When news broke early in the week that the Democratic platform did not include God or continue to insist Jerusalem be considered the capital of Israel, the party sought to fix this with amendments to be approved during low-intensity moments of the convention before the TV cameras tuned in.
It is highly unlikely we've heard the last of this. But commentators did agree on one thing: Clinton's speech meant President Obama would have a tough act to follow on the convention's final night. Will Clinton's speech "trickle up" tonight? Perhaps. But even if it does, the bounce won't last.
Because nothing that has happened in Charlotte—not Michelle Obama's speech, not Bill Clinton's, certainly not the speeches of Sandra Fluke and Elizabeth Warren, and absolutely not the Jerusalem/God controversy—has done a thing to address the president's central weakness: the ability to appeal to white working-class voters.
Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Rerpot
You speak of a smokin'-fresh spoof in which POTUS calls Harold and Kumar to get them, um, fired up for the Democratic National Convention.
"Who was that?" a stoned-looking John Cho asks Kal Penn after listening to Barack Obama come through on an answering machine. "Sounded intense."
Intense it may be, but according to political analysts, don't look for the spot--or opposing videos by folks like Victoria Jackson or Chuck Norris—to make much of a dent, at least, among voters who really matter.
Why? Because the videos clearly appeal to certain demographics—groups that are pretty much already locked down as either pro-POTUS or pro-Mitt Romney.
In other words, says Republican strategist and former presidential campaign advisor Ford O'Connell, this election is really about "undecided voters in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia, and I don't see how these videos are speaking to those groups."
Instead, O'Connell says, the videos are perfect for another purpose: keeping political bases interested and engaged. (Note that not every video is official; many are done independently.)
Read more from Leslie Gornstein at E! Online
Republican challenger Mitt Romney certainly has his work cut out for him. From NBC's First Read:
One way to look at the nine toss-up states is in the likelihood of Romney being able to flip them from blue to red. Here’s our list (from most likely to least likely):
1. North Carolina
9. New Hampshire
What’s striking about this list is if you give Romney the Top 4 (NC, IA, FL, and CO) that only gets him to 250 electoral votes. And if you give him the next two on the list (VA and NV), he’s still one short of 270 (bringing us to that 269-269 tie). That means he has to put one of Ohio, Wisconsin, or New Hampshire into the mix to get past 270. Bottom line: Romney’s map to 270 is
more thandoable, but it’s also a high-wire act. By the way, we were debating whether to put Wisconsin ahead of Ohio (given the polls below), but what wins out -- for now -- is that the Obama and Romney campaigns aren’t advertising there right now.
From The Hill:
Good sign for Romney-Ryan ticket, who must win seniors and the state of Florida if they are to unseat the incumbent Obama-Biden ticket.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released early Wednesday found that 50 percent of senior citizens 65 years and older have a favorable view of Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential pick, while 35 percent hold an unfavorable view. Fifteen percent, the poll found, don't have an opinion.
Democrats had expected Rep. Ryan (R-Wis.) to be especially unpopular with older Americans because of his budget proposal, which shifts Medicare into a subsidized private insurance model system for those currently under the age of 55. President Obama's campaign has hit Ryan hard for his Medicare plans, saying they would raise healthcare costs for seniors.
But Ryan, since presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney tapped him for the ticket, has not shied away from his budget plan. He has countered with attacks on Obama, claiming he weakened Medicare by cutting funds to pay for his healthcare reform bill.
From NBC News' Mark Murray:
A Democratic ticket featuring Obama and Vice President Joe Biden gets support from 48 percent of registered voters, and a Republican ticket of Romney and new running mate Paul Ryan gets 44 percent.
These numbers are only slightly changed from July, when Obama led Romney by six points in the survey, 49 percent to 43 percent, suggesting a minimal bounce for Romney (if at all) after this month’s Ryan pick.
While the state of the U.S. economy and the nation’s direction continue to pose significant obstacles for the president, the poll points to even steeper challenges for Romney, including concerns about his tax returns and a lack of support for his plans to overhaul Medicare.
Looking ahead to next week’s Republican convention, which begins on Monday in Tampa, Fla., Hart adds: “Mitt Romney has a lot of repair work to do with his image.”
In a smaller sample of voters living in 12 key battleground states – Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin – Obama leads Romney by three points, 49 percent to 46 percent.
That’s a narrower edge in these battlegrounds than the eight-point lead the president enjoyed in the June and July NBC/WSJ polls.
Looking inside the numbers, Obama continues to lead Romney among key parts of his political base, including African Americans (94 percent to 0 percent), Latinos (by a 2-to-1 margin), voters under 35-years-old (52 percent to 41 percent) and women (51 percent to 41 percent).
Romney is ahead with whites (53 percent to 40 percent), rural voters (47 percent to 38 percent) and seniors (49 percent to 41 percent).
[G]iving [Ron] Paul a speaking spot during the convention is not the answer. Conventions are the last opportunity for parties to present uncontested views of their candidates. They are neither a circus requiring a Ron Paul sideshow nor Free Speech Alley at the local college. They are four-day infomercials designed to promote the candidacy of—in this case—Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and the ideas on which they are running.
One can respect the passion of Paul's supporters, admire their focus on liberty and limited government and even acknowledge the support he has amassed over the years without wanting to see him muddle the message in Tampa.
He will get his moment in the sun. The delegate roll call will demonstrate the popularity of his ideas. His son's speech will reflect most of his views and signal a passing of the torch for his followers since Ron Paul is retiring from Congress after this year. The party will acknowledge his efforts in the primaries.
But more than 76 million people saw John McCain and Sarah Palin speak at the 2008 convention. And more than that may watch Romney and Ryan. This is their show.
This is their opportunity to make the case for themselves and against President Barack Obama. It is a fleeting moment in a long campaign, and there are no do-overs. Republicans must get it right the first time. And that means there is no way they can spend a day explaining away whatever Paul might say. There is simply too much on the line.
Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report
There are times in politics, as in poker, that a candidate has to know when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em, and right now the proper course of action is for Todd Akin to drop out of the race.
As indefensible as Akin’s comments were, he is dragging the Republican Party down with him. The DNC is trying to use Akin’s comments against Romney, and if Akin stays in the race and loses, he could cost the GOP control of the Senate.
Some moments are bigger and more important than a candidate’s political aspirations. This is one of them. Hopefully Akin will wake up before it is too late.
Read more from Ford O'Connell at Poltiico's "The Arena"
Apparently President Obama's fondness for deficits extends to his campaign. From The New York Times:
Mitt Romney’s cash advantage over President Obama and the Democrats more than doubled in July, as intense Republican fund-raising and heavy spending by Mr. Obama and his allies left Mr. Romney and the Republican National Committee with $62 million more in the bank than the Democrats at the end of last month.
Mr. Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee spent $91 million in July, significantly more than the $75 million the Democrats raised, underscoring the investments Mr. Obama made in technology and field staff as well as nearly $40 million his campaign spent on advertising that month. While Mr. Romney continued to husband his resources for the fall — he spent less than half of what Mr. Obama did on advertising — conservative “super PACs” and other outside groups stepped into the breach, spending millions of dollars on ads attacking Mr. Obama.
From Public Policy Polling (8/21/12):
PPP's first Wisconsin poll since Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate finds him taking a small lead over Barack Obama in the state, 48-47. That represents a 7 point shift from PPP's last look at the state in early July, which found Obama ahead 50-44.
The biggest change Ryan's selection seems to have brought about is the unification of the GOP. Romney's gone from a 78 point lead with Republicans on our last poll (87-9) to now an 88 point lead with them (93-5). There's also been a tightening with independents. Obama still has a 4 point lead with them at 47-43, but that's down from a 14 point advantage at 53-39 six weeks ago. Democrats are unchanged from the previous poll.
Ryan isn't exactly a universally popular figure in his home state. 49% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 45% with a negative one. But that does give him the best numbers of anybody on either ticket in the state.
A big reason Wisconsin remains so competitive for the GOP is that the electorate looks like it will be considerably more Republican leaning than it was in 2008, reflecting the continued high energy level of the party's voters after its victory in June's recall election. We find an electorate that's 34% Republican and 32% Democratic. Exit polls in 2008 showed Democrats with a 6 point turnout advantage, 39% to 33%. Although the enthusiasm gap that plagued Democrats nationally in 2010 has dissipated some places, it appears to still be a real issue for them in Wisconsin.
Choosing Ryan as his running mate isn't giving Romney any trouble with seniors in Wisconsin. That's actually where his greatest strength is, leading Obama 52-43 with them.