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.
Charles Pierce: Is anyone taking seriously the complaints now coming about how the president’s re-election campaign is using the decision to kill Osama bin Laden to its own advantage? I think the killing of the author of the 9/11 atrocities, and a considerable international murderer even beyond that particular crime, is something that a president who wants to be president again is within his rights to use…..
…. it’s no more or less “fair” on the merits than is Romney’s constant refrain that the president “doesn’t understand how the economy works” because he’s never been a vulture capitalist.
….. demonstrating the pure class and raw political courage that has marked his entire political career by throwing a cheap shot at someone who wasn’t in the room, Romney said that, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” This from a man whose toughest decision in his life has been which house to sleep in.
…. every time he talks about foreign policy, Romney is a blindfolded man in a yard full of rakes. He wrote a Washington Post op-ed about arms control that proved Romney didn’t know enough about the subject to feed to his fish. He flirted with advocating a trade war with China, and he and his advisors occasionally slip and call Russia “the Soviet Union.” Of course, he did make the bobsleds run on time, so there’s that.
Washington Post (Chris Cillizza and Rachel Weiner): The one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden has occasioned a fierce political debate about the appropriateness of President Obama’s reelection campaign touting the death for their partisan benefit.
It shouldn’t. Here’s why …. simply because the death of bin Laden bolsters Obama’s case for reelection doesn’t mean that it is out of bounds. What’s good for the political goose is good for the political gander.
In case you need a little more convincing, remember that President George W. Bush stoked considerable controversy when just one day after formally announcing for reelection, he launched TV ads that prominently featured imagery from Sept. 11, 2001. “Sept. 11 changed the equation in our public policy,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said at the time, defending the ads. “The president’s steady leadership is vital to how we wage war on terrorism.”
That’s, in essence, the same argument that Obama and his team are making about the use of bin-Laden in two web videos released by the campaign over the last 96 hours. If the American public needs to make a judgment on Obama’s first term decision-making, then it doesn’t make sense to ignore one of the major moments of those four years….
Charles Pierce: Good on the Obama people for taking on the current national campaign of voter-suppression at the local level. Back in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer, volunteers were deeply schooled in the various regulations and tactics used to deprive African Americans of their right to vote ….
The new Florida rules … were the centerpiece of a training effort over the weekend by the Obama for America staff in the state. All volunteers and staff members in Florida are required to attend a mandatory session on the new laws … Those who go through the training must pass a quiz administered by the campaign before they can attempt to register voters on the president’s behalf.
This is absolutely the same thing that those people did in Mississippi 50 years ago, and it’s become necessary to do it again because the same foul impulses that brought us literacy tests and the poll tax is bringing us these latest attempts to make difficult what should be the easiest right for us to exercise. And, not for nothing, but Greg Palast brings our attention back to 2000 again, and the effect that what looks today like a rudimentary exercise in voter-suppression had on our history.
The Fact Checker (Washington Post): Two well-funded Republican groups began running hard-hitting ads against President Obama last week, aiming to spend an estimated $8 million in key battleground states. The spots hit similar themes, attacking Obama on green-energy investments, and even cite similar sources.
Watching these ads is a depressing duty for The Fact Checker, because many of their claims – regarding “billions” of stimulus dollars going overseas – had been debunked two years ago by our colleagues at PolitiFact and Factcheck.org. Yet here the erroneous assertions emerge yet again, without any shame, labeled as “the truth” or “fact.”
….. One can certainly raise questions about how stimulus funding was used and whether it was effective. But there is no excuse for these kinds of ads, which take facts out of context or simply invent them. These groups should be especially ashamed, given that these claims have been previously debunked, or, in the case of the erroneous ABC report, withdrawn.
Annika Shepp basks in the arms of First Lady Michelle Obama at Tucson International Airport on April 30. Shepp was one of nearly twenty youth volunteers to greet the First Lady as she arrived to speak at a campaign event downtown
President Obama has no public events listed on his schedule. First lady Michelle Obama will attend campaign events in Las Vegas, Nev., and Albuquerque, N.M.
“Obamacare is killing jobs. We know that from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.” – Bachmann
Bachmann won’t give up on this factoid, even though we debunked it seven months ago and said it was worth three Pinocchios. It’s just not correct, and remains a perfect example of how politicians twist the facts….
“He only went along with the Libyan mission because the United Nations told him to.” – Santorum
Actually, Santorum has it backwards. The United States requested the U.N. resolution to gain international backing for the NATO-led intervention in the Libyan uprising.
“The idea that we would put Americans’ economy in jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet to me is just – is nonsense … just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said, here is the fact – Galileo got outvoted for a spell.” – Perry
We previously awarded Perry Four Pinocchios for his comments suggesting scientists were increasingly saying climate change was a fiction. We will note he repeatedly did not answer the question at the debate about whether he could name a scientists he thought was credible on the issue….
“In our state, our plan covered 8 percent of the people, the uninsured. His plan has taken over a 100 percent of the people.” – Romney
It is simply not true, no matter how often candidates say that the Obama health care law represents socialized medicine or took over one-sixth of the economy … Obama’s law was modeled closely on the law passed by Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts – an inconvenient fact that Romney tries hard to run away from. His comparison here is misleading, since both plans try to deal with the problem of the uninsured by requiring an individual mandate.
“As a matter of fact, what he’s done is, he’s said in fact to Israel that they need to shrink back to their indefensible 1967 borders.” – Bachmann
Obama never said this. The president in May did give a controversial speech, in which he said the de facto border of 1967 should be a starting point for negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, with agreed swaps of territory. A few days later, he further clarified his comments to make clear he was not saying the lines should be Israel’s border, to the point that he was thanked by the Israeli prime minister in a speech to Congress. We’ve given Bachmann Four Pinocchios for making a similar claim in the past.
Richard Cohen (Washington Post): …The Fact Checker is possibly the most powerful force for good since Clark Kent encountered a phone booth. The other day it laid into Newt Gingrich, who had just announced he was running for president to save the nation from what would happen if he did not run for president.
Glenn Kessler had to use almost 2,000 words in the online version of his Sunday column – so many lies, so little newspaper space – to deal with just some of Gingrich’s exaggerations and wound up awarding him four Pinocchios. For most politicians this would be a titanic embarrassment, but for Gingrich it is not even a personal best.
….This core dishonesty is what separates Gingrich from the rest of the Republican presidential candidates, committed or not-quite-yet. Some of the others say things that are untrue – Sarah Palin’s “death panels,” for instance – but these untruths spill out of the mouths of ditzes. Not so with Gingrich.
He is a former history professor with a doctorate, someone who knows his way around the stacks …. He employs the ugly language of demagoguery not because he is oblivious to its history but on account of it. He mimics. He was, however, brilliantly original in explaining to the Christian Broadcasting Network why he had committed adultery. It had to do with “how passionately I felt about this country” – a genuine contribution to the annals of sexual fibbery….
…There is more than a little Richard Nixon in Gingrich – the same lack of place, the same keen intellect, the same petty fights and imaginary enemies, the same hallucinatory grievances, the same willingness to lie, exaggerate and smear. On a given day, Newt Gingrich could be a brilliant president. On any night, he could be a monster.
Eugene Robinson: Newt Gingrich’s meltdown on the launch pad …. “I want to make sure every House Republican is protected from some kind of dishonest Democratic ad. So let me say on the record, any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have publicly said those words were inaccurate and unfortunate.”
A grateful nation thanks you, Newt Gingrich. The presidential campaign is just starting, and already you’ve given us a passage that will live in infamy – forever – in the annals of American political speech. Your delightful quotation shall be filed under “fiascos” and flagged with a cross-reference to “utter nonsense.”
I can’t remember when we’ve heard a politician plead so desperately to take back something he said. Then again, naked desperation is clearly in order. The favorite parlor game in Washington this week has been trying to remember a more disastrous campaign launch than the one Gingrich is having. Many candidates have stumbled coming out of the gate, but few have taken off like a shot in the wrong direction…..
Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Newt Gingrich can’t stop spewing falsehoods, but he’s Very Serious: My pick for read of the morning is Post fact checker Glenn Kessler’s funny and absolutely brutal debunking of, well, pretty much everything Newt said in launching his bid for president. The man lies non-stop, but hey, he’s Serious and has Big Ideas, so who cares?
The Fact Checker (Washington Post): Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich is back! The former House speaker threw his hat in the presidential ring Wednesday with an appearance on Fox’s “Sean Hannity Show.”
…There were so many gems in Gingrich’s appearance that we will pick out the choice comments that cry out for fact-checking. We reached out to two of his spokesmen with questions and requests for documentation, but did not get a response….