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· Wal-Mart heir funding Obama big time – Can we stop pretending that Barack Obama’s candidacy is some grass-roots uprising?
Obama’s campaign has outspent Romney’s campaign. The Democratic National Committee has outspent the Republican National Committee. While Romney’s SuperPAC (Restore our Future), has outspent Obama’s SuperPAC (Priorities USA), that $40 million Romney SuperPAC edge doesn’t come close to making up for the Obama campaign’s $180 million edge.
There is legally undisclosed spending going on here, and there’s reason to believe Romney benefits from more of it than Obama, but that’s not conclusive, and we don’t know how big Romney’s edge is in that category.
Obama argues that his fundraising success comes from small donors, but that’s not really true. One out of every five Obama dollars comes from the campaign’s biggest bundlers, the Center for Pubic Integrity reports. Those bundlers include the likes of Pfizer lobbying chief Sally Susman and financier Michael Kempner of the MWW group.
A full 85 percent of Obama’s SuperPAC money comes from his 20 largest donors (compared to 70 percent of the money raised by Romney’s SuperPAC), according to Russ Choma at the Center for Responsive Politics.
My favorite detail, though, is this Washington Times report by data hound Luke Rosiak: Wal-Mart Chairman Sam Walton has apparently given big to Obama’s SuperPAC.
This is at first surprising for a couple of reasons. First, the Waltons tend to be Republican. Second, the conventional wisdom is that megacorps like Wal-Mart are a Republican thing.
But Sam Walton gave the maximum $30,800 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008, and $40,000 to the OVF this election.
Policy-wise, there’s plenty of reason for Sam Walton to like Barack Obama:
Wal-Mart endorsed the employer mandate in ObamaCare, which gives Wal-Mart an advantage by crushing smaller competitors.
Wal-Mart has profited from Dodd-Frank, which fixes the price Wal-Mart has to pay banks for processing debit cards.
Wal-Mart has lobbied for and profits from higher minimum wage.
Wal-Mart is a top beneficiary of eminent domain takings, a government power protected by the types of judges Obama appoints.
Big Business generally benefits from Big Government. Story Continued:
More crop artists have been at work in Iowa. This declaration of presidential preference is on Jim and Nancy Pellett’s land and is visible from Interstate 80 eastbound near Atlantic. Mitt Romney supporter Jim Kurtenbach of Nevada went up in a small plane with photographer Charlie Lloyd, another Romney backer, to snap photos. The word “Romney” in the top left corner of the photo can be seen from eastbound lanes on I-80. Story Continued:
A Florida man is facing a misdemeanor charge after he went to a Democratic Party headquarters and threw a penny at workers there, claiming that the change was “all he has left after being taxed by Obama,” cops report.
The protest Friday evening ended with the arrest of Gary Root, a 71-year-old Naples man (and registered Republican). Root, seen in the adjacent mug shot, was charged with trespassing at the Collier County office where he offered his impromptu donation.
According to a Collier County Sheriff’s Office report, Root explained to deputies that he “tossed in a penny as a contribution as that’s all he has left after being taxed by Obama.”
Root, who bonded out of jail yesterday after posting $1000 bond, had received a trespass warning in mid-May following an incident at the same Naples club. Two Democratic workers there described Root as an “ongoing problem.”
The campaign police blotter also includes the bust of a man, 63, who allegedly went on an anti-Obama graffiti spree in New York’s tony East Hampton, and the defacement (“Muslim Lier”) of a large banner at the Des Moines headquarters of the president’s reelection effort. Story Continued:
· OBAMA, ROMNEY PUMPED FOR DASH TO THE FINISH – With just two weeks until Election Day, President Barack Obama on Tuesday began a cross-country rush to hold onto office in tough economic times with a new booklet outlining his second-term agenda and a closing argument that the choice comes down to trust.
The president emerged from the last of his debates with Republican Mitt Romney fueled by a rush of adrenaline matched by thousands of boisterous supporters who filled the outdoor Delray Tennis Center to hear him speak. The crowd repeatedly interrupted Obama’s 22-minute speech with applause and chants of “four more years” that drowned out his remarks.
Obama, with sleeves rolled up, held up a copy of the full-color, 20-page “Blueprint for America’s Future” that his campaign planned to distribute across the country – a booklet that offered a repackaging of his ideas in response to GOP criticism that he hasn’t clearly articulated a plan for the next four years. He argued that voters want to know what a presidential candidate will fight for and said Romney isn’t offering a clear vision.
“We joke about Romnesia,” Obama said, a reference to his joke that his challenger has a habit of vacillating positions. “But you know what? This actually is something important. This is about trust. There is no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust.”
Neither side can claim the lead at this late stage with polls showing a neck-and-neck race nationally and in some of the key swing states. Obama’s challenge is to convince voters who may be hurting financially that he is better qualified to lead the country back to economic prosperity than Romney, who made a fortune as a successful businessman.
“Florida, you know me,” Obama said. “You can trust that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. And yes, we’ve been through tough times. But you’ve never seen me quit.”
Both campaigns predicted victory, trying to ward off worries among the supporters they need to get to the polls. “In two weeks, a majority of Americans will choose Gov. Romney’s positive agenda over President Obama’s increasingly desperate attacks,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams in a statement responding to the president’s Florida rally.
Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said he was confident Obama would win and that Americans soon will know who’s been bluffing in their dueling declarations of victory. “We have the ball, we have the lead,” Axelrod told reporters on a conference call.
Axelrod said the campaign was printing 3.5 million copies of his second-term agenda to reach the “small universe” of voters who haven’t made up their minds. The booklet, which they plan to distribute at events and campaign offices across the country, outlines the president’s plans to improve education, boost manufacturing jobs, enhance U.S.-made energy, reduce the federal deficit and raise taxes on the wealthy.
Romney policy director Lanhee Chen responded that Obama was trying to fool people into thinking he has new ideas when all he’s offering is more of the same plans that Chen said have been ineffective. “A glossy pamphlet two weeks before an election is no substitute for a real agenda for America. As much as President Obama might try, you can’t gloss over four years like the last four,” Chen wrote in a memo.
Obama also touted economic gains in a new 60-second television advertisement in which he speaks directly to the camera about his plans for a second term. The ad will air in the nine states whose electoral votes are still considered up for grabs – New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado. Story Continued:
· Obama Escalates ‘Romnesia’ Attack by Referencing Stage Three Cancer – President Barack Obama escalated his “Romnesia” attack against Republican Mitt Romney by referencing stage three cancer at a campaign event in Florida today:
Obama: Now, we’ve come up with a name for this condition. It’s called Romnesia. (Applause.)
Audience: Romnesia! Romnesia! Romnesia!
Obama: We had a severe outbreak last night. (Applause.) It was at least stage three Romnesia. (Laughter and applause.) And I just want to go over with you some of the symptoms, Delray, because I want to make sure nobody in the surrounding area catches it. (Laughter.) If you say that you love American cars during a debate, but you wrote an article titled, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” you might have Romnesia. (Applause.)
“Romnesia” is Obama’s phrase he uses when alleging Romney once stood for something different than what the Republican now stands for. Story Continued and to watch the video:
· Obama hammers Romney after Florida debate – The morning after Monday’s showdown—the third and final between the candidates—President Barack Obama spent a postdebate rally here accusing Mitt Romney of switching positions on foreign policy and called his ideas “wrong and reckless.”
“Last night [former Gov. Romney] was all over the map. Did you notice that?” Obama asked the crowd. “During the debate, he said he didn’t want more troops in Iraq. But he was caught on video saying it was unthinkable not to leave 20,000 troops in Iraq.”
Obama delivered his speech in a packed tennis stadium where he was introduced by West Palm Beach pizza shop owner Scott Van Duzer, who famously wrapped his arms around the president and lifted him off his feet in a bear hug last month. When Obama walked onstage, he and Van Duzer high-fived with both hands and briefly embraced, although the president’s feet never left the ground.
Obama said that over the course of the campaign, Romney had switched his positions on keeping troops in Afghanistan, America’s relationship with Israel, and the decision to kill Osama bin Laden. Obama reiterated the word he coined last week—”Romnesia”—which he has been using repeatedly when accusing the GOP challenger of switching positions.
Launching into a Jeff Foxworthy-style routine that replaced the word “redneck” with “Romnesia,” Obama said: “If you say that you love American cars during a debate, but you wrote an article entitled ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,’ you might have Romnesia!
“If you talk about how much you love teachers during a debate, but said just a few weeks ago that we shouldn’t hire any more because it won’t grow the economy, what do you have?”
“Romnesia!” the crowd shouted.
The president also took time to promote a new campaign booklet, “The New Economic Patriotism,” which outlines an economic plan that increases federal government spending and raises taxes on the wealthy. Obama held up the magazine-style pamphlet and told the audience to read it to find out more about what he would do in a second term.
The campaign on Tuesday also released an ad, “Determination,” to promote the blueprint, which Obama called his “plan for the next four years.” The video basically introduces the topics in the booklet and shows the president speaking directly to the camera, urging viewers to compare his plan to Romney’s.
“We’re not there yet, but we’ve made real progress,” Obama says in the ad. “And the last thing we should do is turn back now.”
With two weeks left before Election Day, Obama has a full schedule of swing state campaigning ahead. Immediately following his address here, Obama traveled to Dayton, Ohio, for the second of several rallies this week. Story Continued:
– It seems like the president’s desperation is trying to gain what he has lost. PdC
· Obama: ‘Michelle and I Will Be Fine No Matter What Happens’ in the Election – In his latest fundraising email to supporters, President Barack Obama says, “Michelle and I will be fine no matter what happens” in the election. Instead, Obama’s trying to win the contest “for our country and middle-class families.”
Here’s the full pitch:
I don’t want to lose this election.
Not because of what losing would mean for me — Michelle and I will be fine no matter what happens.
But because of what it would mean for our country and middle-class families.
This race is very close.
I’m not willing to watch the progress you and I worked so hard to achieve be undone.
Time is running out to make an impact — please don’t wait any longer. Donate $5 or more today:
I believe in you. If you stick with me, and if we fight harder than ever for the next two weeks, I truly believe we can’t lose.
P.S. — I don’t know what Election Night will hold, but I’d like you to be a part of the event here in Chicago. Any donation you make today automatically enters you for a chance to meet me — airfare and hotel for you and a guest are covered. Story Continued:
CHICAGO (CBS) — An outspoken and controversial shopkeeper who has been a fixture in Lincoln Square for the past dozen years has been targeted by a vandal.
75-year-old Sam Wolfson owns String a Strand bead shop.
And he wears his heart on his sleeve. His political leanings – anti-Obama – are posted on his store window.
Like his handwritten signs that say: “Romney, if you want to be president, you have to say this: ‘If I’m elected, I will not bow down to the king of Saudi Arabia” and “Obama, I built this business working 7 days a week, you didn’t.”
“I walked in,” he said. “I was coming to work and in lipstick it had a sign, ‘Racist.’ I’m not a racist. My wife is Spanish. Come on.”
The photo with the lipstick was posted on EveryBlock.com.
He has since cleaned up the graffiti.
WBBM Newsradio spoke with some passersby on Lincoln Avenue.
“I don’t necessarily disagree with the sentiments by the lipstick vandal,” one person said. “But I don’t condone such actions.”
Wolfson says it’s just symptomatic of a contentious election year. Story Continued:
Bob Woodward says President Barack Obama got some of his facts wrong on sequester at Monday night’s debate.
Woodward’s book, “The Price of Politics,” has been the go-to fact check source for the president’s answer, in which he claimed the idea of using deep, automatic, across-the-board domestic and defense spending cuts to force Congress to address the nation’s burgeoning federal deficit originated from Congress, not from the White House.
“What the president said is not correct,” Woodward told POLITICO Tuesday. “He’s mistaken. And it’s refuted by the people who work for him.”
Woodward, a Washington Post journalist who was a key reporter on the initial coverage of the Watergate scandal, said he stands behind his reporting in the book, which drew upon sources involved in last year’s deficit talks and detailed notes taken in the meetings.
Woodward reports in his book that White House Office of Management Director Jack Lew and Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors took the proposal for sequestration to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then it was presented to congressional Republicans.
During the debate, however, Obama said the idea originated on Capitol Hill.
“First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed,” Obama said, adding his strongest pronouncement to date on its future: “It will not happen.”
Woodward said there’s a possibility the president was unaware of how the idea came about.
“It’s a complicated process — and in fairness to the president — maybe he didn’t know that they were doing this because it’s kind of technical budget jargon,” Woodward said.
“What I wrote — it’s specific date, time, place, participants,” he said. “What I’ve reported is totally accurate. Call Nabors and Lew. Or ask the White House. I mean, they know that’s accurate.”
Still, briefing reporters Tuesday aboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Jay Carney continued to blame sequestration on Congress.
“What the president said last night was a reiteration of what his position has long been,” Carney said. “The sequester that was designed and passed by Congress was never meant to become policy, it was never meant to be implemented.”
Woodward agreed that sequestration wasn’t intended to actually happen.
(PHOTOS: Scenes from the Boca Raton debate)
“No one thought it would happen. The idea was to design something … that was so onerous that no one would ever let it happen. Of course, it did, because they couldn’t reach agreement,” he said. “They all believed that the supercommittee was going to come up with a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction plan, so there would be no sequestration. Of course, the supercommittee failed and so the trigger went off, which has all of these very Draconian cuts.” Story Continued:
“Honored to see First Lady Michelle Obama wearing our Spring 2013 dress at the final presidential debate,” boasted the Twitter account of fashion label Thom Browne soon after Monday night’s debate. Yet over at the Twitter account of OscarPRGirl, the official publicist for Oscar de la Renta, not a word was uttered about the fact that Ann Romney had donned a dark teal dress from the designer’s collection.
But that’s nothing new.
Designers, stylists and fashion industry publicists routinely clamor to outfit First Lady Michelle Obama, with press releases flying out the door any time she sports a certain brand. Fashion publications praise her designer selections and several books have been published that are solely devoted to analyzing her style and taste.
However, the fashion world has remained particularly quiet on the Ann Romney fashion front, with many questioning whether or not outspoken Obama supporter Anna Wintour is keeping stylists and designers away, silently threatening their standing should they endeavor to promote their outfitting of the wife of a Republican presidential hopeful.
Over the past year, the Vogue matriarch – who many say has enough power to make or break fashion careers – has become one of President Obama’s leading financiers. Wintour has raised over half a million dollars for the incumbent, hosted numerous lavish dinners in his name and even enlisted designer pals like Marc Jacobs and Thakoon Panichgul to design pro-Obama products.
“Wintour’s connections and influence in Hollywood, fashion, and society aren’t merely pretty, shiny things to have around; they have become vital to the financial success of the campaign,” wrote Noreen Malone in the November edition of The New Republic. “She is in search of something more than a victory in November; she wants politics to take fashion seriously.”
And according to fashion industry pros we talked to, no one wants to risk annoying Wintour.
Hayley Phelan of Fashionista.com pointed out that during last month’s political conventions, the site received several notices pertaining to Michelle Obama’s wardrobe, while not a single word was uttered from Oscar de la Renta’s PR team when Ann wore one of the American designer’s gowns. And after Romney sported a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, the DVF team went as far as to distance themselves from Romney by reportedly claiming that they were unsure how she obtained the dress. Clearly, it wasn’t sent to her in a nicely-wrapped package with a note of gratitude.
According to Women’s Wear Daily, 53.9 percent of fashion industry campaign donations went to Obama, while only 45.9 percent went to Republicans. “The fashion industry is predominantly on the left,” said fashion publicist Lee Everett of LaunchPad PR, noting that many brands and designers fear being associated with the GOP. “It’s such a disservice to so many brands who could benefit, to the other ’50 percent’ of the country. For the sake of the fashion industry, it should remain apolitical.”
Yet others doubt Romney is getting the cold shoulder from the predominantly liberal fashion world, or that Wintour’s own political preferences have instilled fear in any designer who dares dress the GOP nominee’s wife.
“It is just that Michelle brings such a unique, vibrant and youthful style and the average woman can see herself wearing many of her outfits, so designers want everyone to know that she is wearing their clothes,” explained entertainment/lifestyle commentator Valerie Greenberg. “And even though Anna Wintour has a reputation for being tough, I don’t think she would let her political views dictate the designers she chooses to feature in the pages of Vogue.”
Emmy-winning stylist and author David Zyla, who has previously outfitted political figures including Hillary Clinton, said that is simply hard for anyone to measure up to Michelle Obama, who roused the industry after the eight years of the simple style preferred by former First Lady Laura Bush. Story Continued:
– It seems that the liberals will find anything to put down the other side. It amazes me that people think Michelle Obama as a fashion leader. I have seen clothes that she wears and wonder why her husband allowed her to lead the White House. PdC
· Post-debate, MSNBC’s Matthews claims Romney supporters fueled by racial hatred of Obama – Presidential Debate III was more like “Rocky” Round 16, an afterthought where neither boxer really lands a clean punch on the other and where the crowd has dozed off or gone to bed. Only in the land of MSNBC were sparks flying.
Famously tingly MSNBC host Chris Matthews decided the whole race came down to, well, race. In one of the more outlandish rants of an outlandish career, Matthews said the right hates Obama more than they want to destroy Al Qaeda, according to The Hill. The rant is too priceless to edit:
“I think they hate Obama. They want him out of the White House more than they want to destroy Al Qaeda. Their No. 1 enemy in the world right now, on the right, is their hatred, hatred for Obama. And we can go into that about the white working class in the South and looking at these numbers we’re getting the last couple days about racial hatred in many cases … this isn’t about being a better president, they want to get rid of this president,’ he said.”
Other than that bout of inanity/insanity, the night was pretty mellow. The sleepy debate was made even sleepier by longtime CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer, who brought his long questions and mellow tone to a viewing public already worn out by a 24-7 campaign.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews decided that the whole 2012 presidential race came down to, well, race.
The result was one where both sides get to claim victory and where few major points will jump from the transcript into the popular conversation. Obama scored with a bogus quip about bayonets, something our Marines still rely on. But he also had to fend off a lot of discussion about economics – something his lefty supporters took offense over.
The Huffington Post, a major prObama operation, criticized the economic focus and the moderator’s inability to change that. “Schieffer seemed to be unwilling or unable to move the conversation back to international issues for some minutes,” wrote HuffPo.
One key point that might haunt the president came about the issue of “sequestration,” where a compromise budget was OK’d that would gut defense spending. Obama, fending off repeated attacks on the issue finally responded. “First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.”
White House senior adviser and 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe backed off that almost immediately after the debate. “No one thinks it should happen,” Politico reported him saying.
The CNN team summed up the debate in a few succinct ways, with anchor Wolf Blitzer calling it “much more civilized” and Chief National Correspondent John King saying the “president won on points.”
As CNN’s now-much-more-famous Candy Crowley put it, “the president came to rough up Mitt Romney.” GOP candidate Romney, on the other hand, “approached this like a physician: ‘first do no harm’”
Neither entirely failed or succeeded.
Two NBC staffers noted a key difference between the candidates. “Meet The Press” host David Gregory agreed with Crowley. “Romney seemed more interested in coming across as a sober and careful commander in chief than a bellicose alt to President,” he commented on Twitter.
NBC Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd seemed surprised by Obama’s aggressive tone. “POTUS is consistently trying to draw Romney into a more contentious debate. It’s what challengers do who think they are behind,” he wrote on Twitter.
Supporters on the right and the left saw what they wanted to see. Lefty MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter naturally felt even a peace-supporting Romney was bad. “By reversing his views on war and peace, Romney has raised a character issue about his ability to be trusted as a steadfast defender of U.S.,” he argued.
Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, took the exactly opposite view. “Oh, the debate. Romney wants peace, trade, a growing economy, American strength. Obama wants to keep spending and running up debt,” he wrote.
Brent Bozell, head of the Media Research Center, credited the job Schieffer did. “Whatever his biases, and he has biases, Bob Schieffer didn’t show them tonight. Unlike Candy Crowley and Martha Raddatz, Schieffer managed to moderate this debate without revealing his own positions. Well done.”
Early on in the debate, Ben Smith of Buzzfeed summarized the view that filtered through much of Twitter later: “Calling it for zzzzzzzzzzzz.”
The debate was not without its Schieffer-isms. To end a discussion of education, Schieffer added: “I think we all love teachers.” And, of course, he began the first debate question with a reference to liberal icon John F. Kennedy.
Schieffer has a long record of liberal positions, but they didn’t play a major role. However, he never called Obama on the closure of Guantanamo, something that Schieffer had called a “cancer.”
And yes, Obama once again had more time than Romney, though only 35 extra seconds. That made the Democrats 4-for-4 in debates, garnering an extra 9 minutes and 27 seconds.
But zzzzzzzzzz or race-baiting, one thing’s certain, the last debate will be analyzed to death between now and the election. Story Continued: