Yesterday, on Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden was unusually candid about his feelings on same-sex marriage:
“And you’re comfortable with same-sex marriage now,” NBC’s David Gregory asked Biden on Meet the Press.
“I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy,” Biden said by way of a disclaimer, then continued, “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction—beyond that.”
Thanks to a sluggish economy, and restrictive voter identification laws from Republican lawmakers, voter registration is down for the first time in years. In particular, registration among African Americans and Latinos has taken a plunge:
Together, the number of registered blacks and Hispanics across the country declined by 2 million from 2008 to late 2010, when the Census Bureau collected the data through its Current Population Survey.
The figure among blacks is down 7 percent, to just over 16 million. Among whites, it dropped 6 percent to 104 million.
Once the general election kicked into gear, and it was clear that Barack Obama would have the overwhelming support of African American voters, a meme picked up among some white voters. “They’re only voting for him because he’s black.” This, of course, was at odds with the facts. Black voters were initially ambivalent toward the then-Senator, and only embraced him after the Iowa and South Carolina primaries. Moreover, by that point, African Americans had been loyal Democratic voters for four decades; their positive feelings may have stemmed from racial pride, but their material support everything to do with his political affiliation.
Immediately after the jobs numbers were released, the Romney campaign put out an email to highlight President Obama’s “broken promises on jobs.” The problem, as has often been the case with Romney’s rhetoric, is that the argument is built on outright falsehoods. For example:
During President Obama’s Time In Office, The Nation Has Lost 572,000 Jobs And The Unemployment Rate Has Increased To 8.1%.
Ahead of President Obama’s visit to Ohio tomorrow, Mitt Romney is out with a new editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where he lays out his economic case against the president, and presents himself as uniquely well-suited to strengthening the recovery:
As far as April is concerned, the jobs report is disappointing; 115,000 new jobs, just enough to keep pace with population growth. Unemployment dropped to 8.1 percent, but labor force participation also declined, which means that joblessness is lower because fewer people are searching for jobs.
What’s interesting is that this runs counter to a host of other economic indicators, all of which point to a brighter picture. According to Gallup, for example, economic confidence is a four-year high, consumer spending has edged up, and small-business optimism has risen to its highest levels since the summer of 2008.
At the moment, the American political system is not equipped to handle climate change. But both parties aren’t the same, and Democrats have (effectively) symbolic legislation to signal their support for a cap and trade regime. The orthodox position for the Republican Party, by contrast, is complete denial. As such, the new Mitt Romney is a denialist crank:
A new survey from Gallup shows an even split among Catholic voters—46 percent support President Obama, and 46 percent support Mitt Romney. If you disaggregate by race, the picture looks very different; only 38 percent of non-Hispanic Catholics support Obama, compared to 70 percent of their Hispanic counterparts. Among white Catholics, if you break the numbers down by religiosity, the most religious and moderately religious support Romney, while the nonreligious support Obama.
Greg Sargent is rightfully stunned by the entitled petulance of Wall Street bankers who are shocked—shocked—that President Obama would do anything other than praise their indispensable brilliance:
Wall Streeters are so upset about Obama’s harsh populist rhetoric that they privately called on him to make amends with a big speech — like his oration on race — designed to heal the wounds of class warfare in this country. […]
(The Miscegenation Ball/Abraham Lincoln's Classroom)
In today’s New York Times, David Brooks writes that—for him—most presidential campaigns are some combination of reality show, romantic courtship, and a straightforward job application. This year, however, is different. Rather than try to appeal to the best of the public, Brooks says that both Romney and Obama have gone for the jugular in a ruthless effort to destroy each other. It suffices to say that the Times columnist is very disappointed in this development:
If anyone was expecting President Obama to spike the proverbial football during his address this evening from Afghanistan, they were sorely disappointed. In a sober, 11 minute message, Obama retraced the path that brought the United States to Afghanistan, and outlined the next two years of American policy in the country.
Two weeks ago, the Romney campaign hired Richard Grenell—a long-time Republican and former staffer for the Bush White House—to act as a spokesperson on foreign policy and national security. Grenell received tough criticism from Democrats for a series of sexist tweets, but that wasn’t enough to spark reticience from the Romney team.
A new Public Policy Polling survey for Virginia shows President Obama in good shape ahead of his visit on Saturday. He has an approval rating of 50 percent with 46 percent of voters disapproving of him, and in a head-to-head matchup with Mitt Romney, he leads 51 percent to Romney’s 43 percent. Unlike most other swing states, Obama has held a consistently strong position in the Old Dominion since he was elected:
Most independent experts agree that the various Republican budget plans—from Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and others—would have a disasterous effect on lower-income Americans. By slashing programs like Medicaid and food stamps, and cutting taxes on the richest Americans, they would precipitate a massive amount of upwards redistribution; taking from the poor to give to the rich. But it seems that facts like this aren’t actually relevant to the day-to-day of campaigning. To wit, in a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney attacked President Obama for his (apparent) disregard for the least well-off:
In a few weeks, tens of thousands of students will graduate from college or university, and attempt to make their way in the economy. During better times, these former students would find jobs, rent apartments, and almost immediately begin to pump money into the economy. But—three years after the nadir of the economic crisis—the job market for young people is still terrible, and many have opted to live with their parents in order to save money. This, you can probably imagine, has only made the economy worse. Here’s TheWashington Post: