Wonkbook: Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention

September 7, 2012

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Top story: Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention

President Obama addressed the DNC. Here's what you need to know. "During his address, the president sought to convince the public that his first four years set the country on the path -- if not always clearly evident -- toward the return of prosperity, and that Americans can feel confident he will 'finish what we started' if they return him to the White House...[T]he story Obama attempted to tell Thursday: convincing a weary nation that he is the right man to carry through on his promise to them four years ago." David Nakamura in The Washington Post.

@fivethirtyeight: A great speech is more than the sum of its parts. Don't think Obama met that standard. Nor Romney last week. Clinton did.

His speech focused on the choice of futures he and Romney offer voters. "Defining his fight for re-election as a bald 'choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future,' Mr. Obama conceded the country’s continuing difficulties while pleading for more time to solve them. He laid out a long-term blueprint for revival in an era obsessed with short-term expectations." Helene Cooper and Peter Baker in The New York Times.

@ezraklein: This speech felt very safe to me. It's the speech you give when you think you're winning.

Read: The full transcript of Obama's speech, as delivered.

Excerpts: "[This election] will be a choice between two different paths for America. A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future. Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known...[A]ll [Republicans] had to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years: 'Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning.'...Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future. I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country, goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; real, achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation."

@DouthatNYT: I thought the people who talked about Clinton overshadowing the President were just looking for Clinton drama. But they were so, so right.

Wonkteam special: Fact-checking Obama's speech.

For your reference: Obama's 2004 and 2008 convention speeches.

@felixsalmon: Obama '08 set himself apart from a crowded Democratic primary field by rejecting the kind of cliché Obama '12 embraces wholeheartedly.

Vice President Joe Biden focused on President Obama's leadership in his speech. "Biden, alternating between a soft and determined voice, recited a list of accomplishments -- rescuing the auto industry from bankruptcy; ordering the strike on Osama bin Laden -- that he said illustrated Obama’s resolve as a leader." David Nakamura in The Washington Post.

Read: The full transcript of Biden's speech, as delivered.

@Reddy: Transcript of Biden's speech includes the word "literally" 10 times. In the prepared remarks, it's literally nowhere to be found.

Excerpts:"From the moment President Obama sat behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, he knew he had to restore the confidence not only of the nation-- but the whole world...Day after day, night after night, I sat beside him, as he made one gutsy decision after another--to stop the slide and reverse it. I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stare down choices of enormous consequence. Most of all, I saw what drove him: His profound concern for the American people...Folks, I’ve watched him. He never wavers. He steps up. He asks the same thing over and over again: How is this going to work for ordinary families? Will it help them? And because of the decisions he’s made, and the strength the American people have demonstrated every day, America has turned the corner."

@davidfrum: Clinton talked to moderates, Biden to independents, Obama to the Democratic base.

A jobs report due tomorrow morning will color the post-convention news cycle. "[F]or President Obama, the party could come to an abrupt halt even before he breaks camp here Friday morning when the government releases its employment report for August...[Obama's] message of promise for the future is up against the immediacy of persistently high unemployment, which, no matter what Friday’s report shows, is unlikely to drop so much before Election Day that it will recede as an issue...Whether that optimism will prove justified will likely depend upon not only Friday’s jobs report but on the one after that, the one after that and on Mr. Obama’s ability to keep the focus beyond them." Jim Rutenberg in The New York Times.

According to Yahoo's economic calendar, here's the consensus forecast for tomorrow's important economic numbers.Nonfarm payrolls: +130,000. Unemployment rate: unchanged at 8.3%.

@AnnieLowrey: Political context for the jobs report: Levels are bad, but trends are good. Voters care more about the latter, so if job growth stalls...

As convention closes, Dems optimistic about electoral map. "Hours after he finished his speech to delegates here, President Barack Obama was to head back to the stark realities of a close election, trading cheering crowds of party faithful for voters who still aren't sold on his re-election in a handful of battleground states...Mr. Obama began his campaign a year ago having plotted multiple routes to the 270 electoral votes needed to win a second term. Virtually every one is still viable, polling suggests...The idea is to hold onto some combination of states that he won last time around, Obama aides said..." Peter Nicholas and Carol E. Lee in The Wall Street Journal.

And the auditions for 2016 have begun. "Democrats gathering here for their national convention were given an early glimpse of some of the party’s ambitious prospects who have already started planting seeds for a potential presidential bid. It is far too early for a shortlist of prospective candidates, but nearly a dozen mayors, governors and members of Congress did little to hide their aspirations. Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland kept a bustling schedule here this week...Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles could barely pass a television camera -- or an influential Democrat from an early-voting state -- without stopping...And Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr...invited a few prominent Democratic officials from battleground states to join him in his skybox high at the convention hall...Senators Mark Warner of Virginia, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York were among the Democrats making the rounds here, along with Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana. Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark drew praise." Jeff Zeleny in The New York Times.

Wonkbook's guide to the other convention speeches

In brief: Winners and losers from the final at the Democratic convention.

MA Sen. John Kerry on foreign policy. "It took President Obama to restore our moral authority. It took President Obama to ban torture. The president understands that our values don’t limit our power. They magnify it. He showed that global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor that we do to other countries...Ask Osama bin Laden is he is better off now than he was four years ago...So on one side -- so on one side of this campaign we have a president who has made America lead like America again. And what is there on the other side? An extreme and expedient candidate who lacks the judgment and the vision so vital to the Oval Office, the most inexperienced foreign policy twosome to run for president and vice president in decades...[H]ere’s the choice in 2012; Mitt Romney out of touch at home, out of his depth abroad and out of the mainstream? Or Barack Obama, a president who is giving new life and truth to America’s indispensable role in the world." The Washington Post.

@RameshPonnuru: Thought Kerry did a pretty good job of making his party's foreign policy case.

More: Kerry's five best lines, according to Politico's Kevin Cirilli.

@jeffzeleny: Kerry comes equipped with a quiver of very sharp lines. It's clear he has Romney in his head: He's playing Romney in debate prep with Obama.

GA Rep. John Lewis on voter suppression. "Brothers and sisters, do you want to go back? Or do you want to keep America moving forward? My dear friends, your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful, nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union. Not too long ago, people stood in unmovable lines. They had to pass a so-called literacy test, pay a poll tax. On one occasion, a man was asked to count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap. On another occasion, one was asked to count the jelly beans in a jar—all to keep them from casting their ballots. Today it is unbelievable that there are Republican officials still trying to stop some people from voting. They are changing the rules, cutting polling hours and imposing requirements intended to suppress the vote." National Journal.

@repjohnlewis: Our struggle to create the Beloved Community is not the struggle of a season or an election but the struggle of our lifetime.

Dr. Jill Biden on husband and VP Joe. "I've seen Joe's character in his optimism. For families who have lost a loved one, kids struggling to find their way, workers out of a job, Joe always works to give people a sense of hope...I've also seen Joe's character in his determination...Finally, I've seen Joe's character in his heart...That's Joe -- that optimism, that determination, that big, strong heart that drives him forward every day." Politico.

@mattyglesias: Jill Biden's defense of women who do jobs for money is a refreshing change from relentless mom-ism.

Frmr. MI Gov. Jennifer Granholm on the auto comeback. "The entire auto industry, and the lives of over one million hard-working Americans, teetered on the edge of collapse; and with it, the whole manufacturing sector. We looked everywhere for help. Almost nobody had the guts to help us – not the banks, not the private investors and not Bain capital. Then, in 2009, the cavalry arrived: our new president, Barack Obama! He organized a rescue, made the tough calls and saved the American auto industry...Well, in Romney's world, the cars get the elevator; the workers get the shaft...When American markets broke down, who jump-started the engine? Barack Obama! And when America needed it most, who got us rolling again on the road to recovery? Barack Obama! America, let's rev our engines! In your car and on your ballot, the 'D' is for drive forward, and the 'R' is for reverse. And in this election, we're driving forward, not back. Let's re-elect our great president, Barack Obama!" Politico.

@thegarance: Granholm's speech is hard-core cheese but the crowd are it up. I've never seen a woman do manufacturing sector-populism like that.

NC Sen. Kay Hagan on her state. "North Carolina is strong because our people are strong...We got there because we were blessed with leaders, from all walks of life, who were willing to do what was right; make difficult, not easy choices; and invest in our future generations. We got there because a group of civic leaders had the vision to look over thousands of acres of empty land and see the potential for Research Triangle Park, which today is a hub of innovation and job creation that employs tens of thousands of people...Our country needs that same forward-looking leadership now more than ever. The solutions of yesterday won't get us where we need to go. We can't get there by slashing education or cutting back on research and development." Politico.

Frmr. FL Gov. Charlie Crist on Republicans. "Half a century ago, Ronald Reagan, the man whose relentless optimism inspired me to enter politics, famously said that he didn't leave the Democratic Party; the party left him. I can certainly relate. I didn't leave the Republican Party; it left me...But as a former lifelong Republican, it pains me to tell you that today's Republicans -- and their standard-bearers, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan—just aren't up to the task." Politico.

@jbarro: I see they ditched the plan for Charlie Crist to deliver his speech from inside a tanning booth.

MT Gov. Brian Schweitzer on what don't hunt. "Mitt's a good family man and a loyal American. But...he brought the wrong agenda to Massachusetts. And he is the wrong guy to be president of the United States. Governor Mitt Romney saddled Massachusetts taxpayers with an additional $2.6 billion in debt, and left 'em with the most debt per capita of any state in America. In Montana, that dog don't hunt. Governor Mitt Romney cut higher education by 14 percent in his first year, which meant the cost of college skyrocketed for students in Massachusetts. Guess that's okay if you can afford it, but for the rest of us, that dog don't hunt." Politico.

@thegarance: I love that Brian Schweitzer was wearing a bolo tie. As someone partly from one of the other non-ironic bolo tie states.

Asst. Leader and SC Rep. Jim Clyburn on the choice. "President Obama has lit candle after candle, bringing our country out from the darkness of recession, only to see Republicans douse the flames and amuse themselves cursing the darkness...Let us go from this place, lighting candles all across this great country and re-elect President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden so they can continue moving our country forward into the light." Politico.

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on diversity and community. "This is a reflection of who we are as a party and who we can be as a nation, because as Democrats, as Americans, whenever we’ve opened up our party and our country, whenever we’ve opened up doors for more of our people, whenever we’ve deepened our democracy and renewed our commitment to equal justice under the law, we’ve grown stronger as a nation...In Los Angeles, we know our communities are stronger for their diversity. From Westwood to Wilmington, from Silver Lake to Sherman Oaks, we may come from different backgrounds, we may speak different languages, we may worship in different ways, but all of us -- no matter our accent or ancestry -- are pursuing the same American dream." Fox News Insider.

KLEIN: All Obama needs is re-election"A peculiarity of Barack Obama’s reelection campaign is that the single most consequential thing he could do is get reelected. That’s true even if, after he gets reelected, he isn’t able to come to an agreement with Congress on anything more significant than keeping the lights on. What makes Obama’s most significant achievements unusual is that they roll out slowly...What’s unusual is that the policies that are most important to Obama and the Democrats don’t actually require compromise with Republicans. Health care, financial regulation and tax increases are on autopilot. If Obama wins reelection, Americans are going to see a lot of change even if Republicans don’t offer much cooperation. If he loses, much of the change he signed into law in his first term will never actually happen."

The President's agenda promises a return to post-recession normalcy. "If you looked past the rhetoric and focused just on the policy, this was a modest speech. It was a more humble vision. What President Obama offered the country on the final night of the Democratic convention was reminiscent of what Warren G. Harding offered almost a century ago: A return to normalcy after a long period of emergency. Consider the problems -- and the solutions -- of Obama’s first term...This has not been a normal time. And it’s not been a normal time for a long time...But the time of politics being about abnormal solutions and awe-inspiring goals does appear to be over, at least in Obama’s agenda." Ezra Klein in The Washington Post.

BARRO: Obama's dud of a speech. "Last night, Bill Clinton showed us that it is possible to make a convincing case for the Obama economic record. Tonight, President Barack Obama showed us that he is personally incapable of making it...Obama did not give the sense that he has been working tirelessly to grow the economy as a whole, or that he was fixated on the fact that overall employment has not been rising fast enough. His plan for the jobs of the future was similarly narrow...There is little in this jobs agenda for conservatives or liberals to appreciate...But for conservatives who endorse the structural view of unemployment, the president’s proposals to address that look both small-bore and too heavy on central planning. Neither side should have listened to this speech and come away with the sense that Obama would do better on job creation in his second term than his first." Josh Barro in Bloomberg.

BROOKS: The Democratic upper hand. "Over the past two weeks, I’ve enjoyed a grand tour of solipsism. I’ve been to two party conventions filled with people who think all of America is just like them. In Tampa, Fla., the Republicans talked as if everybody in America has started a small business or wants to...The Republicans’ political problem is that most Americans don’t presently want every aspect of life to look like the market...The Democrats rally around a different sort of ideal...The big rise in this life is not a move up in economic class. It’s a move up in social status -- from a life where one’s conditions and lifestyle are imposed on you to a life in which you get to choose your own lifestyle...One of the striking features of the Democratic convention was that during the hours between 7 and 10 o’clock, when the party was appealing to its own activists, the social issues overshadowed the economic ones...Their second political problem is that the Democratic Party is inert. The party spent the years from the New Deal until Obamacare constructing a welfare state. That project is now finished, and today the party is dedicated to defending government in all its forms. This is a party with a protective agenda, not a change agenda." David Brooks in The New York Times.

KRUGMAN: Why 'four more years' will be a better four. "[I]s the mess really getting cleaned up? The answer, I would argue, is yes. The next four years are likely to be much better than the last four years...The forces that have been holding the economy back seem likely to fade away in the years ahead. Housing starts have been at extremely low levels for years, so the overhang of excess construction from the bubble years is long past — and it looks as if a housing recovery has already begun. Household debt is still high by historical standards, but the ratio of debt to G.D.P. is way down from its peak, setting the stage for stronger consumer demand looking forward...[Business investment] has actually been recovering rapidly since late 2009, and there’s every reason to expect it to keep rising as businesses see rising demand for their products." Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

FIRESTONE: Joe Biden, an underrated talent. "[T]he vice president is an expert in the art of overcoming ridicule and using low expectations to his advantage. In his convention speech tonight, he contrasted his father’s humbling experience in the auto industry with that of the Romney family...People who thought Mr. Biden was little more than a comic sidekick to the president got a better look at the man tonight, witnessing a vice president who made a passionate and surprisingly effective case for his boss. The speech had its sentimental moments, and the occasional over-hearty platitude, but he made his argument in the appealing and populist way that often connects Mr. Biden with middle-class crowds. Better than most speakers at the convention, he refuted the contemptuous Republican assertion that Democrats are constantly on the lookout for government handouts. People who need government help for a college loan or job training aren’t trying to become dependent, he said, they are seeking their own path out of dependency." David Firestone in The New York Times.

DIONNE: Give Joe his due. "Biden was effective, and at times powerful, speaking as a witness who watched Obama up close. And because of his reputation for saying what’s on his mind, which has often gotten him into trouble, he has a kind of credibility that doesn’t come automatically to those who are always, always on message. Biden has a gut understanding of white working class and less affluent middle class voters whom Obama needs because, basically, that’s where Biden comes from." E. J. Dionne in The Washington Post.

DOUTHAT: Obama plays it safe. "The strongest impression left by Mitt Romney’s convention speech last week was that the Republican nominee’s campaign sees itself on pace for a narrow victory in November, with no risks or course corrections needed. The impression left by President Obama’s convention speech tonight was that incumbent’s campaign feels exactly the same way. This was a pure stay-the-course speech, workmanlike and occasionally somewhat distant, with a few inspired and moving passages standing out amid a litany of rhetorical moves that the president has made many times before." Ross Douthat in The New York Times.

BRUNI: Obama is too cool, and not in a good way. "Perhaps the greatest paradox of American politics is that so many of its practitioners close in on -- or reach -- the pinnacle of the profession despite a fundamental inaptitude for one or another of its central demands...Barack Obama, the former law professor, prefers to fly at a lofty intellectual altitude and stand at a certain emotional remove. He’s a cool customer. But to get help and to get votes, a politician must make a warm and humble bid for them...He floats above. He holds back. And that rankles his allies and even some of his intimates not just because it wounds their vanity (though of course it does) but because it hampers his effectiveness. He loses some good will because of it. He forfeits opportunities. There are arms that go untwisted, egos that go un-stroked, backs that go un-slapped." Frank Bruni in The New York Times.

Top op-eds

MILKEN: Public investment in science isn't junk. "Science matters..., [Y]et the government doesn't always see the full benefit in funding science. No matter how wondrous the drug, no matter how many lives it saves, enhances, lengthens or makes more productive, the development costs supported by federal grants fall only into the expense column when scored by the Office of Management and Budget or the Congressional Budget Office...[S]cientific breakthroughs, combined with public-health advances, underlie what is arguably the greatest accomplishment in human history: World-wide average life expectancy has more than doubled since 1900. This has fostered major social benefits and economic growth in this country and many others." Michael Milken in The Washington Post.

HUBBARD: Obama's bad 'arithmetic.' "Mr Obama has proposed to continue current elevated levels of federal spending, while raising taxes on higher-income households and businesses to reduce the deficit and debt consequences of higher spending...In contrast with Mr Romney’s plan, the president’s plan does not address medium-term and long-term deficit and debt problems. Taken at face value, the Obama plan will require acceptance of the costs of much higher levels of deficits and debt or substantial tax increases on all Americans...But the president is proposing higher tax burdens on certain households and businesses. Will those tax changes close the budget gap? No...Mr Obama proposes a larger government with explicitly higher taxes on high-income taxpayers but, by the arithmetic of higher spending levels, eventually higher taxes on all Americans." Glenn Hubbard in The Financial Times.

WEISBERG: Julian Castro vs. Marco Rubio. "American political conventions are now principally talent shows. In distributing the coveted primetime speaking slots, the parties showcase their future stars and give a chosen few their first taste of national celebrity...This year, both parties sent a strong message with their selection of up-and-comers: we’ve got the bright, young Latinos...The Rubio-Castro matchup frames a crucial competition: the battle for an electoral segment that could determine the election and will only become more important thereafter...Where Mr Rubio and Mr Castro diverge is in the lesson they draw from [their] immigrant experience. To Mr Rubio, Hispanics are refugees from foreign oppression, who want government to let them alone...In contrast, the 37-year old Mr Castro...sees government as an essential enabler of ethnic assimilation and success." Jacob Weisberg in The Financial Times.

KRAUTHAMMER: The empathy gap. "Given the state of the economy, by any historical standard, Barack Obama should be 15 points behind Mitt Romney. Why is he tied? The empathy gap. On 'caring about average people,' Obama wins by 22 points. Maintaining that gap was a principal goal of the Democratic convention. It’s the party’s only hope of winning in November. George H.W. Bush, Romney-like in aloofness, was once famously handed a staff cue card that read: 'Message: I care.' That was supposed to be speech guidance. Bush read the card. Out loud. Not surprisingly, he lost to Bill Clinton, a man who lives to care, who feels your pain better than you do -- or at least makes you think so. In politics, that’s a trivial distinction." Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post.

Top long reads

Matt Bai profiles an Ohio in recovery and the role of politicians: "These competing theories of progress in Ohio [by Obama and Romney], waged 250 miles apart at the same moment, illustrate what may be the most important and confounding dynamic in this election. While most of the debate nationally still revolves around why the economy remains so pathetic, there are several pivotal states -- Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Virginia -- where things are slowly turning around. In these states, the real issue may not be who deserves blame for economic ruin but rather who deserves credit for a rebound, and what really causes jobs to come back after they’ve been lost. Republican governors are saying that unemployment rates have plummeted because of their pro-business policies. The president is saying that the hard decisions he made earlier in his term are finally starting to pay off. And then there’s Mitt Romney, a congenital optimist who finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to be a total downer, arguing that there really isn’t a recovery at all. 'Trust Me: You’re Still Miserable' could be Romney’s bumper sticker in Ohio."

Tech interlude: The toothbrush which just saved the International Space Station.

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.

Still to come:Europe is soaring ahead; what you need to learn about Medicaid; FCC plans big new auction; ethnic diversity rising in USA; and mechanical animals.

Economy

The ECB gets green light, goes. "The European Central Bank, acknowledging that Europe's debt crisis has reached a critical stage, said it was prepared to use its most powerful tool -- its printing press -- to save the euro. Markets on both sides of the Atlantic rallied Thursday after the ECB approved a plan paving the way for the bank to make unlimited purchases in struggling euro members' bond markets. Stocks jumped throughout Asia in early Friday trading...Global stock and debt markets responded ebulliently to the plan, which would let the ECB conduct secondary-market purchases of bonds that are issued by troubled euro-zone governments and have maturities of one to three years. As a condition, the ECB would require the governments to sign on to a euro-zone program of budgetary discipline." Brian Blackstone and Charles Forelle in The Wall Street Journal.

Italy is aiming to avoid need of central-bank backstopping. "Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy said Thursday that Italy was working hard to avoid having to take the European Central Bank up on its offer to buy its bonds, a scenario that would come with terms that analysts said the country was loath to accept...[Monti] had been pushing for greater E.C.B. bond buying in order to help keep borrowing costs down, while at the same time trying to convince Italy’s political class to keep cutting costs and carry out structural changes to an entrenched and costly spoils system." Rachel Donadio and Gaia Pianigiani in The New York Times.

Clinterlude: Fleetwood Mac performs "Don't Stop".

Health Care

The nuts and bolts of Medicaid which you need to know. "The vast majority of Medicaid’s enrollees are who you’d expect: Low income women and children. They account for 76 percent of Medicaid’s beneficiaries, 51 million of the 67 million people the program covers. Those are the lion’s share of the Medicaid program’s enrollees. But those aren’t Medicaid’s big spenders. That title is held by the aged and disabled...The contrast is pretty stark: There are more than twice as many children enrolled on Medicaid as there are blind and disabled beneficiaries. In stark spending terms, however, the blind and disabled account for a significantly bigger share." Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post.

Domestic Policy

FCC to propose airwaves auction. "The Federal Communications Commission will propose on Friday a plan to auction off television airwaves to wireless carriers that will use them to create faster and more reliable networks, according to an official familiar with the plans. The sale could potentially raise billions of dollars that would fund a public safety communications network and fatten the coffers of the Treasury...The FCC’s proposal is expected to outline how broadcasters will voluntarily give up airwaves to win proceeds from the auction, as well as instructions for wireless carriers that increasingly are hungry for more spectrum. The auctions are expected to take place in 2014." Cecilia Kang in The Washington Post.

Are political parties growing more unified? "We’re two nights into the Democratic National Convention, and the themes could not be more distinct from those championed at the RNC last week. Whereas the RNC heavily emphasized the role of personal initiative in economic success, the DNC’s speakers have focused on the many barriers that keep success away from...Steve Smith, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, and Sarah Binder, who’s at George Washington, computed the standard deviation — which measures variation in scores — for each chamber and each year to see how widely scores ranged within each party, and graciously passed the results on to me. If the standard deviation is bigger, the party is less unified. If it’s smaller, the party is more unified...Since the 1960s, both parties have grown more unified, but Senate Democrats more so." Dylan Matthews in The Washington Post.

Ethnic diversity soaring in U.S. "The U.S. is rapidly becoming more diverse as the nation's minorities—driven largely by a surge in the Hispanic and Asian populations—move beyond traditional "gateway" cities into smaller cities and towns...The paper is part of the US 2010 Project at Brown University, a series of demographic research by academics around the country. It is one of a number of new studies showing that while big cities traditionally have been the nation's melting pots, today it is smaller cities and suburbs that are on the front lines of changing demographics and culture. Earlier this year researchers at the University of Minnesota Law School showed that in 2010, 44% of suburban residents live in a diverse community, defined as places that are 20% to 60% nonwhite. That was up from 38% in 2000." Conor Dougherty and Miriam Jordan in The Wall Street Journal.

Wonks win: Census mobile data app thrives. "It may be premature to call it a runaway hit, but in the first month since the Census Bureau released its first mobile application, it’s been downloaded more than 32,000 times. The app, called America’s Economy, provides updated statistics from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It includes 16 monthly economic indicators, such as house sales, personal income, international trade, Gross Domestic Product and the unemployment rate." Carol Morello in The Washington Post.

Mechanimals interlude: A metal cheetah which runs at 28 mph.

Energy

Both political parties have aligned behind fossil fuels. "The revolution in U.S. oil and gas production over the past four years has changed the platforms of both political parties, with Democrats and Republicans more bullish on these resources and less concerned about climate change than they were during the last presidential election. Democrats have moved so far that their platform bears a striking resemblance to the GOP platform of 2008. At the same time, the 2012 Republican platform has jettisoned many of the [green] policies it championed four years ago to focus largely on increased fossil-fuel production." Keith Johnson in The Wall Street Journal.

Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams.

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UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

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Dylan Matthews | September 7, 2012