he suggested that 47 percent of the country was so reliant on government services that those people would never vote for him.

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Can unions save the white working-class vote for Democrats?

Can unions save the white working-class vote for Democrats?

Voters in union households provided a big boost to President Obama in Ohio and Wisconsin, where key battles over public sector unions have been waged. Their strong support helped him staunch big losses elsewhere among white working-class voters.

Are the results in Ohio and Wisconsin a road map for Democrats to win back the white working-class vote across the country? The data suggest probably not. The union vote didn't make a difference among the white working-class nationally and union membership continues to erode.

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The best of Stephen Colbert on election night and the conventions (video)

"The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" were off Monday night, but the latter posted highlight reels online of the most memorable episodes of the 2012 campaign, including those airing on election night and the day after.

"Just because Obama won these blue states up here he's thepresidentof all of them now? Look, Romney won all that red stuff. Why don't we elect ourpresidentonsquarefootage?" Colbertaskedon his show the day after the election.

Below, check out highlight reels from election night and the Democratic and Republican conventions.

The Daily Show' on Obama's gifts' (VIDEO)

Mitt Romney told donors this week that the President Obama won the election by handing out "gifts" to certain parts of the electorate. What were the gifts?On his Comedy Central show Thursday night, Jon Stewart explained.

"How on earth did Mitt Romney find out about the extraordinary bag of gifts that we got?" Stewart asked, beforepullingout a bag with the Obama campaign logo.

Among the items in the bag: A "pinata filled with green cards" and a "contraception variety pack."

Watch the full clip below.

The importance of gifts' to Latinos

The importance of gifts' to Latinos

Mitt Romney has found himself in the middle of the kind of controversy that is supposed to abate after a campaign. On a call with donors Wednesday, he blamed his loss on "gifts" -- in the form of official policies -- that President Obama bestowed on important voter blocs.

Most everybody agrees that Obama's decision to exempt young illegal immigrants from deportation helped him win a massive victory among Latinos. But Romney's inartful comment about "gifts" belies a more serious long-term problem for the GOP in appealing to Latinos.

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New Hampshires Democratic wave, explained

New Hampshires Democratic wave, explained

Tuesday's election didn't shift the balance ofpoliticalpower in Washington, but in New Hampshire, it was a very different story.

Democrats made huge gains in the state House, where they won back themajority, and narrowed the GOP advantage in the state Senate.The party also snatched away both U.S. House seats from Republican hands, and held the governorship.

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Stephen Colbert chats Election Day odds with Nate Silver (video)

New York Times blogger NateSilverprojects thatPresidentObama has a better than 90 percent chance of winning reelection. Several pundits have publicly asserted their disagreement with hisassessment during the past couple of weeks. Silver discussed his thinkingMondaynight in ahumorousinterview with Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert.

"If anything the race has brokentowardPresidentObama a bit in the last 48 hours," Silver told Colbert.

"We'll edit that out," Colbert quipped.

Check out the complete interview below.

Voting issues surface in battlegrounds in advance of Election Day

Voting issues surface in battlegrounds in advance of Election Day

Even before voters head to the polls on Tuesday, issues with early and in-person absentee voting and disputes over provisionalballots and voting equipment have popped up in several key swing states.

The most recent instance came in Florida on Sunday, where voters waited in a long line in Miami-Dade County to cast in-person absentee ballots, after officials allowed extra time for voting. (Early voting technically ended on Saturday, as Gov. Rick Scott (R) had previously ended early voting on the Sunday before Election Day.)

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Ed Gillespie: The map has expanded

Ed Gillespie: The map has expanded

Mitt Romney's stretch run push in states that have appeared to favor President Obama is a reflection of an expanding electoral map, senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie said Sunday.

When you look at where this map has gone, it reflects the -- the change and the direction and the momentum toward Governor Romney," Gillespie said on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos. "And the fact is that a state like Pennsylvania being in play, a poll out today showing Michigan a dead heat, you know, this -- the map has expanded,

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Haley Barbour: Hurricane Sandy broke Romneys momentum

Haley Barbour: Hurricane Sandy broke Romneys momentum

Hurricane Sandy's impact on the Northeast and the attention it received broke [Mitt] Romney's momentum in the campaign last week, former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour (R) said Sunday.

Any day that the news media is not talking about jobs and the economy, taxes and spending, deficit and debt, Obamacare and energy is a good day for Barack Obama, Barbour said on CNN's State Of The Union.

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Mitt Romneys play for Pennsylvania a desperate ploy, David Plouffe says

Mitt Romneys play for Pennsylvania a desperate ploy, David Plouffe says

Mitt Romney's late push to win Pennsylvania is a "desperate ploy," White House senior adviser David Plouffe said Sunday.

"I mean, to win Pennsylvania, Governor Romney would have to win two-thirds of the independents," Plouffe said on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." "He's not going to do that anywhere, much less Pennsylvania. So the truth is, they are throwing some ads up and Governor Romney is traveling in the state he's not going to win."

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Hurricane Sandy helped Obama politically, Karl Rove says

Hurricane Sandy helped Obama politically, Karl Rove says

Hurricane Sandy's impact on the East Coast this week gave President Obama a political advantage during the final week of the campaign, Republican strategist Karl Rove said in an interview on Friday.

If you hadn't had the storm, there would have been more of a chance for the [Mitt] Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy. There was a stutter in the campaign. When you have attention drawn away to somewhere else, to something else, it is not to his [Romney's] advantage, Rove told The Washington Post.

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Jon Stewart: Ohio voters must reconcile role as the precious (VIDEO)

With just four days left until Election Day, both President Obama and Mitt Romney are going all out to win Ohio, where voters have been inundated with a seemingly endless loop of campaign ads and stump speeches for weeks.

On Thursday's "The Daily Show," Comedy Central's Jon Stewart took a closer look at what Ohioans have had to endure the last few weeks.

And as to that famous O-H-I-O chant thecandidates have been folding into their speeches? Stewart wasn't tooimpressed.

"You yell two letters at them, and then they yell two back. And one of them is the same letter," he said.

Take a look at the segment below, in which Stewart says Ohioans "must reconcile their role as this year's the precious":

The Obama defectors

The Obama defectors

Barring some kind of last-minute surge, President Obama is going to fall well shy of the 52.9 percent he won in the 2008 election. It might still be good enough to win, but it won't be resounding.

But just who exactly has deserted Obama over the last four years?

Two weeks of Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll interviews find 84 percent of likely voters who supported Obama in 2008 support him this year, while 13 percent say they are switching to Romney and 3 percent are backing others or haven't made up their mind yet.

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Why isn’t Oregon a slam dunk for President Obama?

Why isn’t Oregon a slam dunk for President Obama?

In typical discussions about the most competitive swing states in the presidential election, Oregon and its seven electoral votes are almost never part of the conversation. While President Obama is likely to carry the Oregon next week, the state is more competitive than most people probably think. But, why?

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Stephen Colbert: Obama stole Romney’s ‘date to disaster-prom’ (video)

Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” were off the air the first two days of this week because of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the East Coast. But both programs were back on the air Wednesday, and each explored the the intersection of politics and the storm.

Stewart examined what happens when you remove politics from governing while Colbert looked at the way Mitt Romney put his campaign on hold (or did he?) and President Obama’s trip to New Jersey to survey storm damage with Gov. Chris Christie (R).

Did Obama steal Romney’s “date to disaster-prom?” Find out below.

Mitt Romney’s late-night problem

Mitt Romney’s late-night problem

It’s not just Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert that are ragging on Mitt Romney these days.

In fact, late-night comedians have devoted significantly more time to lampooning the former Massachusetts governor than President Obama this election season.

According to a study by George Mason University’s Center for Media and Public Affairs, four top late night shows have told more than twice as many jokes about Romney as about Obama.

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Minnesota poll shows Romney within margin of error

Mitt Romney is knocking on the door of adding another state to the mix in the 2012 election, with a new poll in Minnesota showing him within the margin of error.

The new Minneapolis Star Tribune poll, conducted by pollster Mason-Dixon, shows Obama at 47 percent and Romney at 44 percent. The same pollster showed Obama leading in the Land of 10,000 Lakes by eight points last month.

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How Hurricane Sandy could test Obamas leadership

How Hurricane Sandy could test Obamas leadership

As President Obama and Mitt Romney approach the final week of the campaign, a severe storm bearing down on the East Coast could test the presidents leadership at a crucial time in his reelection bid and shift national attention toward an unexpected event.

Hurricane Sandy, which has already claimed the lives of 29 people in the Caribbean, could make landfall on the East Coast of the United States early next week, giving both candidates an extra variable to consider as the campaign season reaches its climax.

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Top Romney aide Sununu suggests Powell endorsed Obama because hes black

Top Romney aide Sununu suggests Powell endorsed Obama because hes black

John Sununu, a top adviser to Mitt Romneys presidential campaign, suggested Thursday that Colin Powell endorsed President Obama because both men are African American.

Asked Thursday on CNN about Powells endorsement, Sununu said the endorsement might be for reasons other than policy.

Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether thats an endorsement based on issues or whether hes got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama, Sununu said.

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Is Mitt Romneys momentum real or fake?

Is Mitt Romneys momentum real or fake?

Theres been an active debate over the last few days in the political class about whether former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is genuinely the momentum candidate in the race, or whether he and his campaign are simply pulling the wool over gullible reporters eyes when it comes to the state of the race.

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Post-ABC tracking poll: Obama wins final debate, Romney changes minds

President Obama scored a modest win in the third presidential debate, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll, but it’s Republican Mitt Romney who moved the needle among likely voters — including independents — with his debate performances.

Overall, the contest remains unchanged from Tuesday, with 49 percent of likely voters nationally backing Romney, and 48 percent supporting Obama. But as was the case after the first and second debates, more voters say they have better, not worse, opinions of the former Massachusetts governor when assessing the three debates.

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The final presidential debate, by the numbers

The final presidential debate, by the numbers

The presidential debate portion of the campaign program is now complete, after President Obama and Mitt Romney tangled for the final time Monday night during a 90-minute session in Boca Raton, Fla. From Libya to Iran, China to Afghanistan, and even the domestic economy, the candidates waded through the differences (and similarities) in their policy positions.

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Washington Post/ABC News poll: The good news for Romney

Washington Post/ABC News poll: The good news for Romney

President Obama and Mitt Romney head into their third and final debate Monday night running about even in the latest Washington Post/ABC News national poll, with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent among those likeliest to vote.

At first glance, the numbers suggest a contest resembling the one we saw right after Labor Day. But beneath the top-lines there is some good news for the Republican nominee. (There is also good news for Obama, which The Fix’s Aaron Blake will address shortly.) Here are the reasons the GOP nominee should be optimistic about the final two weeks, based on the poll’s findings:

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Post-ABC tracking poll: Obama 49 percent, Romney 48 percent

Post-ABC tracking poll: Obama 49 percent, Romney 48 percent

President Obama and Mitt Romney head into the final debate still deadlocked among likely voters nationally: 49 percent side with the Democratic president, 48 percent with the Republican challenger, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

( WATCH: Live streaming video of the debate )



But Romney now rivals Obama when it comes to dealing with international affairs and terrorism, leveling the playing field heading into Monday’s debate on foreign policy. Romney also runs about evenly with the president as voters’ pick who is the better commander-in-chief.

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Mitt Romney TV ad plugs Richard Mourdock in Indiana Senate race

Mitt Romney TV ad plugs Richard Mourdock in Indiana Senate race

Mitt Romney is appearing in a TV ad for Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R), marking the first time the Republican presidential nominee has made a direct appeal for a U.S. Senate candidate over the airwaves this election cycle. 

“As Senator, Richard will be the 51st vote to repeal and replace government-run health care,” Romney says in the 30-second commercial. “Richard will help stop the liberal Reid-Pelosi agenda.”

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Alfred E. Smith Dinner: The top 10 quips (VIDEO)

Alfred E. Smith Dinner: The top 10 quips (VIDEO)

For months, President Obama and Mitt Romney have been trading attacks on the campaign trail. But on Thursday night, they took a break to exchange a few jokes about themselves and each other at the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York.

The Post’s Philip Rucker, Dan Balz and David Nakamura covered the Catholic Archdiocese of New York’s annual charity benefit, which wasn’t short on one-liners. The candidates cracked wise on topics ranging from Obama’s debating skills to Romney’s wealth, and even New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) political ambitions.

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‘Binders full of women’: Liability or sideshow?

‘Binders full of women’: Liability or sideshow?

The social media and political echo chamber have spoken: Mitt Romney’s remark in Tuesday’s presidential debate about “binders full of women” is the hottest topic in the land.

Romney’s comment about gathering female applicants for his cabinet in Massachusetts was decidedly awkward. But Democrats are insisting it was more than that — indicative of the way in which Romney thinks about females.

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Romney takes seven-point lead in new Florida poll

Romney takes seven-point lead in new Florida poll

Mitt Romney has built a slight lead on President Obama in Florida, according to a new poll from independent pollster Mason-Dixon.

The poll shows Romney at 51 percent and Obama at 44 percent. In mid-September, the same pollster had Obama at 48 percent and Romney at 47 percent.

The poll comes on the heels of a series of swing state polls from earlier Thursday that showed very little change in the swing states, despite indications that Romney has gained momentum nationally.

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The post-debate campaign: What’s changed and what hasn’t

The post-debate campaign: What’s changed and what hasn’t

Many political observers have taken to dating this campaign in terms of “BD” (“before debate”) and AD (“after debate”), believing that President Obama’s lackluster performance in the first general election debate has fundamentally altered the course of the race.



And judging from new national polling from Pew and Gallup, there is some evidence to suggest that the race has shifted — with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney making up ground rapidly.

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How party ID explains Romney’s “surge”

New numbers from Gallup and the Pew Research Center showing the presidential contest tied among all voters in recent days are sure to buoy Republican hopes that Mitt Romney did more than win a debate last week. But the newly released data also undercut a persistent criticism of election polls: that there is a “true” measure of partisan identification — and its malicious corollary, that pollsters are manipulating reality.

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Simpson-Bowles and Dodd-Frank, explained

Simpson-Bowles and Dodd-Frank, explained

Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank are all about to be a major part of the presidential campaign.

Google analytics show the debt-reduction bill named for Simpson and Bowles and the Wall Street reform bill spearheaded by Dodd and Frank were the fastest rising search terms during Wednesday’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

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Politics of the economy

Politics of the economy

Issue No. 1, the economy, is sure to play a big role in the first debate Wednesday night. The latest poll from the Washington Post and ABC News finds large numbers of voters continuing to hold negative views of the state of the economy, its direction and where things stand for their personal finances, and ambivalence about the 2009 stimulus program.

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Everything you need to know about the Pennsylvania voter ID fight

Everything you need to know about the Pennsylvania voter ID fight

Voter ID is an increasingly contentious issue in the 2012 election, and nowhere is that more the case than in Pennsylvania.

A lower court on Tuesday halted implementation of the law for November’s election, raising concerns that it might disenfranchise legal voters. If the law is not enforced, whatever chance Mitt Romney had of carrying the state would likely be jeopardized. It could also hurt downballot Republicans.

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What “Dancing with the Stars” can tell us about the presidential race

What “Dancing with the Stars” can tell us about the presidential race

With just 36 days left before the 2012 election, virtually every poll question you can think of has been asked at least five times — except this one: “Who would you rather see as a contestant on ‘Dancing with the Stars’?”

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll asked just that question in our latest national survey. Here’s what we found: 

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The almost-competitiveness of Arizona and Pennsylvania

The almost-competitiveness of Arizona and Pennsylvania

We’re getting to that point in the presidential campaign when we start second-guessing ourselves about which swing states are, well, swing states.

Just this week, Democrats have started whispering (again) that they might try to expand the map by pursuing red-leaning Arizona, and Mitt Romney said Friday that he expects to win in a blue-leaning state, Pennsylvania.

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Why Mitt Romney isn’t going to get blown out

Why Mitt Romney isn’t going to get blown out

It’s easy amid a slew of swing state and national polling that shows President Obama opening up a high single-digit lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney to conclude that we could be witnessing an electoral blowout in the making.



But, there’s plenty of reasons — historical and financial, mainly — to believe the most likely outcome is a narrowing of the race, rather than a second Obama blowout.

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Republicans are losing ground up and down the ballot. But why?

Republicans are losing ground up and down the ballot. But why?

Ask Democratic strategists when they want the election to happen and they’ll uniformly say “today.” Ask any Republican strategists the same question and they’ll acknowledge they’re glad they have until Nov. 6 to make their case to voters.

What veteran consultants and party professionals — on both sides — agree on is that the landscape has shifted — subtly but still shifted — toward Democrats in the past few weeks. It’s movement that has been most well documented on the presidential level but, in conversations with people paying close attention to Senate and House races, is also happening downballot.

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Most are negative about Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments

A majority of Americans have unfavorable views of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s comments — caught on film at a fundraiser — regarding the “47 percent” of people who don’t pay federal income taxes and simply would not vote for him, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll

Fifty-four percent of those polled regarded Romney’s comments in an unfavorable light while 32 percent saw them favorable. The public reaction to the comments is, not surprisingly this close to an election, a partisan one. More than three-quarters of Democrats have negative impressions of Romney’s comments, with most having “strongly unfavorable” views. Independents too tilt negative by more than 2 to 1: 57 to 27 percent. (Among Republicans, nearly two-thirds have favorable views of Romney’s comments.)

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As Romney stumbles, Obama regains his mojo

As Romney stumbles, Obama regains his mojo

The recent shifts in the polls may be less about Mitt Romney than they are about President Obama.

We have been documenting for a few days how Obama has consistently risen in polls of swing states — in many of them by several points — to the point where Romney trails basically everywhere that matters.

And everyone, it seems, wants to blame it on Romney.

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Why Romney isn’t licked yet, in two charts

Why Romney isn’t licked yet, in two charts

People who are writing Mitt Romney’s political obituary right now have a short memory.

In fact, the last two presidents, before winning their first terms, both trailed in the post-convention phase of the race.

While all of us remember President Obama’s big victory in 2008, many of us forget that, in early September, he actually trailed in most national polls.

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Romney’s ’47 percent’ comment and the importance of the echo chamber

Romney’s ’47 percent’ comment and the importance of the echo chamber

Mitt Romney’s comment suggesting that the 47 percent of Americans who support President Obama are dependent upon government has consumed the political media over the past couple days.

Among the people who matter, though (hint: actual voters), the response has been more of a collective shoulder shrug.

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Why is Mitt Romney borrowing $20 million?

Why is Mitt Romney borrowing $20 million?

Mitt Romney has a lot of money — both personally and for his campaign.

So why in the world would he need to borrow $20 million?

The answer lies in the complicated world of campaign finance, in which the rules limit how much money a candidate can accept from individual donors for both the primary election and the general election — and the money raised for each can only be spent in the corresponding election.

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8 takeaways from the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll

8 takeaways from the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll

The NBC-Wall Street Journal’s latest national poll was released late Tuesday, and we spent our night — dork alert! — poring over the results for clues as to how the electorate is thinking about the county and the two men running for president.



Obama led in the head-to-head matchup 50 percent to 45 percent, but we here at The Fix prefer to look at the guts of the poll.

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Gallup: Obama’s convention bounce is basically gone

Gallup: Obama’s convention bounce is basically gone

Mitt Romney isn’t having a good week. But whatever problems he has, President Obama’s convention bounce doesn’t appear to be chief among them.

The latest Gallup daily tracking poll of the presidential race shows Romney and Obama in essentially the same position they were in the weeks before the Democratic National Convention — and the GOP convention, for that matter — with Obama at 47 percent and Romney at 46 percent.

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Who, again, is Joe Ricketts?

Who, again, is Joe Ricketts?

Four months after he first made a splash in the 2012 presidential race, Joe Ricketts is back on the radar.

The wealthy entrepreneur, who funds his own super PAC, is pledging to spend $10 million on helping Mitt Romney win the presidency and $2 million to help GOP House and Senate candidates.

But unlike previous wealthy super PAC donors, Ricketts is a decidedly private and unassuming character. That changed a little in May, when a proposal was leaked in which an ad-maker urged Ricketts to fund ads focused on President Obama’s ties to his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, just days after Ricketts played a big role in helping Nebraska state Sen. Deb Fischer pull an upset in her state’s Republican Senate primary.

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President Obama’s real opponent in 2012

President Obama’s real opponent in 2012

With total television ad spending on the presidential race now having crested $500 million, the real fight on the airwaves is not between President Obama and Mitt Romney but rather between President Obama and a cavalcade of conservative-aligned outside groups, according to an analysis of ad buy information provided to the Fix.

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Rasmussen: The GOP’s cure for the common poll

Rasmussen: The GOP’s cure for the common poll

Scott Rasmussen is a polarizing pollster.

And that’s never been more the case than in the 2012 presidential race.

Rasmussen’s prolific polling service, Rasmussen Reports, has long been a bone of contention in the political world (for more, see Jason Horowitz’s great 2010 profile). Essentially, Democrats think Rasmussen is a thinly veiled partisan (Republican) pollster, some reporters and media organizations refuse to use his polls (which are conducted via an automated method that doesn’t include cellphones) and others (including The Fix) report the results with caveats.

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When campaigns fight with themselves (a brief history)

When campaigns fight with themselves (a brief history)

There’s nothing new under the sun, and that goes double for infighting in presidential campaigns.

A new Politico report Sunday night detailed some discord in the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney — just four years, we should note, after infighting was supposed to have plagued his 2008 GOP primary campaign.

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The story Mitt Romney hoped to avoid — and how his campaign can get beyond it

The story Mitt Romney hoped to avoid — and how his campaign can get beyond it

For the better part of the last 18 months, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has taken lots (and lots) of criticism. He’s too wooden. He’s not conservative enough. He’s not quick on his feet. He should be winning (but isn’t).

Through it all, the Romney campaign’s inner circle stayed tight, refusing to engage in the sort of backbiting and butt-covering by paid political professionals that plagued his 2008 bid for president and is the hallmark of virtually every losing campaign — Democratic or Republican — in history.

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Obama grows leads in top three swing states

Obama grows leads in top three swing states

President Obama’s bump has made its way into three key swing states, according to new polling from Marist College, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

The new Marist polls show Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points each in Florida and Virginia and by seven points in Ohio.

Obama’s margin in all three states is larger than it has been in other recent polling and suggests the Democratic National Convention paid dividends for the president in the states where it matters most. National polling has suggested a small but significant Obama bounce, but there has been limited polling in swing states since the convention ended a week ago.

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Obama rallies Democrats; retains popularity edge over Romney

Barack Obama may not be as popular as he was four years ago, but after last week’s Democratic convention in Charlotte, he has broader and deeper support from his party’s base than at any point in his bid for re-election, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Fully 90 percent of his fellow Democrats now express positive views of his candidacy, including 69 percent who have “strongly favorable” impressions. Both numbers are at high points back more than two years, even surpassing where he was in early September, 2008. Intensely positive views of Obama are up 15 percentage points from before the GOP conventions, 10 points in the last week alone.

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Mitt Romney and Bain Capital: New poll shows the issue is a wash

Mitt Romney and Bain Capital: New poll shows the issue is a wash

Mitt Romney might have lost a little ground on the campaign trail.

But don’t blame Bain Capital.

New Washington Post-ABC News pollingshows that, whatever price the Republican presidential nominee might have paid for his work in venture capital, the issue now cuts pretty evenly in swing states.

In July, twice as many voters (32 percent) said Romney’s position at Bain was a major reason to oppose him as said it was a major reason to support him (16 percent). Those numbers are now basically a wash, with 28 percent viewing Bain as a major negative and 27 percent viewing it as a major positive.

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Obama outraised Romney $114 million to $111.6 million in August

Obama outraised Romney $114 million to $111.6 million in August

This post was updated at 9:09 a.m.

President Obama’s campaign narrowly outraised Mitt Romney’s in August after a streak of three months in which the Republicans’ campaign far outpaced the incumbent president’s.

Obama’s campaign announced this morning that he raised $114 million, while Romney’s announced that it raised $111.6 million.

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The death of the convention bounce?

The death of the convention bounce?

The convention bounce may not be extinct. But it’s definitely on vacation.

It’s still way too early to say anything definitive, but the limited numbers we have seen since last week’s Republican National Convention show Mitt Romney managing a small and in most cases statistically insignificant bounce.

History shows that presidential candidates, and particularly challengers, generally see a bump up in the polls in the aftermath of their parties’ conventions. Three or four days of what has generally amounted to a near-monopoly on the political news cycle will tend to do that.

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Obama’s standing in North Carolina before DNC

Obama’s standing in North Carolina before DNC



Mitt Romney has a slim edge in North Carolina over President Obama, according to a new poll of likely voters in the state. Romney’s 47 to 43 percent lead over Obama, in a poll from Elon University for the Charlotte Observer,is a slight improvement from other recent polls showing an almost even race.

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Is Mitt Romney right about the country’s economic pessimism?

Is Mitt Romney right about the country’s economic pessimism?

Updated at 3:15 pm

Mitt Romney cast the American public in a pessimistic mood in his acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention on Thursday night. He said:

“But today, four years from the excitement of the last election, for the first time, the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future.”

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Fix Hangout: Debbie Wasserman Schultz and previewing Mitt Romney’s speech

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is in Tampa as Republicans prepare for Mitt Romney’s nomination acceptance speech there on Thursday night.

Chris Cillizza talked with Wasserman Schultz via Google+ Hangout, along with Fix blogger Aaron Blake, 2Chambers blogger Ed O’Keefe,TheRoot.com political correspondent Keli Goff and Fix reader Chad LaForge of Columbia, Missouri.

Do you want to join a future Fix Hangout? Send us your info via this form and we may reach out to you about participating in one.

Conservatives like Mitt Romney. Finally.

Conservatives like Mitt Romney. Finally.

Conservatives are growing increasingly accepting of Mitt Romney’s status as one of them, according to anewWashington Post-ABC News poll.

Three-quarters of those who call themselves “very conservative” now say Romney is about right ideologically, a major change from the 61 percent who said the same back in April. The number of very conservative voters who saw Romney as too liberal is edging down, too from a sizable 27 percent in April to 19 percent now.

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People want smaller government — and they think Mitt Romney does too

People want smaller government — and they think Mitt Romney does too

Mitt Romney will accept the Republican presidential nomination this week not only with a significant advantage in campaign cash but also a philosophical leg up on President Obama: Most Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll want a shrunken federal government, and most believe Romney wants that too.

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Why the GOP gambled on Tampa

Tampa is basically a perfect place for a major party’s national convention — except for the weather, of course.

Republican Party officials knew that there was always the threat of a hurricane during an August convention on the West Coast of Florida. It rolled the dice and came up snake-eyes.

But apart from the threat of severe weather — which we should emphasize was pretty small — and the already-tough-to-handle heat, Tampa made a whole lot of sense as a host city.

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Romney wanders into the slippery slope of birtherism

The first rule of birtherism is you don’t talk about birtherism unless you want to be labeled a birther.

Mitt Romney is the latest Republican to find this out the hard way.Romney’s decision to crack a joke about his and his wife’s birth certificates at an event in Michigan on Friday is the latest example of a Republican getting tripped up by even getting close to the continued questioning by some on the right of President Obama’s birth certificate.

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GOP delegates will vote to nominate Romney on Monday

Delegates from each state will cast their votes for president on the first day of the Republican National Convention on Monday.

The “rolling roll call of the states” is the formal process by which delegates cast votes on behalf of their respective states and paves the way for the nomination of the party’s presidential candidate, which will officially take place on the final day of the convention next Thursday.

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The welfare debate, and why it’s back

The welfare debate, and why it’s back

With DeLorean-like speed, welfare has jumped to center stage as an election issue after hibernating for more than a decade.

Mitt Romney’s initialattackson Obama for allowing state’s to propose their own alternatives to thetraditionalwelfare work targets earned four Pinocchios from the Post’s Fact Checker. The Obama campaign’s responses earned three.

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Obama’s got game, but NBA gives more to Romney

Obama’s got game, but NBA gives more to Romney

NBA players and coaches love President Obama, but the owners love Mitt Romney.

And they’re writing bigger checks.

HoopsHype.com has compiled a great list of all the contributions to each presidential candidate by NBA players, coaches, staff and management. And despite Obama’s affinity with the NBA (and lover of the game), Romney has raised more from them.

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Obama team offers Romney tax return deal: five years

President Obama’s campaign is proposing a grand bargain when it comes to Mitt Romney’s tax returns.

In a letter to Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades early Friday, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote that if Romney releases five years of returns — three more than he currently has agreed to — the Obama campaign will not call on him to release any more.

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Why Romney is distancing himself from Ryan’s Medicare cuts

In his first one-on-one interview since announcing Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney sought to put some distance between himself and Ryan’s Medicare proposal.

Echoing his rhetoric on the campaign trail in recent days, Romney emphasized that he is the leader of the GOP ticket and that he does not agree with the Medicare cuts in Ryan’s budget — which are similar to the cuts in President Obama’s health care bill.

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What’s the matter with Iowa?

President Obama is in the midst of a three-day campaign swing through the state of Iowa, his longest visit to one state so far in the 2012 race and a sign of the concern and consequence with which his side holds the Hawkeye State.


President Barack Obama stops for a snow cone at Tropical Sno, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Denison, Iowa, during a three day campaign bus tour through Iowa. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“I have nightmares about the electoral college coming down to 266-266, with Iowa to decide it,” said longtime Iowa Democratic operative Jerry Crawford. “It’s not as far-fetched as it might sound.”

Added Dave Roederer, who ran the George W. Bush operation in Iowa: “This is an unprecedented five-city tour. I doubt he’s here for the mountains.”

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How Paul Ryan impacts the electoral map. Or doesn’t.

The word “game-changer” is being thrown around quite a bit in regards Mitt Romney’s selection as Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate over the weekend.

And there is a case to be made — and Republicans will make it — that Ryan re-focuses the election on the need for big ideas and hard truths.

But, does Ryan really change the game as it relates to the race for 270 electoral votes? Not really, according to our latest look at the Fix’s electoral map.

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Positive views of Ryan jump higher after pick

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — the freshly minted Republican vice presidential candidate — got an immediate ratings boost in the wake of his selection as Mitt Romney’s running-mate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.


Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., gives a thumbs-up at a rally Sunday, August 12, 2012, in Mooresville, N.C., at the NASCAR Technical Institute. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)
Little known nationally before Saturday’s announcement, favorable impressions of Ryan jumped 15 percentage points among the overall electorate with positive views soaring from 49 to 70 percent among conservative Republicans.

In Wednesday through Friday interviews, fully 45 percent of Americans expressed no opinion of Ryan, dropping to 30 percent on Saturday and Sunday. The increasing familiarity all went to the positive side of the ledger, giving Ryan an initial advantage in the sprint to define his candidacy.

Overall, in interviews after his selection, 38 percent of all Americans express favorable views of Ryan, 33 percent negative ones. (Before the the announcement, Ryan was somewhat underwater, scoring 23 percent favorable, 32 unfavorable.) The most recent national numbers on Vice President Joe Biden are from a July Pew Research Center poll showing a split decision, 40 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable.

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Five issues where Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan differ

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are joining forces to try and return the Republican Party to power in Washington.

But, as with any newly formed team, there have been times when and issues on which they haven’t been on the same page.

There don’t appear to be many major policy differences between the two men, but here are five worth noting:

1. The auto bailout

Ryan supported the auto bailout four years ago, while Romney opposed it.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks alongside his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, during a campaign rally at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C., on Sunday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

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Winners and losers from the Paul Ryan VP pick

For the better part of the last two months — and for some of us far longer than that — the Republican vice presidential sweepstakes has dominated the thought of any political junkie worth his or her name.

Now that we know the identity of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick — it’s Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, in case you have been in a news blackout since Friday night — the last major piece of the 2012 presidential puzzle has been fit into place.

Given the high stakes of the veepstakes, now that it’s over we thought it would be worth sorting through the entrails to come up with some winners and, of course, some losers from the process that was.

Our picks are after the jump. Have some winners/losers of your own? The comments section awaits.

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Mitt Romney goes bold (and risky) with Paul Ryan vice presidential pick

The news that Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee today in Norfolk, Virginia amounts to a decidedly bold stroke for the typical risk-averse GOP presidential candidate, a pick that will almost certainly turn the race into a choice between two competing — and strikingly contrasting — visions for the country.

Ryan, a seven term Congressman from Wisconsin, has emerged from (relative) obscurity in the last several years to become the intellectual and policy center of the Republican party thanks in large part to the budget proposal he has offered that would, among other things, fundamentally re-shape Medicare and other social safety net programs in an attempt to get the country’s fiscal house in order.

While that proposal has won him kudos among Republicans, it’s turned him into something of a whipping boy for Democrats, who insist that Ryan’s budget is not only bad policy but also bad politics. In fact, Democrats were openly rooting for Romney to pick Ryan as his VP over the past week, believing that it could well help their efforts to keep control of the Senate and win back the House in November.

In naming Ryan to the national ticket, Romney is sending a simple message to those Democrats: Bring it.

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The Fix’s Final Five Republican VP picks

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney continues to offer few clues about the identity of his vice presidential pick or the timing of the announcement — “I don’t think I have anything for you on the VP running mate,” Romney told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday — but with the Republican National Convention just 17 days away, we know the decision is close.


U.S. representative (R-WI) Paul Ryan attends a vigil in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August 7, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress

Despite the tight-lippedness (is that a word?) of Romneyworld when it comes to the veepstakes, it does now appear that the short list is getting shorter.

Below are our rankings of the five men — yes, they are all men — most likely to get the nod from Romney. These rankings are a combination of reporting, buzz and gut — all in relatively equal measure.

The number one ranked candidate is considered Romney’s most likely VP pick. To the Line!

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The lamest week of the 2012 campaign

It’s official: The 2012 presidential campaign has hit rock bottom.


President Obama delivers remarks during a campaign event at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday. (AFP PHOTO/Jim Watson)
In the course of the last week, the following things have occurred:

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes in a decade, but refused to name his source.

* President Obama referred to the Republican presidential nominee as “Romney Hood” because he allegedly robs from the poor to give to the rich.

* Romney dubbed Obama’s alleged exaggerations about his record as “Obama-loney.”

* A Democratic super PAC ran an ad that not-so-subtly suggested that Romney’s actions led to the death of a woman.

* The Romney campaign released an ad accusing Obama of working to “gut” welfare reform, a claim that independent fact-checkers found highly questionable.

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The vice presidential pick is overrated. Here’s why.

The political world — up to and including this blog — is consumed at the moment with trying to divine the identity of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick. Travel schedules are pored over, public statements are parsed, Wikipedia is consulted.


Lyndon B. Johnson (second from left), the last VP pick that really mattered - CREDIT: ASSOCIATED PRESS.
Given that level of attention, you would think that the pick is of the utmost importance in the presidential race, that a look back at past picks reveals make or break moments centered on the identity of the presidential nominee’s ticketmate.

Not so much.

The simple reality is that the vice presidential pick — viewed through the lens of recent history — has almost no broad influence on the fate of the ticket and, to the extent the VP choice has mattered, it’s been in a negative way.

“VP picks can provide a temporary burst of excitement to a ticket, but pretty soon things settle down and the race is once again about the man at the top,” said Ari Fleischer, a former Bush Administration official. “With communications reaching everywhere for the last few decades, the race is about the presidency, not the vice-presidency.”

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Romney on not releasing more tax returns: ‘I’m not a business’

Romney on not releasing more tax returns: ‘I’m not a business’

The man who once said “corporations are people” apparently doesn’t believe the inverse.

When pressed on why he’s not releasing more tax returns in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Mitt Romney justified it by saying: “I’m not a business.”

Bloomberg asked Romney whether, if he was investing in a company, he would want to see more than two years of financial reports, likening that process to the American people electing a president. But Romney suggested the standards aren’t the same for people and businesses.

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Romney moves to embrace ‘Romneycare’

The health-care law which shall not be named is starting to get mentioned.

Twice today, Mitt Romney’s campaign has cited the health-care law he signed as Massachusetts governor — seeking credit for something it took pains to explain away during the Republican primary race.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul, responding to a harsh new super PAC ad featuring a man who blames Bain Capital for his uninsured wife’s death, broke new ground for the campaign by praising Romney’s health insurance mandate.

“To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Gov. Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care,” Saul said on Fox News. “There are a lot of people losing their jobs and losing their health care in President Obama’s economy.” (These comments are around the 2-minute mark in the video above.)

Similarly, at an event in Iowa today, Romney seemed to suggest his bill qualifies him to tackle reforming Obama’s bill: “We’ve got to do some reforms in health care, and I have some experience doing that as you know, and I know how to make a better setting than the one we have in health care.”

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Partisans love to hate President Obama and Mitt Romney

More than eight in 10 Republicans view President Obama unfavorably, while a similar number of Democrats see former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in an negative light, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The numbers are just the latest sign of the deep partisan divide gripping the 2012 presidential race.

Eighty-four percent of Republicans view Obama unfavorably, while 80 percent of Democrats feel the same about Romney. Those are among the highest numbers ever measured for the opposing candidates in Post-ABC polling, far outdistancing all but how Republicans viewed Bill Clinton in 1996 (78 percent unfavorable) and how Democrats saw George W. Bush in 2004 (76 percent unfavorable).

Here’s a full chart detailing how the opposite party has felt about the presidential nominees dating back to 1988:

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Five reasons why David Petraeus won’t be the VP

Five reasons why David Petraeus won’t be the VP

Speculation that Gen. David Petraeus may be under (super secret) consideration as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s running mate — fueled by a report in the Drudge Report — is running wild in political Washington today.

While it’s an interesting distraction on a slow political news day, the Petraeus pick just ain’t happening. Here’s why — in five easy steps.

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The case for Paul Ryan to be vice president

Welcome to the Paul Ryan vice presidential boomlet.

In the past 48 hours or so, talk of the Wisconsin Republican Congressman as Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president has surged — largely due to a piece written in the Weekly Standard urging the GOP presidential nominee to choose Ryan.

Ryan has been a mainstay on our Veepstakes Line — in which we rank the top contenders to be Romney’s pick — for months, and in our last list he was our #3 choice behind only Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty .

With so much chatter about Ryan, we thought now was a good time to make our cases for and against him to be Romney’s ticketmate. We tackle the case for Ryan today and the case against him later in the week.

(And make sure to check out our cases for and against Portman and for and against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for vice president.)

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What the Republican convention speakers say about the GOP

Republicans have added four names to Monday’s initial list of seven speakers who will address the party’s national convention in Tampa, Florida later this month. Each of the 11 picks says something about the party — and the image GOP nominee Mitt Romney wants to convey as he seeks to introduce (or reintroduce) himself to a national audience.

Of the 11 announced speakers, four are women, five are current governors and three are men Romney has run against for president.


Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., left, accompanied by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday Oct. 13, 2011, to discuss the introduction of a Republican alternative jobs bill. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Below is a rundown of the names and why they were chosen.

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Mitt Romney’s money edge — and whether it matters

In the past two months, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee have outraised President Obama and the Democratic National Committee by $61 million.

And, while Obama’s campaign has yet to release its cash-on-hand total at the end of July, it’s a near-certainty that Romney’s $26 million edge at the end of June widened in July.


Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (C) greets supporters as he arrives at a campaign event with U.S. Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock (L) at Stepto's Bar B Q Shack on August 4, 2012 in Evansville, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Add to those numbers the fact that, as of mid-July, Republican super PACs and other conservative aligned outside groups were outspending their Democratic counterparts by a seven-to-one margin on the TV airwaves in swing states, and you are left with a simple, inescapable conclusion: The President of the United States is likely to be heavily outspent in the final three months of this campaign.

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Why Mitt Romney is fighting a losing battle against Harry Reid — in 2 charts

Why Mitt Romney is fighting a losing battle against Harry Reid — in 2 charts

We wrote this morning that Senate Majority Harry Reid has picked a fight with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on the latter’s tax returns that the Nevada Democrat will almost certainly win.

Just to put a finer point on that, well, point, we went looking for the latest favorable and unfavorable ratings for both men. Then we put them into two pie charts.

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‘America the beautiful’: The most memorable ad of the 2012 campaign (so far)?

Katy Perry has nothing on Mitt Romney when it comes to getting their songs on the air.

The GOP presidential candidate’s dulcet tones, it seems, have been playing in great rotation on cable TV stations for ages now via the Obama campaign’s “America the Beautiful” ad, which features Romney singing the song (poorly) over scenes of the far-off places where he has bank accounts and where Bain Capital outsourced jobs.

The ad, which went off the air Monday, strikes us as perhaps the most memorable of the cycle so far, if not necessarily the most impactful.

The reason? It’s utterly unavoidable.

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Romney outraised Obama in July, $101.3 million to $75 million

Mitt Romney outraised President Obama by more than $25 million in July, according to numbers released Monday by the campaigns.

Romney’s campaign announced it raised $101.3 million, while Obama’s team said in a tweet that it brought in $75 million.

The gap is slightly smaller than it was in June, when Romney raised $106 million and Obama brought in $71 million, but it’s the second-straight month that Romney has pulled in nine figures and the third-straight month he has outraised the incumbent president.

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Mitt Romney’s Harry Reid problem

Talk of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s allegation that Mitt Romney had not paid any taxes at all for 10 years dominated the Sunday talk show circuit as Republicans denounced the (still-unsubstantiated) charge.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to reporters in the Capitol in Washington in this file photo taken April 24, 2007. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Reid a “dirty liar,” noting that the top-ranking Democrat in the Senate had still not made public who allegedly told him about Romney’s tax history. (Romney, for his part, has said he paid taxes every year.) Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the head of the Republican Governors Association, called Reid’s allegation a “reckless and slanderous charge”.

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Why President Obama needs to make history in 2012. Again.

Amid the back and forth about Friday’s jobs report, one thing is abundantly clear: To win a second term on November 6, President Obama is going to have to defy history.


US President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus August 3, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama spoke to urge Congress to pass tax cuts for the American middle class. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI
Why? Because the July jobs report affirmed the now-certain reality that the unemployment rate won’t drop below eight percent between today and November. And no sitting president since World War II has been re-elected with the unemployment rate above 7.2 percent.

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The case against Rob Portman for vice president

Earlier this week, we made the case that Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is the perfect vice presidential pick for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Today we argue the opposite case — a case that can be summed up by three “B’s”: Bush, budget and boring. (If you want a much longer case against Portman, be sure to check out the Democratic super PAC American Bridge’s briefing book on him.)

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The case for Rob Portman to be vice president

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign unveiled an app — you can download it here — this morning that will be the first place where they announce the former Massachusetts governor’s pick to be his vice president.

That means one thing: We are getting close.

With the day of reckoning rapidly approaching, we continue our “case for/case against” treatment of the top contenders for the VP pick. (If you missed our case for and case against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal make sure to check them out.)

Today we make the case for Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the presumed frontrunner for the veep slot. Later this week, we’ll make the case against him.

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Mitt Romney’s foreign trip didn’t go well. Does it matter?

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney later today wraps up his foreign tour, a trip that drew a series of negative headlines and has left many Republicans wondering what exactly the GOP presidential nominee was hoping to accomplish.

The assessments of the trip, which saw Romney visit London, Israel and Poland over the past week, ranged from scathing to resigned among the Republican professional political class.

“I find this entire trip borderline lunacy,” said one senior Republican strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly. “Why on earth is he seeking to improve his foreign policy cred when there will not be a single vote cast on that subject?”

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Romney’s less-than-Olympic narrative

Mitt Romney is still waiting for his gold medal from the American public.

If you look across Romney’s public and private sector record, his time as head of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City stands out as what should be his greatest and most politically advantageous achievement.

Unlike his tenure at Bain Capital and as governor of Massachusetts, there’s very little Democrats can say that will undermine or pick apart Romney’s Olympics record. It’s also a high profile example of Romney’s business acumen that actually has a real-world connection to most peoples’s lives.

And, as luck would have it, the Summer Olympics in London is being held just a few months before the U.S. presidential election — a terrific opportunity for Romney to take a victory lap, right?

Maybe.

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Mitt Romney and the ‘wimp’ factor

Is Mitt Romney too wimpy to be president?


U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivers foreign policy remarks at Mishkenot Sha'ananim in Jerusalem, July 29, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed
That’s the (purposely) provocative question Newsweek asks on its cover this week. It’s a question sure to stir controversy — and one without an easy answer.

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How Mitt Romney’s tax returns stack up — in 1 chart

Unless you haven’t been paying attention to politics for the past few months, you know by now that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is very wealthy.

But, how does Romney’s wealth — as translated in the political conversation through his tax returns — compare to that of the last few presidents? Thanks to the Sunlight Foundation, the Fix’s new favorite site, we know.

The chart below shows both the year-by-year incomes of and the effective tax rate paid by Romney as well as the last five presidents (including Obama).

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Who wins a “devil you know vs devil you don’t” election?

One thing is starkly clear from the last month of the 2012 presidential campaign: We are headed toward a lowest common denominator, devil-you-know-versus-devil-you-don’t election in which the winner will not so much triumph as survive.


A devil you know. (Photo by Rick Scavetta/U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern)
The latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll makes that point in stark terms. Forty three percent of respondents viewed President Obama negatively while 40 percent saw Romney in that light; the percentage of people who regarded Obama and Romney “very negatively” was at an all-time high (or low, depending on your perspective) in the NBC-WSJ data.

“This is not characteristic … for July,” GOP pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, told NBC. “These are numbers you usually see in October.”

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2012: It’s the values, stupid?

2012: It’s the values, stupid?

President Obama’s best chance at winning a second term this fall revolves around turning the race from a straight referendum on his economic policies and toward a debate about which candidate better shares voters’ values, according to two new national polls.

In a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, President Obama held a 49 percent to 33 percent edge on the question of which candidate is “looking out for the middle class” while new Gallup data showed Obama with a 50 percent to 39 percent edge on who “understands the problems Americans face in their everyday lives”.

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How super PACs are saving Mitt Romney

Republican-aligned super PACs and other outside conservative groups have spent more than $144 million on general election ads in swing presidential states, a huge outlay of cash that has allowed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to not only combat but exceed heavy early ad spending by President Obama.


In this May 8, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Roughly 80 percent of all ad spending by Republicans on the general election has come from these super PACs, as Romney has expended a relatively meager $35 million to date on ads in swing states, according to ad buy figures provided to the Fix by a GOP media buyer.

By contrast, the $20 million that Democratic super PACs have spent on ads so far in the general election accounts for just 19 percent of total ad spending on the Democratic side.

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Obama campaign pushes back on ‘burn rate’ criticism

Obama campaign pushes back on ‘burn rate’ criticism

In the wake of a report that the Obama campaign’s burn rate — the amount of money they are spending per month on the race — has raised concerns among some within the party, the president’s campaign manager insisted that every penny is being well spent.

“We made a big bet in this campaign,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told the Fix in an interview this afternoon. “Ground organization matters and building one takes a lot of money. It’s an expensive proposition.”

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Mitt Romney’s ‘exotic’ tax problem

For years, President’s Obama’s political opponents have used his background — Kenyan father, Kansan mother, raised in Indonesia and Hawaii — to cast him as somehow exotic, someone whose life makes it hard for him to understand the average American.

And yet, it’s Mitt Romney, Obama’s general election opponent, who is now dealing with an “exotic” issue that is centered on his considerable wealth and being played out in the ongoing fight over whether he will release more than two years worth of tax returns.

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When politics stops — and how it never really does

In a speech today addressing the tragic shootings in Aurora, Colorado, President Obama said that “there are going to be other days for politics...This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection.”


US President returns early to the White House in Washington,DC on July 20, 2012 after cancelling a campaign stop in Florida. Obama and his rival Mitt Romney suspended their campaigning out of respect for the victims of a shocking shooting at a Colorado movie theater that left 12 people dead and over 50 injured. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM
He’s right. Both Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney canceled planned campaign rallies, pulled negative ads and generally refrained from doing anything that appeared even remotely political.

But, to assume that politics ever truly stops in this country — even in moments of national tragedy and mourning like this one — is a mistake. Politics and political campaigns don’t happen in a vacuum. Every external event — from the joyous to the tragic — is a piece of the broader political puzzle.

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Is the 2012 election the 2004 election all over again?

A few months back, we wrote that the election most analogous to the 2012 contest was the 2004 race between President George W. Bush and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry .

And, as the race has played itself out since then, we feel more and more confident in that comparison.


In this Jan. 16, 2010 file photo, former President George W. Bush listens as President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

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The case against Bobby Jindal for vice president

The case against Bobby Jindal for vice president

On Wednesday, we made the case for why Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal should be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick. Today we argue the opposite.

One warning: we are agnostic about Jindal’s relative merits as a VP pick. Rather these dueling posts are aimed at exploring the good and the bad — as explained to us by those in the know — of selecting him. With that caveat out of the way, here’s our case against Jindal.

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A tale of two campaigns

A tale of two campaigns

There are two campaigns for president happening simultaneously right now.

One is being staged inside Washington — and President Obama is winning that one resoundingly. The other is set in the rest of the country — and that one is a dead heat between Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

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Mitt Romney, his tax returns, and shiny objects

Mitt Romney isn’t releasing his tax returns. That’s his decision, and his campaign is sticking to it (at least for now).

And really, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Romney’s general election campaign, from day one, has taken the long view. When the waters get choppy, his response is almost uniformly to not panic, hope to ride it out, and stay focused on the long-term campaign (and more specifically, the economy). In other words: to avoid the shiny objects.

But is that a successful strategy in the era of not just 24-hour news, but 24-hour political news?
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 in Bowling Green, Ohio. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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Why President Obama’s reelection is no sure thing — in 2 charts

Judging from the coverage of the presidential race over the past few weeks — questions about Mitt Romney’s staff, his exact departure date from Bain Capital and whether or not he should release his tax returns — you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s time for President Obama to break out the champagne and start celebrating his likely re-election in November.

But to draw that conclusion ignores the broader currents at work in the political waters, currents that will make it very tough for President Obama to win a second term almost no matter what Romney does between now and this fall.

Once you step back from the day to day knife fight of the campaign — and make no mistake that Obama is getting in more and better swipes than Romney at this point — you’re reminded that the overarching dynamic of this race is the sputtering economy and a continued lack of confidence within the electorate that things are or will get better.

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The case for Bobby Jindal to be vice president

With the Republican National Convention now only 40 days off, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney appears to be moving into the final stages of picking his vice presidential nominee — with some people even speculating that the announcement could come as soon as this week.

While we remain skeptical that Romney will make the pick any time before mid-August, there are signs that the process is nearing its conclusion.

Reuters’ Steve Holland reported on Tuesday that the Romney short list is down to Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.), Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) and former governor Tim Pawlenty (Minn.). And, the Romney campaign announced this week that it has hired Randy Bumps and Kevin Sheridan to serve as senior staffers to the vice presidential nominee whenever he (or she) is picked.

Given those signs as well as the (relatively) narrow time frame left for Romney, we thought now was the right time to begin making our cases for and against the most likely vice presidential picks.

We kick it all off today by making the case for Jindal. Tomorrow we’ll make the case against him.

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Some Republicans still not sold on Mitt Romney’s campaign

One in four self-identified Republicans has an unfavorable view of how Mitt Romney is running his campaign, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The poll represents the latest evidence of unease within some segments of the GOP about how the former Massachusetts governor is progressing in the 2012 race.


Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leaves a fundraiser that included Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., on Monday, July 16, 2012 in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Sixty-six percent of GOPers in the poll viewed the way Romney is running his campaign in a favorable light, while 24 percent viewed it unfavorably. Those numbers lagged behind how President Obama’s campaign is viewed among Democrats — 75 percent of whom regard his bid favorably.

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Why Mitt Romney should just release his tax returns

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney continues to be steadfast in his refusal to release any more than his last two years of tax returns, a position that has already become a distraction to his presidential campaign and could cause considerably more trouble if he doesn’t figure out a better answer — and soon.


Demonstrators stand outside a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Monday, July 16, 2012 in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“Perception is becoming Romney’s reality and these issues have now risen above mere distractions,” said John Weaver, a Republican consultant and former senior adviser to Sen. John McCain’s (R) 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns. “The President has had the worst three months of any incumbent, due to the economy, since George H.W. Bush in 1992, and yet Romney has lost traction among key demographic groups in the vital swing states. He has got to get this behind him or he’s going to face summer definition ala [Bob] Dole and [John] Kerry. ”

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Why Democrats are willing to walk off the fiscal cliff

Less than 24 hours after Democrats publicly pronounced their willingness to jump off the so-called fiscal cliff later this year if Republicans refuse to drop their opposition to ending tax cuts for certain income levels, they got a bit of good news: the public is on their side.


A cliff. Not a fiscal one. BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/GettyImages
Forty-four percent of people in a new Pew Research Center poll said that a tax increase on incomes over $250,000, which is what President Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing, would help the economy, while 22 percent said it would hurt the economy.

Similarly, 41 percent of Pew respondents said that raising taxes on income over $250,000 would make the tax system “more fair,” while 21 percent said it would make it “less fair”.

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Mitt Romney’s unsolvable Bain problem

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney continues to struggle to get out from under questions regarding just when he departed from his job at Bain Capital. And there’s reason to believe that he won’t be able to solve his Bain problem anytime soon.


HOUSTON, TX - JULY 11: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the NAACP National Convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center July 11, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Eric Kayne/Getty Images)
Politics 101 says that when your campaign is bleeding — and Romney’s camp is bleeding right now — the best way to stop it is to get as many facts out as quickly as possible and then insist that it’s a dead issue and refuse to answer questions on it moving forward.

That won’t likely work for Romney because of the seeming contradictions about when he left the company — and the exotic nature of his financial life.

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Romney super PAC raised record $20 million in June

The top super PAC supporting Mitt Romney set a new standard for fundraising by a super PAC in June, collecting $20 million, a PAC aide told The Fix.

Restore Our Future’s unprecedented total is four times what the super PAC raised in May and more than three times what the top super PAC supporting President Obama raised in the same month. (That super PAC, Priorities USA Action, also set a personal best in June with $6 million raised.)
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, right, is introduced by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as Rep. Paul Ryan ( R- Wis.) looks on during a campaign stop at Monterey Mills on Monday, June 18, 2012 in Janesville, Wis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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What President Obama has learned from Republicans

The last week of the presidential campaign has been the nastiest to date, with outrage stoked, allegations leveled and apologies demanded.

Nothing new there. Campaigns are — in the modern era — races to the bottom, a lowest common denominator battle to slime the other guy before he slimes you. (USA! USA!)

What has changed is that it’s Democrats pushing the political envelope and Republicans insisting that a line has been crossed.

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Can Mitt Romney be likeable? Does he need to be?

Three months ago, Mitt Romney became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. His prize? He entered the general election with the worst personal image numbers of any major party presidential nominee in recent history.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the NAACP annual convention in Houston, Texas on July 11, 2012. (AFP PHOTO/Nicholas Kamm)

Since then, things have gotten better for Romney. His favorable rating has rebounded from the low-to-mid-30s, and a few recent polls have even shown more people expressing a positive view of Romney than a negative one.

But through it all, it’s become pretty clear: Romney is not a teddy bear that people want to hug. He’s not a guy most people want to have a beer with. And the Republican base is not over-the-moon about its nominee.

The question is: Is there anything he can do about it? And perhaps more importantly, does it even matter?

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The tax return fight and the cult of transparency

President Obama is amping up the pressure on Mitt Romney to release more of his past tax returns, an attempt to change the subject from the still-struggling economy and bring the issue of transparency to the fore in the 2012 campaign.

“What’s important if you are running for president is that the American people know who you are and what you’ve done and that you’re an open book,” Obama told a New Hampshire reporter on Tuesday. “And that’s been true of every presidential candidate dating all the way back to Mitt Romney’s father.”

Vice President Joe Biden, as he is wont to do, took the critique of Romney’s reluctance to release his tax returns a step further. “Mitt Romney wants you to show your papers, but he won’t show us his,” Biden told a Hispanic audience Tuesday in Las Vegas.

And then there was this web video released by the Obama campaign that asked “why is Mitt Romney hiding the rest of his tax returns?”

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The remarkably unchanging 2012 race

The remarkably unchanging 2012 race

The past 14 months have had their fair share of historic moments — the killing of Osama bin Laden, the ongoing debt crisis in Europe, the debt ceiling fight, the Republican presidential primary fight and the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s health care law to name just a handful.

And yet, in spite of the massive news coverage that each of those stories has drawn, none of them seem to have impacted the race between President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in any meaningful way.

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No immigration bounce for President Obama

President Obama’s announcement of his support for relaxed enforcement of immigration laws on young illegal immigrants has not provided any lift for him on the issue according to the new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

His approval rating on dealing with immigration issues is no better (nor worse) than it was two years ago, and he runs evenly with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on who people trust to handle the issue. Fewer than one in five voters — 18 percent — say immigration is an extremely important issue in their vote.

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For Romney backers, the election is all about President Obama

Nearly six in 10 of those siding with Mitt Romney in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll say their vote is primarily “against” President Obama not in favor of the former Massachusetts governor, a testament to how much of Romney’s support is built on opposition to the current occupant of the White House.

By contrast, about three-quarters of Obama’s supporters are voting affirmatively “for” the president.

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President Obama’s massive swing state spending edge

President Obama has spent more than $91 million on television ads in eight swing states as of July 6, a massive sum that dwarfs the $23 million former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has disbursed on campaign commercials in those same places. Only heavy spending by Republican super PACs is keeping Romney within financial shouting distance of the incumbent on television at this point.

The data, which was provided to the Fix by a Republican media buyer, paints a fascinating picture of Obama’s overwhelming ad advantage in each of the states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia — where both campaigns are spending.

The spending disparity between the campaigns is particularly pronounced in three of the swingiest states: Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

In Florida, Obama has spent $17 million on TV ads as compared to $2 million for Romney. In Ohio, it’s $22 million for Obama to $6.5 million for Romney; and in Virginia, Obama has spent $11 million on TV ads to less than $3 million for Romney.

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One man’s tax cut is another man’s tax increase

One man’s tax cut is another man’s tax increase

One man’s tax cut is another man’s tax increase.

That political reality will be proven — yet again — in the aftermath of President Obama’s decision to call on Congress to extend the Bush era tax cuts for those making under $250,000 — and, therefore, for those not making more than $250,000.

Make no mistake: This proposal isn’t going anywhere legislatively before the election. (Republicans were quick to remind voters that Obama already pushed virtually this same proposal earlier this year.) It is a purely political gambit by the President designed to force Republicans to defend what the White House believes is an untenable position: preserving tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.

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Romney outraised Obama in June, $106 million to $71 million

Updated, 10:55 a.m.: Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign outraised President Obama by $35 million in June, pulling in $106 million to the incumbent president’s $71 million, according to numbers announced by the campaigns Monday.

It is the second straight month that Romney has outraised the president and should leave the two candidates on close to equal financial footing just three months after Romney secured the Republican nomination.

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Ohio at the epicenter of 2012 ad battle

More than $39 million has been spent on television ads in Ohio by the two presidential candidates and their affiliated outside groups as of early July, according to data provided to the Fix by a Republican media buying firm, a massive outlay of campaign cash that re-affirms the centrality of the Buckeye State in the electoral calculus of both parties.


U.S. President Barack Obama greets residents of Beaver, Ohio July 6, 2012. Obama is on a two-day campaign bus tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President Obama’s campaign has spent an eye-popping $22 million on ads in Ohio already in the race while former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has dropped $6.4 million. Ohio is the state where both Obama and Romney have spent the most money on TV ads so far in the campaign.

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The most important chart of the 2012 election

The most important chart of the 2012 election

The June jobs report — 80,000 jobs added in the month and an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent — is full of bad news for President Obama as he seeks to make the case to the American electorate that the economy is slowly but surely improving.

The politics of the economy are heavily dependent on perception and that perception is heavily driven by the unemployment rate. (Economists roll their eyes at using such a simplistic measure to gauge the relative health of the economy but — and we can’t believe we are writing this — it is what it is.)

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President Obama’s troubling trend line on jobs

President Obama’s troubling trend line on jobs

The news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning that the economy added just 80,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate stayed stuck at 8.2 percent suggests that any hope that President Obama will be able to run for reelection bolstered by an improving financial picture is rapidly disappearing.

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The June jobs report and President Obama’s summer swoon(s)

The three summers of President Obama’s first term in office have been decidedly unkind to him on the economic front, a trend that puts even more importance on this morning’s June jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


MAUMEE, OH - JULY 05: U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a campaign event at the Wolcott House Museum Complex July 5, 2012 in Maumee, Ohio. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
In each of the past three summers, the unemployment rate has bumped upwards while the job creation numbers have either leveled off or dipped downward. That trend — plus the fact that we are 123 days before the election — makes the BLS’s 8:30 announcement of the utmost political importance.

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Does Mitt Romney have a staff problem?

Talk of a shakeup in Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is running rampant, with the expectation within the Republican political class that the former Massachusetts governor will add seasoned hands rather than part ways with any of his current senior staffers.


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney finishes speaking about the Supreme Court ruling on health care in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

At the heart of the critique of the Romney campaign, which began with a tweet from News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and has continued with a stinging Wall Street Journal op-ed and harsh words for the campaign from the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol today, is the idea that the presidential candidate’s staff may not be up to the task of running the sort of race it will take to beat President Obama.

“The campaign needs to show the GOP elite world and the media a lot of competence going forward or this shake-up talk will only get louder and continue,” predicted one Republican adviser watching from the sidelines.

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Mitt Romney’s tax gamble on health care

Mitt Romney’s tax gamble on health care

On July 4, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney tried to explain the (close to) unexplainable: How a penalty in Massachusetts is a tax nationally.

At issue is the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Obama’s health care law by stating that those who don’t opt in to the insurance system can be taxed for not doing so.

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The political fallout from health care reform — in three charts

The Supreme Court’s ruling in support of President Obama’s health care law isn’t even a week old yet but we are already seeing some fascinating numbers about how the ruling changed — or didn’t change — how people feel about the Affordable Care Act.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been polling on attitudes regarding health care since time immemoriam, released new data today that tells a fascinating story about the political future of the law.

What is that future? It depends on which numbers from the poll you look at it. Below are three charts that provide three varying narratives on what the law meant, means and will mean in our political landscape.

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How John Roberts became the story

In a 2010 Pew poll less than three in ten Americans knew that John Roberts was the Chief Justice of the United States. But, his pivotal role in Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold President Obama’s health care law might well turn Roberts into a more household name.

According to Google data, searches for Roberts soared between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. eastern time Thursday, far outdistancing other terms like “individual mandate” and “SCOTUS”.

Here’s a chart from the good people at Google detailing the top five rising search terms over that critical three hours on Thursday.

Gaming out the politics of the Supreme Court’s health care ruling

In less than 24 hours, the Supreme Court will hand down its ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the defining achievement of President Obama’s first term in office.


A view of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The stakes — from a political and a policy perspective — are absolutely massive although, as we have noted, public opinion on the law itself seems to be relatively cemented.

While the ruling isn’t likely to drastically change how people perceive the law, it could well have a major impact on how voters perceive the two parties — and their respective candidates for president — with 131 days left before the November election.

Below we examine the three most likely decisions from the Court — affirmation of the law, rejection of the law and some middle ground — and how the two parties would seek to shape them politically.

We’ll know what the Court decides by (around) 10 am tomorrow. Until then, the political world waits with bated breath. (Looking for something to do between now and then? Use this interactive to find out what the different rulings from the Court could mean to your health care.)

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Poll: Obama, Romney lack clear plans for nation

Majorities of Americans say neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney has a clear plan to fix the nation’s problems, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday, a signal that neither candidate has made a successful case to be president in 2013.


FILE - In 2012 file photos President Barack Obama, left, Talks to reporters in Washington on June 8 and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 14 (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite, left, and Evan Vucci, file)
Fifty-nine percent of the public says Obama, who has been in office more than three years, lacks a clear plan to fix the country’s problems. Slightly fewer, 53 percent, say the same of Romney.

And, the problems for both candidates go deeper than that. Even as both outline their vision on the campaign trail, many Americans will be leery of trusting them: Six in 10 say Obama and Romney each change their positions on issues for political reasons.

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Condoleezza Rice for vice president? Nope.

It’s happening again. Chatter is rising in political (and non-political) circles about the prospect of Bush Administration Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice being tapped as the Republican vice presidential nominee this fall.


Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice talks to reporters at Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss., on April 17.
Much of the Condi buzz is attributable to her reported star turn over the weekend at a Park City, Utah retreat for donors and supporters of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Wrote ABC’s Shushannah Walshe and Arlette Saenz:

“Many of those same attendees said the star speaker of the weekend was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who received a standing ovation. Ambassador Charles Cobb, who served as ambassador to Iceland from 1989 to 1992, said Rice was ‘spectacular’ and described her as a ‘very bright, sophisticated, articulate lady.’”

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Arizona immigration decision puts Romney in a (temporary) tight spot

The Supreme Court rejected large portions of a controversial Arizona immigration law but left intact the ability of police to stop suspected illegal immigrants and demand to see their papers, a sort of split decision that should hand President Obama a political cudgel with which to take after former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.


A rally against Arizona's immigration law on April 25 outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Virtually any way that the Court decided on the Arizona measure would have forced Romney to respond on an issue he’d rather not address between now and November. But, the Court keeping the “stop and check” provision in the law — and the fact that Romney is scheduled to be in Arizona later today (someone get the scheduler on the line!) means that he will have to walk a very fine line, rhetorically speaking, on an issue that has major long term consequences for the Republican party.

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Mitt Romney’s hidden campaign cash

Mitt Romney is quickly closing the cash gap on President Obama. But as of right now, we don’t know exactly how close it is.

One of the quirks of campaign finance reporting is that, while the committee Obama uses to raise money for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee — also called a “joint fundraising committee” — reports its totals monthly, Romney’s version of that joint committee has yet to file a report.
Republican Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney greets attendees after speaking at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference in Florida. (Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

The “Romney Victory Fund,” as it’s called, was launched in April and will file its first quarterly report next month. We’re also pretty sure it has tens of millions of dollars in it right now.

But even that conclusion involves some guesswork, and Romney’s campaign isn’t saying much.

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Is President Obama baiting House Republicans?

Is President Obama baiting House Republicans?

In the past six days, President Obama has sent a very clear message to Republicans in Congress. And that message goes like this: Bring it on.

His decision to stop actively deporting young illegal immigrants, which was announced last Friday, and his action Wednesday to invoke executive privilege over documents tied to the “Fast and Furious” program both amount to a finger in the eye of House GOPers.

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Marco Rubio and the dangers of VP reporting

Marco Rubio and the dangers of VP reporting

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said late Tuesday that Marco Rubio is being fully vetted as a potential vice presidential pick, directly rebutting reporting that the Florida Senator was not in the running.

What this episode reveals — for the umpteenth time in the history of the veepstakes — is that reporting on who will or won’t be the vice presidential pick is fraught with peril.

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Marco Rubio isn’t being vetted as VP: What does it tell us? (Or maybe he is)

NOTE: Mitt Romney said late Tuesday that Marco Rubio is in fact being thoroughly vetted by his vice presidential selection team — contrary to previous report that said he was not.

ORIGINAL POST

The news that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio isn’t being seriously vetted by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential selection team is both surprising and enlightening.


FILE - In this April 23, 2012, file photo Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, campaigning with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks to reporters in Aston, Pa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Surprising because many people — the Fix included — had touted him early and often as a potential frontrunner to be Romney’s number two. (Heck, we compared him to Lionel Messi!)

Enlightening because it provides us a window into the sort of person that Romney (and Beth Myers, his head of vice presidential vetting) are looking for in a running mate.

That person? Someone whose credentials and readiness are beyond question. And, more than likely, someone who calls to mind “plain” more than “pizzazz”.

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Why Republicans can’t write off Hispanics

Much has been made in the last 96 hours of President Obama’s decision to stop deporting young illegal immigrants and its impact on the 2012 election.

And while the short-term political impact of how the announcement could impact Obama’s strength among Hispanic voters is significant, it pales in comparison to the long-term political effect if Hispanics become a solidly Democratic voting bloc in the way that African-Americans have.

Since 1992, Republicans have lost ground with with black and Asian-American voters while largely holding steady(ish) with Hispanics. The only gains they have made are with white voters; 40 percent of whites voted for George H.W. Bush in 1992, while 55 percent of white voters chose John McCain in 2008.

Here’s the full vote breakout — courtesy of our partners @postpolls — of the vote by race from 1992 to 2008.

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President Obama made a political decision on immigration. So what?

In the immediate aftermath of President Obama’s decision to stop deporting young illegal immigrants on Friday, Republicans stayed silent as they sought to calculate the right response — one that would walk the fine line between alienating their political base and sending (another) negative signal to the Hispanic community they badly need to court.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney eventually released a statement and then followed up on it during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” — his first non-Fox News Channel Sunday show interview during the campaign to date.

Here’s what Romney told “Face” host Bob Schieffer:

“ I think the timing is pretty clear, if [Obama] really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with illegal immigration in America, than this is something he would have taken up in his first three and a half years, not in his last few months.”

Schieffer followed up by asking Romney if that meant that the president’s motivations were solely political. “Well, that’s certainly a big part of the equation,” responded Romney.

Romney’s right. And it doesn’t matter a bit.

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Republicans struggle to respond to Obama’s immigration decision

Updated at 4:21 p.m.

Just hours after word leaked out that the Obama administration would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents, the issue is already causing headaches for the Republican Party.

The party, which has previously split over its own president’s efforts on illegal immigration reform, is similarly stuck when it comes to Obama’s decision.

And at a time when party unity is paramount, the move is exposing fissures.


This photo provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in New Jersey, shows agents taking a person into custody during operation Cross Check III. (AP Photo/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

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President Obama’s mythical black voter problem — in three charts

A new North Carolina poll conducted by the automated pollster (and Democratic affiliated) Public Policy Polling has set the political world on its head — suggested that not only has former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney made up significant ground on President Obama in the swing state but that the incumbent is losing roughly one in every five black voters in the Tarheel State.

Here’s the problem: There’s no evidence — outside of this single PPP poll — that Obama is suffering any significant erosion among African American voters.

The story of Obama’s continued — and sustained — strength in the black community can be told in three charts, all of which examine Washington Post-ABC News polling conducted over the first three-plus years of Obama’s presidency. (HUGE thanks to the Post polling team for building out these charts; do yourself a favor and follow them on Twitter @postpolls.)

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Obama’s ‘08 economic advantage disappears

Roughly four in 10 voters assess the economic proposals offered by President Obama and Mitt Romney favorably in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a sharp contrast to the wide lead the incumbent enjoyed over John McCain on the issue in the 2008 presidential race.

In the latest Post-ABC poll, 43 percent of voters express favorable opinions about Obama’s economic agenda, while 40 percent say the same of Romney.

Compare that relative parity on economic plans to the 20-point edge Obama held over McCain in a 2008 election eve poll, and you begin to grasp the challenge before Obama when it comes to winning the economic argument this fall.

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Why Europe won’t save Obama

Why Europe won’t save Obama

President Obama’s goal at last Friday’s press conference, according to those who know him best, was simple: Explain to a confused American public why the struggles in Europe are having ripple effects across the global economy — up to and including the United States.

“One concern is Europe, which faces a threat of renewed recession as countries deal with a financial crisis,” said Obama at the start of his prepared remarks. “Obviously this matters to us because Europe is our largest economic trading partner. If there’s less demand for our products in places like Paris or Madrid it could mean less businesses — or less business for manufacturers in places like Pittsburgh or Milwaukee.”

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Romney video targets Obama’s ‘doing fine’ comment

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is up with a new ad targeting President Obama for his remark on Friday that the private sector of the economy is doing “fine.”

The video features footage of Americans describing their personal economic hardships and then repeats the clip of Obama saying the “private sector is doing fine” three times.

It closes with “No Mr. President, we are not doing fine.”

President Obama tries to change the subject

President Obama tries to change the subject

President Obama’s decision to make remarks — and take questions from reporters — Friday morning on the economy was a seemingly obvious attempt to pivot away from his worst week, politically speaking, in months.

It almost certainly won’t work, however, because Obama offered little new in terms of policy and adopted a largely presidential — rather than a political — approach to the questions reporters posed to him.

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Bill Clinton sticks another fork in Obama’s Bain strategy, says Romney had ‘sterling’ business career

The shelf life of President Obama’s Bain Capital strategy appears to be rapidly shrinking.

Less than two weeks after Newark Mayor Cory Booker caused the Obama campaign plenty of heartburn by calling on it to “stop attacking private equity,” the biggest name in Democratic politics (outside of Obama) has lodged his own torpedo.

Bill Clinton, in an appearance on CNN last night, said that Mitt Romney has a “sterling business career” and that the campaign shouldn’t be about what kind of work Romney did.

“I don’t think we ought to get into the position where we say this is bad work; this is good work,” Clinton said, adding: “There’s no question that, in terms of getting up, going to the office, and basically performing the essential functions of the office, a man who’s been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.”

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Why the first Friday of the month matters so much

Every day in a presidential campaign matters, because there just aren’t that many of them left. (It’s 158 days until the election — but who’s counting?) But some days matter more.

Political strategists — and economic policy wonks — have the first Friday of every month between now and November circled in red pen on their calendars (if those things still exist), because it’s the day that the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the previous month’s jobs report.

Today is one of those days. And the May jobs report, which will be released at around 8:30 a.m. eastern time, is the start of a critical three-month period leading up to the national party conventions that will set the economic terms of the fall campaign.

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The Boston Obama press conference: Welcome to the circus

Top Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said Thursday that Mitt Romney’s stewardship of the Massachusetts economy shows how his career in private equity doesn’t prepare him to govern. But his message was drowned out by pro-Romney protesters.

“It wasn’t happenstance that Massachusetts struggled under Romney,” Axelrod said at a press conference in Boston, noting several negative statistics on the state’s performance during Romney’s four years as governor (more on that here). “He brought the orientation of a financial engineer” whose goal was to make money, added Axelrod.

“This may work in the world of leveraged buyouts and quick scores, but it’s not how you build for the future,” Axelrod said. “Romney economics didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.”

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Is the vice presidency worth having?

Is the vice presidency worth having?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush doesn’t want to be Mitt Romney’s vice president. Just ask him.

After an Italian newspaper purported to have an exclusive interview with Bush in which he left the door open to the vice presidency, Team Bush quickly stamped out the idea.

Nothing has changed, Gov. Bush will not be candidate for VP,”a Bush spokeswoman told Yahoo News Wednesday.

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Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee. Now what?

Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee. Now what?

Mitt Romney formally clinched the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday night, crossing the 1,144-delegate plateau with his victory in the Texas primary.

In reality, the GOP nomination fight has been over for the better part of two months — since former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum formally ended his candidacy on April 10, a week after he fell short in the Wisconsin primary.

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Romney app misspells ‘Amercia’

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign misspelled the word “America” on its new iPhone app, and it’s already paying a price for it.

In the app, the phrase “A Better America” is misspelled “A Better Amercia.” The misspelling was picked up and tweeted widely Tuesday night, soon spawned a hashtag-driven Twitter meme in which people imagined just what Amercia stood for and what kind of policies Romney had planned for Amercia.

The Romney campaign told The Fix that it had submitted a corrected version of the app to Apple, which has to approve the update.

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Is the Bain attack working?

President Obama’s campaign is in the midst of an extended attack on Mitt Romney’s time spent at Bain Capital, an effort to define the former Massachusetts governor as out of touch with average Americans.

Ads have been run, conference calls have been held, press releases (and then some more press releases) have been sent — an all-out effort that speaks to how important it is for the Obama campaign to win this fight over who Mitt Romney really is.

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Gay marriage? Bullying? Voters don’t care.

Gay marriage? Bullying? Voters don’t care.

The political world has been consumed in recent weeks by President Obama’s decision to come out in support of same-sex marriage and by a Washington Post story detailing allegations of high school bullying by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney .

And what sort of reaction have these two major stories elicited from the voting public? In a word: “Eh”.

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Kentucky, Arkansas primaries: Is it racism?

Kentucky, Arkansas primaries: Is it racism?

That President Obama lost roughly 40 percent of the vote in Democratic primaries in Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia over the last two weeks has drawn massive national headlines.

Those headlines have drawn a collective eyeroll from Democrats — and many others who closely follow national politics — who ascribe the underperformance by the incumbent to a very simple thing: racism.

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Why the 2012 election will be the closest since Bush vs Gore

Why the 2012 election will be the closest since Bush vs Gore

The 2012 presidential election is going to be close. Very close. Incredibly close. Like Al-Gore-vs-George-W.-Bush close.

A review of the last year’s worth of national polling conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News makes clear that not only is the electorate almost equally divided between President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney but people are also equally split on which of the two men is better equipped to handle the economy, which, of course, is the only issue that matters to a majority of voters.

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David Axelrod scolds Cory Booker on Bain Capital

David Axelrod scolds Cory Booker on Bain Capital

President Obama’s chief political strategist hammered comments made by Newark Mayor Cory Booker regarding former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital as “wrong”, the latest attempt by the White House to get out from under the burgeoning controversy.

“In this particular instance he was just wrong,” Axelrod told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell — speaking about Booker’s defense of private equity firms. “There are specific instances here that speak to an economic theory that isn’t the right economic theory for the country.”

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Cory Booker commits the classic Washington gaffe

Cory Booker commits the classic Washington gaffe

In Washington, there’s an old cliche: A gaffe is when a politician is accidentally honest.

That’s what happened to Newark (N.J.) Mayor Cory Booker during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Booker, who is widely regarded as a fast riser in Democratic politics, veered badly off message when he defended Bain Capital — the longtime employer of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — and described the negative tone of the campaign as “nauseating”.

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How Mitt Romney might outraise Barack Obama

How Mitt Romney might outraise Barack Obama

Political observers have spent the last four years marveling at President Obama’s fundraising might. But now even Democrats are admitting that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — and his allied party and outside groups — may very well outspend the current occupant of the White House between now and the Nov. 6 election.

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Why a Jeremiah Wright attack (probably) won’t work

Why a Jeremiah Wright attack (probably) won’t work

The news that a conservative super PAC is contemplating an attack on President Obama’s association with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright has lit the political world on fire. (You can read the full document here.) But there’s plenty of reason to think such an attack simply wouldn’t work.

The main one? People like President Obama personally and it’s hard to imagine an assault on someone he has already repudiated would undermine that basic likability factor.

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Mitt Romney raised $40 million in April

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney raised more than $40 million in April for his campaign and the Republican National Committee, his campaign said early Thursday.

The total — $40.1 million — comes in just shy of the $43.6 million President Obama’s campaign raised last month for itself and the Democratic National Committee.

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Romney campaign releases response ad on Bain

Mitt Romney’s campaign is already up with a response to an attack from President Obama’s campaign on Romney’s time at Bain Capital.

While the two-minute Obama ad, released this morning, focused on Bain Capital’s acquisition and handling off GS Technologies steel mill, the Romney campaign’s new ad, titled “American Dream,” focuses on another steel company Bain guided — Steel Dynamics.

“Steel Dynamics started with an empty field and a big dream,” the ad begins, before one employee labels the company “a perfect entrepreneurial story.”

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Mitt Romney’s big gay marriage punt, and what it means

During Mitt Romney’s address this weekend to the evangelical Liberty University, he made precisely one mention of gay marriage, saying simply: “Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.”

By passing on the opportunity to fire up the socially conservative base in perhaps the most ideal setting, Romney served notice of two things.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney attends commencement ceremonies as the scheduled commencement speaker at Arthur L. Williams Stadium on the campus of Liberty University on May 12, 2012 in Lynchburg, Va. Liberty University is one of the country's largest Christian colleges. (Photo by Jared Soares/Getty Images)

First, he made clear (again) that he’s not going to make President Obama’s embrace of gay marriage an issue in the 2012 campaign — at all. This much has become pretty apparent over the course of the last week.

And the second, perhaps more significant lesson, is that Romney’s team is not worried about turning out the GOP base in November.

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Was Mitt Romney a bully? Does it matter?

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney apologized this morning for “hijinks” during his high school years at a prep school in Michigan, an admission that came just hours after the Washington Post reported of his involvement in an episode in which a student was held down and his hair was cut by the presidential candidate

“I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize,” Romney told radio host Brian Kilmeade this morning. As far the specific allegation regarding cutting the boy’s hair, Romney said: “I don’t remember that incident.”


Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, gestures as he speaks to supporters at Oklahoma state Republican Party Headquarters in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 9, 2012.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Romney’s acknowledgment of his behavior in high school so soon after his campaign issued something close to a denial in the Post story, which included a series of on-the-record retellings from others who participated, is a recognition on behalf of the campaign that prolonging this story would be detrimental to him and his chances this fall.

It also raises a larger question, however. Is how a person running for president acted more than four decades ago relevant to who they are today — and what they might be like as president?

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Trio of wins inch Romney toward officially securing nomination

Mitt Romney won all three primaries on Tuesday and is closing in on the number of delegates he needs to officially secure the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

108 delegates were available Tuesday, and Romney is likely to win all 27 up for grabs in Indiana, the vast majority of the 52 available in North Carolina and most or all of the 28 in West Virginia.

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Parsing President Obama’s 2012 campaign kickoff speech

President Obama made it official (again) on Saturday: He is running for re-election. No surprises there. Nor is it surprising that Obama chose Virginia and Ohio — two of the swingiest states in the country — to stage his first two 2012 campaign rallies.


President Barack Obama speaks during his campaign rally at the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va., Saturday, May 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Eva Russo)
What was interesting — or at least worthy of note — was what Obama said in his speeches to the crowds in Richmond and Columbus. This was a speech that was very carefully crafted and one that will almost certainly serve as the blueprint for how Obama will seek to frame the general election against former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

This being politics, Obama said less than he meant. But, that’s where we come in. Below are a few of Obama’s best or, at least, most quotable lines and our — slightly longer — translation of the message he was trying to send.

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For Virginians, Barack Obama fits just right (for now)

For Virginians, Barack Obama fits just right (for now)

President Obama’s current lead over Mitt Romney in a new Washington Post poll in Virginia is due in large part to a belief that the incumbent’s ideology is a better fit for the state than that of the former Massachusetts governor.

A majority of Virginians — 52 percent — say that “Barack Obama’s views on most issues are just about right” as compared to 37 percent who say the same of Romney’s views. Among electorally critical independents, 52 percent say Obama’s views were about right as opposed to just 34 percent who say the same of Romney. Just look at this chart.

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Could David Rivera cost Marco Rubio the vice presidency?

Could David Rivera cost Marco Rubio the vice presidency?

You can sum up Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s biggest impediment to being chosen vice president in two words: David Rivera.

Rivera is the very controversial Florida U.S. House member who remains under FBI and IRS investigation for a series of campaign finance irregularities that led Miami-Dade prosecutors to conclude recently that the Sunshine State Republican “essentially live[d] off” donations from campaign contributors for the better part of a decade. (Those prosecutors did not bring criminal charges against Rivera — though it’s worth reading the full 16-page memo on their findings here.)

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Why President Obama shouldn’t

Why President Obama shouldn’t

President Obama’s reelection campaign is out with a new ad in Ohio, Iowa and Virginia today that bashes former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for shipping jobs overseas and for — you guessed it! — having a Swiss bank account.

The new ad is the third of the Obama reelection effort. He began his advertising campaign in January with a commercial touting the Administration’s successes on energy and ethics while slamming Americans for Prosperity. His second hit Romney for supporting “big oil”.

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Republicans’ electoral map problem — in one chart

In our Monday Fix column, we argued that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney faces a very narrow path to the 270 electoral votes he needs to claim the presidency in November.

What we were most struck by while writing the piece was the fact that it’s been more than two decades since the Republican presidential nominee broke 300 electoral votes. During that same time, Democratic presidential nominees — Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and President Obama in 2008 — have won more than 350 electoral votes.

It’s also a remarkable turnaround from the three successive elections in 1980, 1984 and 1988 in which Republican presidential nominees received more than 400(!) electoral votes.

Here’s a chart we put together detailing the electoral map up and downs for each side in the past three decades:

Nothing in the chart above suggests that Romney can’t win this fall. Rather, it highlights the fact that Romney’s margin for error is both small and smaller than that of President Obama.

President Obama is cool. Mitt Romney isn’t. (Part 2)

Earlier this week, we wrote a piece making the case that President Obama is cool, that Mitt Romney isn’t and that that reality could actually work in favor of the Republican nominee this fall.

American Crossroads, the leading conservative outside group in this election, seemed to agree with that sentiment — releasing a web video on the subject of Obama’s coolness less than 24 hours after we published our item.

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Rick Perry endorses Mitt Romney

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has endorsed Mitt Romney for president, switching his endorsement now that reports indicate Newt Gingrich will drop out of the race.

Here’s the full Perry statement:

“Mitt Romney has earned the Republican presidential nomination through hard-work, a strong organization, and disciplined message of restoring America after nearly four years of failed job-killing policies from President Obama and his administration. So today I join the many conservative Republicans across the nation in endorsing Mitt Romney for President and pledge to him, my constituents and the Republican Party that I will continue to work hard to help defeat President Obama. American jobs, economic stability and national security depend on electing a new president. Mitt’s vision and record of private sector success will put America back on the path of job creation, economic opportunity and limited government.”

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Newt Gingrich’s most memorable campaign moments

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich is ending his presidential bid within the next week.

He may had had some organizational issues, and he may have only won two states. But Gingrich knew how to make a memorable moment, either with a clever attack line or a novel idea. Here are the Fix’s highlights of the campaign that was.

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Polls suggest Arizona a dead heat

Arizona looks competitive, Obama knows he can sing, Marco Rubio goes bipartisan and Jon Tester shows the beef.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m!

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Mitt Romney and RNC move to synchronize efforts

Mitt Romney and RNC move to synchronize efforts

Less than 24 hours after sweeping five primaries and declaring the Republican presidential nomination fight officially over, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee are moving quickly to coordinate their efforts.

“Governor Romney’s strong performance and delegate count at this stage of the primary process has made him our party’s presumptive nominee,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “In order to maximize our efforts I have directed my staff at the RNC to open lines of communication with the Romney campaign.”

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