Mitt Romney is shown in the media room Wednesday at Univision studios in Miami. Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images.
When Mitt Romney first agreed weeks ago to participate in a candidate forum hosted by Univision, it came with a singular purpose: to make inroads with Latino voters who have been favoring President Obama by more than two-to-one in polls.
But given the recent controversy surrounding the leaked comments he made at a private fundraiser earlier this year, the Republican presidential nominee also had another mission to accomplish when he appeared Wednesday night at the University of Miami.
The first question for the former Massachusetts governor went straight to his remarks that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent on government” and unwilling to take “personal responsibility” for their lives.
“Well, first of all this is a campaign about the 100 percent. And over the last several years, you have seen greater and greater divisiveness in this country. We had hoped to come back together but instead you have seen us pulled apart,” Romney said. “Politics has driven us apart in some respects. So, my campaign is about the 100 percent in America. And I am concerned about them.”
Romney also highlighted the economic struggles facing of Hispanic-Americans and said he would do a better job lifting them up, an approach he has taken in speeches to Latino audiences other times this year.
“I am concerned about the fact that we have gone for over 50 months with unemployment above 10 percent among Hispanic Americans,” Romney said. “I am concerned about the fact that so many young Hispanic Americans drop out of high school, don’t get the kind of education they need for the skills that they have to have for tomorrow.”
The Romney campaign followed up Thursday with the release of a Spanish-language radio ad titled “Promesas” that charges President Obama has failed to live up to his promises to the Hispanic community.
A poll released Wednesday from the Pew Research Center found Mr. Obama leading Romney, 69 percent to 24 percent, among Hispanic voters, a margin that could pose the GOP hopeful serious problems in closely fought states such as Colorado, Florida and Nevada. The president’s team is even confident that demographic shifts in states with smaller populations of Hispanic voters, like Virginia and North Carolina, could give him a boost in those battlegrounds.
Also Wednesday, a new batch of polling suggested further trouble for Romney. Fox News looked at Ohio, Virginia and Florida, and found the president with a strong lead in each.
Mr. Obama leads Romney, 49 percent to 42 percent, in Ohio; 50 percent to 43 percent in Virginia; and 49 percent to 44 percent in Florida. For Romney to reach the magic number of 270 electoral votes he will likely need to win at least two of those three states.
On Wednesday’s NewsHour, Gwen Ifill talked with Pew Research Center’s Andy Kohut and Mark Blumenthal of Huff Post Pollster about what the numbers tell us beyond the horse race. How is the electorate viewing the nation?
Kohut said Pew found in its survey that “there’s a fragility to people’s attitudes about the future, because we have been up and down, and people have been disappointed.” He added:
I think the key thing is, people think it’s really important, that the choice is really important. Republicans think it’s important because they so abhor President Obama and his policies, and the Democrats are not about to accept Mitt Romney, who they have a very poor opinion of.
Blumenthal argued that the fundamental question hasn’t changed: Which candidate is going to succeed in convincing voters that he is better to fix the economy? He said:
Romney hasn’t really moved ahead of Obama on that, despite the economic condition. And I think the reason for that is in this result from the Pew Research survey and others that showed by a 66-23 margin, Americans choose Obama as someone who cares more about their lives.
I think that’s the wording. And I think the question they’re asking themselves is not just who’s going to fix the economy, but for whom. Are they going to fix it for me and my family?
They outlined the challenges ahead for each man, including young voters still showing a lack of enthusiasm for the president.
Blumenthal summed it up, “The best news for Romney is that there’s still six-and-a-half weeks left.”
Watch the segment here or below:
FAST AND FURIOUS REPORT
Jeffrey Brown talked with the Wall Street Journal’s Evan Perez about the report by the Department of Justice’s inspector general that faulted federal agents, prosecutors and senior officials for errors in judgment and management failures in the botched gun-smuggling operation known as “Fast and Furious.” The 471-page report, released Wednesday and to be discussed Thursday in hearing on Capitol Hill, referred 14 people for possible disciplinary action but found no evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder was informed of the operation before the scandal broke, a central concern for Republicans who have been pressing the issue.
Perez said the report was unlikely to diminish the ongoing pursuit of the matter by GOP lawmakers.
They have a lawsuit going. They’re trying to get documents from the Justice Department and from the White House, which is protected by executive privilege. The president has declared that in June. And so they’re going to continue fighting over those.
Some of those documents, by the way, were available to the inspector general. So it’s interesting that he had access to documents that Congress has not had. There’s still going to be some — we expect some litigation over that.
Watch the discussion here or below:
Roll Call’s Jonathan Strong notes the report does not mean House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa will stop his probe into the matter.
‘FOR ALL’ TAKES ON LIFE OF ITS OWN
As noted in Wednesday’s Morning Line, Team Obama made a big push to get people to write messages on their hands symbolizing why they support the president and then send photos of their hands out on social media platforms using the hashtag “#forall.”
The #forall effort attracted thousands of tweets from supporters, including some celebrities.
But conservatives took over the meme on Twitter. Consider @warnerthuston: “Obama is president #ForAll Hollywood stars, gov’t workers, $800 per bottle champagne drinkers, but not the rest of us.” And @bradthor: “Because @BarackObama believes that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good #ForAll.”
Anti-Obama tweeters also deemed an image of campaign manager Jim Messina smiling and with “Obama” and “Care” written on each of his bands to be “creepy,” and the photo made the rounds with Photoshop.
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
In his new book, “The Price of Politics,” Bob Woodward of the Washington Post documents the edge of the cliff the country ran to last summer in debt discussions and places some blame with the president.
He spoke with NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff this week about the riffs between House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and between Boehner and Mr. Obama.
“There is monumental miscommunication here that sets the whole thing off,” he said.
“The president engaged, worked hard on it, was very sincere. But some of the proposals were made impulsively by telephone,” he added. “He does not have the relations with these people.”
On the other hand, Woodward deems Vice President Biden the deal’s savior. He’s the White House leader who can reach across the aisle. Inside the West Wing, Biden’s known as “The McConnell Whisperer,” Woodward said.
Watch the book discussion below.
The journalism patriarch also weighed in on Romney’s “47 percent” comments with harsh criticism. Watch that video here.
2012 LINE ITEMS
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., stars in a new Romney campaign ad about Medicare.
A Marquette Law poll released Wednesday put the president ahead, 54 percent to 40 percent, over Romney in Wisconsin, up from a 49 percent to 46 percent split last month.
The Washington Post put together a list of the most popular social media interactions of Obama and Romney supporters and made a paper-doll-style graphic suggesting how the candidates would look as brands.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that moderator Jim Lehrer will structure three economic sections for the first presidential debate, in addition to sections on health care, governing and the role of government.
The New York Times has a front-page story Thursday morning dedicated to President Obama’s biggest political advantage in 2012: the presidency.
Has the media been too lax in scrutinizing Mother Jones’ release of the Romney video?
- Everything old is new again. Watch a 1972 attack ad against George McGovern that aired 40 years ago.
— Sandy Johnson (@sandykjohnson) September 19, 2012
The Obamas are doing a joint appearance on The View. Tapes Monday, airs Tuesday
— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) September 20, 2012
Romney ends with his new slogan, “The Aristocrats!” #missing2min
— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) September 19, 2012
— Jim Messina (@Messina2012) September 19, 2012
This day in 2008: yfrog.com/h3i6gelp
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) September 19, 2012
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) September 19, 2012
OUTSIDE THE LINES
What’s an “Opportunity Nation Summit”? Judy Woodruff explains her role in Wednesday’s gathering of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Rep. Tammy Baldwin now leads Tommy Thompson in the Wisconsin Senate race. The Democratic congresswoman has a 50 percent to 41 percent advantage, according to the Marquette poll, after trailing by the same margin last month.
Democrat Tim Kaine has opened up a 51 percent to 43 percent lead over Republican George Allen in the hotly contested Virginia Senate contest, according to a new Washington Post survey.
After four recent polls showing Democrat Elizabeth Warren with a lead over Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race, a new UMass Lowell/Boston Herald survey puts the GOP incumbent up, 50 percent to 44 percent.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be the new president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable starting next month, the group announced.
It’s almost October, which means Supreme Court speculation is heating up in anticipation of the 2012-2013 session. The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expects same-sex marriage to come before the court.
NewsHour coordinating producer Linda J. Scott reports from Capitol Hill about a push from Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, mired in a tough re-election battle in Montana, to open up some public lands for hunting and fishing. At the core of the proposal, which he is trying to attach to the continuing resolution spending bill, is a measure allowing permits for people carrying bows and arrows and crossbows to traverse national parks. It also would create shooting ranges. But it’s unlikely to be included in the final version of the spending measure.
House Majority PAC is spending $1 million against GOP Rep. Allen West in Florida, beginning with this television spot that suggests he isn’t helping women.
A new PPP poll in Maine shows former Gov. Angus King’s lead shrinking to 8 percent. Important to note, King, running as an Independent, is in a three-way race.
The Atlantic suggests Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s ad starring a military family that he helped could be the best of the cycle.
- What’s your Secret Service code name?
Alex Bruns and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
President Obama participates in a Univision/Facebook “Meet the Candidate” forum in Miami at 2:20 p.m. then travels to Tampa for a private fundraiser at 6:50 p.m. where Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam will perform.
Mitt Romney is in south Florida with a rally at 3:55 p.m. and a fundraising event later in the evening. Both events will be held in Sarasota.
Vice President Biden will be in Washington attending to official business.
Paul Ryan will be in Washington working in Congress and attending a fundraiser in the evening.
Michelle Obama has no public events.
- Ann Romney will be in Milwaukee holding a 1 p.m. rally at Marquette University. She attends another rally in Clive, Iowa, at 6 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.