Tales from the Trail

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. 

The RNC said its volunteers will use software to enter information into the mobile telephones on voters’ doorsteps. Information from telephone calls will also be recorded and campaign staff will monitor the results of their calls. The information will be used to inform decisions such as where to deploy volunteers or focus voter turnout efforts during the last months of the campaign.

Voters in swing states should get accustomed to regular visits from campaign volunteers, in addition to what has already become a blitz of television and radio advertising by the Obama and Romney campaigns and outside political organizations supporting or attacking the candidates or their policy positions.

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.”

DNC to GOP on healthcare: Bring it on

 

The Democrats have an answer for the Republicans if the Supreme Court throws out President Barack Obama’s healthcare law on Thursday: Good luck with that.

It may be bravado in the face of what would seem to be huge disappointment, but some Democrats insist they relish the prospect of watching congressional Republicans grapple with how to deal with the massive and troubled industry. Annual U.S. spending on healthcare already totals $2.6 trillion a year. Skyrocketing costs are expected to make spending balloon to $4.8 trillion, or one-fifth of U.S. gross domestic product over the coming decade, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“It will be time for the Republicans to say what they are going to do. This is on them,” Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said on Wednesday at the Reuters Washington Summit.

Lead a Super PAC, lose your friends

It’s not like the old days with his former colleagues at the White House and friends from the Barack Obama campaign anymore for Bill Burton.

The co-founder of the Priorities USA Action Super PAC, which is prevented by campaign finance rules from collaborating with the Obama campaign, told the Reuters Washington Summit he may spend his days raising money to get Obama re-elected, but he has very little contact with his old friends who are actually working in the administration or the re-election campaign.

Asked if he and White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer were limited to talking about sports if they get together for a beer, Burton just laughed.

This time, some Democrats are embracing “Obamacare”

 

Fierce opposition to President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill helped propel Republicans to big victories in the 2010 mid-term elections, when they won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives and cut into the Democratic majority in the Senate.

But this year, at least some Democrats are embracing the healthcare plan – touting their support for its popular provisions and attacking Republicans for opposing measures that polls show big majorities of Americans supporting.

North Dakota’s former Democratic attorney general, Heidi Heitkamp, who is running for the Senate, responded to a wave of attack advertisements against her over the healthcare law by creating an emotional advertisement of her own relating her own recovery from breast cancer to her support for the law.

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.”

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. 

For Portman, it all comes down to beer

Rob Portman is upset about the tax laws that make a real American beer hard to find.

The senator from Ohio, who is seen as a leading candidate to be Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, spoke out at the Reuters Washington Summit against tax policy that puts American companies at a disadvantage.

“I’m a beer drinker and I’m particularly upset by the fact there is no big U.S. beer company any more,” said Portman, a former budget director who criticized the Obama administration for failing to overhaul corporate taxes in the United States.

Outside campaign groups can coordinate – with each other

 

Super PACs and other outside campaign organizations are barred from coordinating with the candidates they support or political parties, but there is nothing keeping a Super PAC from coordinating with another Super PAC, or several Super PACs. And indeed, some of them do.

Jonathan Collegio, director of public relations for American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, Karl Rove’s conservative Super PAC and non-profit, said outside groups on the right work together all the time.

“There’s a lot of coordination among outside groups on the right, all of which is allowed,” he said at the Reuters Washington Summit on Monday. “Starting in 2010, Crossroads started bringing together a lot of the organizations that were going to be spending a lot of money in the issue and election debate. The goal there was to maximize the efficiency of what everyone was doing.”