“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.”
“You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power.”
— Mitt Romney, quoted by NBC News, during his speech at the opening ceremonies at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Romney has roundly criticized President Obama in recent weeks for his “you didn’t build that” line when it came to businesses.
Bloomberg looks at “the rise of a new professional, political class: a core group of young technology experts who are shunning traditional campaign titles, starting companies and making millions off the most expensive presidential campaign in history. They are cutting a path similar to the one etched by television ad makers in the 1980s, with a dose of Silicon Valley and the dot-com boom’s edginess.”
Bill Daley, who was intimately involved in the rancorous 2000 presidential recount in Florida, has already raised the question with the Obama campaign, the Daily Beast reports.
Just published: Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street by Neil Barofsky, the former special inspector general of TARP.
First Read: “It’s a harsh assessment of Washington and Wall Street — and one that is under the radar right now but gives fuel to the criticism that nothing has really changed.”
First Read reports the Obama campaign “actually outraised the Romney campaign in the apples-to-apples comparison for the month of June, $45.9 million to $33 million. And it has more campaign money in the bank as of June 30, $97 million to $22.5 million, as well as a higher burn rate, 126% to 83%.”
“But where Team Romney outpaced Team Obama was with the RNC vs. DNC fundraising ($39.8 million to $20.5 million) and the victory fund money. Why these distinctions matter, as we’ve said before: While the campaigns control the party/victory fund money, there are limitations in how they’re able to use it. For example, coordinated party expenditures are limited to $21.7 million in this presidential contest.”
“Overall in June, GOP presidential campaign entities (Romney camp, RNC, American Crossroads, Restore Our Future) outraised the Dem groups (Obama camp, DNC, Priorities USA Action), $99 million to $72.6 million. So again: The Obama campaign has more money directly in its control, and Romney will be the beneficiary of a lot of help from outside groups.”
“More than a decade has passed since Mitt Romney presided over the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but the archival records from those games that were donated to the University of Utah to provide an unprecedented level of transparency about the historic event, remain off limits to the public. And some of the documents that may have shed the most light on Romney’s stewardship of the Games were likely destroyed by Salt Lake Olympic officials,” ABC News reports.
“This would seem a moment of great opportunity for California Republicans. The state has become a national symbol of fiscal turmoil and dysfunction, the Legislature is nearly as unpopular as Congress and Democrats control every branch of government,” the New York Times reports.
“But instead, the state party… is caught in a cycle of relentless decline, and appears in danger of shrinking to the rank of a minor party… Registered Republicans now account for just 30% of the California electorate, and are on a path that analysts predict could drop them to No. 3 in six years, behind Democrats, who currently make up 43%, and independent voters, with 21%.”
Baltimore Sun: “None of the analysts is sure exactly when it happened. But they all agree that sometime in 2012, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley become a staple, if not a star, of Sunday morning public-affairs television. And for all the new media speaking to voters, that forum not only shapes the national debate, it also plays a major role in anointing politicians as national leaders worthy of White House consideration.”
“Why does O’Malley get invited to the shows seemingly every week while many other eager and able political leaders never get the call? People who host and book the shows say political savvy, TV skills, geography and a willingness to take off the gloves result in a combination that one veteran network producer describes as ‘the Chris Christie of Democrats.'”