Tales from the Trail

Romney opens ad offensive against Obama

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s first television commercial attacking Barack Obama’s record  hits the airwaves in New Hampshire on Tuesday — just in time to welcome the president on a  visit to the early primary state.

A discussion of jobs was on the agenda for Obama’s quick trip to a high school in Manchester. But Romney didn’t wait for the president’s arrival.

The former Massachusetts governor previewed his new  ad Monday night on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” show.

The 60-second spot opens with a shot of Obama delivering a campaign speech in New Hampshire  — in Oct. 2008. About a third of the way in, the ad shifts focus to Romney.

“The contrast between what he said and what he did is so stark, people will recognize we really do need to have someone new lead this country,” Romney said, describing what he’s trying to convey in the TV spot. “And then I, of course, described why I’m the right person for that responsibility.”

Obama says biggest task left for him is to fix U.S. politics

President Barack Obama has lots of reasons he wants to hold on to the White House in 2012.

There’s energy policy, for example, which he would like to revamp. There’s immigration reform, which he hopes to “implement.”

But at a fundraiser on Monday night, the president said the real challenge he had left to handle was “fixing” the political atmosphere in Washington.

Huntsman in the ‘middle’ in 2012 Republican field

Jon Huntsman is counting on right-of-center politics to give him an advantage  in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination,   despite polls showing him trailing far behind  the favorites in a crowded field.

He says Democrat Barack Obama is too far to the left and the president’s other Republican opponents are too far to the right.

“This country is crying out for a sensible middle ground. This is a center-right country; I am a center-right candidate,” the former Utah governor said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.”

Senator Dodd undone – tweeted and deleted

The hazards of the Twitter age became quite apparent for one senator today.

“U love torturing me w this shit” was tweeted on Senator Christopher Dodd’s Twitter account @SenChrisDodd. USA/

Then came the tweet ”From Dodd Staff – Apologies to Dodd’s followers, last tweet was not from Chris Dodd.”

The first tweet has vanished into twitterair with a little help from the delete button, but some followers who were on their toes took screenshots.

Aide to rival calls California’s Whitman a ‘whore’

USA-ELECTIONS/CALIFORNIAUSA-ELECTIONS/CALIFORNIACalifornia’s personal and unpleasant governor’s race just took another step toward the bottom as a tape emerged in which an aide to Democrat Jerry Brown calls Republican Meg Whitman a “whore” for her attempts to get endorsements from law enforcement.

The Los Angeles Times was given the tape of an answering machine message from Brown to a law enforcement group. Brown apparently didn’t hang up, and so a private conversation was captured on tape. The Times’ blog is here, with the audio tape is at the bottom or here.

The governor’s race is nearly tied — Brown’s taken a small lead recently — and it is nasty, thanks to a fight over Whitman’s hiring of an illegal immigrant housekeeper. Brown, the maverick and former governor running for another try at the top job, says she’s not taking the type of responsibility that she should, given her position that employers should be held accountable for hiring illegal workers. She calls that a lie and says she didn’t know her housekeeper was in the United States illegally until the woman confessed — and Whitman says she’s willing to take a lie detector test.

Arizona law galvanizes U.S. Latinos

IMMIGRATION-USA/ARIZONAThe swastika made of refried beans smeared onto the glass doors of the Arizona State Capitol this week captured the anger of Hispanics at the law authorizing local police to question anyone reasonably suspected of being in the United States illegally. The controvesial law, which critics say is a mandate for racial profiling, has galvanized the country’s largest minority that is expected to turn out in large numbers at planned rallies in more than 70 U.S. cities.

Hispanics were disappointed that President Barack Obama failed to deliver on his campaign promise to overhaul the immigration system in his first year in office. The Pew Research Center says 76 percent of the estimated 11.9 million illegal immigrants in the United States are Hispanics. The Latino community sees the undocumented immigrants as contributing with their labor to the growth of the U.S. economy and deserve the right to be legal residents.

The Arizona measure was criticized by other minorities. “This law is un-American as it unjustly targets communities of color, in particular immigrant communities, which have been critical to the economic growth of our country throughout its history,” said Michael Honda, chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

from Summit Notebook:

Eliot Spitzer loved politics, so will he run again?

This much is clear -- Eliot Spitzer loved politics, he loved being New York governor, he loved being New York attorney general.

So will he run for public office again?

Well here it gets a little bit like watching a tennis ball going back and forth over the net. REGULATION-SUMMIT/

Asked at the Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit whether he was considering running for office again, Spitzer replied "No."

Clinton open to coffee with Palin

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is open to having coffee with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, whose new book about the 2008 presidential campaign is stirring controversy.

“I absolutely would look forward to having coffee,” Clinton said from Singapore  Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Clinton told ABC’s “This Week” that she would look forward to having a chance to actually get to meet Palin.

No lie! Poll shows Joe Wilson trailing in reelection bid

USA-HEALTHCARE/OBAMACongressman Joe Wilson might be tempted to yell “You lie!” again – this time at a poll that shows the presidential heckler trailing in his reelection bid.

The survey by Public Policy Polling found Democratic challenger Rob Miller leading the five-term Republican lawmaker by 44 percent to 43 percent. The numbers had Democrats cheering, and at least one pollster offering a new view of the contest in the heavily Republican South Carolina district.

 It is all part of the fallout of Wilson yelling “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during his address to Congress on Wednesday night on healthcare reform.