A few weeks ago, Amanda Marcotte described the Romney team as running an “I’m rubber, you’re glue” campaign, where—instead of addressing the claims against him—the former Massachusetts governor turns them around on his opponents. It’s a brilliant formulation that neatly captures a dynamic that—if Romney’s riff on “fairness” is any indication—will become a defining feature of his presidential campaign:
As President Barack Obama was celebrating his inauguration at various balls, top Republican lawmakers and strategists were conjuring up ways to submarine his presidency at a private dinner in Washington. […]
Over at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Chye-Ching Huang has written a massive review of the evidence and literature on the relationship between taxes on high-income earners and their effects on economic growth. Her key findings are surprisingly straightforward, and important for how we approach current debates over tax reform and economic policy:
I’m not surprised that Michael Gerson, architect of “compassionate conservatism,” has convinced himself that this generation of Republican leaders is carrying on in his footsteps (via Mike Allen):
Obama’s overreach has also produced another conservative reaction – a Reform Conservatism. The key figure here is Paul Ryan … Its brain trust includes thinkers such as Yuval Levin, James Capretta and Peter Wehner. The reform movement … looks for ways to achieve the ends of the welfare state both through more private means and more efficient public means. … Speaker John Boehner has adopted Ryan’s reform approach as the de facto ideology of the House Republican majority. [Emphasis mine]
The Obama campaign has decided to put a bit more emphasis on the candidate’s biography:
As he heads into a faceoff with Republican Mitt Romney, President Obama’s speeches are revisiting parts of the life story that helped propel his rise. There are nods to his humble beginnings, his hardworking grandmother and the stresses of debt — in short, stories that best connect with the middle-class voters his reelection may depend on.
Back in 2010, Rep. Darrell Issa called Obama one of the most corrupt presidents in history, and pledged to investigate his administration. After a year’s worth of hearings and investigations, Issa has come out empty-handed. Of course, when has lack of proof stopped anyone from making ridiculous accusations in politics? To wit:
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told Bloomberg TV that the Obama government is “proving to be” the “most corrupt in history.”
In a sane world, Mitt Romney would be laughed out of politics for the speech he gave celebrating his final wins (Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York) in the Republican nomination contest. The centerpiece of the address was a riff on the classic formulation, “Are you better of now than you were four years ago?”
Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump?
What’s frustrating about this is the fact that it ignores the last four years of political history in an attempt to put Barack Obama at the center of the country’s economic troubles.
It seems that this is the week when both candidates turn their attention to the young. Yesterday, Mitt Romney argued that Obama would be terrible for their futures in a second-term, and today, Obama made his pitch for policies to relieve the burden of student loan debt. His main focus was on a measure to extend the current interest rate for federal student loans. At the moment, students pay a 3.4 percent rate on Stafford loans. In the absence of additional action, this will jump to 6.8 percent, and effectively act as a tax hike on young Americans.
For further proof that young voters are still supportive of President Obama—and that Mitt Romney will need to do better if he wants to make inroads—look no further than the latest poll from Harvard’s Institute of Politics, which shows wide support among “Millenials” for Obama over the former Massachusetts governor:
Despite his constant claims that he isn’t seeking a spot on the presidential ticket, Florida Senator Marco Rubio was in Pennsylvania yesterday, campaigning with Mitt Romney:
Marco Rubio took the stage with Mitt Romney and delivered what the presidential candidate wanted — a jolt of energy aimed at an uninspired Republican base and a message of inclusion to Latino voters, who have drifted away from the party in droves.
Mitt Romney’s recent rhetoric on student loans is a sure sign that we’ve moved to the general election. In addition to distancing himself from the congressional GOP on student loans—like the president, he wants interest rates to stay low—Mitt Romney has adapted his overall message for the under–30 set, blaming President Obama for high unemployment among young people and a poor job market for recent college graduates. Here’s how he presented the issue at a press availability in Aston, Pennsylvania yesterday:
Demographic change in Harlem has turned a historically black congressional district into one where black politicians have to actually compete for votes. As TheNew York Timesreports, some members of the city’s black political establishment are unhappy about this:
[W]hoever wins this year, some black civic leaders worry that a black candidate would not be a lock to win the seat whenever Mr. Rangel leaves office.
The most noteworthy part of this Politicostory on the Obama campaign’s attempt to define Mitt Romney comes at the end, when Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin quote a reporter’s reaction to the claim that the “real Romney” is a right-winger:
The aide’s argument — which can’t be recounted here because of the strict no-quotes, no names ground rules the White House imposes on such sessions — set off alarms among the White House press corps, political cadaver dogs paid to sniff nearly imperceptible changes in tone and language. Reporters, who can be quoted under the rules, harrumphed.