The Biden Distraction

It started out innocently enough. At a campaign stop in Virginia yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden warned that Romney wanted to “unchain Wall Street." "They’re going to put y’all back in chains,” he told the crowd. The Southern affect is a little annoying, but it’s more than clear that Biden was not making an allusion to slavery. Nevertheless, Romney used this as an opportunity to condemn President Obama's campaign for its supposedly “hateful,” “angry” and “divisive” rhetoric.Given the verbal slips that inevitably come with campaigning, Team Romney’s intense focus on this is a little odd. Indeed, just four days ago, Mitt Romney—and his newly-minted running mate, Paul Ryan—promised to bring substance to the campaign.

Instead, we’re debating Joe Biden.

With that said, the Romney campaign has a good reason for this approach: It needs to take the focus away from Medicare. Republicans don’t do well on Medicare. The public trusts Democrats too much for them to make an impact. At most, Republicans can focus on entitlement reform—this is where the public (mistakenly) accepts their expertise. But since choosing Ryan, who is best-known for his plan to radically reshape Medicare, Team Romney has been talking about the program non-stop.

Jumping on an “insensitive” remark from the vice president was the best way to change the subject. Romney should relish this while he can. Paul Ryan’s Medicare changes are a big deal, and soon, we’ll return to them. The same goes for questions over Romney’s tax returns and time at Bain Capital. These are key issues, and—believe it or not—you can only distract the public for so long.

So They Say

"I mean, I think that he's a practical conservative. He's got a very conservative voting record, but he's not a knuckle-dragger, all right?"

John Boehner on why Paul Ryan voted for TARP

Daily Meme: Different Candidates, Same Election

  • With Romney and Obama ramping up their attacks in anticipation of the national conventions, the media once again asks: Is this the most uncivil election yet?
  • If you remember, 2008 was also the most vicious election campaign ever
  • As was the 2004 election.
  • And the 1960 election. 
  • Other things that are the same: The Republican candidate is still thought to be out of touch with the American people.
  • Rob Portman continues not to get the vice-presidential nod.
  • Barney Frank still hates Mitt Romney.
  • Just like in 2004, "the economy's not the best, but it's not the worst."
  • And it's still the issue voters care about most.
  • The Republican Party still has the same identity problems it had in 1992: "The middle-class person doesn't have a voice in the party anymore ... Before the special interests took control—the PAC's, the wealthy contributors—we did."
  • We're even making the same jokes—in 2008 we didn't want to talk about politics either!
  • And Romney's "Not Obama" platform sounds awful close to John Kerry's "Not Bush" platform. 
  • From the 1996 election, we have this Onion gem on the "Crazy Rich Bastards Party." Sounds like same-old, same-old election-year fare to us.

What We're Writing

  • Clare Malone: Neither VP candidate looks to Rome for guidance on how to govern, and that's the way it should be.
  • Jamelle Bouie: After two full days of lying about Medicare and welfare, Mitt Romney criticizes Obama for taking the "low road."

What We're Reading

Poll of the Day

Pretty much every poll you see during election season measures polls "likely voters." But what about all those people who will stay home on November 6? After all, even though they aren't going to vote, they will still be subjected to the same laws as everyone else. USA Today and Suffolk University surveyed both unregistered voters and registered voters who were deemed unlikely to cast a ballot. If they did decide to vote, forty-three percent would support the incumbent. Almost none of them like Mitt Romney, though; 20 percent of unlikely-but-registered voters would support the Republican, with just 14 percent of unregistered voters offering support for Romney.

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