Tales from the Trail

Obama letter brings Democratic donors out of the woodwork

A fundraising appeal from President Barack Obama on Monday netted Democratic Congressional candidates their biggest online fundraising day ever, New York Congressman Steve Israel said at the Reuters Washington Summit.

Obama made an email appeal asking supporters to donate $3 or more to help the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The appeal raised $580,000, said Israel, chairman of the DCCC, which helps recruit and raise money for candidates for the House of Representatives.

“Our base is animated, engaged, writing checks,” Israel said. “Our grassroots participation is absolutely off the charts.”

Obama’s brief email contained the suggestion that “if you’re with me, then I need you right now. We’re just days away from the mid-year fundraising deadline — this is the biggest test yet of our commitment to win in 2012. We can’t fall short on this one.”

Israel said small checks have been flowing into the committee’s coffers recently. “A few weeks ago a guy sent us his World War Two war bond,” he added.

Will the “War on Women” have legs in November?

Democrats should not hold back from the “war on women” in campaigning for the Nov. 6 election, Senator Jeanne Shaheen said, even if the economy will be on voters’ minds as they head to the polls.

“I’m old enough to remember the ’50s and before … contraceptives were widely available to people, what my mother and other women were dealing with,” the New Hampshire Democrat said on Tuesday at the Reuters Washington Summit. “I’m old enough to remember what it was like before Roe v. Wade, and I think access to reproductive health services for women is critical.  And I don’t think women in this country are planning to go back.”

Polls generally show Democratic President Barack Obama with an advantage over Republican candidate Mitt Romney among women voters, but some recent surveys have shown Romney gaining ground. Democrats have sought to maintain their advantage by advertising what they call a Republican “war on women,” which casts the party as insensitive on issues such as equal pay for women, healthcare, protection against domestic abuse and access to contraception. 

Campaign 2012 goes a bit peanuts and crackerjack

 Massachusetts may have a reputation as the bluest of Democratically blue states, but it is also resoundingly red — as in Red Sox nation. And President Barack Obama seemed to hit a nerve at a fundraiser in Boston on Monday night when he made a joke involving his favorite baseball team, the Chicago White Sox, at the expense of the suffering denizens of Fenway.

“Boston, I just want to say thank you for (Kevin) Youkilis,” Obama said at a fundraiser at Boston Symphony Hall, referring to the popular infielder, a fixture on two Boston World Series winning teams, who was traded from Boston to Chicago during the weekend.

The crowd, who had paid at least $250 per ticket, reacted to his comment with (friendly) boos.

Blunt says to keep an eye on Virginia

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican who is Mitt Romney’s point person in Congress, doesn’t think Ohio or Florida will be the main states to watch on election night. He will have his eyes on Virginia.

In an interview at the annual Reuters Washington Summit, Blunt was asked which state was the one to monitor in the run-up to the Nov. 6 election between President Barack Obama and Romney.

“Virginia,” he said. “If I was watching one state on election night, it would be a state I’d [watch].”

Conservative group parodies Dos Equis beer commercials in anti-Obama ad campaign

Conservative political group RightChange came out on Tuesday with a pejorative spoof of the hit Dos Equis beer commercials that replaces “The Most Interesting Man in the World” with a superlatively arrogant President Barack Obama.

Instead of ticking off the unusual, adventurous feats of the world’s most interesting man (“At museums, he’s allowed to touch the art; sharks have a week dedicated to him; he once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels”), the roughly 1-minute grainy, black-and-white montage shows the President identified by a baritone narrator as “The Most Arrogant Man in the World.”

“Out of respect, they gave him the Nobel Peace Prize without him doing anything…and he took it. He changed healthcare for millions of Americans even though they liked what they had. He says he will tell Iran to quit making nukes and they will stop because he is just that good.”

Back at home, President Obama, family attend wedding

President Barack Obama got a brief respite from the euro zone debt crisis and an intensifying general election campaign on Saturday while attending the wedding of a top aide’s daughter with his family in his hometown.

The wedding of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett’s daughter, Laura, on a balmy night brought Obama administration allies and friends to Jarrett’s home in a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

Laura Jarrett was to marry fellow Harvard Law School graduate Tony Balkissoon, according to local news reports.

Washington Extra – Dimon jubilee

Jamie Dimon managed to turn a multibillion-dollar trading loss into a winning moment.

The CEO of JPMorgan came sailing into the Senate office building this morning with a smile, and gave a pitch-perfect performance in explaining how a small group of traders in its London office screwed up a hedging strategy so badly that they lost at least $2 billion.

Dimon was apologetic, but not groveling. He stood his ground, but was not combative. He gave the impression he was an open book, but managed to give precious few details about how much the trading loss has grown.

Pro-Obama super PAC, labor group launch $4 million Spanish ad campaign

A super PAC supporting Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and the nation’s largest health care and property services labor union on Monday launched a Spanish language television advertisement campaign highlighting “working Latinos’ reactions” to certain statements presumptive nominee Mitt Romney has made on the campaign trail.

The $4 million campaign, “Mitt Romney: En Sus Propias Palabras” (Mitt Romney: In His Own Words), is billed by Priorities USA Action and the Service Employees International Union as one of “the largest ever independent Spanish-language campaigns” and will run on TV and radio in Colorado, Nevada, and Florida.

The Nevada ad features Romney describing himself as “unemployed” as he seeks to oust the incumbent Democrat Obama from the White House in the general election in November.

Will Election 2012 be another Florida 2000?

 

The 2008 U.S. presidential election was the first in 12 years in which large numbers of Americans did not believe the result was unfairly influenced by the machinations of politically biased state election officials. But it was also the first in a dozen years that was not close, as Democrat Barack Obama cruised to a blowout victory over Republican John McCain.

With 2012 shaping up to be another tight contest, experts say controversy is likely this year, especially given that 33 of the 50 state election authorities are led by partisan politicians, who are free to work for candidates’ campaigns. 

“People don’t pay attention to problems of partisanship until it’s too late,” said Richard Hasen, an elections law specialist at the University of California-Irvine.

President Obama speaks about the U.S. and European economies

President Obama will speak about the U.S. economy and the situation in Europe at 10:15am ET on Friday.

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