Greg Sargent: I just got off the phone with Robert McIntyre, the director of Citizens for Tax Justice. His criticism of Paul Ryan’s new budget was unsparing: He ripped it as “smoke and mirrors,” and claimed it would increase the deficit.
“He’s a phony,” McIntyre said of Rep. Ryan. “But he’s always been a phony.”
Charles Pierce: The only reason that the zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan gets to present his own federal budget, as though he were the shadow president and not a guy elected by roughly 180,000 people in and around Janesville, Wisconsin, is that he managed early on to convince people that he was not your run-of-the-mill zombie-eyed, granny-starving, trickle-down Randian snake-oil salesman of the kind that have been running Republican economic policy since half-past Ronald Reagan’s lucidity.
Quinnipiac: President Barack Obama leads all the Republican presidential candidates in Virginia, with his 50 – 42 percent margin over Mitt Romney his biggest lead over Romney in this election cycle, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Putting Gov. Bob McDonnell on the ticket as the GOP vice-presidential nominee does not help the Republicans carry the state …. In a matchup of President Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden against Romney and McDonnell, the Democrats win 50 – 43 percent.
Obama wins head to head against other Republican contenders:
54 – 35 percent over Newt Gingrich
49 – 40 percent over Rick Santorum
49 – 39 percent over Ron Paul
Glenn Kessler: …. During an economic speech on Monday, Mitt Romney charged that the Obama administration “banned” Thomas Edison’s light bulb.
…. It’s a cheap political shot for Romney to blame “Obama’s regulators” for a proposal that was signed into law by a Republican president and was broadly supported at the time. Moreover, we don’t see how higher efficiency standards translates into a “ban,” especially when light manufacturers have embraced the new standards.
Tuesday: PBO and the Vice President will meet with Vice President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China at the White House.
Wednesday: PBO will travel to Master Lock in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last based on American manufacturing and the importance of companies insourcing and investing in America. He will then travel to Los Angeles, California where he will attend campaign events. He will spend the night in Los Angeles.
Thursday: PBO will attend campaign events in Corona del Mar, California before traveling to San Francisco, California to attend campaign events. He will spend the night in San Francisco.
Friday: PBO will travel to the Seattle where he will continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last. He will also attend campaign events in the Seattle area before returning to Washington, D.C. later in the evening.
PoliticalWire: Obama campaign manager Jim Messina rallied local volunteers in Arizona over the weekend by assuring them that Obama intends to compete in Arizona, according to the Arizona Republic.
Said Messina: “People said last time, ‘Oh, you can’t win Virginia,’ until we did. ‘You can’t win Florida,’ until we did. ‘You can never win North Carolina,’ until we did. And so a whole bunch of people are saying, ‘Can he win Arizona? Can he not win Arizona?’ The fact is you all are the secret weapon we have.”
The campaign will soon have four offices in the state.
Pew Research: Barack Obama now holds an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney in a general election matchup, and he has gained significant ground among independent voters. A month ago, 40% of independents said they would back Obama over Romney – today 51% say they would, while the number expressing support for Romney has slipped from 50% to 42%.
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney has a gift for words – self-destructive words. On Friday he did it again, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was a “severely conservative governor.”
As Molly Ball of The Atlantic pointed out, Mr. Romney “described conservatism as if it were a disease.” Indeed. Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a list of words that most commonly follow the adverb “severely”; the top five, in frequency of use, are disabled, depressed, ill, limited and injured.
That’s clearly not what Mr. Romney meant to convey. Yet if you look at the race for the G.O.P. presidential nomination, you have to wonder whether it was a Freudian slip. For something has clearly gone very wrong with modern American conservatism.
Jamelle Bouie (Prospect): …. If political courage is defined by the willingness to suffer politically for the sake of good public policy, then Affordable Care Act stands as a testament to the president’s political courage.
Which is why I also have no idea what National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar is talking about when he writes the following: “One of President Obama’s political weaknesses in his first term has been that he’s all-too-willing to avoid making tough decisions…..” …. Even if you don’t include the Affordable Care Act – and I don’t see why you wouldn’t – this is demonstrably false….
…. One of the strangest things about the current political moment is the extent to which mainstream pundits routinely act as if crucial moments in the Obama presidency never happened … Chris Matthews demands more ambition from Obama, despite the fact that he ran hard to pass a piece of social legislation that rivals the Great Society programs in size and scope.
It’s one thing for pundits to err in their judgment – it happens to the best of us – it’s something else entirely for them to ignore reality and blame the president for his failure to conform to their magical world.
John Avlon (Daily Beast): Mitt Romney’s Campaign Is Becoming a Sinking Ship – New polls show that Newt Gingrich’s surge is hurting Mitt Romney where it counts. The game isn’t over, but time is running out for Mitt to turn it around.
The horses are getting spooked in the Romney camp. His poll numbers are plummeting in state after state, while Newt Gingrich is soaring across the board.
One reflection of the rising tension was an awkward interview with Bret Baier, in which the normally unflappable Mitt Romney got rattled by fair questions. It revealed the irritability of a man accustomed to being in control who’s watching his plans fall apart in public.
Mitt’s aura of inevitability is fading because his strategy is failing.
Joe Klein (Time): …. Romney’s press office has just put out this statement about the President and Israel: (see post) …. The other inaccuracy is the notion that Obama wants Israel to return to its 1967 borders. He doesn’t. He wants the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, to be the basis for peace negotiations. Somehow, Romney neglects to mention the land swaps.
The fact is, Obama’s policy toward Israel has been in line with that of every US President since Nixon …. The fact is that US-Israeli military and intelligence cooperation, especially when it comes to sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program, has never been greater.
…. It is very much unprecedented for a candidate for President to side with a foreign leader against the American President. But given their warped disrespect for this particular President, it has become disgracefully common among Republicans this year. One would hope that Romney, as one of the few plausible Republican candidates, would eschew such cheesy behavior … would not misrepresent Obama’s positions on foreign policy so gleefully. But, if this race continues to slip away from him, I suspect that’s exactly what we’ll continue to see.
President Barack Obama talks with Press Secretary Jay Carney, left, and Senior Advisor David Plouffe, right, before an interview at the InterContinental Hotel Chicago in Chicago, Ill., April 15. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)