COUNTDOWN: 75 days.
Poll of Polls
Now that we are inside the last 75 days it’s time to start paying attention to the Electoral College Map.
The US Presidential election is NOT a national election. It is an amalgamation of 50 individual state elections. Individual states have different rules and deadlines for things like ballot access and selection of “candidates for inclusion” not “members” in the Electoral College. Only fifty percent of the candidates become members of the Electoral College, and only after the popular vote has been cast. The final make up of the Electoral College is not known until the outcome of the popular vote in all states has been decided. Who becomes a member is directly related to which Presidential candidate wins the popular vote in each individual state.
The Electoral College(EC) goal of each Presidential candidate is to surpass 270 EC votes, the minimum number needed to be formally elected president.
Electoral College MapUnder the U.S. Constitution, each state legislature is allowed to designate a way of choosing electors. Thus, the popular vote on Election Day is conducted by the various states and not directly by the federal government. Once chosen, the electors can vote for anyone, but – with rare exceptions like an unpledged elector or faithless elector – they vote for their designated candidates and their votes are certified by Congress in early January. The Congress is the final judge of the electors; the last serious dispute was in the 2000 election.
The nomination process, including the primary elections and the nominating conventions, were never specified in the Constitution, and were instead developed by the states and the political parties. This too is also an indirect election process, where voters cast ballots for a slate of delegates to a political party's nominating convention, who then in turn elect their party's presidential nominee.
AKIN QUESTIONS WERE OFF LIMITS IN DENVER CBS INTERVIEW: "It's the sort of statement that leaves journalists slack-jawed: 'The one stipulation to the interview was that I not ask him about abortion or Todd Akin,'" the Times' Brian Stetler notes. "That's what Romney's campaign demanded, said Shaun Boyd, a reporter for the CBS-owned television station in Denver, when she interviewed the Republican presidential candidate on Thursday. Ms. Boyd was one of four Denver reporters to be granted five minutes with the candidate via satellite, and the only reporter to tell viewers about any preset restrictions. In response to Ms. Boyd's claim, the Romney campaign suggested that it does not demand that reporters swerve around certain topics during interviews." NYT: http://nyti.ms/PgoD44. Here's a Trip Gabriel on the Ryan press corps' hunger for more access: http://nyti.ms/Pgqlm3.
TWO REPUBLICAN PROS OFFER ADVICE ON ROMNEY'S RNC SPEECH -
PEGGY NOONAN (in Saturday's Wall Street Journal): "How will voters judge Mr. Romney's speech? The answer comes in some questions: Is it fresh? Is it true? Does it substantiate-add substance to-what we think we know of Mitt Romney? Does it deepen and broaden our understanding of him? Does it make us, as we listen, begin to see him as a possible president? Presidents are in our face 24 hours a day now. Is this someone we'd let in our living rooms for four years? Can he inspire? ... Emphasis is everything. Emphasize dynamism. Mr. Romney shouldn't just repeat what he thinks but tell people why he thinks it, what life has taught him that formed his views. He shouldn't shy away from religion." She also wants him to be funny. http://on.wsj.com/QxAYQg
MIKE MURPHY (in next week's edition of Time): "Romney needs to break out of the cage of doubt that the Obama campaign's negative-ad makers have created around him...if he is smart, Romney will avoid the often powerful temptation inside the convention hall to chase the cheap applause that comes from endlessly bashing the opponent. If Romney finds himself standing at the podium merely giving a hastily repainted version of his primary stump speech, he will lose the night." http://ti.me/PLsatI
BATTLEGROUND BRIEFING-THE PATH TO 270:
DEM STATE PARTIES HAVE MONEY ADVANTAGE: "Democratic state parties overall have raised more money than their Republican counterparts, although their cash available as of July 31 was more mixed, with the G.O.P. holding cash advantages in Florida and Wisconsin," Derek Willis notes in the Times. "That is in part because of heavy spending by Democratic state parties in states such as Nevada, Colorado, Ohio and Virginia." http://nyti.ms/O8ANwI
SWING STATE HEADLINES-
AARP VOTER GUIDE ON MEDICARE: The seniors' advocacy group features quotes from the presidential candidates - in their own words - on what they'd do to strengthen Social Security, Medicare and financial security. Here is the guide as it will appear in "AARP The Magazine," which hits mailboxes starting next week: http://bit.ly/T2PlOG.
LAS CRUCES (NM) SUN-NEWS: "Romney, in Hobbs, pledges to make North America energy independent, teamwork with Mexico, Canada." http://bit.ly/NkUMMh
FAYETTEVILLE (NC) OBSERVER: "Ryan says Romney would work to avoid defense cuts." http://bit.ly/NK9Xi1
THE SPOKANE (WA) SPOKESMAN-REVIEW: "Romney to be on Washington ballot, judge rules." http://bit.ly/ObaFQc
RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL: "Harry Reid makes it clear: he will continue to criticize Romney about his tax returns." http://bit.ly/ObcuNg
KRUGMAN: Paul Ryan’s ideas for monetary policy would take us back further. ”Mr. Ryan is a man of many ideas, which would ordinarily be a good thing. In his case, however, most of those ideas appear to come from works of fiction, specifically Ayn Rand's novel ‘Atlas Shrugged.’…[In a] 2005 speech to the Atlas Society…he declared that he always goes back to "Francisco d'Anconia's speech on money" when thinking about monetary policy. Who? Never mind. That speech (which clocks in at a mere 23 paragraphs) is a case of hard-money obsession gone ballistic. Not only does the character in question, a Galt sidekick, call for a return to the gold standard, he denounces the notion of paper money and demands a return to gold coins.” Paul Krugman in The New York Times.
BROOKS: Ryan’s biggest mistake was to walk away from Simpson-Bowles. ”If Ryan and the other House Republicans had voted for the Simpson-Bowles proposal, it would have gone to Congress for up-or-down votes, regardless of how President Obama reacted. We would have had national action on debt reduction…Ryan voted no for intellectually coherent reasons. He argued that the single biggest contributing factor to public debt is the unsustainable growth of Medicare. Yet the Simpson-Bowles plan did nothing to restructure Medicare…This is the sort of argument that makes a lot of sense in a think-tank auditorium…[But] Ryan was giving up significant debt progress for a political fantasy…Ryan's fantasy happens to be the No. 1 political fantasy in America today, which has inebriated both parties. It is the fantasy that the other party will not exist. It is the fantasy that you are about to win a 1932-style victory that will render your opponents powerless.” David Brooks in The New York Times.
http://www.nationaljournal.com//colu...close-20120823Just about any analysis of the 2012 presidential election should start with words to the effect that this is a very close race, that close races can go either way, and that many different factors—convention speeches, debates, verbal miscues, overseas conflicts—can change the trajectory of such a race. A decision by Israel to attack Iran, for example, would certainly scramble things.
Still, this race shouldn’t be as tight as it is. Whether one looks at polling measurements of whether voters think the country is headed in the right direction, at consumer confidence, or at key economic measurements such as growth in gross domestic product, deviations in the unemployment rate, or the change in real personal disposable income, it is puzzling, to say the least, wh
Jy polls show President Obama and Mitt Romney running neck and neck. Incumbents generally don’t get reelected with numbers like we are seeing today.
THE BIG PICTURE, from Elizabeth Wilner in Kantar Media's "CMAG's Weekly File": "Chicago sees this contest as a seven-month run and Boston sees it as a three-month sprint. Chicago is betting that undercutting Romney before the airwaves become totally saturated after Labor Day is the best strategy; Boston is betting on saturation this fall to persuade voters that one Obama term is enough. Whoever is right, wins. ... From a messaging standpoint, Chicago is banking on its summertime swamping of Romney with ads about Bain Capital, outsourcing, tax returns, abortion and education, culminating in its pre-convention rollout of Bill Clinton's 30-second case for a second Obama term. This wasn't just a hunch for them-it was a calculation made out of necessity given the GOP's overall ad spending advantage, which started snowballing in mid-July and is expected to get even bigger as we enter the fall.
"NO RON PAUL REVOLUTION at convention, " by James Hohmann in Tampa: 'Using a mix of charm and procedural hardball, Mitt Romney's campaign and his allies who control the [RNC] have ensured that the Texas congressman will neither speak nor be formally nominated ... Romney ... could have been faced with a raucous rebellion from the Paul crowd if he hadn't extended an early ... olive branch to what's become a key constituency. The libertarian septuagenarian controls the state delegations from Nevada, Iowa and Minnesota. But a candidate needs five states to be officially recognized on the floor. Paul supporters have made claims to Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, Oklahoma and Maine.'
"But Romney's coterie of lawyers skillfully used the rules and interpersonal negotiations to peel each away. The 168-member Republican National Committee approved a report Thursday by the Romney-friendly 'committee on contests' that invalidated Paul delegates elected in Maine based on irregularities at the state convention. The RNC voted to split the at-large delegation in half, effectively depriving Paul of control. Paul's high command and key supporters were disappointed by their defeats but surprisingly conciliatory. Most are adamant that there will be no trouble during the televised proceedings that begin Monday. ... To dissuade Paul supporters from disrupting this week's pomp and circumstance, the Romney campaign and its surrogates have bent over backward to show respect to the Paul forces.
'There have been months of previously unreported , behind-the-scenes phone calls and meetings between Romney and Paul acolytes to try to build bridges and reach compromise agreements. The establishment made significant concessions on the platform to the Paul folks even before the group convened, and then they allowed up-or-down votes on proposals from Paul supporters during pre-convention meetings at the Marriott hotel here. ... Rand Paul nabbed a prime-time convention speaking slot on Monday night. But after Romney sewed up the nomination in April, a string of chaotic state conventions in places like Maine stoked fears that Ron Paul could wreak havoc on their planned coronation. ... The Republican National Committee hired Paul campaign press secretary Gary Howard in June as 'special projects director.' He's worked the halls this week helping his new bosses. ...
''Tampa is Paul's swan song in many ways. The 77-year-old, who retires from Congress at the end of this year, will speak Sunday at a rally being organized by his campaign at the University of South Florida Sun Dome. A big part of it will be to celebrate how much they've accomplished this cycle, even if they lost the nomination fight. Then the Texan will stick around to watch his son address the convention Monday night. ... NBC reported that there could be a video tribute to the elder Paul on Tuesday night.' http://politi.co/NpBNuh
LIGHTER CLICKS -
SHELDON ADELSON accompanied the House GOP delegation for part of its Israel trip, but he was not with the group when Kevin Yoder went skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee. Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan look at some of the ethical issues raised when AIPAC's nonprofit arm picked up the bar tab that night: http://politi.co/O8pRiE.
THE MAD MEN, how Romney's ad-makers apparently describe themselves, get profiled by Phil Rucker in the Washington Post: http://wapo.st/RihUu1.
JANNA LITTLE, the former Democratic lobbyist who became Paul Ryan's wife, took a road trip to DC as a student at Wellesley to march for women's rights. The Times' Susan Saulny and Christine Haughney look at their marriage: http://nyti.ms/NpO2qu.
ANDERSON COOPER called out DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz last night for saying in a fundraising appeal that Romney directed the RNC platform committee to include no exemptions on abortion. Watch the contentious 7-minute interview: http://bit.ly/NkY56n.
JENNIFER GARNER plays a character inspired by Michele Bachmann in a new movie called "Butter." Trailer: http://politi.co/T2RMRm.
CALLISTA GINGRICH has been posting a flurry of Instagram photos from her ongoing trip to Greece on Twitter: http://bit.ly/TYUObP.
OBAMA loves to fist-bump. A slideshow with nearly two dozen photos: http://politi.co/NkWiOB.
CODA - QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Nothing cures broken relationships like victory." - Todd Akin's media consultant, Rex Elsass, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal http://on.wsj.com/P7aQBq