When Mitt Romney got heckled in Iowa, he told the heckler, "If you don't like my answer you can go vote for somebody else." NBC News' Mark Murray and MSNBC Political Analyst Charlie Cook look at the incident.
When Mitt Romney got heckled in Iowa, he told the heckler, "If you don't like my answer you can go vote for somebody else." NBC News' Mark Murray and MSNBC Political Analyst Charlie Cook look at the incident.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today announced the three House Democratic appointees to the "Super Committee," finalizing the team of 12 senators and members of Congress charged with finding more than $1 trillion in additional savings.
Pelosi named Reps. James E. Clyburn, Xavier Becerra, and Chris Van Hollen. Clyburn and Becerra are both members of House Democratic leadership -- Clyburn is the assistant Dem leader, and Beccerra is the Democratic Caucus vice chair. Van Hollen, meanwhile, is the House Budget Committee's ranking member.
These three join Dem Sens. John Kerry (MA), Patty Murray (WA) and Max Baucus (MT). The six Republicans are Sens. Jon Kyl (AZ), Pat Toomey (PA), and Rob Portman (OH), as well as Reps. Jeb Hensarling (TX), Dave Camp (MI), and Fred Upton (MI).
AMES, IA - On the third day of his "Common Sense Solutions' bus tour, Herman Cain made three stops around Iowa yesterday, slamming the Obama administration’s handling of the economy. He also worked in theatrics, including an impromptu gospel performance at one stop.
At the campaign’s first event at a park in Clear Lake, Cain discussed the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would be keeping interest rates near zero until mid-2013.
Brandishing a handkerchief from his back pocket and waving it around his head, Cain, who once served as chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, said, “That move by the Federal Reserve was an indication to me that they are waving the white flag on Obama’s failed policies. They are not working.”
Cain told his audience of more than 100 at his second stop -- a community center in Rock Rapids -- that the economy wasn’t going to get better any time soon, and that they’d have to wait a little while longer for economic recovery. This led to an on-the-fly performance by the candidate, who began singing the gospel song, “Hold On Just a Little While Longer.”
The song concludes, “Hold on just a little while longer/Everything’s going to be all right,” after which Cain added: “When you elect me president.”
The day’s third event was a Republican barbecue in Okoboji -- held by U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), whose district contains the lakefront town. There, Cain said he’d deal with foreign aggressors the same way he handled bullies growing up Atlanta, GA.
“We didn’t tell the thugs which way we were going to come home. That didn’t make any sense.
"And if the thugs figured out which way my brother and I were going to come home, we’d have our books under our arms and our hands under our pocket,” Cain said.
“That’s how you deal with the enemy. Stop showing them your hand!”
Cain has no scheduled public events today and will spend the day preparing for the debate tonight.
Once again, the other guys (Perry and Palin) cast a shadow over the rest of the GOP field… Four storylines to watch at tonight’s debate: 1) Will anyone lay a glove on Romney?… 2) Can Pawlenty walk the walk?… 3) Can Bachmann stick to her script?… 4) Can Huntsman break through?… The debate features four other Republicans (Cain, Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum), and it begins at 9:00 pm ET from Ames, IA… Obama talks jobs in Michigan at 2:40 pm ET… And we now know nine of the 12 “Super Committee” members.
DES MOINES, IA -- For the third time this cycle, the Republicans running for president will participate in televised debate -- this time here in the Hawkeye State. But once again, the focus has turned to the Republicans who AREN’T running for president (at least not yet). In fact, this has been the story of the campaign season so far. Rick Perry will be in South Carolina and New Hampshire on Saturday, and he comes here to Iowa on Sunday. And as we reported yesterday, Sarah Palin is heading to Iowa, too, with her “One Nation” bus tour starting back on Friday (and she’s arriving in the state today). What explains how easily the non-candidates continue to gobble up interest and attention? Here’s a theory: It says a lot about Mitt Romney’s front-runner status. Yes, he’s become a stronger front-runner than we had imagined at the start of the cycle. But that other Republicans -- Perry, Palin, Christie, etc. -- still cast a large shadow over the GOP field reveals a fundamental weakness about Romney’s candidacy; Republican activists simply want to keep dating before settling on Romney.
*** Four storylines to watch at tonight’s debate: With two days until the Ames Straw Poll, with Perry likely to join the field, and with Palin now heading to Iowa, there are four storylines to watch tonight: Will anyone lay a glove on Romney? Can Pawlenty walk the walk? Can Bachmann stick to her script? And can Huntsman (it’s his first debate) break through?
*** Will anyone lay a glove on Romney? At the last debate, in New Hampshire, no one laid a glove on the apparent front-runner. And as a result, he gave as good a debate performance as we saw in all of 2007-2008 -- he focused on what he wanted to talk about (Obama and the economy) and brushed off what he wanted to dismiss (his health-care law, his flip-flops). Will he go unscathed again? Maybe not. Tonight's debate comes after his GOP opponents have increased their criticism of Romney -- his virtual silence during the debt debate, that mysterious $1 million donor to a pro-Romney PAC (who eventually came forward), and the jobs Bain Capital eliminated or relocated. And now there’s this, via a state FOIA request by Politico’s Ben Smith: “… Romney lobbied the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s in 2004 to raise his state’s credit rating in part because Massachusetts had raised taxes during an economic downturn two years earlier.” [Emphasis is ours.]
*** Can Pawlenty walk the walk? Pawlenty has talked the talk heading into the debate. ("Stick a fork in [Obama], he's done," "I'm going to defeat [Washington]," and likening Obama to a “manure spreader in a wind storm.”) But can he walk the walk? At the last debate, he failed to criticize to Romney after signaling to the media that he was going to do so. It wasn't a spine-of-steel moment, and his campaign vowed he wouldn't make the same mistake again. We'll see. No one in the GOP field has more to gain -- and lose -- in these next three days than Pawlenty.
*** Can Bachmann stick to her script? Bachmann also has plenty to gain and lose at tonight's debate. She was a sensation at the one in New Hampshire -- by simply revealing her presidential candidacy to the audience, by being a fresh face, and by sticking to her script. Now it gets more difficult, with potential questions about her experience, the federal subsidies she and her family have received, and her beliefs (see the New Yorker piece).
*** Can Huntsman break through? As it turns out, this is Huntsman's first debate of the cycle. Does he challenge Romney, as you can sense his campaign wants him to do? Or does he find himself on the defensive over his more moderate views? Or is he largely irrelevant tonight?
*** Ames-ing to please: Four other Republican presidential candidates -- Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum -- will participate at tonight’s debate, which takes place beginning at 9:00 pm ET from the CY Stephens Auditorium at Iowa State University in Ames. But don’t dismiss the desperation from some of these candidates (especially Santorum and Gingrich) tonight. Desperate candidates sometimes make for very aggressive debaters (see Dodd, Chris circa 2007).
The 2012 presidential race is heating up, with the first major test for Republican hopefuls this weekend: the Iowa straw poll. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.
*** Obama talks jobs in Michigan: Meanwhile, President Obama travels to Holland, MI today, delivering remarks there at 2:40 pm ET. The topic: jobs. “Obama is scheduled to tour a factory in Holland, Mich., that makes advanced automobile batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles for Johnson Controls,” the Washington Post says. “The administration is eager to tout the company’s recent growth, spurred in part by a $299 million federal grant. In June, Johnson Controls announced it would expand a facility in Toledo, a $6 million upgrade that could add 50 jobs. All told, the company has said its advanced battery operations could create 500 new positions.” Obama later heads to New York to attend a pair of DNC fundraisers. By the way, folks, if you are counting, we believe there is still one battery plant the president has NOT visited since taking office (it's in Ohio, so he will soon we bet).
*** Nine of the 12: Turning to Capitol Hill, we now know nine out of the 12 who will serve on the “Super Committee.” The three Senate Dems: Max Baucus, John Kerry, and Patty Murray. The three Senate GOPers: Jon Kyl, Rob Portman, and Pat Toomey. And the three House GOPers: Dave Camp, Jeb Hensarling, and Fred Upton. (Nancy Pelosi has yet to release the names of the three House Dems who will serve on the committee.) As Politico writes, “The roster is nearly set, and veteran political analysts say the picks made so far show a seriousness of purpose from Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and House, giving a glimmer of hope that there could be a breakthrough deal this year. The committee includes a balance of party leaders, ideological warriors from both poles, wheeler-dealers and a middle-America geographical ballast.” That said, Senate Dems bought themselves a little of a PR headache by appointing the head of their Senate campaign fundraising arm (Murray). It's not just the GOP campaign arms hitting Reid over Murray's appointmen,t but some good government pro-campaign finance regulation groups are doing it, too.
*** Thursday’s “Daily Rundown” line-up (live from Java Joes in Des Moines!): Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn, Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA), Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson, Bloomberg News' Al Hunt, USA Today's Jackie Kucinich, Comcast's Robert Traynham, and the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza
Countdown to Iowa GOP straw poll: 2 days
Countdown to Wisconsin recall general for Dem senators: 5 days
Countdown to NV-2 and NY-9 special elections: 33 days
Countdown to Election Day 2011: 89 days
Countdown to the Iowa caucuses: 179 days
* Note: When the IA caucuses take place depends on whether other states move up
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“Michele Bachmann is the Republican to beat among the eight candidates who will appear on an Iowa stage for tonight’s nationally televised debate, according to campaign strategists and Iowa politics watchers,” the Des Moines Register writes. Tim Pawlenty has the most to lose, while Mitt Romney just needs to cruise through without a mistake, they said.”
The Hill: “For GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, the debate is about showing voters in Iowa he isn't ignoring the state. For Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), it's a chance to build momentum ahead of Saturday's contest, a crucial stepping stone to a January win in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. And for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, it might just be a chance to stay in the race."
Politico: “Forget about the pledges of civility and the widespread reluctance to engage in explicit personal attacks. The polite phase of the 2012 campaign is about to come to an end. When eight Republicans face off in the first Iowa debate Thursday night, almost all of them will be feeling pressure to get noticed — and get tougher.”
USA Today: “Hanging over the heads of all candidates is the impending candidacy of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who will appear at two events in New Hampshire and South Carolina on Saturday and arrive in Iowa on Sunday.”
BACHMANN: “Rather than rallying the crowd with the social or religious causes she is well known for, the Minnesota Republican focuses on her longtime opposition to raising the debt ceiling,” the Boston Globe writes from Iowa. More: “Efforts to denounce any hike in the debt ceiling are sure to dominate a nationally televised debate tonight, the well-known Ames straw poll Saturday, and, in between, a parade of candidate speeches at the Iowa State Fair. After weeks of debate in the rarefied halls of the Capitol, the issue will get a full airing in the heartland. Iowa is the only state whose entire congressional delegation - three Republicans, four Democrats - voted against the debt ceiling deal.”
Roll Call delves into Bachmann’s state Senate days: “When Rep. Michele Bachmann arrived in the Minnesota state Senate a decade ago, some of her colleagues quickly labeled her a conspiracy theorist. When she spoke on the Senate floor or in committee meetings, they mockingly rolled their pointer fingers in the air to symbolize black helicopters.”
GINGRICH: On FOX yesterday, Gingrich discussed tonight’s GOP debate, per NBC’s Matt Loffman: I'm going to focus what America needs to get done. I'm not going to focus on President Obama. I think everybody understands he's failing. The question is what will succeed. This isn't just partisan politics. It isn't just name-calling. The question is what is each candidate solution at a time when America's economy is in danger and desperate trouble. And I think we need to have a real focus on how we would lead, what we would propose, and how we would get things done in a positive way.”
NBC’s Alex Moe adds that Gingrich and his family participated in the Iowa State Fair Parade in downtown Des Moines last night. Gingrich walked with the Polk Co. GOP as crowds of people lined Grand Street. He waved to onlookers and stopped to shake a few hands. Moe believes that Gingrich was the only presidential candidate who participated in the parade.
PALIN: What else is new? “A State Fair spokeswoman said no one from Palin’s staff has contacted the fair,” the Des Moines Register’s Jacobs writes.
The Hill writes that Palin’s “trip could undercut attention for Saturday’s straw poll, in which such GOP candidates as Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are hoping to gain momentum.”
PAUL: NBC’s Anthony Terrell reports that Sen. Rand Paul joined his father, presidential candidate Ron Paul, at four campaign stops in Iowa yesterday -- Mason City, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines -- in an effort to fire up supporters to show up and vote in Ames. In each event, Sen. Paul introduced his dad and participated in question and answer sessions. After previewing his father’s predictions about the housing bubble and the bailout of Wall Street in Waterloo, Senator Paul says his dad’s campaign slogan should be “Ron Paul was right.”
During his final stop in Des Moines, Sen. Paul challenged Mitt Romney to a family baseball game in Ames on Saturday, Terrell adds. “We have a challenge for the Romney family. We have five kids in our family and 30 some odd grandkids. We have a baseball bat and a plastic ball and we challenge them on the lawn at Ames on Saturday to a baseball game.” (One problem with the challenge: Romney won’t be in Iowa on Saturday; he heads to New Hampshire on Friday.)
PAWLENTY: After again using tough talk in a run up to a debate, Pawlenty looks like he might back away. This week, he has said he was going to “bring the hammer down,” and even likened President Obama to a “manure spreader in a windstorm.” But don’t expect that tough talk at the debate tonight, according to his campaign manager. NBC’s Andrew Rafferty reports: Nick Ayers said because of all the campaign stops, they've had little time for debate prep, and it’s one reason to expect the same calm candidate from the South Carolina and New Hampshire debates. And another reason not to expect fireworks out of the governor -- it's not his style. The campaign wants Pawlenty to be himself and not stray outside his comfort zone, Ayers said. They don't feel any soundbite, in particular, will pay off in the long run.
PERRY: Per NBC’s Ali Weinberg, Iowa GOP Congressman Steve King told NBC News yesterday he thinks it “would have been better” for Rick Perry to participate in the Ames straw poll, if he wants to run for president and win the Iowa caucus. “I think if he wants to compete well in Iowa in the caucus, it would have been better for him to either show up here in the Straw Poll or pick another day to make his announcement,” King said.
College football fans have a reason to pay attention to Rick Perry too now. He's commented publicly on the possibility of his alma mater, Texas A&M, moving to the SEC.
ROMNEY: “Mitt Romney announced today that he’ll win Iowa in November 2012, if he’s the GOP nominee. An amazing statement, given that he’s making only his fourth campaign trip to Iowa this year,” the Des Moines Register’s Obradovich writes, before adding, “He didn’t predict that he’ll win the caucuses, which was wise. His comments suggest he’ll be spending more time in the caucus state this fall. But he can’t just come back for debates. Even today’s event in Pella was far too sterile — invited participants talking in front of an audience made up entirely of media.”
GOP 12: “Mitt Romney tells Sean Hannity why he's not competing in Saturday's straw poll in Ames, Iowa.” Romney said, "I want to use my financial resources and my time, this time, to actually get delegates -- not just straw polls that are nice but don't get you delegates. So I'm not going to participate in straw polls anywhere in the country.... straw polls -- I've been there, had that experience, learned from it, and we're going to start to get the nomination, this time."
The Statesman's Jason Embry notices a familiar name in Texas circles on a Romney fundraising invitation.
Another volatile day on the stock market: “Wall Street endured another anxious session of extreme swings yesterday as investors sent stocks plummeting for the third time in a week, prompted by fears that another major European country would succumb to its debt problems,” the Boston Globe writes. “The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 519.83 points, or 4.62 percent, erasing all the gains investors had recorded a day earlier and adding further evidence that markets are so tightly wound about the poor condition of global economies that the slightest hint of trouble will set off another wave of panic selling.”
“The rate of consumer spending - which drives about two-thirds of economic activity - fell sharply in the second quarter, according to a recent report from the Commerce Department,” the Boston Globe adds. “Weak consumer spending underlies what has been a lackluster and now slowing recovery. Should consumers continue to pull back, it could push the nation into a deeper slump.”
Obama told the publication “Latina”: “The situation we are going through is not simply a matter of people knowing that their president is concerned, because obviously for the last two and a half years all we have been working on is how we can rebuild this economy from the worst recession since the Great Depression… The challenges we have had is that over the last couple of months, Congress and Republicans in the House of Representatives in particular play brinkmanship with respect to the debt ceiling. That has shaken a lot of confidence so that’s some repair work that needs to be done.”
A Washington Post poll finds that Americans are mad as hell as Washington and won’t take it anymore. “Nearly three-quarters of Americans polled said they have little or no confidence in Washington to repair the economy... Nearly eight in 10 of Americans polled were dissatisfied with the way the political system is working, up dramatically from late 2009. The unhappiness is intense, with 45 percent saying they are very dissatisfied."
Meanwhile, a Reuters/Ipsos poll finds 73% who think the country is headed in the wrong direction, and 45% approving of Obama’s job. Also, “Republicans appear to be suffering the most from the last-minute debt deal last week… The survey found 49 percent of Americans held a negative view of Republicans after the deal was reached, and 42 percent held a negative opinion of the conservative Tea Party movement… By contrast, 40 percent of those polled saw Democrats in a negative light.”
“Rep. Pete King knocked President Obama over reports he green-lighted unprecedented access of the Navy SEALs crew who killed Osama bin Laden to Hollywood filmmakers,” the New York Daily News writes. “Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, who made 2008's Iraq war drama ‘The Hurt Locker,’ are behind the planned picture of the risky May raid. The movie is scheduled for release on Oct. 12, 2012, less than a month before next year's general election - an October surprise blown this week by the New York Times.”
“Liberals are borrowing a tactic from the tea parties to get the nation’s attention back on jobs,” Roll Call writes. “A broad coalition of advocacy groups including MoveOn.org Civic Action, the Sierra Club, CodePink and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force launched the “Contract for the American Dream” on Wednesday. The 10-point document advocates investment in public education and jobs, expansion of Medicare, taxes on Wall Street trades and an end to the wars. It mimics a tea party ‘Contract From America’ launched last year, which called for a reduction in taxes, a balanced budget and reduced federal spending.”
Politico writes on the “Super Committee”: “The roster is nearly set, and veteran political analysts say the picks made so far show a seriousness of purpose from Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and House, giving a glimmer of hope that there could be a breakthrough deal this year. The committee includes a balance of party leaders, ideological warriors from both poles, wheeler-dealers and a middle-America geographical ballast.”
“Sen. John Kerry’s appointment to the debt-reduction supercommittee is his big moment to shine as a dealmaker and silence critics who have questioned his modest record of legislative accomplishments,” The Hill writes. “Kerry’s big opportunity, however, is troubling to some liberal leaders and labor union officials who worry that the senior Democrat from Massachusetts might be too eager to strike a grand bargain.”
ANAMOSA, CEDAR RAPIDS, HIAWATHA, Iowa, and WASHINGTON -- Rick Santorum today finally wrapped up his 50-city tour de Iowa.
He continued to press anti-gay views, saying that calling same-sex marriage a marriage would be like calling a cup of tea a basketball.
He repeatedly quoted a study that families do better in heterosexual marriages. Though that study actually uses the phrase "nuclear" family, which can include same-sex couples.
Three supporters of same-sex marriage stood with posters next to the National Organization of Marriage bus, including Alice McCabe and her husband, who have a daughter and daughter-in-law with a daughter in Minneapolis. The National Organization of Marriage has asked Republican presidential candidates to sign an anti-gay marriage pledge.
On sex columnist Dan Savage's threat to mess with search results for Santorum's first name -- having already done so with his surname, Santorum called it “disgusting.”
"It doesn't deserve any kind of recognition,” he said. “This is the kind of disgusting discourse in our society that coarsens our society and doesn't add value. Because we have a society now with the Internet that anybody on the extreme fringe can post things and be heard, it doesn't mean that should be paid attention to."
At another stop, Santorum, got in a dig at Iowa frontrunner Michele Bachmann.
"Several candidates are members of Congress, never even won statewide,” he said. “If you look at those four folks, three of them on stage represent the most Republican districts in their state. And two of the three have a hard time winning that district."
Santorum, by contrast, was a senator from Pennsylvania, a Democratic-leaning state. But he lost reelection badly in 2006 by 18 percentage points to Bob Casey.
In Cedar Rapids, he said the reason Texas Gov. Rick Perry is considering a bid is because no one has “caught fire” yet. And then tried to make the case for his candidacy.
“What it shows is that the favorites of race, folks who have been getting the most attention in this race have not caught fire,” Santorum said. “People in the Republican Party are looking for somebody different. We hope to give them that a little view of what's a little different in the Ames Straw Poll by exceeding expectations and doing better and getting a little notoriety with this event, so I welcome Gov. Perry.
“We have some differences. I respect those differences, as I do with other candidates in the race, but he'll bring another perspective, which I'm looking forward to debating.”
Elsewhere, Santorum Highlighted the stakes of the straw poll. "We need a good bump from there,” he said. “We really do need a good bump."
After all this campaigning, a poor showing would likely doom his campaign.
Finally in Anamosa, the myriad of stops seemed to take a toll on Santorum, who was popping throat lozenges while speaking to 38 voters at the Lawrence Community Center.
His campaign told NBC News, in fact, Santorum has laryngitis – not good news for a candidate struggling to make a dent in the polls and hoping to get noticed at tomorrow night’s nationally broadcast debate just two days before Ames.
Despite the throat issue, he took questions here for more than an hour, hitting familiar GOP applause lines on health care and spending. But the candidate acknowledged the laryngitis could be a hurdle.
"I'm a little worried about tomorrow night,” Santorum told NBC News.
Just when we thought she was out, she keeps pulling us back in.
Sarah Palin has announced that her "One Nation" bus tour is getting started back up this week -- in Iowa, of all places -- as the declared Republican presidential candidates are set to debate in the Hawkeye State and compete in the Ames Straw Poll.
In an email, Palin writes:
We are very happy to jump back on the bus for another leg of our "One Nation Tour"! We accept with gratefulness an invitation to meet folks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this week. The heartland is perfect territory for more of the One Nation Tour as we put forth efforts to revitalize the fundamental restoration of America by highlighting our nation's heart, history, and founding principles.
And according to the email, it appears that Palin is hoping to step on President Obama's swing through Iowa next week, rather than on the GOP candidates who have been campaigning throughout the state.
Unlike next week's Obama Bus Tour, taxpayers aren't funding our tour, which is why we so appreciate your support in allowing us to be out there on the open road to visit with you to highlight small towns, big-hearted people, and the important role they play in our most exceptional nation.
Palin's announcement also comes with this video -- which cites her 2008 convention speech:
Long ago a young farmer and a haberdasher from Missouri, he followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency and a writer observed we grow good people in our small towns with honesty and sincerity and dignity and I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind. I grew up with those people. They're the ones who do some of the hardest work in America - who grow our food and run our factories and fight our wars. They love their country in good times and bad and they're always proud of America.
By NBC's Garrett Haake
PELLA, Iowa -- After an hour spent discussing business and economic issues with a group of business leaders at a roundtable event, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made news by talking about two other prominent leaders: President Obama and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Asked about Perry's economic record in Texas, Romney called Perry a "fine governor" and said his record "speaks for itself." Romney added he didn't doubt that we would hear much more about Perry's qualifications in the coming weeks as he Perry appears prepared to jump into the presidential race.
But Romney said it is his private sector experience and economic expertise that separates him from Perry and gives the former governor the qualifications to be president. "I think I'm the right guy to be the Republican nominee for President," Romney said. "In part because I spent 25 years in the private sector and I know how the economy works. I've had the occasion to lead four different enterprises successfully. I've also had the experience of working in government and helping lead a state and those experiences I think qualify me to get this economy going again. Those people who think the economy really is essential in providing a future for our families and preserving our values, then I think they're going to look to me as someone who can understand how the economy works and can get it back on track."
While fielding several questions about Perry, Romney stayed true to to his strategy of saving his strongest criticism for the president. He opened his media availability by criticizing the Obama's upcoming bus tour harshly and by making a prediction: Barack Obama will not win Iowa in 2012.
In response to a question from NBC news about what he would be doing about the economic fluctuations of later if he were, Romney responded "Well I sure as heck wouldn't be on a bus tour. I'm not President now, but I'd like to be," he continued. "I tried to be, but I can assure you that the President ought to be devoting his energy and passion and time to our economy and to the fact that we have men and women in harms way. that should be the focus and energy of his presidency."
By NBC's Carrie Dann
A new poll from Marist-McClatchy appears to support an argument made by opponents of Texas Gov. Rick Perry: "Sure, he can win the nomination, but he can't beat Obama."
The new poll shows that Republicans and Republican-leaning voters put Perry in second place for the GOP nomination, trailing Romney by just three points. In the survey, 21 percent of voters said they would support Romney compared to 18 percent for Perry. Sarah Palin
and Rudy Giuliani both polls in double digits, Rudy Giuliani comes in at 9 percent, and Rep. Michele Bachmann is in fifth at 8 percent.
But when matched up against Obama, the Texas governor does not fair as well as his potential rivals in a general election scenario. The poll's respondents of registered voters favored the president to win re-election over possible challenger Mitt Romney by 5 points, 46 to 41 percent.
But Perry trails Obama by almost 20 points in a hypothetical matchup, 52 to 33 percent (Independents in the matchup broke for Obama over Perry 49 to 30 percent).
That margin is slightly WORSE than Rep. Michele Bachmann's in an imagined general election and is more closely mirrored by the margin faced by former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin against Obama if she chose to run. See the full results.
By msnbc.com's Tom Curry
SEATTLE -- At a press conference here Wednesday, the new co-chair of the Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, four-term Democratic Sen. Patty Murray urged the public and news media to "give us a little time and space and not try to pigeonhole each and every one of us" into ideological categories.
"There's a lot of disagreement in this country about what exactly we need to get done. There will be a lot of people who will try to divide us" before the members have even started their work, she said. Her job, she said, was "to bridge that divide."
She said she could do her job as committee co-chair as well as all her other jobs. Most noteworthy of those: chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee -- the fundraising & candidate recruiting arm of her party. "Multitasking is something every mom knows how to do," she said in response to a reporter's question.
Echoing President Obama, she said she'd pursue "a balanced approach" which implied both changes in entitlement programs and increases in tax revenues but she didn't even hint at any specific measures she might favor.
True to her traditional concern for those depending on entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, she made a point of saying she'd keep in mind "those who have been hurt the most" in the financial crisis and recession, "working families and our seniors. They're feeling especially vulnerable today."
And as she has before she said, "everyone in this country understands we have a fiscal deficit; they also understand we have a jobs deficit."
Murray passed when asked for her assessment of the Republican members of the committee.
By NBC's Scott Foster
Later this month President Obama will vacation with his family in Martha's Vineyard, the White House announced today, but spokesman Jay Carney asserted the time away from Washington won't allow for much a of a break from the ongoing economic crisis.
"The Presidency travels with you," Carney told reporters in the daily briefing. "He will be in constant communication and get regular briefings from his national security team, as well as his economic team."
Following last weekend's credit downgrade and three days of record volatility in U.S. and international markets some had speculated the President might call Congress back from their own month long recess.
Given the fragile economy, reporters today questioned the President's own plans for some time off.
Carney responded that the President is focused everyday on dealing with the economy, talking with his advisors, the business community and international leaders.
Still the President’s spokesman said, "I don't think Americans out there would begrudge that notion that the president would spend some time with his family."
And Carney sought to remind reporters that breaking news requiring the commander-in-chief's immediate attention often disrupt presidential vacations.
"I think, as anyone who's covered it in the past, either in this administration or others, there's no such thing as a presidential vacation,” he said.
Two years ago while in Martha's Vineyard the President announced he was keeping Ben Bernanke on as Fed Chairman just before bleak news broke about the nation's deficit. And during that same year the President curtailed his vacation to deliver the eulogy at Senator Ted Kennedy's funeral.
Later that year while in Hawaii for Christmas vacation the President and his team had a major national security scare after an Al Qaeda operative hid explosives in his underwear and attempted to blow up a jetliner bound for Detroit.
This time Carney acknowledged that with all eyes focused on a shaky global economy, the President’s time on Martha’s Vineyard could always be cut short.
"He will, of course, be fully capable if necessary of traveling back if that were required. It's not very far," Carney said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner have made their selections to the so-called Super Committee which will be tasked with finding over $1 trillion more in savings in exchange for another raise in the nation's debt ceiling. The committee was a key part of the budget deal struck by Congress and the president last week.
McConnell named Sens. Jon Kyl (AZ), Pat Toomey (PA) and Rob Portman (OH) while Boehner tapped Reps. Jeb Hensnarling (TX), Dave Camp (MI) and Fred Upton (MI).
They join three Democratic Senators announced yesterday by Majority Leader Harry Reid: John Kerry (MA), Patty Murray (WA) and Max Baucus (MT). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will name the final three members of the committee.
Appearing on MSNBC this morning prior to the GOP announcements, former Sen. Alan Simpson, who co-chaired the commission on fiscal responsibility formed by President Obama last year, voiced concern over the direction of the appointments. Watch:
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made his picks for the bipartisan super committee tasked with finding at least $1.8 trillion in deficit cuts by November. Reid's picks have gotten heat from the RNC chairman as well as from former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo.
By NBC's Jo Ling Kent
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Rick Santorum took an unusual diversion from his stump speech on the campaign trail here on Tuesday as he paused for a moment to get "metaphysical" with voters about his opposition to same-sex marriage.
After ticking off his usual talking points on the issue -- the importance of family, morality and religion -- Santorum paused in search of a prop within reach to drive his position home. Pointing to a brown paper napkin on a nearby table, Santorum told voters in nearby Iowa Falls that calling gay marriage a marriage is like calling a napkin a paper towel.
"This is a napkin. I can call this napkin a paper towel, but it is a napkin," Santorum declared at the local Hy-Vee grocery store.
"You can it whatever you want but it doesn't change the character of what it is to the metaphysical," he continued. "Now we can call it marriage but doesn't make it marriage," Santorum concluded, shaking the napkin in mid-air.
Santorum's metaphors go beyond paper products. The former senator has also used a water versus beer analogy to make his point. In a video from the Des Moines Register posted on C-SPAN today, Santorum said marriage is like a glass of water, not beer.
"It's like saying this glass of water is a glass of beer. Well, you can call it a glass of beer, but it's not a glass of beer. It's a glass of water. And water is what water is. Marriage is what marriage is," said Santorum , who defines it as a union between a man and woman.
In another appearance Tuesday, Santorum delivered a more muddled message on the issue, reports NBC's Alex Moe. First he told voters, "We can't have 50 marriage laws in this country...it's not equal treatment under the law." But moments later, he said he would not seek to tell states what to do despite his opinion: "I'm against gay marriage but you know I'm not going to tell the states what to do."
DES MOINES -- Mitt Romney this afternoon will once again campaign in the state where his presidential ambitions first began to unravel back in 2008.
The former Massachusetts governor will make two campaign stops in Iowa, hosting a business group roundtable in Pella, and attending a Polk County Republican fundraiser in Des Moines.
This is only Romney's second trip to the Hawkeye state this year. While his name will appear on Saturday's straw poll ballot, he is not actively organizing a presence there, and will be in New Hampshire when the straw poll ballots are cast.
A light footprint in Iowa marks a significant departure from Romney's 2008 strategy. In that campaign, he poured in $10 million and of much of his time into barnstorming across Iowa building support and name recognition. Romney won the straw poll in 2007, and touted Iowa’s importance.
“If I’m lucky enough to be the nominee, you’ve got to win the purple states,” the former Massachusetts governor said in his straw poll victory speech. He ultimately lost the state to a surging Mike Huckabee.
Entering the fall campaign as the prohibitive front runner this time around, Romney's supporters say he is free now to pursue a different Iowa strategy.
"The first time we spent a lot of money on the straw poll because you have to; it’s a test of organization and strength, and to build name recognition for someone who came into Iowa with a 2% or 3% name ID," explained Iowa State Representative Renee Schulte, who was a county organizer for the Romney campaign in 2008, and is now a state co-chair for his campaign. "Now everyone knows him. This year, it would not make sense to use your resources on name recognition and name ID and the early television and all those things for a straw poll because his name ID is already high, and people already have respect for him. "
The campaign hopes that familiarity, and the former CEO's relentless focus on the economy, rather than social issues, will eventually be able to win over Iowa's famously socially conservative voters, particularly in the state's center and West -- Huckabee country in 2008.
"On jobs and economy, it’s your bread and butter; it’s your foundation," Schulte said. "If you don’t have a job, and you can’t feed your family and provide the things that you need then the other issues become secondary very quickly."
Despite the candidate's relative scarcity here, the message may be working. Romney's poll numbers in Iowa remain strong. Michele Bachmann leads in most Iowa polls, but Romney hangs around in second place – albeit in the 20s. There’s no telling exactly how a Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) candidacy would change the dynamic. Perry would likely become Bachmann’s chief rival to be the Anti-Romney. If Bachmann and Perry split the conservative vote in Iowa that would bolster Romney’s chances.
Following Thursday night's debate in Ames, Romney will fly once more to New Hampshire, the state where he has done the bulk of his retail campaigning this cycle, for an open house event on Friday. His campaign, which has stayed mostly below the radar, has pledged that the governor will return to Iowa more in the coming months, but Schulte says don't expect anything quite like 2008's campaign blitzkrieg.
"He’s running the campaign differently." Schulte said. "That’s what I would expect of him, since once of his special talents is turning around businesses and companies and things that didn’t work and making them into viable companies. When you run a campaign the first time, and it doesn’t get you where you want to go in the end, it doesn’t make sense to do the same thing twice."
NBC's Domenico Montanaro reports on the increased number of pledges that Republican presidential candidates are being asked to sign in this campaign. One pledge stands apart, a no-new-taxes pledge, whose creator has influenced day-to-day legislation and is vowing to fight any effort to get find revenue in the new congressional supercommittee charged with closing the national debt.
Perry’s contrast with Obama… GOP primary race could turn into a battle between its most electable candidate (Romney) and its sharpest contrast with Obama (Perry)… White House agrees on the diagnosis, but is split on the prescription… Reid names his three to the Super Committee… Over to you, Mitch McConnell… GOP congressman: Impeach Obama to “tie things up”… Republicans retain control of Wisconsin state Senate… Bachmann vs. Pawlenty… Dem group runs pro-health care ad in Iowa… And Huntsman gets endorsement from Jeb Bush Jr.
*** Perry’s contrast: In recent history, American voters have tended to opt for a sharp contrast when voting out a party from the White House. The charming Southerner Bill Clinton replaced the patrician George H.W. Bush. Swing voters picked the devout, born-again Christian George W. Bush after the Clinton sex scandals. And, despite the grief he's recently received from some progressives, the compromising and mediating Obama has always been a contrast from the you're-with-us-or-against-us Bush. Given this history, it's worth asking: Is front-runner Mitt Romney -- who once supported abortion rights and signed Massachusetts' health reform into law -- the sharpest contrast to Obama? Or is it Rick Perry?
*** The anti-Obama: Indeed, out of everyone in the likely GOP field, Perry appears to be the anti-Obama in many ways. Unlike the deliberate incumbent, Perry has used his powers aggressively through his appointments (some opponents even call it political revenge) While the current president has talked about unity and bipartisanship, Perry once (jokingly?) suggested secession. While Obama was an Ivy League star and head of the Harvard Law Review, Perry was a C- and D-student from Texas A&M. And while the nation’s unemployment rate stands at 9.1%, Perry can point to Texas’ better 8.2%. This is what makes a potential Romney-vs.-Perry primary showdown captivating: If Romney, on paper, is the Republican Party’s strongest general-election candidate, then Perry represents its sharpest contrast with Obama. And chew on this: The more vulnerable Obama looks, GOP voters might be more concerned with ideological purity and likeability than electability. Think heart over head.
*** Agreement on the diagnosis; split on the prescription: Over at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Team Obama probably breathed a sigh of relief -- and may have even uttered a little, “I told you so” -- after yesterday’s 400-plus gain in the Dow. But here’s what we can report: Everyone in and around the White House agrees with the diagnosis that there’s a perception (fair or unfair) that Obama appears to not be running Washington. But they’re split on the prescription (does he call Congress back?), as well as on the seriousness of the problem (Is this just an August swoon, or is it something bigger?). As we’ve said before, the White House feels like they’re being defined and boxed in by emergency after emergency.. But at some point, you have to make your own luck, right?
*** Reid names his three: Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released his three picks to serve on the 12-member bipartisan Super Committee to tackle entitlement and tax reform. The three are real veteran senators who have been around a while: Sens. Max Baucus, John Kerry, and Patty Murray. The wild card here is Baucus; you have two reliable party members (Kerry and Murray) and one who isn’t (Baucus). Do Republicans follow that precedent? By the way, the RNC cried foul over Reid’s selection of Murray, arguing that a DSCC chair shouldn’t be on the committee (though would anyone have blinked an eye if Mitch McConnell picked John Cornyn?) “The Select Committee is no place for someone whose top priority is fundraising and politics,” RNC Chair Reince Priebus said in a statement last night. “Majority Leader Harry Reid should immediately withdraw her appointment.” And so we’re off to a promising start to disprove S&P’s opinion about America’s political system…
*** Over to you, Mitch McConnell: The question now turns to: Who will Minority Leader Mitch McConnell select? Will it be anyone open to revenue increases -- raising taxes on the rich or cutting deductions? Grover Norquist, for one, says there’s no chance. In an interview with one of us to air this morning on “Daily Rundown,” Norquist calls Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) “foolish” for saying revenue needs to be part of a deal long-term. And he deadpanned: "The one thing that committee won't do is raise taxes." Will McConnell cross Norquist?
Democrats are urging President Obama to get tough with Republicans on the economy. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.
*** GOP congressman: Impeach Obama to “tie things up”: Speaking of S&P’s critique about the brinksmanship in U.S. politics, Texas GOP Congressman Michael Burgess advocated impeaching President Obama, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. (For what high crimes and misdemeanors? Unclear.) “When one attendee [at a local Tea Party gathering] suggested that the House push for impeachment proceedings against President Obama to obstruct the president from pushing his agenda, Burgess was receptive. ‘It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up,’ Burgess said. ‘No question about that.’ When asked about the comment later, Burgess said he wasn't sure whether the proper charges to bring up articles of impeachment against Obama were there, but he didn't rule out pursuing such a course. ‘We need to tie things up,’ Burgess said. ‘The longer we allow the damage to continue unchecked, the worse things are going to be for us.’” In addition to this admission of simply wanting to obstruct the president, this episode is a reminder that Nancy Pelosi kept her “Impeach Bush” crowd locked in a virtual Area 51 while she was speaker. Boehner and Cantor haven’t… And remember, don't write off this threat by a back-bencher like Burgess; Bob Barr was laughed at when he kept threatening this against Clinton and looked at what happened.
*** Republicans retain control of Wisconsin state Senate: The good news for Democrats and organized labor in Wisconsin last night: They recalled two GOP state senators who voted for Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-collective-bargaining law. The bad news: That was one victory short of winning back the state Senate. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “By keeping a majority in the Senate, Republicans retained their monopoly on state government because they also hold the Assembly and governor's office. Tuesday's elections narrowed their majority - at least for now - from 19-14 to a razor-thin 17-16.” So Democrats and labor were able to punch back after what occurred earlier this year in the Badger State. But it wasn’t a knockout punch. To use another sports metaphor, Dems lost a close game that went into the 4th Quarter. But as Green Bay’s Vince Lombardi is credited with saying (though it was actually a former UCLA football coach) “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” A final point: With both sides motivated in Wisconsin, we have more proof that it’s a swing state in ’12.
*** Bachmann vs. Pawlenty: So it’s one day until tomorrow’s GOP debate and three days until the Ames Straw Poll. In Iowa yesterday, NBC’s Andrew Rafferty noticed a striking difference between two Pawlenty and Bachmann campaign stops, even though they spoke at the same event (a Humboldt County GOP picnic) just moments apart. The Bachmann event ended with the Minnesota congresswoman yelling, "I love you, I love you all," with music blaring and crowd of supporters and media surrounding her, Rafferty notes. As she prepared to drive off in her tour bus (parked next to the outdoor stage), a group of older voters finished their dinners and waited for Pawlenty to take to the podium inside a building adjacent to where Bachmann just spoke. He exited the stage with no music, just gracious applause and a decent crowd of supporters waiting to shake hands, but nowhere near the Bachmann contingent.
*** TV ad touts health-care law: In advance of the debate and straw poll, the Democratic group Know Your Care, which is focused on health care, is up with a TV ad (five-figure buy in the Ames market airing from today through Sunday) touting the federal health-care law. “There’s plenty to worry about when you own a small business," a man says in the ad. "Paying for things like health insurance, really start to add up. I went to a website and found out that we were eligible for a pretty big tax credit. We filed our taxes and got a check in the mail, pretty easy. Because of this health care law, now we have almost all of our employees covered."
*** Huntsman gets an endorsement from Jeb Bush! (Jr.): Yesterday, a Huntsman campaign advisory teased that Huntsman would make a "major announcement" at an event in Florida at 11:15 am ET today. That announcement: Huntsman will receive an endorsement from Jeb Bush Jr. -- the former Florida governor's son.
*** On the 2012 trail: Almost all the candidates are in Iowa today: Bachmann, Cain, Pawlenty, Paul, Romney, and Santorum… Huntsman, as mentioned above, is in Florida… And Perry is in San Antonio, where he addresses the National Conference of State Legislators.
*** Wednesday’s “Daily Rundown” line-up: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) on education, 2012, Iowa and more… NBC campaign reporters Jamie Novogrod (covering Bachmann) and Andrew Rafferty (covering Pawlenty) live from the Iowa campaign trail… Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza on 10 key 2012 battlegrounds… One of us (!!!) on the power of campaign pledges in the GOP presidential primary… Economic expectations and Ames Straw Poll predictions with Roll Call’s Christina Bellantoni, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin and former Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL).
Countdown to Iowa GOP straw poll: 3 days
Countdown to Wisconsin recall general for Dem senators: 6 days
Countdown to NV-2 and NY-9 special elections: 34 days
Countdown to Election Day 2011: 90 days
Countdown to the Iowa caucuses: 180 days
* Note: When the IA caucuses take place depends on whether other states move up
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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s front-page headline: “Republicans take 4 of 6 in recall elections, hold Senate.”
The Wisconsin State Journal: “GOP holds on to Senate, but Walker recall hopes still strong, opponents say.”
“Outraged Democrats came up just a hair short in their quest for Wisconsin revenge,” the New York Daily News writes.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid selected Sens. John Kerry, Patty Murray, and Max Baucus to serve on the joint committee tasked with finding another $1.5 trillion in cuts or revenue. (Here are quick bios of them.)
The RNC attacked the selection of Murray, who also serves as the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the committee responsible for trying to elect Democratic senators. “Harry Reid’s appointment of Patty Murray to Co-Chair the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is absolute proof that Democrats are not serious about deficit reduction,” RNC Chair Reince Priebus said in a written statement. “As Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Murray is the Senate Democrats’ fundraiser-in-chief. The Select Committee is no place for someone whose top priority is fundraising and politics. Majority Leader Harry Reid should immediately withdraw her appointment.”
Roll Call: “House Republicans’ panel picks might prove the most important. Several attempts at reaching a ‘grand bargain’ on the deficit have blown up over the House GOP’s consistent opposition to tax increases. Reid last week warned that the committee would not produce a bill unless Republicans agreed to increase revenue.”
“After watching a two-week shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, transportation advocates and congressional staffers are concerned that the federal gas tax could become the next confrontational issue that Democrats and Republicans push to the brink,” The Hill writes.
Grover Norquist told First Read the gas tax is “part of the next fight.”
“House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blamed President Obama and the Democrats Tuesday for the recent downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, saying that if Democrats had joined with Republicans in passing the GOP budget, which the House passed in April, ‘it's unlikely anyone would be talking about the United States being downgraded today,’” The Hill reports. “In a conference call with House Republicans, the Speaker told colleagues that the Standard & Poor's downgrade on Friday was not a surprise, since Republicans ‘have been warning (it) could happen for months.’”
(But it’s also unlikely anyone would be talking about a downgrade if the GOP hadn’t tied the debt-ceiling increase to equal spending cuts.)
“Sen. John McCain has a message for Tea Partiers furious with him for recently likening them to ‘hobbits’: He's not sorry,” the New York Daily News writes. “The Arizona Republican came under fire Monday during a town-hall meeting in his home state when angry constituents asked him to apologize for remarks that he made during the debt-limit debate last month. ‘What was wrong that I said?’ asked McCain in Gilbert, Ariz. ‘I don't know what to apologize for.’”
BACHMANN: Per NBC’s Jamie Novogrod, Bachmann will make only one campaign stop today, to a company called Competitive Edge, in Clive, Iowa. A printing and branding business, the company’s website says it offers “imprinted promotional products and custom imprinted products for all of your advertising specialty needs.” The campaign has also released the schedule for the start of next week’s tour of South Carolina. Bachmann will appear in Spartanburg ,and Greenville, S.C., on Monday.
Speaking of next week, the campaign has pulled out of a town hall event that had been planned in Windham, NH, Sunday night. The Eagle Tribune, a North Boston-area newspaper, runs a piece on the cancelation. According to the newspaper, the campaign attributes the move to travel issues, and tells local Republican Party members it will return to the Granite State after Labor Day.
The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa’s Tea Party leader, Ryan Rhodes, has endorsed Bachmann.
And the Newsweek controversy continues to provoke conversation. At Salon, liberal writer Joan Walsh writes the photo isn’t sexist, disagreeing with the National Organization for Women.
GINGRICH: GOP 12: “When asked about his viability as a candidate, Newt Gingrich points to last week's ‘Eastern Iowa Picnic and Rally to Meet the Next President.’ ‘I think of the people who have been active, if you go and look at the press reports of the Johnson County picnic Friday night -- where every single reporter from Fox News to the Des Moines Register to the local papers to MSNBC – every one of them said that with Pawlenty and two other candidates there that I clearly dominated the three of them, and I clearly was the winner of that particular event.’ The other two candidates were Rick Santorum and Thad McCotter.”
HUNTSMAN: He gets the endorsement today of Jeb Bush Jr., who writes an entry on Huntsman’s campaign blog.
PERRY: Per NBC’s Carrie Dann, the Texas Tribune digs up a 2009 interview in which Perry, talking Texas history to a group of tech bloggers in his office, jokes about secession. “When we came into the nation in 1845, we were a republic, we were a stand-alone nation,” the governor can be heard saying. “And one of the deals was, we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.”
Perry did a fundraising letter for Citizens Against Government Waste, in which he slams government spending on Amtrak and arts programs.
Gallup finds Perry would debut in second place in the 2012 field and would boast the highest "positive intensity" score of any candidate.
Perry last night to a reporter who staked out a fundraiser he attended in Austin: “I’m back in the boots!”
Perry strategist Dave Carney talked to the Des Moines Register about accusations that the governor's suspected rollout is stepping on Iowa's straw poll: "Many of the fine folks have been in the race for months and some years and have been waging a pitched battle leading to this point. Their efforts will be rewarded Saturday in Ames."
CONNECTICUT: “Former Rep. Christopher Shays, a prominent GOP moderate who lost re-election in 2008, is preparing to enter the race for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) seat,” Roll Call reports. “A source close to Shays confirmed that the former 10-term lawmaker is in the process of hiring staff and interviewing consultants for his campaign team. The source added that Shays plans to campaign for Senate as a full-time job through the GOP primary next August.”
MASSACHUSETTS: The Boston Globe looks at Scott Brown’s reelection strategy: “Never mind that Brown has no direct control over those issues in Congress. As he gears up for reelection in 2012, amid global economic turmoil, rising fears of another recession, and record-low approval ratings for Congress, the Massachusetts Republican is emphasizing local and state concerns. It probably did not hurt that those concerns involved taxes and beer, quintessential everyman issues that could burnish his pickup-driving appeal.”
Last week, reporters who cover Texas Gov. Rick Perry were griping that the subject of their stories was holed up in meetings in Austin without making any headline-scoring public appearances.
What a difference a prayer rally makes.
With Saturday's 30,000-some-strong day of prayer and fasting now past, the event's initiator is now preparing for a three-primary state swing that will likely put to rest any remaining doubts that the Texas governor is jumping into the presidential contest.
The trip is set to begin Saturday in South Carolina, where Perry is scheduled to appear at the RedState conservative blogger convention in Charleston. Also participating in the event are South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Jim DeMint, both influential conservative lawmakers with rockstar credentials with the small-government Republican crowd.
From there, as first reported by the New Hampshire Union-Leader, Perry will attend a house party on Saturday evening in the first-in-the-nation primary state. Per an adviser, the host of the event is an New Hampshire lawmaker who met Perry in Austin and encouraged him to visit the Granite state in person.
And then it's on to Iowa on Sunday, where Perry will appear in soon-to-be rival Rep. Michele Bachmann's hometown in Waterloo, Iowa -- even speaking in the same venue that the Minnesota conservative used as her own "announcement eve" party location in June.
In a statement, Perry spokesman Mark Miner told the Des Moines Register that Waterloo (which is in Democratic-leaning Black Hawk County, Iowa) represents "an important area of the state for Republicans."
Then-presidential contender Mike Huckabee won the county by eight points in 2008. In the general election, Barack Obama beat Republican John McCain there, 61% to 38%.
So will any of these no-doubt-heavily-covered events represent a formal presidential announcement for the Texas governor?
As Team Perry frequently tells reporters trying to sniff out details on the governor's plans: Stay tuned.
*** UPDATE *** Huckabee will also perform at Pawlenty's tent, Sarah Huckabee Sanders Tweeted, as well as Santorum's.
Tim Pawlenty may have Sarah Huckabee, but Herman Cain has the man himself.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses four years ago, will appear at Cain's tent at the Ames Straw Poll Saturday, playing guitar, according to Cain's campaign. Huckabee's daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders is currently working for Pawlenty.
Huckabee's appearance, however, does not necessarily amount to an endorsement. Huckabee is also now a talk-show host on FOX, and, according to the press release, Cain will also appear on Huckabee's show the night of the straw poll.
"I am honored to have the Governor join me on stage for this historic event," Cain said in a press release. Huckabee, an avid classic rock fan, played guitar often on the trail with his band Capitol Offense.
Cain is no stranger to music himself. The man with the "deep dish" voice even cut a gospel album in the 1990s.
Here's the Cain release below:
Cain Announces Ames Entertainment
(Ames, IA)- Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain today announced the entertainment for his booth at the Ames straw poll festivities on Saturday, August 13, 2011.
Cain will join Governor Mike Huckabee at noon at the Friends of Herman Cain tent to share their musical talents with straw poll attendees.
"I am honored to have the Governor join me on stage for this historic event," Cain said. "We share many commonalities, including the deepness of our Christian faith and our love of music," Cain said. "I am humbled by his graciousness to share his musical gifts with me and I hope Iowa voters will enjoy the show."
Both Cain and Governor Huckabee are supporters of the Fair Tax and both are Baptist ministers. Cain appeared on "Huckabee" on Saturday, May 28, 2011 on the FOX News Channel. He will appear on "Huckabee" again following the straw poll Saturday.
Straw poll goers will also enjoy fresh slices of pizza from Godfather's Pizza. Cain served as the President and CEO of Godfather's Pizza and, after a dramatic financial turnaround of the company, led his management team in a buyout of the restaurant chain.
"Godfather's is a true American success story. With the right leadership, we were able to take the company from the brink of bankruptcy to profitability in just 14 months," Cain said. "With 116 locations in Iowa alone, Iowans have come to know and love Godfather's as an institution in the state."
"While many candidates will bring in outside entertainment and food, I have chosen to create a personal experience for straw poll goers," Cain said. "Both music and Godfather's have been essential components in the achievement of my American Dream, and I am honored to share them with thousands of friends at Ames."
Former American Idol contestant and Tea Party singer Krista Branch will also perform at the Friends of Herman Cain tent, singing her singles "I Am America," "Foreign Land," "Remember Who We Are," among others. Local Iowa bands, Kat Daddy 55 and One Way Quartet will also perform.
Cain is currently traveling 1,800 miles across the state of Iowa on his "Common Sense Solutions" bus tour leading up to the FOX News debate and straw poll in Ames.
Thirty-one million dollars.
That's the amount of money that has been spent so far on the recall elections in Wisconsin, according to MAPlight.org. In fact, five of the nine recall races have already exceeded the previous record of $3 million spent on a legislative race in the state. Six of the nine recall races take place tonight.
“There’s a great deal of interest in these elections, we are seeing lots of money from within Wisconsin and out of state, “said Reid Magney, the spokesman for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.
But Magney adds that not all the money is being reported -- some outside groups like Americans for Prosperity and Citizens for a Stronger America don't have to document the money they are raising since they are registered 501(c)(4) groups with the IRS.
By the way, that $31 million figure is only going to get bigger: Finance numbers for the two recall elections set for Aug. 16 are expected to be released by the accountability board at midnight tonight.