Romney Bus Tour Begins After Day of Economic Debate

BY Christina Bellantoni and Terence Burlij  June 15, 2012 at 9:19 AM EST

Mitt Romney; photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Mitt Romney is hitting the road to visit five states over the next few days. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

Mitt Romney is hitting the road in his first real battleground barnstorm.

The presumptive Republican nominee’s bus tour began Friday morning in New Hampshire and will cross through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa and Michigan over the next few days.

The Democratic National Committee won’t be far behind, with operatives planning to trail the bus with a tour of their own dubbed “Romney Economics: The Middle Class Under the Bus.”

Thursday offered a preview of the economic fights the campaigns will have to come, with both men speaking in Ohio within a few minutes of each other.

“Don’t forget, he’s been president for three-and-a-half years. And talk is cheap. Actions speak very loud,” Romney said in Cincinnati. “If you want to see the results of his economic policy, look around Ohio, look around the country.”

“Now I know that he will have all sorts of excuses and he’ll have all sorts of ideas he’ll describe about how he will make things better, but what he says and what he does are not always the exact same thing,” Romney said.

President Obama’s much ballyhooed speech aimed to contrast his vision with the Republicans’, and he went right after “Romney and his allies in Congress” for wanting to give the richest Americans tax cuts.

Like he has done in major campaign speeches this year, the president said the election is a “make or break moment” for the middle class.

The Obama campaign sent at least 25 press releases highlighting praise for the speech, clogging reporters’ inboxes with supportive statements from senators, mayors and governors across the country.

The president also acknowledged his bumbling remarks from last week when he said, “The private sector is doing fine,” telling ebullient supporters in Cleveland that mistakes happen.

“There will be no shortage of gaffes and controversies that keep both campaigns busy and give the press something to write about. You may have heard I recently made my own unique contribution to that process. It wasn’t the first time; it won’t be the last,” Mr. Obama said.

The Republican National Committee is out with a harsh new web video mashing up old speeches by the president with Thursday’s remarks to suggest he was offering nothing new.

Watch that here or below.

American Crossroads joins in. Watch its web video here.

The NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown examined the dueling speeches in a segment Thursday night produced by Tiffany Mullon and Allie Morris.

Watch that here or below.

Gwen Ifill (@pbsgwen) will meet up with Romney’s bus tour Sunday in Ohio. Tune in to the NewsHour Monday for her report.

McCAIN SUGGESTS ADELSON CASH IS FOREIGN MONEY

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., asserted Tuesday that the involvement of anonymous donors and super PACs in American elections will lead to corruption.

Specifically, he alleged that money from outside the country may be helping one PAC. Billionaire contributor Sheldon Adelson, who operates casinos in the United States, Macau and Singapore, has pledged to give $100 million to Republican interests this election cycle.

“Maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign,” McCain told Judy Woodruff in his Capitol Hill office Thursday.

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee has long been a critic of the Supreme Court decisions that paved the way for super PACs.

Woodruff also asked McCain about the comparisons between the president’s “doing fine” gaffe and what McCain said about the fundamentals of the economy during his 2008 run as the Republican nominee. Specifically, she probed his feelings on the striking similarity between the attack ad the Romney campaign issued on Thursday, and Team Obama’s ad that many have said was McCain’s fatal blow.

“We’re in the midst of a fiscal meltdown. When I said, look we’re in a terrible fiscal crisis but the fundamentals of our economy are strong,” McCain said. “So I think there is a difference between the two.”

The ads certainly don’t make that distinction. As you can see in the NewsHour’s campaign lead from Thursday, they’re nearly identical — from music, to text slides, to the echo of a candidate’s voice at the end.

Watch the segment here or below.

McCain also spoke at length about our foreign policy in Syria and leaks of the administration’s war strategies. On Syria, he advocated for arming and helping the fighters against the Bashar al-Assad government but avoiding putting American troops on the ground in the country.

P.J. Tobia from the NewsHour’s foreign affairs team covered McCain’s comments on U.S. relations with Pakistan.

SUPREME COURT HOME STRETCH

The Supreme Court enters its two final weeks of the term, and quite a few significant decisions are still to come, Katelyn Polantz reports.

We don’t know on which day before the end of June they’ll issue opinions on big cases such as health care reform and Arizona’s immigration law. The court has scheduled two days next week for opinions: Monday and Thursday. They publish opinions at 10 a.m., and you will be able to follow along on the NewsHour’s site thanks to a live plug-in from ScotusBlog.

News organizations are gearing up for the end of the term by publishing deeply researched pieces on the court and the import of the decisions to come.

Reuters dove into the secrecy and influence of each justice and profiled the high court’s clerks in fascinating detail.

From the story:

The clerks, who are handpicked each year, are sworn to secrecy from Day One, and almost always keep that vow until their justice is off the bench or dies. They have a separate dining room in the Supreme Court cafeteria where they can discuss the secrets of the chambers without the risk of being overheard. As recently as 2008 law clerks worked on computers with no Internet connection to thwart potential hackers, according to a former clerk … But reviews of the clerks’ resumes and interviews with their former employers and colleagues — and yes, even their parents — shed light on their personalities and predilections and, in a few instances, their possible healthcare politics.

The New York Times laid out how both political parties have readied themselves for the array of health care reform decision outcomes. For example, House Democrats carry a flier with them that outlines information on the Affordable Care Act, the Times reports.

NewsHour also ran through the possible outcomes with our regular Supreme Court correspondent, Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal.

DAILY DOWNLOAD

Howard Kurtz and Lauren Ashburn of Daily Download dissected David Axelrod’s Twitter Q-and-A following the president’s economic speech, noting it was not the campaign strategist’s best moment.

“An hour after the speech, Axelrod still hadn’t posted any answers for this. And things move very quickly online,” Kurtz said. “I think they kind of missed the moment. Also, with more conservative detractors of the president using that hashtag, it was kind of a mixed message.”

The duo also reported on parody social media accounts that needle politicians. Team Romney made a fake Bill Clinton account that Twitter suspended.

Kurtz noted that a Twitter spokeswoman told him, “While they’re pretty liberal about letting people use parody or satirical accounts, it has to be crystal clear, in the way that this one wasn’t, that it’s not the real person.”

And the Romney campaign told me that it didn’t take this down voluntarily. Twitter only acts when there’s a complaint. So, clearly, there was a complaint by the Democratic side. So now the Romney campaign, which apparently is in love with this Clinton approach, is putting the fake President Clinton tweets on its own Web site, no longer on Twitter.

Don’t miss @LeVraiMitt, which includes a tweet with the words, “LeBooHoo.”

Watch the segment here or below.

2012 LINE ITEMS

  • At a fundraiser hosted at actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s house on Thursday, the president said GOP forces would spend $500 million on ads that blame him for the nation’s problems. “It’s an elegant message, it happens to be wrong. But it’s crisp. You can fit it on a bumper sticker,” he said. Also attending: Bravo’s Andy Cohen, Meryl Streep and designer Michael Kors, who sat next to Anna Wintour.

  • How is politics like a schoolyard? Gwen Ifill explains.

  • The Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez looks at two of Romney’s potential vice presidential picks — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman — and how they were received at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference in Washington on Thursday.

  • Steve Peoples of the Associated Press takes a look at the battleground state of New Hampshire ahead of Romney’s visit.

  • Mr. Obama joined New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at One World Trade Center on Wednesday evening. Along with first lady Michelle Obama, the president looked over the Manhattan skyline from the 22nd floor. The group then proceeded to the street to sign a “topping out beam” to be hoisted when the last floor of the building is completed. Check out the construction time-lapse videos at Earthcam.com. The president wrote on the beam: “We remember. We rebuild. We come back stronger! Barack Obama.”

  • The RNC’s Latino voting site is a comedy of errors.

  • The Hill’s Kevin Bogardus studies the financial disclosures for members of Congress in the veepstakes.

  • Politico’s Ken Vogel delivers another detailed look at the Koch brothers.

  • Huffington Post’s Sam Stein talks with Bill James about super PACs. Read his piece here.

  • NDN’s Simon Rosenberg explains why he isn’t worried about Mr. Obama’s re-election.

  • Patchwork Nation looks at Michigan as a potential battleground state.

  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dished out some advice to Romney at a breakfast in Washington on Thursday, Terence Burlij reports.

TOP TWEETS

OUTSIDE THE LINES

ON THE TRAIL

All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama has lunch with winners of a campaign contest in Washington, D.C., at 12 p.m. and hosts a reception to observe LGBT Pride Month at the White House at 5:10 p.m.

  • Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in Orlando at 11:30 a.m. He will attend a campaign event in Orlando at 1:45 p.m.

  • Mitt Romney launches his bus tour in New Hampshire with stops in Stratham at 11 a.m. and Milford at 2:30 p.m.

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.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon and @dePeystah.