Greg Sargent: There seems to be widespread agreement that the half-hour documentary attacking Mitt Romney’s Bain years that was released yesterday by the pro-Gingrich Super PAC was a very effective piece of political communication. Ed Kilgore, for instance, described it as a “heat seaking missle aimed directly at the white working class id”.
But what will South Carolina voters themselves see? Will this attack translate well in the 30-second and 60-second ads based on this documentary that the Newt Super PAC ad will run in the state?
…. Rick Tyler, the GOP operative who works for Winning The Future, says the ads are part of a $3.4 million buy that includes other media. We should obviously treat that figure with serious skepticism until the money is actually spent, but if that’s true, that’s a significant buy for South Carolina.
Robert Shrum: … what he spoke on election night in New Hampshire puts the presumptive Republican nominee at odds with the essential character of America. In a well-coiffed gentrification of the racist-tinged attack on Barack Obama as “the other” – a somehow alien and illegitimate president – Flip Romney, in full pander mode to the paranoia of the far right, arraigned the president for “tak[ing] his inspiration from the capitals of Europe” — and seeking “to turn America into a European-style entitlement society.”
…. In reality, Obama has been defending and extending the nation’s long march toward fulfilling its founding ideals. It’s Romney who, on critical economic issues, takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe….
…. I doubt Romney will give up the xenophobia anytime soon. It plays well among primary voters who are suspicious that he’s not reliably reactionary; it’s a code-coated formula to depict Barack Obama as someone from another country, another continent, another tradition. In that sense, it’s a modulated form of “birtherism.”
Romney’s right when he says this election is about “the soul of America”. With his hostility to economic justice and the social safety net, his record in business, his desertion of the American quest for equal rights, and his embrace of floundering European economics, he would, if he ever got there, be the president of a very different and lesser United States…..
TPM: If a speech Thursday morning by one of his top economists is any indication, President Barack Obama is going all in with the 2012 re-election message of stemming the rise in income inequality and reforming a system that’s increasingly perceived to be rigged in favor of the rich.
White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger rattled off a flurry of statistics illustrating the rise of inequality and its connection to the shrinking middle class. He blamed it on economic policies tilted to favor top earners – including income tax reforms (presumably during the Bush era) and the “drastic cut in the estate tax.”
He also argued that implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans are eager to repeal, will help reduce the disparities.
It’s a message that bore an uncanny resemblance to the “Teddy Roosevelt” speech President Obama delivered in early December, which was interpreted by many as laying out the grounds for his re-election campaign …. Romney has taken to decrying this message as the “politics of envy” and “class warfare” …. Krueger’s speech Thursday makes clear that that’s a fight the White House is happy to have.
Our old GOPolitico friend Byron Tau got very excited today about the date on that DoJ memo on recess appointments. Read and learn Byron:
Mother Jones: ….. The opinion itself is dated January 6, two days after the appointments were announced – but that doesn’t mean the opinion was sought retroactively. “It is common, especially where time is of the essence, to give legal advice prior to a formal written opinion,” says Marty Lederman, a former attorney with the Office of Legal Counsel. “It takes time to produce an opinion with this level of detail.”
Young Byron then updated his post with this: White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters in the briefing that the DoJ memo was based on advice given by the president’s Office of Legal Counsel. “The opinion was rendered verbally prior to the date of the opinion itself,” Carney said, explaining the discrepancy. “The opinion was based on the advice provided by OLC”
Discrepancy? Byron? Quit while you’re that far behind behind.
New York Times editorial: Where the Iowa caucuses illuminated the dark essence of social conservatism, the New Hampshire primary was a journey into the dingy, cramped quarters of the right wing’s economic policies.
The Republicans ritually denounced President Obama as hostile to capitalism, disdainful of individual enterprise and lacking in ideas for reviving the economy. All they had to offer were economic ideas that not only are inadequate for that purpose but were instrumental in creating the nation’s current economic problems.
…. The solution is policies that promote growth and help the middle class, not what the Republican hopefuls want. Mr. Obama said it well on Monday night: “We can’t go back to this brand of you’re-on-your-own economics.” You couldn’t tell that by listening to Mr. Romney prattle about a merit-based economy and call for lowering taxes and cutting spending.
…. The answer is not more of the same failed policies. The solution is to revive the successful ones, along with policies to stimulate the economy and stop foreclosures. Mr. Obama understands this. The Republican hopefuls are deluding themselves and trying to delude the voters.
Steve Benen: Herman Cain argued yesterday about the Republican field, “Look, these candidates have broken the Reagan’s rule from the beginning. Reagan’s 13th commandment, you know? Don’t go negative against another Republican, but they did it anyway!” I think he meant “11th”.
OFA: Get the scoop – including exclusive updates and sneak peeks – on Runway to Win, a project by fashion designers in support of Obama 2012.
CNN: Foreclosure filings and repossessions fell to their lowest level since 2007 last year.
Total filings, including default notices and bank repossessions were down 33% for the year to 2.7 million, according to RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosed properties.
One in every 69 homes had at least one foreclosure filing during the year, while 804,000 homes were repossessed. That’s a significant improvement from the peaks reached in 2010 – when 1.05 million homes were repossessed – and the lowest levels seen since 2007.
Yes, I saw a pig fly today – GOPolitico (Donovan Slack) actually did some half decent journalism:
Michelle Obama was raring to help her husband promote his signature health care plan during the summer of 2009. But, according to the latest book about the first couple, “the West Wing never really took the first lady up on her offer.”
“She did a few events, but they were small and drew little coverage,” New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor wrote in “The Obamas.” …. “Her support for the initiative became a mostly private matter, the subject of long conversations between the Obamas.”
But a review of news clippings during the period covered by that chapter in the book – May through August 2009 – found that Michelle Obama was very public about her support and received extensive coverage. The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and ABC News, among others, reported on her efforts.
Kantor’s own newspaper declared in July 2009 that she had become “one of the Obama administration’s most visible surrogates on health care.”
Kantor says that she stands by her core assertions but believes her language could have been clearer. “As Robert Gibbs told me on the record, the White House was concerned about putting the first lady in the line of fire. But given the NYT story you mentioned, I could have been more precise about the media coverage,” she told POLITICO in a statement.