CNN's POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for August 10, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING... HOPE AND CHANGE, ROMNEY BUS TOUR EDITION: CNN’s Dana Bash reports, “Privately frustrated senior Republicans continue to complain to CNN that the Romney camp can’t find its footing in an economic environment that should be devastating for the president. Now Team Romney is trying to get back on offense... launching a bus tour entirely on the president’s turf: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio - all states the President won in 2008, up for grabs now. … The Romney camp is trying to course-correct not just with where the candidate goes, but what he says. It’s a two-pronged approach: streamline his economic message and reclaim the idea of Romney-the-businessman as a positive, not a negative. .. And try to shred the president's calling card: his credibility and character.... like with this brand new ad slamming the president for a pro-Obama super PAC commercial blaming Romney for a woman's death – an ad CNN found was not accurate.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics.com: Who will it be? Romney's VP pick could step off the bus this weekend
As Mitt Romney hits the road for his four-state bus tour this weekend, the Republican candidate could possibly reveal his running mate pick during the trip through the key battleground states of Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio.
Leading Drudge: Lawsuit: Big Sis Favored Gal Pals
A veteran US law-enforcement official has filed a blockbuster discrimination lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, charging she pushed him aside to make way for a less-qualified woman who’s “enjoyed a long-standing relationship” with the anti-terror chief. – Bruce Golding
Leading HuffPo: Romney Camp: We're Taking 'High Ground'
Advisers to Mitt Romney on Friday said that President Barack Obama has diminished the presidency with his attacks on the presumptive Republican nominee, and defended their own questionable ads by saying they are part of a campaign that's "based on issues." – Jon Ward
Leading Politico: Republican hopefuls jockey for 2016
Take their word for it: Every major official in the Republican Party is really, truly, 100 percent enthusiastically committed to electing Mitt Romney this November, and they’re convinced he’ll win on Nov. 6. – Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman
Leading The New York Times: In Real Estate Deal, Romney Made His Loss a Couple’s Gain
Look closely and it is there, sandwiched between Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Partners II and D3 Family Bulldog Fund: the mortgage on Timothy and Betty Stamps’s modest home on Gentle Bend Drive here. – Mike McIntire
How many female athletes competed in the first Olympics in which women were allowed to compete?
MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics
We are entering the zone where a decision by Romney is imminent, so it is hard to concentrate on anything else. We are 17 days away from the Republican convention, and most likely less away from knowing the name of Mitt Romney’s running mate – a perfect time to catch up with CNN’s Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein.
You are an expert in demographics. Are demographic groups more powerful than states to think of when weighing the upside of a potential nominee?
RON BROWNSTEIN: It’s unclear that the vice presidential choice has much impact on any measure, whether geographic or demographic. Candidates seem to veer between choices they think will help them govern (Biden, Cheney) and those they believe will help them win (Kemp, Gore, Edwards). Maybe the best you can hope for, I think, is sending a message signal, the way Clinton for instance underlined his message of generational change by picking Gore. McCain might have done the same thing, with a message about prioritizing country over party, if an internal Republican uprising had not forced him to abandon Lieberman. Not clear what big message is available to Romney except inclusion through Rubio or more likely Jindal. Allowing Democrats to keep winning 80% of all nonwhite voters is a recipe for futility.
Is there anything Romney can do in picking a VP that would help him close the gender gap in swing states?
RON BROWNSTEIN: Along the lines of the previous point, picking a woman might at least get people's attention. But I don't think it would matter much. All year, Romney has faced a gender gap among upscale white women rooted in social issues; some more recent polls (particularly in battleground states) also show some movement toward Obama among the waitress moms, those non-college white women who usually lean
Republican, that seems rooted in the sense Romney lacks empathy for their economic struggles. In theory, a VP pick might help him a little more there than with upscale women, but no one on his list really fills that bill.
In the Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes and Bill Kristol argue for Ryan and Rubio, in the name of conservative hope and change. Is that a good strategy: go for future leaders or ones who strengthen future demographic growth?
RON BROWNSTEIN: Romney has allowed the process to get away from him. His natural instinct may have been a “do no harm” cautious pick like Pawlenty and Portman. But now that would probably seem like a letdown to the party. At this point I think he needs someone who projects energy, change, and freshness more than a particular geographic or ideological point. Ryan, Rubio, Jindal, Christie seem best suited for that role.
While youthful, wouldn’t Paul Ryan hurt Romney with the one group he needs to keep on his side most: seniors?
RON BROWNSTEIN: Ryan would be a huge roll of the dice. Base loves him and he's personable and articulate. On the other hand, he embodies the House GOP budget whose centerpiece - converting Medicare into a premium support or voucher system - consistently faces majority disapproval, sometimes two-thirds.
White seniors are moving strongly Republican: over three-fifths of them voted for the GOP in 2010 House races. Ryan might hurt Romney there but those older white voters are pretty skeptical of Obama; I wonder if the bigger risk in a Ryan pick isn't with both those upscale (especially) and downscale women who put higher priority than white men on the safety net. He could be a strong choice among white men and a problematic one among white women (not to mention minorities who are consistently very cool on his plan.) Safest prediction would be that Ryan widens the gender gap.
The political bites of the day
- The Olympic spirit? -
SENIOR ROMNEY ADVISER ERIC FEHRNSTROM TO REPORTERS IN BOSTON: “I don’t think a world champion limbo dancer could get any lower than the Obama campaign right now.”
- Priebus deflects Romney tax question -
ASKED ON CNN’S “STARTING POINT” ABOUT ROMNEY’S TAXES, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIR REINCE PRIEBUS: “Any second we spend not talking about the fact that this president failed in his mission - the mission to fix this economy, he campaigned on this economy and hasn't accomplished a darn thing - we're worse off. That's the issue and I’m not spending any more time talking about this issue.”
- Powell evaluates Obama foreign policy -
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL TO CNN’S FAREED ZAKARIA: “I think he’s done reasonably well. I think he’s done rather well, in fact. I mean, we are out of Iraq, which is a timetable that President Bush had established, and I think we are slowly turning over in Afghanistan in a sensible way. Sooner or later, the two countries, the two peoples - the Afghanistan population and the Iraqi population have to take responsibility for their own destiny and their own future. So I think he’s handled that well. He has not gotten us in any new conflicts. I think he has been vicious on terrorists with drone attacks, getting rid of Bin Laden, and things like that. I think he’s protected the country rather well. We’ve had these crazy people who run around trying to be ‘wanna be’ terrorists, but other than that, the country has been relatively safe. And most of the policies that made us safe in the Bush administration have been carried out, carried forward by President Obama. I think our relations with other countries in the world like China and the Russian Federation and many of our friends and allies, irritations come along - trade irritations more so than any other kinds of irritations these days. And I think he’s worked his way through that.”
GUT CHECK DVR: The full interview airs Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET. Also on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET, Candy Crowley’s “State of the Union” has Sen. John Thune and the senior advisers to both campaigns – David Axelrod and Ed Gillespie.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Twenty-two women participated in the 1900 Olympic games held in Paris, and the International Olympic Committee credits two French croquet competitors - “Mrs. Brohy and Miss Ohnier” - as the first female Olympians. Women also competed in tennis and golf that year, while the committee says only one ticket was sold to the croquet competition.
In London this summer, women are taking a far more prominent role. For the first time in the Games’ history, every participating country includes women athletes, and – with the addition of women’s boxing - women are competing in every sport. Female competitors have won more than 660 medals of the 1,300 awarded so far this year, including 51 won so far by U.S. women. American men have won 38 medals thus far this year.
This year is notably the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the federal law signed in 1972, which required equal sport opportunities for men and women.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
No gold to award in today’s Gut Check trivia, but while the Olympic Games end this weekend, we’ll be back with a new question for you on Monday.
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Tips or comments? Send them to Michelle; send complaints to Preston, because he is already in a bad mood. We also want to give a shout out to Greg Wallace, who is filling the big shoes of the vacationing Dan Merica.