Tales from the Trail

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.”

Although he would not list the groups, he said several have met to cooperate by sharing polling information and research, and also to minimize the risks that that the television advertisements they buy will compete with one another. ”Crossroads encouraged a number of the groups to share polling information, research and also to share the scheduling of their media buy information,” he said.

Media buying is an important aspect of an election season in which more than $1 billion is expected to be spent on television advertising. Collegio said he expected there might be so many ads in some areas that television stations will run out of airtime to sell.

Romney changes style – not substance – on immigration

Mitt Romney took a dramatically softer tone on immigration in his speech to Latino officials on Thursday than his harsh rhetoric on this issue during the primary campaign, but the likely Republican presidential nominee’s remarks fell flat with immigration advocates, who want him to offer solid policy suggestions and are wary of his past tough line on the issue.

Romney tacked hard to the right on immigration during his nomination fight, as he sought to woo conservative Republican primary voters from rivals who took more moderate positions. During the primary campaign, Romney endorsed an Arizona state law giving the police expanded powers to stop anyone suspected of being in the country illegally, which many Latinos view as racial profiling. He also called for the “self-deportation” of illegal immigrants and promised to repeal the Dream Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for some young illegal immigrants brought into the country as children, if the measure were to pass Congress.

But the audience for the general election on Nov. 6 is more moderate on immigration than Republican primary voters. Romney also came under pressure to offer proposals on immigration when President Barack Obama announced a plan on Friday that will let hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people to avoid being shipped home.

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.

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.

Washington Extra – Surplus shocker!

Speaker of the House John Boehner is seen in February 28, 2012 file photo on Capitol Hill in Washington. REUTERS/Larry Downing

For anyone who thought the term “budget surplus” had been exorcised from the U.S. government’s lexicon, the Treasury Department offered up some interesting news today. 

For the first time since September, 2008, the government’s monthly receipts outpaced its expenditures, resulting in a $59 billion budget surplus in April. The end of the 42-month drought does not mean Washington has solved its budget problems. Indeed, for the first seven months of this fiscal year, $720 billion in cumulative deficits have been racked up.

Washington Extra – ‘Wild ride’ ends

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (L) and his wife, Callista walk together after he suspended his bid for the GOP presidential nomination in Arlington, Virginia, May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

The sharpest debater in the 2012 field of Republican presidential candidates exited the race touting a hodgepodge of initiatives that made his failed race so colorful. 

“Suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship,” Newt Gingrich warned in his long-awaited announcement that he was quitting. He then ticked off the vision of America he will continue to pursue as a private citizen:

Washington Extra – An anniversary observed

Troops at Bagram Air Base listen to U.S. President Barack Obama speak during his visit to Kabul, May 2, 2012. Earlier, Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement at the Presidential Palace. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

One year ago, President Barack Obama was secretly holed up in the White House Situation Room monitoring what turned out to be the successful U.S. military operation to kill Osama bin Laden.

A year later, he spent the day on another secret mission: flying aboard Air Force One to Afghanistan, the country from which bin Laden hatched his Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Washington Extra – Kids, cover your ears

It’s true, you learn much more out in the real world than you do in school. Just look at the kids who today attended the State Department press briefing for Take Your Child to Work Day. Instead of lessons in nation-building or food aid, they were treated to a discussion of prostitutes and strip clubs. 

With Washington gripped by a widening Secret Service scandal, reporters just couldn’t steer clear of the salacious story. Soon after spokeswoman Victoria Nuland saluted the handful of underage observers, the questions moved to charges that Secret Service agents and other government workers cavorted with strippers and prostitutes while on overseas assignments. Nuland lamented the topic du jour and one Department employee jokingly moved to cover his daughter’s ears.

The roughly half-dozen kids were models of decorum. There they sat, on the sidelines of the briefing room, staring down at the floor. None asked a question. But they might have been thinking “Mom, Dad, when we get home tonight, you’ll have some explaining to do.”

Romney looks to give Bernanke the boot

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke attends the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) meeting during the spring IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington April 21, 2012.

“I’d be looking for somebody new.”

Those words from the U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may give Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke some pause – or at least thinking about some other job prospects if the GOP frontrunner wins the Nov. 6 election.

As we report,  Romney, a former business executive who’s made the economy the cornerstone of his campaign, has made it clear that if he wins the White House he will try to replace Bernanke. The Fed chief’s term ends in January 2014 – a year after the next president takes office. Although Bernanke was nominated by Republican President George W. Bush, Democratic President Barack Obama give him second term in 2009.