The Highlight Reel
- The Republican National Convention, scheduled to begin today in Tampa, Florida, is being thrown off course by strippers monkeys Occupy movement hippies Tropical Storm Isaac. The storm is expected [to lift itself up by its own bootstraps] to become Hurricane Isaac by the time it makes landfall, which will likely be in New Orleans on the seven-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Since nothing steals shine from news coverage like having to share a split screen with torrential carnage, the RNC rescheduled most of Monday’s events, including appearances by House Speaker John Boehner, former Arkansas Governor and Chicken Run star Mike Huckabee, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Also keep an eye out for rising stars like New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte and Florida Senator Marco Rubio (Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was scheduled to speak, but he has cancelled his trip in order to take care of business in his home state when Isaac hits). The WSJ has a full schedule of events here.
- Questions, questions, questions at the Republican Convention…. Politico has a brief rundown of nine top questions to keep in mind, which you can use either to inform yourself about politics or simply to launch a robust drinking game. Meanwhile, some of the biggest questions of all continue to surround Mitt Romney’s true views on a number of key issues:
- Nationwide polls still have Obama and Romney running neck-and-neck within the margin of error, although Obama has held a tiny but steady lead. Recent numbers also show Obama making gains in swing states, including Wisconsin, even after the announcement of Wisconsin hometown hunk Paul Ryan as Romney’s VP candidate—but the electorate is fickle. Even just in the past week since polls showed Obama with a 50-44 lead over Romney in Ohio, the two candidates have become tied in the state with 46% each.
Courtesy of NY Times.
- On the money front, expect to see significantly more television ads about rescuing the economy from a socialist madman than about saving Olds and Poors from an outsourcing trillionaire. For most of 2012, Romney was forced to endure the unpleasant and unfamiliar feeling of being out-moneyed by someone, but he has recently been surpassing Obama in fundraising. As of the beginning of August, Romney had $197 million cash on hand, compared with the $131 million (pocket change!) in Obama’s war chest.
Courtesy of NY Times.
- Last Friday, at a rally in Michigan, Mitt Romney accidentally raised furor by making what sounded suspiciously like a birther joke: “I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born… No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate; they know that this is the place that we were born and raised.” The Obama campaign announced that “Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America,” while the Romney camp responded that Mitt was merely emphasizing his Michigan roots. Bad joke for more than one reason—if you were Romney, would you really want to start bragging about people not asking to see documents from you? Fifty-one percent of voters view Mitt’s continuing reluctance to release tax returns as either a major or minor factor in casting their ballot:
Courtesy of Washington Post.
- On Sunday, former Florida governor Charlie Crist endorsed President Obama. Crist’s endorsement could give Obama a possible image boost among moderates, or at least among the growing demographic group of Tan Americans. The moderate Republican lost a Senate election two years ago to tea party centerfold and possible one-time Romney VP candidate Marco Rubio, and Crist has since been grumpy about the GOP moving rightward to accommodate the extreme wing of the party. He will even be speaking at the Democratic National Convention. Conservative pundits are unimpressed with what they see as a sour-grapes defection from Crist, awarding him 3 out of 5 McKaylas:
- The Democrats might want to rethink their education policies—it’s been a rough week for Dems trying to spell. First Obama rolls up to Ohio and spells what looks at best like O-I-H-O (or O-I-U-O, or O-I-Touchdown-O; it’s really unclear).
Courtesy of Christopher Maloney.
- Then, a couple days later, a banner flown overhead a Romney/Ryan rally in the same state tells us that “America is better then birtherism”—although, to be fair, maybe MoveOn.org really meant “America is better, then birtherism,” maybe they wanted to say that America has improved, only for birtherism to subsequently exist, and maybe commas cost extra to include. Or maybe they’re just not too clever.
Courtesy of Jan Crawford.
- If you’ve always thought that “Harry Reid” sounds a bit dirty, you’re not the only one. According to modern English authority urbandictionary.com, a “Harry Reid” is “a sexual position where you climb on top and then do absolutely nothing.” The perfect low-key activity for a night in while, say, watching a political convention.
- Name those ears! Obama pays tribute to Neil Armstrong with not only a cheesy photo of himself looking at the moon, but with a stock cheesy photo of himself looking at the moon back in April. This has to be the world-leader version of the classic bathroom self-shot.
- Tastes like foot? In honor of President Obama’s birthday this month, the RNC had a cake delivered to the DNC:
Courtesy of NYMag.
- In advance of the Republican Convention, Andy Borowitz passes on some helpful tips from the GOP on how to best pretend to like Romney. These can also be tweaked for any situation in which you need to muster visible enthusiasm for someone despite deep misgivings: e.g., children, a job interview, an arranged marriage. Here’s a simple exercise you can do in your hotel room, car, or anywhere. Say the name “Mitt Romney,” then try to visualize something that you love: a family member, for example, or your favorite Fox host.
- The Convention is a big deal for Paul Ryan, as he will be introducing everyone to the most important man in his life. No, not Mitt Romney. The Onion has the scoop.
- Of course, we can’t leave out the VP on the other ticket. Let’s play a quick round of “Who Said It: Joe Biden or Michael Scott?”
- In the past month, President Obama gave a one-on-one interview to Glamour magazine, while George Clooney made the bromantic gesture of hosting an Obama fundraiser in Geneva, otherwise known as Billionaire Command Post One. Because the best way to combat charges of being “out of touch” and “too Hollywood” is by invoking the words “Glamour,” “Clooney,” and “Geneva.”
- The National Review’s Kevin Williamson gives Romney some alpha male cred, examines his appeal to women, and issues some advice for enhancing his swag:
Have a gander at that Romney family picture: five sons, zero daughters. Romney has 18 grandchildren, and they exceed a 2:1 ratio of grandsons to granddaughters (13:5). When they go to church at their summer-vacation home, the Romney clan makes up a third of the congregation. He is basically a tribal chieftain. Professor Obama? Two daughters. May as well give the guy a cardigan. And fallopian tubes. From an evolutionary point of view, Mitt Romney should get 100 percent of the female vote. All of it. He should get Michelle Obama’s vote.”