Tales from the Trail

Ohio secretary of state: Why is the Obama campaign only suing us?

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said on Thursday that a federal lawsuit filed against him by President Obama’s campaign and other Democrats is “misguided” and will lead to “confusion and the undermining of confidence in the election system.”

The Obama campaign and the Ohio and national Democratic parties on Tuesday filed the lawsuit against Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, both Republicans, seeking to reinstate in-person absentee voting for all Ohioans during the three days preceding November’s voting contest. Military voters and their families are exempt from the restriction, a distinction the campaign argues is unconstitutional.

“This lawsuit seeks to treat all Ohio citizens equally under the law,” said Bob Bauer, an attorney for Obama for America.

Husted would not comment on the political calculus behind the lawsuit but asked rhetorically: “Why isn’t it a problem in the 49 other states where they do the same kinds of things?”

Husted said there is no undue burden on Ohioans casting ballots and said the change, which was enacted last year, was made to synchronize the voting windows across all Ohio counties.  Previously in Ohio, the local elections boards decided which days to stay open prior to a voting contest.

Scott Brown jabs Elizabeth Warren’s Hollywood supporters

Republican Scott Brown, in a close race to keep his Senate seat in Massachusetts, is mounting a new fundraising drive using donations to rival Elizabeth Warren by a bevy of Hollywood talent as catnip for potential donors.

“What do actresses Charlize Theron, Sally Field, Kyra Sedgwick, Kate Capshaw, and Reese Witherspoon have in common? ” Brown asked rhetorically in an email to supporters on Thursday. “They’re all big bankrollers for Professor Elizabeth Warren who raises money like she wants to be the first United States Senator to represent Hollywood.”

The Brown campaign is smarting after trailing Warren in the second quarter. For April-June, Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and former Obama administration official, raised $8.67 million to Brown’s $5 million. Brown still holds a $2 million advantage in cash on hand for the final months of the closely watched Senate campaign.

A Number Cruncher could add up to become Romney running mate

Washington number crunchers are finally getting some respect.

Just take a look at Mitt Romney’s search for a Republican vice presidential running mate.

With the economy the top issue in the Nov. 6 elections, Romney’s short list of his possible picks features two of Congress’s most wonkish guys.

One, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, served as President George W. Bush’s budget director, and is now viewed as a top contender.

Maine governor draws ire with new IRS “Gestapo” comments

Maine’s Republican governor ignited a fresh firestorm on Thursday when, for the second time in a week, he compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s murderous secret police.

Democrats suggested that Governor Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite elected in 2010, was unfit to hold office.

LePage had already been called out by Democrats, Jewish groups and others in the northeast U.S. state for linking the federal tax agency and the Gestapo in his weekly radio address on Saturday.

Scott Brown trails Elizabeth Warren in Q2 donations

The race for the Senate seat from Massachusetts is shaping up as one of the marquee Congressional contests of the year, and likely the most expensive, as both candidates keep up a frenetic fundraising pace.

On Thursday, the campaign of Republican Senator Scott Brown said it hauled in $5 million for his re-election campaign in the second quarter – a strong result, but well short of his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, who on Monday announced she had pulled in $8.67 million for the quarter.

Warren raised $3.1 million for June alone, suggesting a weeks-long controversy over whether she had claimed Native American heritage to further her academic career did little to dent her popularity.

Romney touts tourism in fire-ravaged Colorado

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a message for what Americans can do to help a section of Colorado hit hard by recent wildfires – come to the state on vacation to help out the local economy.

Romney’s point, made during a visit to a food bank that has been supplying people uprooted by the wildfires, was that most of the region has been unaffected by the devastation and that the forests and lakes remain as beautiful as ever.

“What’s happened is people are staying away because they think the whole area has been burned out. It’s not. It’s as beautiful as it’s always been and tourists need to come back and stay in hotels, go to restaurants and purchase local merchandise,” he said.

Republicans shoot for “Super Saturday”

 

Hoping to echo the Democratic Party’s successful use of volunteer armies to engage – and turn out – voters, Republicans are mounting their first “Super Saturday” volunteer day of the 2012 campaign this weekend. On July 7, the party says it will dispatch an army of volunteers to knock on doors and make telephone calls to voters in swing states across the country.

Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said the Romney/RNC operation would be in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa.

President Barack Obama won all 12 of those states when he won the White House in 2008, aided by an army of volunteers. Romney will need to swing a large number of them back to the Republican column to defeat Obama on Nov. 6. 

2012 Election? In hot summer, it’s leaving Americans cold

A long spell of brutally hot weather is not the only thing making Americans cranky this summer.

With four months still to go before the presidential election on Nov. 6, Americans seem to be experiencing the 2012 campaign more like studying for a big math test than watching an exciting neck-and-neck horse race, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. More Republicans in particular are bored with the campaign.

The poll 0f 2,013 adults conducted June 7-17 found that most Americans find the presidential election campaign between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to be important and informative – but also exhausting, annoying, too negative, too long and dull.

Obama campaign goes on the attack ahead of bus tour

President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign used Tuesday to pave the rhetorical road for the president’s two-day trip through the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania beginning on Thursday.

In a new television advertisement and during a conference call with reporters, the campaign and its allies tore into Republican challenger Mitt Romney for pushing policies and practices they say cost middle-class jobs and netted the former private equity executive millions.

The 30-second television advertisement, “Believes,” is airing in Ohio and Pennsylvania ahead of the President’s trip, as well as in several other states — such as Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Virginia — the campaign sees as crucial to winning another term in the White House.

MA governor puts Romney in healthcare bear hug

Before there was Obamacare with its controversial individual mandate on health insurance, there was Romneycare in Massachusetts…with a similar mandate that all residents of the state obtain health insurance or pay a penalty. And Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was happy to remind Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, of that fact on Thursday.

After the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the centerpiece of Obama’s signature healthcare overhaul, Patrick – a key Obama surrogate – met with reporters and expressed shock at the negative spin that Romney, his predecessor in the Massachusetts governor’s mansion, continues to put on federal legislation that is similar to the state law he once championed.

Patrick said that the motivations of Congress in taking up healthcare legislation in 2009 were “the same reasons our legislature and Governor Romney acted in 2006.”