A cautious outlook by the House Speaker at this juncture - according to Intrade. That said, at least Boehner is tactically preparing for the worst, rather than naively hoping for the best. The Hill's Cameron Joseph has more:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Monday that his party faces a “real challenge” in holding on to its majority in the House.
In an interview with Fox News that is scheduled to air Tuesday, Boehner predicted the GOP will keep control of the House, but sounded less certain than many of his Republican colleagues — and a number of nonpartisan prognosticators.
“I believe that we will, but we’ve got a real challenge,” he said when asked if Republicans will maintain control of the lower chamber.
The Ohio lawmaker put the odds at 2-to-1 that the GOP will be running the House in 2013.
Boehner is worried that Republican donors will take the House for granted, and pour their money into the battle for the White House and the Senate.
Democrats need a net gain of 25 seats to grab the gavel from Boehner, and they are playing defense in various districts in red states. And President Obama’s mediocre approval ratings have some Democrats worried.
Social Security will eventually run out of money - the only question is when? The Associated Press has more:
The government says a bad economy and higher energy prices have worsened the finances of Social Security, shortening the life of the trust funds that support the program by three years.
The trustees who oversee Social Security say the program's trust funds will now run dry in 2033. Medicare's finances have stabilized but the program's hospital insurance fund is still projected to run out of money in 2024.
If the Social Security and Medicare funds ever become exhausted, both programs would collect only enough money in payroll taxes to pay partial benefits.
The trustees said in their annual report that Congress should address the programs as soon as possible, but no action is likely before the November election.
Couldn't agree more. From Matt Mackowiak at the Austin American-Statesman:
For the Republican Party's future, there is no greater strategic imperative than improving its performance with Hispanic voters for this election and for the foreseeable future.
Can Republicans win Hispanics in 2012?
They have no choice but to try — and they are. There is some room for hope.
According to a McClatchy report, "a majority of Hispanics 51 percent in the nation, 54 percent in Florida say it's harder to open businesses now than it was four years ago. More than half say the country is on the wrong track. More than eight in 10 Hispanics are concerned with the federal government's debt, and 54 percent nationally 57 percent in Florida want to see less government spending."
The key takeaway appears to be that Hispanic voters are predisposed to vote Democratic but are not thrilled with doing so. If Republicans can make a solid argument, focused on the economy and opportunity, they have an excellent chance to persuade Hispanic voters.
The atmospherics in the "swing states" will largely determine whether President Obama will receive a second term. From the AP's Paul Wiseman:
Recent polls have shown Obama gaining an edge over his likely Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, in several so-called swing states — those that are considered up for grabs.
What’s made the difference is that unemployment has dropped more sharply in several swing states than in the nation as a whole. A resurgence in manufacturing is helping the economy — and Obama’s chances — in the industrial Midwestern states of Ohio and Michigan.
And Arizona, Nevada and Florida, where unemployment remains high, are getting some relief from an uptick in tourism.
“The biggest reason for the president’s improving prospects probably is the economy,’’ says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Evidence of a left-wing media conspiracy against Romney? From Pew Research Center's Project For Excellence In Journalism:
After Romney’s tight victory in the Michigan primary on Feb. 28, news coverage about his candidacy became measurably more favorable and the portrayal of his rivals—particularly Rick Santorum—began to become more negative and to shrink in volume.
One main component of that shift in the narrative is that after Michigan, the news media began to view Romney’s nomination as essentially inevitable.
A look inside the coverage also reveals that Romney endured more media "vetting" of his record and personal character than the other Republican contenders.
This was a serious stumbling bloc in 2008 for Team McCain. Team Romney hopefully won't make the same mistake. The New York Times' Michael D. Shear and Trip Gabriel have more:
Mitt Romney’s top aides plan to move quickly after the primaries on Tuesday to integrate the campaign’s growing staff with the Republican National Committee, in an effort to avoid logistical stumbles that have hampered past nominees, campaign aides and committee officials said Friday.
Mr. Romney has been careful not to push the committee into a formal support role while two of his rivals — Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul — continue campaigning for the nomination. But aides to Mr. Romney expect that dynamic to change after Tuesday, when he is expected to win all five of the primaries, including those in New York and Pennsylvania.
That will not give Mr. Romney a mathematical lock on the nomination, but his advisers believe that the victories will put an “exclamation point” on Mr. Romney’s presumed status as the nominee and provide the opening to move forward with a closer integration with the national party.
In past years, presidential campaigns have clashed with party chairmen as some tried to seize control of the party’s political apparatus. In 2008, Senator John McCain of Arizona installed a longtime friend as the deputy chairman soon after clinching the presidential nomination.
But the McCain merger was rocky, with the campaign’s staff members expressing distrust of the committee employees who were loyalists to President George W. Bush. Operatives at the committee recalled how few of Mr. McCain’s top aides had longstanding relationships with Mr. Bush’s staff at the organization.
A little bit of an over-simplification but some valid points. From Time's Kety Steimetz:
Romney’s speaking style, try as he might, often seems forced and rather wooden; people often comment on how presidential he looks, but he moves like Woody from Toy Story. Former speechwriters say there’s only so much that can be done about that. “He’s just not capable of transporting people where he wants them to go,” says Shesol. “You can’t change somebody’s basic style,” says Khachigian. “He is who he is.” Robinson agrees: “People can get better. Mitt Romney is studying up. At the same time, it’s paint-by-numbers. It’s just not in him to be an artist with words.”
But if the economy gets worse, more Americans may be drawn to a dry Mr. Fix-It, someone better suited to budgets than banquets. Rousing oratorical skill is not something people require in a good plumber or mechanic. In fact, Robinson says, stiffness could seem like proof that Romney would be a more effective manager. “If the Romney people are sensitive to this, they’ll say ‘Our guy is a terrific executive, and his speeches reflect his principal strengths. He can handle detail. There’s nothing flashy about him,’” he says. “They’d even spin his inability to be truly inspirational.”
Of course, Romney still needs to make his audiences feel as well as think. He can achieve that by capitalizing on frustrations that voters have about Obama. He is not going “to get his audience swept away by emotion and belief in Mitt Romney as some kind of political savior,” Shesol says. “His goal is to press the right buttons and make his audience mad enough that they will turn out to vote against this President."
It will be a heavy lift, but Mitt Romney can defeat Obama. He must make the case to Republican voters, since some are just not sold. From Politico's Jonathan Martin:
[T]here is pervasive pessimism among Republicans about Romney’s prospects this fall. It’s apparent in rampant discussions about which Republicans will run in 2016 - talk that obviously presupposes a loss in November - and it’s downright glaring in private conversations with GOP officials on Capitol Hill and in consulting shops across Washington.
And the skepticism about Romney isn’t just a Beltway phenomenon. Rank-and-file Republican voters are also uncertain he can win, though it’s the chattering class that is most bearish.
If Iowa wants to retain its pole position status in future Republican presidential primaries, it needs to get this fixed. ABC News' Chris Good has more:
It was one of the logistical lowlights of the 2012 primary.
After a late night of vote counting, the Iowa GOP announced Mitt Romney as the caucuses’ tentative winner, having staved off Rick Santorum by a mere eight votes.
Two weeks later, the Iowa GOP announced that Santorum had won by 34 votes. Eight precincts, meanwhile, could not be certified, and a party official made it clear that the votes would never be counted. A week and a half later, Strawn resigned as party chairman.
The Iowa GOP has now set itself to the task of figuring out what happened and how to fix it next time, having formed an Iowa Caucus Review Committee comprised of 17 party members including county chairs, former state-party officials, party activists, volunteers and supporters of multiple presidential campaigns.
Next Thursday, the committee will convene its first meeting, where it will hear the first round of reports from subcommittees on vote tabulation, public information and volunteer training.
The early results portend a close election so long as current conditions—high unemployment, spiking gas prices, enormous budget deficits—persist and neither candidate endures a Michael Dukakis "tank moment." Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake of The Washington Post cited a Pew Research poll that says as much as $2 billion will be spent on this campaign, but just 7 percent to 12 percent of all the voters in America are actually "persuadable."
But, as University of Virginia political prognosticator Larry Sabato says, "National polls are nice, but Electoral College math is what matters." In other words, it all comes down to which candidate can achieve 270 electoral votes.
With so many voters having already made up their minds, it should come as no surprise that the outcome of the election has largely been determined in at least 35 states. Sorry dreamers, but Massachusetts is not going to flip for its former governor, and Texas is not going to go for the president.
Romney's outlook doesn't seem that rosy to me. He has a feasible path to victory, but he must sweep Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. If he loses any of them, President Obama almost certainly will win re-election.
The early numbers tell us Romney indeed can pull it off. But it will take a lot of work and nearly perfect execution. The message to Republicans: It's time, right now, to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report