THE MORNING LINE -- August 16, 2012 at 8:59 AM EDT
Campaigns Try to Win Over Women Voters
Supporters of Mitt Romney reach out to shake his hand during a campaign rally Tuesday in Zanesville, Ohio. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.
If you're a woman living in one of a dozen or so states, chances are you're being courted by President Obama and Mitt Romney.
With the Nov. 6 contest likely to be close and each campaign focused on influencing the margins, female voters have become one of the most important voting blocs. The teams in Boston and Chicago are well aware that single women tend to favor Democrats, while married women are more persuadable.
The ad campaigns, the rallies and the overall messaging have been crafted to win over these women. They appeal to their concerns about the future -- especially mounting fiscal debt -- and argue they each are better suited to build up middle-class families.
Reporter-producer Katelyn Polantz and producer Anne Davenport tracked down suburban Northern Virginia women who exemplify the types of voters Mr. Obama and Romney are wooing in earnest. They shared their worries and doubts about both the president and his rival. From Mommy Boot Camp to a horse farm, Judy Woodruff takes you through why this demographic is so crucial. (Don't miss her stand-up done from a speeding train.)
Watch Judy's report here or below:
Katelyn also put together this extra piece talking with University of Mary Washington's Stephen Farnsworth. He outlines for our team what both the president and Romney need to do to win in the Old Dominion.
Reporter-producer Cassie M. Chew and NewsHour politics desk assistant Beth Garbitelli were among the reporters allowed to observe a focus group of women in Wisconsin. The comments were strikingly similar to what Judy heard in Virginia, with women who liked the president four years ago just not sure about him this time around. But still, they aren't sold on Romney.
Read their story here.
The NewsHour is also collecting voter voices through our Listen to Me project. We're asking people what the most important issue is to them, if they're hopeful about the future and if they think the political system is broken and how would they fix it.
Here's a sample of women in Wisconsin:
NASTIER AND NASTIER
On Wednesday's NewsHour, Gwen Ifill talked with two strategists, Democrat Mo Elleithee and Republican Rick Tyler, about the sharpened rhetoric in the presidential campaign.
Tyler cut to the chase: "I think we've hit bottom." He also wasn't shy to criticize his own party's candidate. This week's round of vitriol has, to Romney's detriment, pulled him off of a jobs-focused message, said Tyler, who worked for Newt Gingrich and a supportive super PAC. He added, "'[M]ost strategists in this town think that negative campaigning works."
The two agreed that the climate caused by social media has pulled both campaigns into a constant back-and-forth, the type of environment where surface-level attacks make a difference.
In this sense, Obama and Romney seem to be sort of rhetorical twins here. The reason exactly that Mo is right is because we are fighting this on minute-to-minute, hour-by-hour, because there is a lacking overvision, so tactics are winning the day. It's win or lose every single day.
I believe that both sides, that both parties, not just both campaigns -- both parties -- are responsible for the tone. And both parties need to take responsibility for the tone. I am partisan. I do believe one side has been worse than the other.
Watch the segment here or below:
Politico's Reid Epstein noticed that Romney has stopped telling crowds the president is a "nice guy."
QUICK TAMPA UPDATE
NewsHour politics production assistant Alex Bruns is busy in Tampa, Fla., preparing for our major convention blitz. He filed this dispatch:
The Tampa Bay Times Forum is shaping up as crews build the Republican National Convention speaker's stage between the blue lines at the home of the NHL's Lightning.
The Republican National Committee has reserved 7,000 rooms downtown for incoming delegates and another 9,000 for other party members and guests. The Tampa Convention Center is also being reconfigured to house various media outlets, including the NewsHour, for the big event.
Local police have taken to riding around on horses and very intimidating looking three wheeled Segways.
The NewsHour has been hard at work getting ready for its gavel-to-gavel convention coverage but has an early restaurant recommendation for you: Aguila Sandwich Shop has one of the best Cubans in town.
2012 LINE ITEMS
The president played up his love of beer on his recent bus tour through Iowa, notes the Washington Post's Amy Gardner.
Jeff Zeleny writes in the New York Times about how Romney's choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate has shifted the debate from the economy to ideology.
Politico's Jonathan Martin details Vice President Joe Biden's efforts to keep spontaneity alive on the campaign trail.
The Washington Post's Peter Wallsten and David Nakamura write that the Ryan pick presents a new set of challenges for Biden.
Arizona Sen. John McCain said Wednesday the president would be "wise" to replace Biden with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket, but he acknowledged "that's not going to happen."
The Hill's Mike Lillis looks at Ryan's shifting position on immigration over the years.
Fox's Chad Pergram uses Led Zepplin to shed a little light on what Ryan's really like.
Roll Call's Neils Lesniewski has a classic story about a Ron Paul backer unwilling to part with his Romney-Ryan website.
A new poll shows the president leading Romney among voters who aren't likely to show up on Nov. 6.
The RNC has a new web video going after the president for running a negative campaign.
Fortune Magazine lays out the Romney economic plan from his team of advisers.
Politico's Charles Mahtesian reports that a new study from the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way found "Democratic voter registration is down by more than 800,000 since 2008 in eight battleground states." The report showed GOP registration declined by 79,000 over the same period.
Judy's Notebook this week offers handy tips for surviving the blast of political ads on the airwaves.
Say goodbye to the tradition of Election Day.
Here's trend many missed: 4 of last 5 GOP running mates were Republican Study Cmte members: Quayle/Kemp/Cheney/Ryan. dailycaller.com/2012/08/15/rya...— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) August 16, 2012
New F&M PA Poll: Obama up 47-42. Romney fav/unfav 32/49. "Most prepared" on econ. - Romney 44-42. edisk.fandm.edu/FLI/keystone/p...— amy walter (@amyewalter) August 16, 2012
Love talk about White House homebrew, and Ima let you finish, but we've know about this since March, 2011. bit.ly/gwZd9A— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) August 16, 2012
OUTSIDE THE LINES
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's independent expenditure arm is putting its first ad on television. It focuses on -- you guessed it -- Medicare changes in Ryan's budget and targets GOP Rep. Dan Benishek in Michigan for backing it.
Politico's Alex Isenstadt, Burgess Everett and Andrew Restuccia look at the different campaign approaches of Florida GOP Reps. John Mica and Cliff Stearns.
A gunman shot a security guard Wednesday at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Family Research Council. The guard, who was shot in the arm, helped others subdue the suspect until police arrived.
NewsHour reporter-producer Rebecca Jacobson looks at how beekeepers are feeling the sting of climate change.
Which Julia Child are you? Take the quiz.
Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
Paul Ryan attends a campaign event in North Canton, Ohio, at 9:55 a.m.
President Obama attends meetings at the White House but has no public events scheduled.
Vice President Biden attends meetings at the White House.
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.
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.