The Prodigal Son Returns

Barack Obama’s visit to Burlington today was a welcome surprise for Vermonters, who haven’t hosted a president since 1995. There’s a political reason for the visit: If there’s a state for liberals to call home, it’s Vermont. So why did Obama take a pit stop in the Green Mountain State instead of scavenging for swing votes? It comes down to money. Tickets for the luncheon Obama spoke at today started at $7,500, and about 100 supporters showed up. Around 5,000 supporters paid $40-100 to attend a rally at the University of Vermont campus, enthusiastically chanting, “Four more years!” Tonight, Obama will speak to about 130 supporters at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, a state in which he is currently leading in the polls 58-35. Tickets for that event start at $5,000 a head. Today’s excited fans, which translate into plentiful donations, have a hopey-changey glow circa 2008 about them, but the fact that Obama needed to go to Vermont and Maine to find them is a reminder that this isn't like four years ago.

The pro-Obama super PAC is far behind Restore Our Future, Romney's super PAC, in fundraising. Obama's also light years behind Karl Rove’s Death Star, American Crossroads. The base is upset that the realities of governing kept Obama from becoming the superhero they imagined he’d be. The president’s disapproval ratings are now higher than his approval, and we still have no idea what will happen with the economy, gas prices, or foreign policy between now and November. You can’t blame Obama for wanting to capture a bit of the old 2008 magic and money in two states where he still has a large contingent of die-hard supporters. The correct understanding of this trip isn’t that Obama still has his campaigning magic from four years ago. It’s that the only place this magic remains is in places where he doesn’t need it.


So They Say

"He remains surrounded by true believers who attack anyone who challenges their power and, as we see each day, they will fight even more fiercely to hold onto that power. Of course, all that’s to be expected."

Mitt Romney speaking about President Obama on the trail in Wisconsin

Daily Meme: Bad News Bears for Democrats

  • After a worrying week at the Supreme Court, where the Justices heard opposing arguments on health care, Democrats are fretting that if the Court overturns the law, it will be a fatal blow.
  • With some tough Senate races heating up for the fall, Democrats could lose their control of the upper body. 
  • Earlier this month, the president's approval rating slipped to their lowest level yet. 
  • Gas prices keep rising, and with the summer driving season ahead, Republicans will continue to hammer away at the Democrats' energy policy. 
  • The president took heat in recent days for being soft on missile defense because of his hot-mic missile defense comments to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.
  • It doesn't help that Joe Biden went to a fundraiser and enumerated all the ways in which Obama could lose the White House. 

What We're Writing

  • Steve Erickson says that if the individual mandate gets struck down, it's single-payer or bust for health care.
  • Jamelle Bouie reminds us that Mitt Romney wouldn't govern as a moderate if he were elected president.


What We're Reading

  • Benjy Sarlin: "Pandering to the locals is a time-honored tradition in politics. Cave politicians probably got misty-eyed over how the village rocks were the right size."
  • The closer Romney gets to the nomination, the more rural voters don't like him.
  • Romney's foreign-policy rhetoric wouldn't translate very well to the White House.
  • John Cassidy goes through the different types of Mitt Romney endorsements
  • “We have a left knob and a right knob for each political party ... But remember, when both work together, we can do loop de loops.”
  • Is the Karl Rove's under-the-table endorsement all Romney really needs?
  • Romney supporters would like the real candidate to please stand up.
  • What will presidential stump speeches sound like in 2052?

Poll of the Day

In the latest NBC News/Marist poll, Mitt Romney leads Santorum 40 to 33 percent among Wisconsin primary voters. If the general election were held today, 52 percent of registered voters would support Barack Obama, and 35 percent would support Mitt Romney.

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