Michael Tomasky: Well, leave it to Mitt Romney of all people to put Paul Ryan on his ticket and then move immediately thereafter to distance himself from the Ryan budget. It’s so typical of everything we’ve seen of this semi-vertebrate. Try to bathe in Ryan’s refracted glory to right wingers while trying to tell seniors hey, psst, this is not really my thing, get it? Unbelievable.
It’s important to keep track of the Medicare lies, as they’re bound to pile up. The basic deal is that the Romney-Ryan line about Obama cutting $716 billion while they’ll “strengthen” the program is, shockingly I know, a lie. Ryan’s Medicare program cuts the same $716 billion! And then it cuts even more. And then, Romney’s proposal, insofar as it can be divined because as usual the details are scant, would likely cut even more than that.
…. I trust you saw the USA Today/Gallup poll yesterday showing that Ryan is the second least-approved of vice-presidential choice in the last quarter century …. “If the Democrats handle this right” is always a big if, but if they do, this ticket has the makings of a disaster.
Jonathan Cohn (TNR): Have you seen Mitt Romney’s new ad on Medicare? …. It’s not very subtle. And it’s not very true.
By now, you should know all about the hypocrisy of Romney attacking Obama for cutting Medicare. Paul Ryan put the same cuts in his budget plan. And while Romney has insisted he’d restore them, his budget doesn’t have room for that. If he’s serious about his overall spending plan, then he’d surely have to cut Medicare by as much as Obama did. In fact, he’d probably have to cut it by even more. And that’s just in the first ten years.
Still, the power of this ad is the appeal to senior citizens: Obama is taking your money and giving it somebody else. That’s why Romney and his allies keep saying that Obama “raided” Medicare. But, under the Affordable Care Act, a chunk of the money that comes out of Medicare goes right back into it. It helps seniors pay for prescription drugs, filling in the donut hole from Medicare Part D. It also allows seniors to get preventative care without co-pays, which means they can get an annual wellness visit, cancer screenings, and the like with no out-of-pocket costs. In the first half of this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than a million seniors have saved an average of $629 on their drug bills because of this assistance.
…this business about “raiding” Medicare? It’s a naked appeal to selfishness and brazen misrepresentation of reality.
Michael Cohen (NY Daily News): …. if you really want to talk about who is playing the race card this year, it’s worth briefly revisiting the latest attack ad from the Romney campaign on welfare….
It might seem odd to the untrained observer that welfare is even being prominently featured in this campaign. It’s hardly an issue of pressing concern among voters. But of course, welfare never is and never has been just about policy; it’s really about politics and in particular, racial politics.
Romney accuses Obama of gutting welfare reform by granting waivers to state governments in how they choose to implement the law. It’s a charge that is completely without merit; spun from whole cloth; an invented attack line. But again, lying on the campaign trail about President Obama’s record is the rule, not the exception, for Mitt Romney.
… What’s most striking about the ad are the visuals – workers wiping their brow; working class Americans toiling away at manufacturing jobs. And coincidentally all the people in the ad … are white. This might not mean much, except for the fact that, as anyone who has followed American politics for the past 45 years knows, criticisms of the welfare system from the campaign trail have habitually always been used as racial code in attacks on Democrats for coddling blacks. It is the symbol of wasteful government spending, rewarding poor Americans for not working and creating a culture of dependency.
…. Indeed, this ad and in fact this whole line of attack is one of the most blatant uses of racial coding in a presidential campaign since the Willie Horton ad of 1988….
4:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at Spiller Elementary School, Wytheville, Va.
5:00: President Obama delivers remarks at B.R. Miller Middle School in Marshalltown, Iowa
8:45: President Obama delivers remarks at the Waterloo Center for the Arts in Waterloo, Iowa
OFA: During a quick stop off in Denison, IA on the first day of President Obama’s bus tour across Iowa, there was a young supporter who had to get to the bottom of something that had been puzzling him for some time.
“Are you Spider-Man’s boss?”
And the President’s response…
“Well, I’m the Commander-in-Chief. But Spider-Man is a free agent.”
1:45: PBO attends a campaign event at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington.
5:30: PBO and Michelle Obama host the Tuskegee Airmen, along with cast and crew members of the movie “Red Tails,” for a screening at the White House.
* Michelle Obama this morning joins the cast of Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” at a special screening of “iMeet The First Lady” in Alexandria, Va.
Washington Post: President Obama will ask Congress on Friday for the power to shrink the federal government, proposing a first step of combining several trade and commerce agencies under a plan that the White House said could eliminate more than 1,000 jobs and save $3 billion over 10 years.
A senior administration official cast the announcement, which Obama will make during an 11:20 a.m. White House appearance, as follow-through on the president’s promise during last year’s State of the Union address to create a leaner, more efficient bureaucracy.
CBS Philly: Vice President Joe Biden is coming to the Philadelphia area Friday morning to speak to high school students in Bucks County about the cost of college and what the Obama Administration is doing to make it more affordable.
Biden and Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller will speak to students at Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown. Even though students have finals next week, class schedules are being adjusted to give students a chance to take part in what could be a chance of a lifetime.
CBS: On the eve of a Texas meeting of prominent social conservatives and evangelical Christians to discuss the state of the Republican presidential race, one invitee is worrying that a Mitt Romney nomination would be “John McCain all over again.”
Dick Bott, founder and chairman of Christian Radio’s Bott Radio Network, says he would vote for the former Massachusetts governor against President Obama, but that “people just won’t care.”
“Why on earth give other things [like volunteering time or donations] for someone you think is a bit of sham?” says Bott, who would not confirm he will be attending this weekend’s summit. “All of a sudden there’s a conservative movement that is being spoon-fed by Republican establishment leaders.”
Steve Benen: ….. I don’t think we need any special insights to see the line Gingrich is pushing here. The disgraced former House Speaker, in advance of the South Carolina primary, wants Republican voters to think there’s something wrong with being bilingual, especially if the other language is French.
I have no idea if this will work, but the fact that “he speaks French” is considered a potentially potent attack in Republican politics in the 21st century is just sad.
LA Times: As Mitt Romney defends his record running a private equity firm, he frequently points to a fast-growing Indiana steel company, financed in part by Bain Capital, that now employs 6,000 workers.
What Romney doesn’t mention is that Steel Dynamics also received generous tax breaks and other subsidies provided by the state of Indiana and the residents of DeKalb County, where the company’s first mill was built.
The story of Bain and Steel Dynamics illustrates how Romney, during his business career, made avid use of public-private partnerships, something that many conservatives consider to be “corporate welfare.” It is a commitment that carried over into his term as governor of Massachusetts, when he offered similar incentives to lure businesses to his state.
Yet as he seeks the GOP presidential nomination, he emphasizes government’s adverse effects on economic growth