On the eve of Mitt Romney’s trip to Israel, a new Gallup poll finds 68% of Jewish Americans support President Obama for re-eelction, while 25% support Mitt Romney.
Mitt Romney’s missteps on his trip abroad “have drawn extensive mockery in Britain and public consternation from both Republicans and Democrats in the United States, and his campaign advisers were at a loss Friday to put a positive spin on the story — other than to look ahead to the next two stops on his tour,” the Washington Post reports.
“Romney arrived in London under a bright spotlight, as expected, but apparently without a strategy for conveying a message to voters back home — such as reminding Americans of his widely lauded stewardship of the 2002 Winter Olympics or promoting his foreign-policy vision.”
“As a result, there is now immense pressure on him to find better footing in Israel and Poland. Romney’s advisers hope his events in Jerusalem on Sunday — when he will lock arms with Israeli leaders — could create a moment of strength that might redefine the candidate’s intensely scrutinized audition as a statesman.”
Daily Beast: Romney alienates England.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) is at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota “for extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and gastrointestinal issues,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
“Jackson’s whereabouts have been a mystery since he went on medical leave June 10. The statement issued Friday said the congressman ‘has arrived at Mayo Clinic,’ but did not say where he came from.”
In the mail: Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years by Geoffrey Nunberg.
“The asshole has become a focus of collective fascination for us, just as the phony was for Holden Caulfield and the cad was for Anthony Trollope. From Donald Trump to Ann Coulter, from Mel Gibson to Anthony Weiner, from the reality TV prima donnas to the internet trolls and flamers, assholism has become the characteristic form of modern incivility, which implicitly expresses our deepest values about class, relationships, authenticity, and fairness. We have conflicting attitudes about the A-word — when a presidential candidate unwittingly uttered it on a live mic in 2000, it confirmed to some that he was a man of the people and to others that he was a boor. But considering how much the word does for us, and to us, it hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it deserves — at least until now.”
Scott Conroy previews the rules of this fall’s presidential debates which will feature six 15-minute topic “pods” focused on a single issue.
“The topics for each pod will be announced in September by the moderators, whom the CPD commissioners will select and reveal in mid-August. [Commission on Presidential Debates co-chairman Frank] Fahrenkopf said that he expects the pods in the first debate — which will focus on domestic policy — to address major topics like unemployment, education, and the deficit.”
Businessweek says Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) — and his dismal 31% approval rating — could be a liability for Republicans as they descend on the state for their national convention.
A series of about 100 emails released to the Reno Gazette-Journal “gives a glimpse into the day-to-day dealings of the administration of Gov. Jim Gibbons in 2008 — a time when the governor faced a divorce, infidelity accusations, an FBI investigation and assault allegations by a Las Vegas cocktail waitress.”
“The electronic correspondence reveals a troubled man who received support from numerous close friends, as well as a state leader who was well-connected with many powerful and wealthy people. Gibbons continually communicated with a shortlist of supporters and attempted on several occasions to keep his administration’s activities closed to the public.”
A new We Ask America poll in Ohio finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney in the key battleground state by eight points, 48% to 40%.
Key finding: “What pops out immediately is the high percentage of self-described Republicans who say they will vote for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. An outlier? Perhaps. But we went back into the field last night to test it again. The results: almost identical. Hmmm. We going to keep an eye on that.”
The New York Times reports Tampa’s “well-known strip clubs have joined the welcome wagon” for the Republican national convention.
“Angelina Spencer, the executive director of the Association of Club Executives, which serves as a trade association for strip clubs, said an informal survey of convention business in New York and Denver had determined that Republicans dropped more money at clubs, by far.”
Sadi Spencer: “Hands down, it was Republicans. The average was $150 for Republicans and $50 for Democrats.”
“U.S. economic growth pulled back further during the second quarter of the year as consumer spending slowed — a reading that suggests domestic fiscal worries may becoming a more significant drag,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Wonk Wire notes it’s a big week for economic news that may impact the presidential campaign.
“The likelihood that President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will each net 269 electoral votes in November, instead of the 270 needed to win, is actually not so farfetched — and for close observers of the Electoral College system, a tie would set off a wave of constitutional and political mayhem that would make the 2000 Florida recount seem like a tidy affair,” CNN reports.
“A quick reading of the electoral map shows that the prospect is startlingly real.”
Of course, predictions of an Electoral College tie may be just as elusive as the predictions of a brokered convention earlier this year.
Charlie Cook: “What seems to be holding Romney back are voters’ personal feelings toward him, which are more negative than those faced by any of the past six nonincumbent nominees… In my judgment, Romney’s poor numbers go back to his campaign’s obsession with talking only about the economy and not attempting to define who Romney is as a person, as a way to build trust and strong positive personal feelings toward their candidate. The Romney camp has yet to run what I would call a personal-positive ad, a biographical or values-based commercial portraying him as the kind of person whom people might want to vote for, someone with values that they would want to see in the Oval Office.”
First Read: “But chew on this: Romney has been actively running for the White House for six years now… If you look at the fundamentals of this race, Romney should be ahead. And the fact is, he’s not. Why not? Because he has fumbled his biography.”
First Read: “With tonight’s Olympics opening ceremonies, we’ve now reached essentially halftime in this presidential contest. Keeping with the sports analogy, the two teams are going into the locker room with Obama ahead of Romney — 14-13 if it’s a football game, 49-43 if it’s basketball. In other words, it’s still anyone’s game. Both sides have had their share of smart play and boneheaded mistakes, and now we get a chance to breathe, relax, and prepare for the second half, which kicks off with Romney’s VP and the two conventions.”
“But if it’s now halftime, Team Romney — with what happened in Great Britain yesterday — concluded it by committing a false start, a holding penalty, and then an interception. Yes, yesterday was that bad.”
Ari Shavit of Haaretz had some interesting observations about his interview with Mitt Romney:
“He radiates old-fashioned American warmth. But when the recording device is turned on, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate immediately becomes tense. He is careful not to say anything superfluous. He refrains from making any commitments. Like a diligent student at an oral exam, he carefully weighs every word he is about to utter. But the interviewee is even more focused on what he is not allowed to say than on what he is about to say.”
President Obama will run a very positive, feel-good ad tied to the start of the Olympic Games.
Alex Burns: “The ad is in line with the Obama campaign’s string of positive commercials this week, and is a definite departure in tone from the slashing, negative, anti-Romney ads that have dominated June and July. But then, these are the Olympics, and voters aren’t necessarily going to want to see harsh Romney-bashing spots during the opening ceremonies.”
Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll (R) apologized “for offending lesbians when she said black women who engage in those relationships don’t look like her,” the AP reports.
“Carroll, who was implying that black lesbians aren’t attractive, made the remarks more than a week ago when she was asked about court documents in which a fired staffer claims that she walked in on Carroll and a female travel aide in a compromising position. Carroll denies that claim.”
Said Carroll: “It is wrong and inexcusable to make a comment that hurts people, and that was not my intention.”
The New York Times looks at the political evolution of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
“Absent is the maverick who bucked his party on the environment and campaign finance, and verbally towel-snapped Republicans and Democrats alike on the Senate floor. Gone, too, is the far-right leaning Mr. McCain of 2010, who found himself in a primary fight back home that caused him to retreat from his stances on immigration and global warming.”
“Mr. McCain instead appears to have entered Version 3 of his long and multipronged Senate career — partisan warrior and party stalwart. He takes to the Sunday TV talk shows, the Senate floor and the Capitol hallways that are filled with more reporters than mosquitoes at a garden party to press his party’s agenda on taxes, military spending and national security.”