The Highlight Reel
What’s gone on over the past few weeks, as the race has been heating up? For this election update, we’ll let the quotes do the talking.
Campaign Ad Guest Stars
I am out of politics, and I haven’t seen any of the ads that you’re talking about. But I have to say it’s a waste of money. Everybody knows I ran against President Obama in 2008, that’s hardly news. Everybody knows we ran a hard fought campaign and he won. And I have been honored to serve as his secretary of state.”
—Hillary Clinton, responding to questions about two Romney television ads featuring her laying into Obama during the 2008 primary campaign
It seems that the Romney campaign is seeking to leverage Clinton, with her increasing popularity, against Obama. Or to leverage anyone they can get, since their two previous unwitting guest stars didn’t seem too happy about it…
That was a question that I posed to David Axelrod—not a statement. I have no affiliation with the Romney campaign. This was done without our permission.”
—CBS’s Bob Schieffer
I am extremely uncomfortable with the use of my personal image in this political ad… I do not want my role as a journalist compromised for political gain by any campaign.”
—Time’s Mark Halperin
Schieffer and Halperin were both shown in a new Romney attack ad targeting Obama’s negativity and contradiction of his “hope and change” claims. Team Romney has previously argued that it was fair use to show news clips in an ad.
In business, Mitt Romney’s firms shipped jobs to Mexico. And China.”
—The Obama campaign’s ad released over the weekend
Titled “Firms,” the latest Obama ad plays Romney’s own vocal stylings to “America the Beautiful” while displaying blurbs about his use of outsourcing and offshore bank accounts. This paints Romney as a hypocrite and strikes at two of his greatest weaknesses: his record of layoffs and outsourcing and the lack of transparency around his personal finances.
In rebuttal, the Romney campaign released its own singing ad, featuring Obama crooning fully on key to a reception of approving cheers:
Middle class families are struggling in the Obama economy. Instead of working to restore their economic security, President Obama is too busy rewarding his biggest donors. The Obama record is one of political payoffs and middle class layoffs.”
Show us the Money, Mittens
He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It’s crazy. You gotta release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two.”
—Conservative pundit Bill Kristol speaking on Fox News Sunday
To date, Romney still refuses to release his full tax returns beyond 2010 and 2011, prompting speculation that the content of the documents would bring worse backlash than he’s already getting for his opacity. David Axelrod has chimed in, noting that the McCain 2008 campaign team did see Romney’s tax returns while vetting him for the VP position and subsequently chose Sarah Palin instead, although drawing a direct connection here could be a stretch. Another (slim) possibility is that Team Romney knows there is nothing cripplingly damaging in these tax returns and is simply letting the hype and speculation build up to make their eventual release a point of anticlimactic vindication.
Either way, this tax issue is going to hang over the campaign until the documents are released, and the longer Romney waits, the more attention the documents will receive. As an alternative to standing fast until the end and suffering the potential consequences at the ballot box, Romney’s last resort might be to hold out until a Kanye-Kim wedding or North Korean missile test (fun game: which would be more successful?) to take the media heat off while the Romney campaign quickly releases the records en masse. This strategy might actually make just as much sense as whatever they’re currently working with.
Where Things Stand
President Obama’s campaign will never have a more substantial advertising advantage than it has had over the past few weeks, yet there is no evidence to suggest that the ballot has moved.”
—“The State of The Race: Ballot Narrowing Despite Obama Attack Ads,” a memo released Monday by Romney’s pollster, Neil Newhouse
Despite a rough couple weeks of being hammered by scrutiny over his personal finances and outsourcing of jobs through Bain, Romney is still in a very close race with Obama—even though, as Newhouse notes, Obama has been outspending Romney two to one.
Source: The New York Times
Second in Command
No decision’s been made on VP. There is no decision on VP.”
—Eric Fehrnstrom, a top Romney adviser
People who have been seen getting some quality Mittens time, just hanging out and not discussing the VP position, include Bobby Jindal, Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty, and John Thune. However, if Drudge Report readers had their way, we would be looking at a Romney-Rice ticket: 30% in a poll named Condi as their top pick for VP (more votes than for any other candidate besides Marco Rubio). With Rice back in the news of late, the interwebs have been buzzing with arguments that she will or will not be a viable vice presidential candidate.
Your humble contributor says it won’t happen, due to her personal life and views, her simple lack of interest, and her sordid romantic history with Alec Baldwin.
Romney’s Role with Bain
Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.”
—From a footnote in Romney’s most recent financial disclosure form
Filed June 1, this echoes a similar footnote in financial disclosures from his previous presidential run. However, evidence has emerged that Romney maintained a role with Bain past 1999, with SEC documents listing him as Bain’s CEO between 1999 and 2002. In response, senior adviser Ed Gillespie has come out to say that Romney retired “retroactively.”
- Lawrence Lessig at The Atlantic on the (few but mighty) sources of campaign financing and the need for campaign finance reform: “A tiny number of Americans—.26%—give more than $200 to a congressional campaign. … .01% give more than $10,000 in any election cycle. And .000063 percent—196 Americans—have given more than 80% of the Super PAC money spent in the presidential elections so far.”
- Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast with a roundup of reactions to the controversy over Mitt Romney’s tenure as CEO and role in outsourcing jobs at Bain. According to Josh Marshall at TPM: “The Obama team’s goal here is to make the entirety of Romney’s professional life toxic and off-limits before Romney even gets the chance to introduce himself to much of the public. And they’re off to a pretty good start.”
- Jeremy Peters at the New York Times on the major news outlets allowing political campaign staff to veto and even redact quotes to be used in reporting, in exchange for journalists’ access to top staff: “The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language, and anything even mildly provocative. …Most reporters, desperate to pick the brains of the president’s top strategists, grudgingly agree. After the interviews, they review their notes, check their tape recorders, and send in the juiciest sound bites for review.”
- If you have spent 2012 in distress over the lack of new material on Kim Jung Il Looking at Things, fret no more and head on over to A History of Obama Feigning Interest in Mundane Things. Jobs outsourcing and education rankings aside, the U.S.A. is still home to some of the world’s best thing-lookers.
- Jon Stewart’s take on Romney’s current woes and disputes:
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Democalypse 2012 – Bain Damage – Romney’s Blind Trust|
- And finally, the candidates’ duet to “Call Me Maybe.” Send this to someone you hate.