10:45: Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event in Chesterfield, Virginia
(Don’t forget The View today)
1:25: President Obama departs New York City
2:35: Arrives at the White House
NYT Editorial: Mitt Romney …. told CBS News’s “60 Minutes” that he is tied with President Obama; he has a “very effective campaign; it’s doing a very good job” …. That’s an outright denial of political reality, but Mr. Romney’s willingness to stray from the truth is at the root of what’s really going on….
To some extent, Mr. Romney’s diminishing stature is because of two recent statements that revealed his deficiencies to a newly interested audience. He falsely suggested that the Obama administration was sympathetic to the violent Muslim protests in Libya and Egypt, illustrating his ignorant and opportunistic critique of foreign policy. And he was caught on video belittling nearly half the country for an overreliance on government handouts.
These moments, though, were not fumbles or gaffes. They were entirely consistent with the dismissive attitude Mr. Romney has routinely shown toward non-Americans or the non-rich….
Mr. Romney is free to pursue this shallow, cavalier campaign for six more weeks, but he shouldn’t be surprised if voters increasingly choose not to pay attention.
NYT: Mitt Romney has just come off a couple of rough news weeks in his quest for the presidency, but if Clyde Tennyson, 62, of Hampton, Va., is as typical of the baby boom generation as polling data seem to suggest, there is more bad news to come.
Mr. Tennyson voted for Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election….. This time, he says he’s voting for President Obama, a shift that a sizable number of his fellow boomers are making, according to recent polling data.
…. What is moving the baby boom voters? It may be Medicare … Lark McDonald, 51, who owns a small business in the Denver area, says he voted for Mr. McCain last time, and usually votes a straight Republican ticket, but is leaning toward Mr. Obama. He worries that the Republicans are moving too far right, he said, but he is also concerned they will dismantle the Obama health care program and make major changes in Medicare…..
…. In the last election, Howard Litvack, 53, a finance manager of a car dealership in Franklin, Tenn., backed Ralph Nader, as a protest vote. This time, he says, he’s voting for Mr. Obama. “It’s more important this time to have my vote count,” he said. “There’s more at stake.”
Washington Post: …. The notion that Obama has skipped his intelligence briefings was promoted by a right-leaning research group called the Government Accountability Institute….
….. Ultimately, what matters is what a president does with the information he receives from the CIA. Republican critics may find fault with Obama’s handling of foreign policy. But this attack ad turns a question of process — how does the president handle his intelligence brief? —into a misguided attack because Obama has chosen to receive his information in a different manner than his predecessor.
As it turns out, no president does it the exact same way. Under the standards of this ad, Republican icon Ronald Reagan skipped his intelligence briefings 99 percent of the time.
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney is optimistic about optimism. In fact, it’s pretty much all he’s got. And that fact should make you very pessimistic about his chances of leading an economic recovery.
As many people have noticed, Mr. Romney’s five-point “economic plan” is very nearly substance-free. It vaguely suggests that he will pursue the same goals Republicans always pursue — weaker environmental protection, lower taxes on the wealthy. But it offers neither specifics nor any indication why returning to George W. Bush’s policies would cure a slump that began on Mr. Bush’s watch.
In his Boca Raton meeting with donors, however, Mr. Romney revealed his real plan, which is to rely on magic. “My own view is,” he declared, “if we win on November 6, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see — without actually doing anything — we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.”
Rupert Cornwell (UK Independent): Has there ever been as inept a recent presidential candidate as Mitt Romney? By comparison Al Gore and John Kerry, both mocked in their day as wooden and robotic, were models of empathy, nimbleness and lightness of touch. The Romney campaign, moreover, is supposed be the tightest-run of ships. Instead it – or more exactly its standard-bearer – generates gaffes by the boatload.
….. for Mitt Romney this time, there may be no recovery. The candidate wants to depict himself as a problem-solving businessman, seeking to improve life for everyone. Instead he has merely reinforced the stereotypical image put about by his opponents that he is a country-club elitist, a Darwinian capitalist who neither understands nor cares one whit about the problems faced by ordinary, less fortunate citizens.
…. It is hard to see now how he rights the ship… The astonishing thing is that he should know better. Mr Romney went through the presidential campaign meat-grinder in 2008, yet he still makes the same mistakes …. Messrs Gore and Kerry were losers. Candidate Romney, barring a massive improvement in these final weeks, looks set to join them.
Michael Tomasky: Conservative columnists are lining up to dump on Romney. But the real problem isn’t the candidate or his campaign. It’s the Republican Party and its pathologies.
Yes, Mitt Romney had a week I wouldn’t wish on … well, Mitt Romney. Yes, his campaign is incompetent, as Peggy Noonan wrote Friday. Yes, there is something really off about the guy personally. But as conservatives like Noonan start in on Romney vilification, I feel the need to stand up and reiterate: Romney’s problems aren’t all Romney’s fault. They’re not even half his fault. They’re chiefly the fault of a movement and political party that has gone off the deep end. Almost every idiotic thing Romney has done, after all, can be traced to the need he feels to placate groups of people who are way out there in their own ideological solar system, with no purchase at all on how normal Americans feel and think about things. This is much the harder question for Noonan and others to confront, and they really ought to ponder it.
NYT Editorial: This is how voter intimidation worked in 1966: White teenagers in Americus, Ga., harassed black citizens in line to vote, and the police refused to intervene. Black plantation workers in Mississippi had to vote in plantation stores, overseen by their bosses. Black voters in Choctaw County, Ala., had to hand their ballots directly to white election officials for inspection.
This is how it works today: In an ostensible hunt for voter fraud, a Tea Party group, True the Vote, descends on a largely minority precinct and combs the registration records for the slightest misspelling or address error. It uses this information to challenge voters at the polls, and though almost every challenge is baseless, the arguments and delays frustrate those in line and reduce turnout.
The thing that’s different from the days of overt discrimination is the phony pretext of combating voter fraud. Voter identity fraud is all but nonexistent, but the assertion that it might exist is used as an excuse to reduce the political rights of minorities, the poor, students, older Americans and other groups that tend to vote Democratic.
Michael Tomasky: The release of the Romney tax returns is so amateurish that it almost offends me…..
Romney had pledged, in that ABC interview in Israel, that he’d never paid less than 13 percent to the feds. But to make that true for tax year 2011, the campaign admits that he artificially refused to take some deductions so that the rate would stay above the magic number.
But wait a second. Isn’t this the same Mitt Romney who said back in January: “I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”
In fact, it is. So he just released returns that, when stacked against his earlier statement, disqualify him for the presidency by his own lights. Amazing…..
Demonstrators hold up signs as Mitt Romney’s motorcade passes enroute to a campaign fundraiser in Hillsborough, California, September 21
Washington Post editorial: Going with the best-defense-is-a-good-offense approach, the Romney campaign is accusing President Obama of being a — gasp! — redistributionist. In a rather pale replay of 2008’s Joe the Plumber spread-the-wealth debate, the GOP dredged up a 14-year-old video.
…. The campaign apparently thinks that voters will find “redistribution” a scary word. But does Mr. Romney really disagree with the belief that part of government’s role is, in Mr. Obama’s words, to help “make sure that everybody’s got a shot”? To tax is to redistribute. To govern is to redistribute….
…. It’s indisputable that Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama have diverging views about the danger posed by increasing income inequality and the degree of redistribution in which government should engage. But the Romney campaign’s desperate, clownish portrayal of Mr. Obama does this important debate a serious disservice.
1:30 Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill campaign at a rally in Merrimack, New Hampshire
6:40: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee (I need to check that time, CNN’s live streaming schedule has a habit of getting these things wrong)
7:30 ET: Michelle Obama will address the Congressional Black Caucus – live on C-SPAN