THE MORNING LINE -- May 21, 2012 at 9:22 AM ET
Obama Campaign Renews Attacks on Romney's Tenure at Bain
Mitt Romney campaigns in St. Petersburg, Fla., last week. Photo by Edward Linsmier/Getty Images.
Bain Capital has taken over dozens of companies in its 28-year history. Any of its actions that resulted in laid off workers -- especially in a battleground state -- just might be getting profiled by President Obama's re-election team this year.
On Monday, the Obama campaign will again go after Mitt Romney's record as an executive at Bain Capital by focusing on a paper company that closed a plant in Marion, Ind. It's the second attack in a week that goes directly after Romney's business record, which the former Massachusetts governor cites as a reason he would do a better job on the economy than the president.
Like the television ad released last week, this video features workers telling their stories and suggesting Romney was responsible for their plight.
There is no real money behind this video, and it isn't clear if that will change. On Monday, the Obama campaign does an online push and will hold a conference call featuring one of the workers in the video. But an Obama campaign official said last week's initially small television buy putting the GST Steel ad on the air in battleground states will be expanded across Ohio this week.
The official said the new push will be posted on the RomneyEconomics website that went live last week with the GST Steel ad. The Obama team is "illustrating how Romney Economics is about doing whatever it takes to maximize profit, regardless of the cost to workers, companies and communities," the official said.
Watch it here or below.
The continued push comes after Obama backer and Newark, N.J., Democratic Mayor Cory Booker criticized the Bain attacks as "nauseating" on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"To me, it's just we're getting to a ridiculous point in America, especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital," Booker said. "If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, they've done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this, to me, I'm very uncomfortable with."
But a few hours after the appearance aired, the Obama campaign flagged a "clarifying video" Booker had posted on YouTube. Booker spends several minutes explaining why he thinks the president deserves re-election, but he stood by his critique of negative campaigning.
The Obama team, for its part, released a 35-second version of Booker's YouTube video that focuses on Romney and backs up the campaign attack. In it, Booker says it is "reasonable" for the Obama team to examine Romney's record and that he has "no problem with that." Watch the short version here.
RON PAUL PRESSES ON
Texas Rep. Ron Paul's strategy to win political support without a presidential campaign seems to be working.
Minnesota saw the coup continue this weekend, when Paul won support from 12 of 13 representatives at the state's party convention. His supporters gave freshman state Rep. Kurt Bills the GOP nomination in the U.S. Senate race. Bills, who was endorsed by Paul, will face Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the fall.
The Texas congressman also picked up a majority of delegates at the state convention in Michigan, Romney's home state, plus a handful of delegates in Vermont. In Michigan, the Paul efforts resulted in Saul Anuzis, a longtime RNC member from the state, losing his seat in the shuffle.
"Victories in Minnesota and other states demonstrate that Ron Paul supporters possess the adaptability, organizational muscle, and unmatched enthusiasm required to continue winning delegates in upcoming contests," Paul national campaign manager John Tate said in a statement.
Paul announced a plan to suspend active campaigning last week. Instead, his campaign told supporters, he would focus on earning support from state delegates rather than voters. As the NewsHour reported, it's more about building a strategy for the long term than it is about 2012.
The Minnesota convention's outcome was in line with other recent state conventions where Paul supporters gained delegate spots despite losing the caucus or primary vote, such as in Nevada and Maine. Minnesota Public Radio reported that the state's event happened without the disruptions that Paul supporters gave to the Republican Party in other states.
Paul's delegate strategy won't prevent Romney's nomination at the convention, although some fear that rowdy Paul supporters might disrupt it. But it's clearer with each new delegate rounded up for Paul that he and his "liberty" platform will grab some attention from the nominee and the GOP in Tampa.
SHIELD AND BROOKS
On the Friday's NewsHour, Mark Shields and David Brooks talked with Jeffrey Brown about political tactics in the presidential campaign. David said the Obama team's attacks on Romney's time at Bain Capital are "80 percent unfair" and leave out important details about the companies Bain took over.
Mark weighed in on the Jeremiah Wright attack ad that was floated and fizzled last week.
"[T]his was a greedy proposal. It has no political saliency to it. The issue of Rev. Wright was litigated in 2008," he said. "[I]t is playing only to the conspiracy nuts and those who are convinced that he is either from Mars or Venus or Kenya."
David added that the campaigns "are losing control of their message" when outside forces attempt to drive the conversation.
Watch here or below.
Christina subbed for Hari Sreenivasan on Friday's Doubleheader. They talked about Rep. Paul and Americans Elect calling it quits. In the politics of sports segment, Mark and Christina agreed in their Preakness pick -- Daddy Nose Best -- while David went with Teeth of the Dog in honor of a golf course he once played.
Watch here or below:
2012 LINE ITEMS
The Washington Post's T.W. Farnam writes Monday that "the lobbying industry Obama has vowed to constrain is a regular presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave" and visitors logs the president was the first to make public "suggest that lobbyists with personal connections to the White House enjoy the easiest access."
Romney welcomed Mr. Obama to the NATO Summit with an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune.
Jodi Kantor wrote a front-page New York Times story on Romney's Mormonism.
Romney's impressive haul in April was thanks to Republican National Committee fundraising, the FEC report filed this weekend shows. The presumptive nominee raised $11.7 million last month, less than the $13 million he raised in March. Romney had just over $9 million in the bank, compared with Mr. Obama's $115 million cash on hand, reports Aaron Blake of the Washington Post.
Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times writes about how super PACs are reshaping the business of politics.
Politico's Abby Phillip reports, "The biggest donor in April to a pro-Mitt Romney super PAC, Restore our Future, once got into a dispute that culminated with him driving a photographer's SUV into a pond -- an incident he called 'regrettable.'"
Politico's Anna Palmer outlines all the perks that Romney donors receive from the campaign.
Roll Call's Shira Toeplitz profiles the Romney camp's J.T. Jezierski, the man she says is "charged with the delicate task of serving as the chief conduit between hundreds of GOP Members and a presidential campaign hundreds of miles away."
The Tampa Bay Times looks at the careful negotiations of who will speak at the Republican National Convention.
The Associated Press notices that Romney is often campaigning on a bad economy in states where the Republican governors are campaigning on an improved local economy thanks to their own records.
Romney will speak at the Latino Coalition's Annual Economic Summit Wednesday in Washington. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also is giving a keynote address to the nonprofit small business organization.
Rubio gave a speech in South Carolina, lashing into the president's policies and sparking talk of a potential 2016 run.
The Associated Press looks at Romney's record in Massachusetts with a focus on Boston's "Big Dig."
American Crossroads has released a second web video mocking the president for saying his accomplishments are "great." Watch it here.
Kim Geiger of the Los Angeles Times reports that Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said it's "possible" he would keep the president's name off of the November ballot if officials in Hawaii do not send him confirmation Mr. Obama was born there.
Florida emergency officials testing storm response with simulation of "Hurricane Gispert," aimed at Tampa during RNC convo #HotlineSort— Reid Wilson (@HotlineReid) May 21, 2012
Rick Santorum ended his campaign with $2.3 million in debt. He owes $762,988 to John Brabender. wapo.st/KcwcbU— James Hohmann (@jameshohmann) May 21, 2012
Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign is over $1m in debt— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) May 21, 2012
Last week it was Chris Christie shaking his fist and saying "Booker!" Now it's the White House.— Doug Heye (@DougHeye) May 21, 2012
OUTSIDE THE LINES
Gwen Ifill (@pbsgwen) is reading two books that she says suggest politics today are smaller than politics of the past.
Asked Sunday by ABC's George Stephanopolous about perceptions he has had difficulty maintaining control of his caucus, House Speaker John Boehner responded, "It is hard to keep 218 frogs in a wheelbarrow long enough to get a bill passed."
The editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Saturday endorsed Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker over Democrat Tom Barrett in the June 5 recall election. It wrote that Walker's "tough stance with the state's public employee unions" was "simply not enough to justify a vote against the governor."
The Journal Sentinel's Larry Sandler, Patrick Marley and Jason Stein also report on the labor money that may soon be moving off the sidelines for Barrett.
Jury deliberations resume Monday in the John Edwards campaign finance trial.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley got a behind-the-scenes look at the Pimlico stables in Baltimore ahead of Saturday's Preakness race. Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another is getting racing fans excited about the possibility of the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Here's the NewsHour's update on the Trayvon Martin case.
The National Review's Katrina Trinko got into trouble for suggesting Democratic Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren plagiarized in her book, but it turns out Trinko was looking at the paperback version that came out one year later. She apologized and removed her initial piece.
GOP Sen. Mike Lee was forced to sell his Utah home in a short sale.
David Axelrod will campaign for Rep. Steven Rothman in New Jersey's redistricting-fueled member-vs.-member Democratic primary.
Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
President Obama attends the NATO Summit in Chicago and holds a 4:30 p.m. press conference. He speaks at the Joplin High School Commencement Ceremony at 9:15 p.m.
Vice President Biden has no public events scheduled.
Mitt Romney has no public events scheduled.
All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.
Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.