A must-read book out next month: The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era by Michael Grunwald.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) administration, “already drawing attention for its focus on secrecy, has now begun editing his record as New York attorney general, sending aides to the state archives to remove key documents from public view,” the New York Times reports.
“The review of the archived material comes at a time when Mr. Cuomo is being much discussed as a 2016 presidential candidate. Many public figures with national ambitions have been concerned about being tripped up by old documents; when Mitt Romney left the governorship in Massachusetts, his administration wiped all e-mail from the government server and allowed his top aides to buy their work hard drives, so no electronic record remained.”
A new Marist poll finds 78% of Americans say they are “frustrated” by the tone of political campaigns and 74% believe that the tone of political campaigns has “gotten more negative” than in past election years.
In addition, 66% believe candidates spend more time criticizing their opponents than addressing the issues, while almost as many (64%) say negative campaign ads “harm the political process” either “a great deal” or “a significant amount.”
And by a nearly 20 point margin (56% to 37%), the public says the tone of political campaigns is “mostly uncivil and disrespectful.”
A new GAO study finds the 2011 debt ceiling fight in Congress cost the federal government about $1.3 billion in extra borrowing costs.
Huffington Post: “And that’s just the costs that the GAO bothered to count. There are also probably extra borrowing costs that the government is still paying this year and in future years because of the debt-ceiling debacle, but the GAO’s computer was too tired and/or depressed to try to figure those out.”
In the mail: Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget by David Wessel.
In a Mitt Romney ad last week, a stern Jack Gilchrist of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating tells President Obama that his family — and not the government — built his company.
But John DiStaso reports Gilchrist “did receive some government help for his business” in 1999 when the company received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds “to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment.”
In addition, Gilchrist Metal received a U.S. Small Business Administration loan of around $500,000 in the 1980s and has received several sub-contracts from the U.S. Navy.
“Even if you lose running for office you actually win, because you get tons of free PR.”
— Rhode Island U.S. Senate candidate Barry Hinckley (R), quoted by WPRI-TV, giving a motivational speech in 2009.
“This episode is worth recounting because every prospective torch carrier was given, courtesy of the U.S. Olympic Committee, a special uniform consisting of a nylon sports jacket and matching pants. When my uniform arrived, I glanced at the label, which read ‘Made in Myanmar,’ that is, Burma, a country that suffers under one of the most repressive governments on Earth. It was not yet illegal to import clothing from Burma, but public pressure had induced most U.S. retailers to stop doing business there. I had my own grounds for revulsion, having visited the country to pledge support for its courageous democratic leader, the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. I was furious about the uniform but knew it was too late to reorder all the clothing, though I did go out and buy my own shirt and pants (Made in America). When I arrived in Salt Lake City, I informed Mitt Romney, head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, about the gaffe; he thanked me kindly for keeping my mouth shut. The following year, Congress approved a ban on all imports from Burma.”
John Heilemann: “The depth to which Romney has dug in his heels has naturally provoked a welter of speculation about what in God’s name is in the returns — and just how bad it could be. That the levels of income will be stratospherically (some would say obscenely) high is taken as a given. That there are some years in which Romney paid an extremely low effective tax rate — lower, maybe much lower, than the 13.9 percent rate he paid in 2010 — is quite likely. And then there is the most problematic possibility: that the Swiss and Cayman accounts that we already know about are just the tip of an iceberg, one that would suggest an aggressive, arguably unpatriotic pattern of tax-avoidance.”
“My own guess, however, is that apart from one or more of these elements, what the Romney tax returns would lay bare is the extent of his donations to his church. In this case and all others, charitable donations are something to be proud of, an entirely honorable thing. But for a candidate who has taken extravagant pains to avoid discussion of his supremely prominent role in contemporary Mormonism, the idea of a wave of news stories detailing the tens of millions of dollars that he has given to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — surely making him among its most generous funders in the modern era — must be a kind of nightmare”
“Apparently, retiring 12-term Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is trying to go out not with a bang — but in a cloud of smoke.”
Despite concerted attacks on his business record, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over President Obama when it comes to managing the economy.
In fact, by a 63% to 29% margin, those surveyed say Romney’s background in business “would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation’s economic problems over the next four years.”
Also interesting: “Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are much more enthusiastic about the election, an important factor in persuading supporters to vote. By 18 points, 51%-33%, they report being more enthusiastic than usual about voting. In contrast, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents by 4 points say they are less enthusiastic than usual, 43%-39%.”
“I’ll tell you the truth: He’s not that smart. He’s not that good. But he’s flippant, so I give him credit for that.”
— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), quoted by the Baltimore Sun, on being compared to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).
Thomas Edsall notes that President Obama’s ads attacking Mitt Romney’s experience at Bain Capital and the secrecy over his tax returns are probably more about keeping white voters at home than actually convincing them to vote for Obama.
“Vote suppression is important for Obama because his numbers among whites without degrees are worsening, despite the omnipresence of anti-Romney ads in the battleground states. Obama’s 29 percent level of support among non-college white men in the Quinnipiac poll cited above is a drop from 32 percent in its April survey, and the 28 percent level in the ABC/Washington Post poll is a drop from 34 percent in their May survey.”
“With his margins in this group falling, Obama directly benefits from every white non-college voter who stays home and does not vote for Romney. The importance of vote suppression in a close contest can be seen in the following hypothetical: say there are 1,000 voters evenly split, 500 to 500. Candidate A persuades just one of the voters backing his opponent to fail to go to the polls. Candidate A wins 500 to 499.”
Former Rep. Chris Shays (R) told the New Haven Register that he will not support Linda McMahon (R) if she wins the GOP Senate primary in Connecticut.
Said Shays: “I have never run against an opponent that I have respected less — ever — and there are a lot of candidates I have run against.”
He added: “I think it is like the story of the emperor with no clothes. You have a candidate who is basically giving the finger to all the editorial boards. She is not willing to come before you and respond to all your questions. She is basically saying… and it is a huge distortion to say, she is out there meeting the public and that is the better way to do it — bullshit.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsed Rep. Russ Carnahan (D) over Rep. Lacy Clay (D) in their primary battle but it’s unlikely to be cited in campaign commercials.
“Mr. Carnahan is a plodder, but his record shows little evidence of corruption. He hasn’t been as effective as Mr. Clay in bringing home the bacon to his constituents, but he hasn’t sold out his constituents, either. We choose the plodder over the pal of predatory profiteers.”
Frank Rich: “If there’s one battle cry that unites our divided populace, it’s that the country has gone to hell and that almost any modern era, with the possible exception of the Great Depression, is superior in civic grace, selfless patriotism, and can-do capitalistic spunk to our present nadir. For nearly four years now — since the crash of ’08 and the accompanying ascent of Barack Obama — America has been in full decline panic. Books by public intellectuals, pundits, and politicians heralding our imminent collapse have been one of the few reliable growth industries in hard times.”