Tales from the Trail

Ann Romney’s horse, trainer headed to Olympics

A horse partly owned by First Lady candidate Ann Romney will be representing the red, white and blue in London this summer after almost certainly qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team in dressage, “the highest expression of horse training.”

Rafalca, a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare, and California-based trainer Jan Ebeling came in third in the U.S. Equestrian Federation National Dressage Championships in Gladstone, New Jersey, on Saturday. That almost guarantees the pair a spot on the team, which has five dressage spots.

Mrs. Romney, the wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, was reportedly at the qualifying event as her husband campaigned on the backroads of Pennsylvania. The couple embraced on the tarmac upon arrival in Scranton, PA, on Friday, before Ann Romney sped away in an SUV and Romney boarded his campaign bus.

Mrs. Romney credits riding with helping her to manage her symptoms from multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with in 1998, and has said she sometimes slips away from the rigors of the trail to ride and relax. She has competed in amateur and professional dressage competitions.

“Riding exhilarated me; it gave me a joy and a purpose. When I was so fatigued that I couldn’t move, the excitement of going to the barn and getting my foot in the stirrup would make me crawl out of bed,” Romney told the Los Angeles Times this year.

Romney hits Obama’s economic vision in Democrat’s hometown

Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney told supporters at a swanky fundraiser in President Barack Obama’s hometown on Thursday evening that under his administration they would see an “extraordinary resurgence of America’s economy” because of the former private equity executive’s economic prescription of less taxation, regulation, and government meddling.

The fundraising event in Chicago raised roughly $3.3 million for the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign and wider Republicans and came on the heels of speeches Romney and Obama gave hours before in different parts of the battleground state of Ohio outlining disparate visions for the economy.

“Our economy is propelled by freedom,” Romney said, speaking before roughly 220 people at a reception in a downtown Chicago hotel. “[Obama] believes a government can do a better job guiding lives and guiding the economy than can free people.”

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.

Romney getting more confident in race against Obama

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is sounding increasingly more confident about his chances against President Barack Obama after a week of big fund-raising numbers and what his campaign feels are mistakes made by the Democratic side.

“There’s some shot that I might get elected president. There’s more than a good shot,” Romney told a Main Street Cafe roundtable of farm business leaders on Friday in western Iowa.

His reasons for optimism include outdueling the Obama fund-raising juggernaut in May, bringing in nearly $77 million to the Democrats’ $60 million, and a two-day Texas swing this week that brought in $15 million, money that will be vital in paying for televisions ads.

Obama campaign targets Romney’s record as governor

President Obama’s reelection campaign on Friday released another video bashing Mitt Romney for his record in job creation as governor of Massachusetts.

The video mash-up pulls together footage of his former rivals for the Republican nomination — Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry, as well as John McCain in 2008 — each of whom is shown criticizing Romney for Massachussetts’ rate of job creation and tax increases during his term as governor.

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It follows a longer video, released on Thursday, that mines archival footage for video of Romney, during his 2002 run for governor, promising to use his experience in the private sector to improve the economy in Massachusetts, then contrasts it with a series of former and current state officials who say he didn’t follow through on his promises.

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.

Obama campaign launches voter drive around gay marriage

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, looking to tap support for the president’s embrace of same-sex marriage, launched a voter drive in key electoral states on Wednesday, saying a Mitt Romney presidency would be the “ultimate deal breaker” for proponents of “marriage equality.”

The campaign’s effort to mobilize lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender voters and those who back their rights to wed is called “Obama Pride: LGBT Americans For Obama” and will combine on-the-ground operations in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida with an enhanced digital footprint.

“The President fights for our equality because he believes we are equal. Mitt Romney would fight against our equality because he believes we do not deserve it,” said Joe Solmonese, an Obama campaign co-chair and president of the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. “We can not afford to go back.”

Obama, Romney celebrate tough, compassionate mothers

In two Mother’s Day videos posted to their respective websites, the campaigns working to re-elect President Barack Obama and his likely Republican adversary Mitt Romney packaged the top women in their ranks as strong-willed but compassionate moms who played outsized roles in raising the children of the men vying for the job as leader of the free world come November.

The Romney campaign reprised family videos to highlight the household challenges faced by Ann Romney, who as a tough, doting mother grappled with five rambunctious boys — as well as multiple sclerosis and breast cancer. Ann compassionately disciplined the perceptually quarreling Tagg and Matt, the video notes, and served pancakes to Ben, who needed to be fattened up.

“She is an authentic person,” Tagg says in the video. “You know who she is when you meet her. She doesn’t put on airs. She doesn’t try to be something she’s not. She doesn’t try to measure what she is going to say to gauge how you are going to react. She just says what she thinks.”

“Mitt Gets Worse” on gay rights, pro-Obama video alleges

Pro-Obama super PAC American Bridge has released a new web video outlining Mitt Romney’s various, and potentially incendiary, comments on a spectrum of gay-rights issues — marriage, child rearing, bullying — at different moments in his political career. “The more we learn about Mitt Romney’s attitude toward LGBT people, the worse it gets,” the ad declares.

The video — titled “Mitt Gets Worse,” presumably a play on the “It Gets Better” video project for LGBT youth — shows the presidential candidate repeatedly disavowing same-sex marriage, first as governor of Massachusetts (“Marriage in one state affects all of the states and therefore we have to have a federal standard that says marriage in this country is a relationship between one man and one woman,” he tells an audience) and, later, as a presidential candidate (“Calling it marriage creates a whole host of problems…three thousand years of human history shouldn’t be discarded so quickly”).

Romney’s concerns about the impact of same-sex marriage on “the development of children” are also highlighted: “The consequences of gay marriage fall far beyond just the relationship between a man and woman — they also relate to our kids,” he’s shown saying in one clip. “The development of a child in the history of civilization has been enhanced by the opportunity to learn from the gender characteristics of a mother and a father,” he says in another, although he doesn’t specify which “gender characteristics” he means.