Tales from the Trail

GOP Super PAC ad targets Obama for being too “cool”

A day after President Obama wrapped up his multi-state tour of American colleges, where he drummed up youth support for an extension of low interest rates on student loans, and presumably also his reelection campaign, American Crossroads, the Republican Super PAC backed by Karl Rove, has released a new ad targeting the same demographic.

The ad runs through some of Obama’s most famously “cool” moments — when he killed a fly with his hand during an interview, his dancing entrance on Ellen Degeneres’ show, singing Al Green at the Apollo Theater, “slow jamming the news” with Jimmy Fallon — followed then by a series of harsh claims about the economy into which college kids are graduating. “1 in 2 recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed,” the ad contends. “85% moving back in with their parents.”

“After 4 years of a celebrity president, is your life better?”

Watch the ad, via American Crossroads:

The Romney campaign followed up with its own ad echoing the statistics cited in the American Crossroads video. Watch:

Photo credit: Screenshot/American Crossroads

Jindal’s not running for president, but…

LOUISIANA GOVERNORS ELECTIONFirst, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says he isn’t running for president. Then out comes his prescription for righting the national economy. 

“What I’m saying is, if we actually focus on the real challenges facing our country, not get diverted into taking over car companies and healthcare (but) cut taxes, create jobs, our country can get back on the right path, right direction,” the rising Republican conservative star of the South tells NBC in an interview.

Political oracle Karl Rove has anointed Jindal as one of 10 potential GOP presidential candidates for 2012.  Seven others on the list are also current or former state governors. But the 39-year-old son of Indian immigrants is the only one who is his state’s first nonwhite governor since the Civil War era, whose popularity among voters that has scored one decisive election victory after another.  

Christine O’Donnell is not going away

Christine O’Donnell may have lost her Senate race. But she’s not exiting the spotlight. In fact, she’s sounding a bit like Sarah Palin.RTXU581_Comp-150x150

The Tea Party darling of Delaware cheerfully tells NBC’s Today show that she’s pursuing a book deal. She likes being involved in documentaries. And she’s going to fight tooth and nail against whatever Democrats try to pull during the upcoming lameduck session in Congress (how isn’t quite clear).

“We created a platform and we’ve been able to get a lot of issues out there. And I’d like to continue to do that at least for the short term.”

Palin for President? Someone’s gotta do it

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. And if no one else wants to do it, Sarah Palin says she would step in.

The former Republican vice presidential candidate, who has been stirring the pot this year with her backing for Tea Party candidates for the midterm elections, has been hard to pin down on whether she plans to run for president in 2012. Well, until now.

In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight, to air tonight, Palin let the moose out of the bag.

Feds unlikely to launch campaign finance probe anytime soon

For weeks, leading Democrats have castigated pro-Republican special interest groups involved in the current election campaign for what they describe as secretive fundraising practices. USA/

In an effort to call further attention to the activities of groups like American Crossroads GPS, a political fundraising committee which GOP guru Karl Rove helped to set up, some prominent Democrats and non-partisan election watchdogs have written law enforcement agencies demanding official investigations.

But there is little indication that any relevant agency is going to launch an  in-depth probe anytime soon.

from FaithWorld:

Karl Rove says did not ask for gay marriage fight

Karl Rove, the political operative widely credited with the electoral successes of former U.S. President George W. Bush, says in his new book that he did not choose gay marriage as a wedge issue but that circumstances thrust it his way.

Conventional wisdom, at least in some circles, has it that Rove masterminded gay marriage as an issue in the 2004 White House race  in a bid to get conservative evangelicals -- a key base for the Republican Party, especially during the Bush years -- to the polls. There were ballot initiatives in about a  dozen states that year to ban gay marriage (or, supporters of such measures would argue, to defend traditional marriage).  Many political commentators have said such tactics are in keeping with the "Rovian" strategy of ginning up the base to clinch narrow victories.

USA-POLITICS/ROVE

Rove, in "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight,"  says the ballot initiatives made little difference to the outcome that year and that they were not his idea anyway.

Karl Rove says families should be off limits in politics

USA/ROVE

Karl Rove thinks the families of public figures should be off limits from the nasty, maligning, ad hominem attacks of election politics.

On an NBC Today show appearance to promote his new book, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight”, Rove was asked about reports that his adoptive father, Louis, was gay.

Some critics have gone so far as to speculate that a gay father might help explain his parents’ divorce, his mother’s suicide and even his opposition to gay marriage. But Rove wants to “set the record straight” in the book, which is due for release on Tuesday.

George W. Bush: Book-reader in chief

Just when you get your mind all made up about President George W. Bush, along comes Karl Rove trying to unsettle things.
 USA/
The president is far from being the uncultured book-burner often portrayed by his critics, his former deputy chief of staff wrote in The Wall Street Journal Friday.
 
In fact, Bush is a voracious reader and lover of books, Rove insisted.
 
The president has gone through 40 tomes so far this year. That follows 51 in 2007 and 95 in 2006. Plus the Bible from cover to cover each year.
 
History, fiction, biography. You name it, he’s read it.
 
“Team of Rivals,” the book about Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet that is shaping President-elect Barack Obama’s thinking about his own administration?
 
Bush has been there, done that. Read it back in ’06. Along with a Mao biography, Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Mayflower,” eight Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald and “The Stranger” by Albert Camus.
 
He went through “Khrushchev’s Cold War,” “Rogue Regime” and “The Shia Revival” in ’07. That plus his daughter Jenna’s book “Ana’s Story.” And many others.
 
This year there’s been U.S. Grant’s “Personal Memoirs,” Hugh Thomas’ “Spanish Civil War” and James McPherson’s “Tried by war: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief.”
 
“There is a myth perpetuated by Bush critics that he would rather burn a book than read one,” Rove wrote.
 USA/
“Like so many caricatures of the past eight years, this one is not only wrong, but also the opposite of the truth and evidence that bitterness can devour a small-minded critic,” he said.
 
If the reading part wasn’t shock enough for Bush naysayers, Rove has more.
 
“Mr. Bush loves books, learns from them and is intellectually engaged by them,” he wrote.
 
How, you may ask, would Rove know so much about Bush’s reading habits?
 
It seems they have been engaged in friendly competition to see who could read the greatest number of books each year. 

And who won? 
 
Not the president. Rove mopped the floor with him every year. He read 110 in 2006, 76 in 2007 and has 64 to his credit so far in 2008.

Bush’s excuse? Too busy with his day job.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, prepare to board Air Force One en route to Texas Dec. 26); Reuters/Fred Prouser (Rove takes part in a panel discussion on Fox TV July 14)

Rove, Gingrich weigh in with advice for McCain

mccaintux1.jpg 

How can John McCain win?
    
The Republican presidential candidate trails Democratic rival Barack Obama in opinion polls and time is running out before the Nov. 4 election. The Web site FiveThirtyEight, which uses statistical modeling to predict the outcome, gives the Arizona senator only a 5.3 percent chance of victory.

It’s third and long for the Maverick, but  two prominent Republican strategists see a path to victory.
    
Here’s what they say:
    
THREAD THE NEEDLE. McCain should focus on a handful of states that voted Republican in 2004 but could go Obama’s way this time out — Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada, said Karl Rove, President Bush’s former political advisor. He can lose Iowa and New Mexico, which also voted for Bush in 2004, and still squeak by with 274 Electoral College votes, enough for a win.
 
“It’s threading the needle, but it’s come to that,” Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
    
TAXES, TAXES, TAXES. Forget on-the-ground tactics — McCain and running mate Sarah Palin should hammer Obama for wanting to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000, tapping into Americans’ instinctive mistrust of politicans, said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
    
If the message catches on, all those swing states will swing McCain’s way, Gingrich said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
 
The way Gingrich sees it, Obama could have another Bittergate on his hands after telling Joe the Plumber that he wants to “spread the wealth around” to create a healthier economy.
    
“If Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin spend the rest of this campaign focused on whether or not politicians want to take money away from you and decide how much you’re allowed to keeep, I suspect they win the election,” he said.
 
“What Sen. Obama said the other night was a Freudian slip,” he added. 
    
There’s another prominent politician who’s not ruling out a McCain victory: Obama himself. 
 
“Don’t underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” he said at a fundraiser Thursday night. “Don’t underestimate our ability to screw it up.”
    
What do you think? Who’s got the better roadmap for McCain — Rove or Gingrich?

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Young (McCain arrives at the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York, Oct. 16)

Karl Rove says McCain, Obama have gone too far

rove.jpgJACKSONVILLE, Florida – Take it from an expert. Karl Rove, known as the architect of President George W. Bush’s electoral victories, believes White House candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have gone too far in their attacks on each other.

Rove, speaking on the television program Fox News Sunday, said an ad by the Democratic presidential nominee and Illinois senator criticizing McCain for not being e-mail savvy was unfair.

“His war injuries keep him from being able to use a keyboard. He can’t type. You know, it’s like saying he can’t do jumping jacks,” Rove said of the Arizona senator and former U.S. prisoner of war in Vietnam.