July 2012

Jul 19, 2012

Philosophic Clash Over Government’s Role Highlights Parties’ Divide

By Peter Baker, The New York Times

It took only a few days for it to become a favorite Republican talking point. President Obama told an audience that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that; somebody else made that happen.” Suddenly his critics had proof that he does not believe in individual success or the free market. Mitt Romney scrapped much of his stump speech on Wednesday to focus on the line and sent surrogates to reinforce the point. Mr. Obama’s aides said he was taken out of context, that he was referring to the value of public structures like bridges and roads in the nation’s commerce.

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All quiet on the war front

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

Here's an important fact you haven't heard much about in the presidential campaign: The armed forces of the United States are at war in at least four countries, and that number could increase any day. About 87,000 Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan, and some are likely to stay past 2014. We're at war in neighboring Pakistan too, mostly using unmanned drones but with a handful of people on the ground.

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Can Romney survive the summer storm?

By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

Mitt Romney’s team has a more-than-plausible theory about how to win the presidential election in a time of economic duress. The key question is whether that theory can survive the summer storm that threatens to envelop the Republican’s candidacy. Romney’s operation is under a relentless and carefully choreographed assault from President Obama’s campaign, which has used the new media environment to feed and amplify a negative advertising effort that has cost tens of millions of dollars.

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Romney, under pressure to release tax returns, turns fire on Obama

By Karen Tumulty and Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

Mitt Romney, trying to fend off mounting pressure to release more of his tax returns, stepped up his offense against President Obama on Wednesday, turning Obama’s words against him to argue that the current occupant of the Oval Office is anti-entrepreneur. For the second day in a row, the presumed Republican presidential nominee seized on a statement excerpted from a speech Obama made Friday in Virginia. At issue was the president’s quote: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

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Jul 18, 2012

U.S. economic fears shift from Europe toward ‘fiscal cliff’

By Michael A. Fletcher and Zachary A Goldfarb, The Washington Post

The main threat to the economy is shifting from what others may do to us to what we are doing to ourselves. For much of the year, economists worried about the impact of the slowdown in Europe on the U.S. economy. Now, analysts say anxiety about the impact of the fast-approaching fiscal cliff — the series of federal spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect at the beginning of 2013 if Congress and the Obama administration do not act — is displacing Europe as the primary threat to the nation’s sputtering economy.

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Pennsylvania in Play?

By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

Just six weeks ago, conventional wisdom was that Pennsylvania was off the table. Mitt Romney's campaign didn't list it as a top target, and his state chairman said the GOP nominee himself was skeptical he could win there. A Republican nominee hasn't won the state since 1988 and it didn't look like 2012 would be any different. Today the picture does look different. The Rust Belt has been getting a lot of attention from both campaigns as they court white, blue-collar voters. Romney is holding a rally in Irwin, PA, Tuesday afternoon, and President Obama's campaign announced it is running a tough new anti-Romney ad exclusively in the state. Pro-Romney super PACs are also spending money there.

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Obama Stresses Story Over Policy in Re-election Strategy

By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

Michelle Obama put out the word Monday that President Obama will celebrate his 51st birthday next month with donor friends at their house in Chicago, including a few small-dollar contributors who will be flown in as winners of yet another campaign raffle. Last year at a dazzling Chicago extravaganza to celebrate his mid-century mark, the president raised funds from well-wishers at events small and large held in the sweltering Aragon Entertainment Center. Jennifer Hudson and Herbie Hancock supplied the music for an energized evening organized around a re-election race that still seemed distant.

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Romney campaign says Obama should "learn to be an American"

By Sam Youngman, Reuters

Republican Mitt Romney's campaign unleashed new attacks on President Barack Obama on Tuesday, with one of Romney's surrogates saying he wished Obama "would learn to be an American" before apologizing within hours for the remark. On a conference call with reporters, former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu blasted Obama and his campaign, calling them a "bunch of liars."

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Romney and Obama Resume Economic Attacks, Despite a Few Diversions

By Peter Baker and Trip Gabriel, The New York Times

The argument between Mitt Romney and President Obama over who is better suited to help American workers get back on their feet got personal again on Tuesday, with Mr. Romney saying he was “ashamed” of Mr. Obama for giving government loans to well-connected donors. The overarching dispute is which candidate’s view of government might lift a struggling economy: Mr. Romney’s belief in lower taxes and fewer regulations, or Mr. Obama’s vision of a vital role for government.

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Jul 17, 2012

Drought in U.S. reaching levels not seen in 50 years, pushing up crop prices

By Michael Fletcher and Peter Whoriskey, The Washington Post

A drought gripping the Corn Belt and more than half the United States has reached proportions not seen in more than 50 years, the government reported Monday, jacking up crop prices and threatening to drive up the cost of food. Though agriculture is a small part of the U.S. economy, the shortfall comes as the nation struggles to regain its economic footing. Last week, the Agriculture Department declared more than 1,000 counties in 26 states as natural-disaster areas.

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Obama Ad Targets Romney’s Tax Returns

By Laura Meckler, The Wall Street Journal

The Obama campaign is working to keep alive the controversy over Republican rival Mitt Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of his personal income taxes. On Tuesday, it questions that decision in a new TV ad airing in the Pittsburgh market, where Mr. Romney will be campaigning. The ad, entitled “Makes You Wonder,” is a quick hit– expected to run for only a day—and the goal may be to generate free media attention as much as to move views of voters who see the spot.

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Obama Campaign Continues Attack on Romney

With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg

President Barack Obama's campaign stop in Cincinnati, Ohio and the campaigns continued attack on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's record while at Bain Capital.

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