Tales from the Trail

Census info at your fingertips

 

Just in time for summer election stories – the Census Bureau released an interactive Web page showing graphs and percentages of adults who voted and registered in every congressional and presidential election between 1996 and 2010.

In addition to graphs showing voting and registration trends over the period, users can get specific data on voting by age, sex, education and race.

Statistics come from the Current Population Survey.

Graphic credit: Reuters/Stephen Culp

Romney offers donors chance to “Dine with the Donald”

Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has raised millions of dollars by auctioning off dinners with the president, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and Hollywood stars – and Democratic supporters – George Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Now his rival Mitt Romney is getting into the act with some Republican celebrity love – offering the chance to “Dine with the Donald,” that is, Donald Trump — and Mitt — to anyone who donates $3 or more.

“Jets owner Woody Johnson recently previewed a rival event to the George Clooney one that President Obama’s campaign did, and this appears to be it – a raffle for a dinner with Mitt Romney and Donald Trump,” Politico reported on Thursday.

The strange vogue in dumping U.S. citizenship

In 2005, a CUNY political science professor named Stanley Renshon compared citizenship without emotional attachment to “the civic equivalent of a one-night stand.”

Michele Bachmann’s fling with Switzerland lasted just 53 days – barely two of them public – before she came running back to Uncle Sam. That was right before Facebook’s co-founder Eduardo Saverin was found to have called it all off with the U.S, possibly for tax reasons.

Bachmann, who came out as Swiss to Politico on Tuesday, made headlines for deciding to split her allegiances – if only on paper – with a gay-friendly, abortion-happy Western European country. Her temporary Swissness made a farce of her fiery patriotic rhetoric, and added a cosmopolitan edge to her down-home image – an image she was counting on for her constituents to vote her back into office this coming term.

West Virginia primary ballot included felon, Virginia’s lacked candidates

 

A convicted felon not only made West Virginia’s Democratic primary ballot, he won 72,544 – or 41 percent - of votes in the contest against Democratic President Barack Obama, and could receive at least one of the state’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention this summer.

The inmate, Keith Judd, is serving a 17-1/2 year sentence at a federal prison in Texas for making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999.

Judd’s performance was taken as a sign of deep animosity in West Virginia toward Obama, who was handily defeated in the state’s 2008 primary by Hillary Clinton and lost there by 13 percentage points to Republican John McCain in the general election. Joe Manchin, the state’s former governor who is now a Democratic senator, declined to say on Tuesday whether he had voted for Obama.

So neither party gets the dog vote?

Jim Treacher of the conservative Daily Caller website unleashed a new twist in the 2012 election campaign’s dog war on Tuesday with a column, “Obama bites dog,”  about how Obama tried dog meat as a child. His proof? Obama’s own words in his memoir, “Dreams from my Father,” describing learning to eat local food as a child living in Indonesia.

“I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy),” Obama wrote.

Treacher presented the anecdote as a counterpart to the story, repeatedly cited by liberals, of Mitt Romney putting his family’s dog, Seamus, in a carrier on the roof of his station wagon for a 12-hour trip to Canada. Liberals use the story to make their case that Romney, the probable Republican presidential nominee and a former executive, is cold-hearted and more interested in efficiency than compassion.

Republicans ride “Mommy Wars” to bank, if not ballot box

 

The flap over Ann Romney’s stay-at-home mom status may or may not help overcome the yawning gender gap between her husband and President  Barack Obama. But Mitt Romney’s campaign, and his Republican party, are looking to at least make a few bucks off the latest edition of the “Mommy Wars” — and perhaps keep them going with some well-priced goods.

Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen started the fracas on Wednesday night when she tried to make the point on CNN that Ann Romney, who has been deployed by her husband’s campaign to appeal to women voters, may not understand the economic challenges faced by most American women. Probable Republican nominee Mitt Romney is a former private equity executive with a personal fortune of up to $250 million.  But she slipped by saying that Mrs. Romney, a 62-year-old mother of five sons, had “never worked a day in her life.”

Mitt Romney’s campaign, which saw his ratings among women take a dive as Republican presidential candidates sparred over abortion, contraception and other divisive social issues, seized the moment. Ann Romney took to Twitter for the first time to say she had worked hard raising her sons. And party notables, including former first lady Barbara Bush, took to the Twitterverse and airwaves to dispute Rosen, who eventually apologized, as Democrats, including President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, said they disagreed with her statement.

Lawyer behind Super PAC ruling launches his own

The lawyer behind the case that opened the door to U.S. "Super PACs" and more campaign cash now has one of his own. Thousands of U.S. dollars are seen here in this November 3, 2009 file photo at a Westminster, Colorado bank. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The conservative lawyer who helped end political spending limits for corporations has now taken advantage of new campaign finance rules that allow “Super PACs” by launching one of his own.

Republican James Bopp, who advised Citizens United in its case to eliminate restrictions on campaign contributions by companies and unions, filed paper work last week with the U.S. Federal Election Commission to create his USA Super PAC.

Washington Extra: Sayonara Santorum

Former presidential candidate and Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is featured on a button by a supporter who also wore the politician's trademark vest in this January 14, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Jason Reed

It began and ended at a kitchen table in Pennsylvania. Rick Santorum’s improbable and surprisingly long run for the White House is over. But the Republican Party will feel the effects of this game-changing gambit cooked up in a kitchen for some time to come.

Santorum offered disgruntled voters true conservative credentials. He brought social issues and religious freedom to the forefront of the national debate. He made Mitt Romney work much harder for the nomination than expected, and lurch to the right in the process. His supporters may not go away quietly or fall behind Romney in lockstep.

Check one, two? Obama likes knowing when microphone is on

 

The microphone was hot, and this time, President Barack Obama was happily aware that he was being recorded.

During the opening of a speech he gave to news editors in Washington, Obama took a light jab at the media for reporting sideline discussions he had with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul that were, unbeknownst to the pair, picked up by press microphones.

“It is a pleasure to speak to all of you — and to have a microphone that I can see,” Obama said to laughter from the audience of news executives.