Quotes of the day

President Barack Obama launched a new phase of his re-election campaign on Saturday by branding GOP challenger Mitt Romney as an eager rubber stamp for extremist Republicans in Congress and offering himself as a hard-charging champion of an embattled middle class.

In the first formal rallies of his bid for a second term, Obama acknowledged the U.S. economy has struggled to recover from a painfully deep recession but declared, “We’ve been through too much to turn back now.”…

“After a long and spirited primary, Republicans in Congress have found a nominee for president who has promised to rubber stamp this agenda if he gets a chance,” he said to jeers from the young crowd. “We cannot give him that chance. Not now. Not with so much at stake.”


[T]he Romney campaign wants the election to be a referendum on the president, thus making the incumbent’s management style a focal point of the race. Team Obama, however, wants the sharpest contrast before voters to be the wide gulf between the parties’ core beliefs, in part to stoke fears that a Republican-run White House would roll back the clock on ingrained social reforms.

And so the president targets congressional Republicans to underscore how extreme he believes the GOP has become, while Romney drills down on Obama’s relative lack of executive experience and leaves the rest of the Democratic Party alone. In part, the strategies make sense for both sides, as one is trying to oust an embattled incumbent, but it also is a reminder of the Democratic Party’s broader reach right now compared to the GOP’s smaller tent…

Offering his own advice to the Obama campaign, he suggested, “Voters need to see Romney and House Republicans for what they are — Siamese twins.”


The gathering often takes place after Mr. Obama’s regular Sunday round of golf, and while the atmosphere is casual, the agenda is anything but: keeping the president immersed in what it will take to win a second term. He receives an update on how his operation is expanding in battleground states, he watches previews of television ads and he studies a presentation on his various paths to victory…

Mr. Obama, who three years ago became the first president to demand a BlackBerry to keep in touch with the outside world, has now become the first sitting president to rely on an iPad to stay informed. He watches campaign commercials, offering his seal of approval to the first wave of advertisements to be used against Mr. Romney, and he follows his rival through newspaper articles and blogs…

They say he is intensely motivated to win not only because of his personal legacy and the historic nature of his presidency. He also sees a second term as essential, they said, to ensuring that key policies like his national health care law, which could be overthrown by the Supreme Court, are not wiped from the books.


In other speeches, Obama has offered a more serious preview of what he’d like to get done if he’s reelected. On March 30, he listed second-term priorities including reforming the immigration system; remaking the nation’s energy policy so it addresses “the long-term challenges. . . . of energy independence and climate change”; doing more to ensure that “people who don’t have work can find work” and that “our housing system is working for everybody”; pushing forward on education reform; and executing an “effective transition out of Afghanistan.”

But that’s not really a list of what Obama would do in his second term. It’s a list of what he would like to do…

In 2008, his campaign often seemed to believe that as president, Obama would be able to personally inaugurate a new era of cooperation in Washington. But after the past three years, which have been full of debt-ceiling showdowns they didn’t want and jobs bills they couldn’t pass, his advisers have become more realistic and are quick to caution that, in most cases, what they could get done in a second term would depend on what Congress is willing to do with them.


President Barack Obama’s dinner with George Clooney has officially sold out, and campaign sources are telling The Hollywood Reporter that the event is expected to raise up to $12 million for the president’s re-election bid, making it the biggest presidential fundraiser in U.S. history

The packed dinner at Clooney’s house will bring in $5 million to $6 million for the president’s campaign coffers, sources told THR. The demand for tickets at the event was so great that organizers tried to limit the guest list to those living in Southern California.

The Obama campaign also has been conducting an online sweepstakes, with the winner to receive two seats at the head table with the chief executive and Clooney. Campaign sources tell THR that that tally of online donations could hit $6 million, bringing the total raised to about $12 million. The winner of the contest is expected to be announced in the coming days.


President Obama has held just one full length, multi-topic, solo press conference in the last six months, effectively abolishing the most accessible venue for American citizens to observe the thinking and learn the views of their leader…

Of course, Obama has switched almost fully from governing to campaigning. So maybe the need for a West Wing gut check has declined, since policy is mostly being made not in Washington but in Chicago. The home, of course, of the Obama 2012 campaign.


Romney’s problem with the electoral map is NOT Mitt Romney. But it is his problem in that the attitude and composition of the voting electorate is trending away from what the Republicans, as a brand, have traditionally stood for — less government, traditional values, taking charge of your own destiny, strong defense, God, family and apple pie…

Looking back, based on how much the demographic composition of the nation had changed, there are studies (by Democrat think tanks) that conclude John Kerry in 2004 and even Michael Dukakis in 1988 would have won the White House if they faced the same electorate then that President Obama is facing this November. The Democrats know that today’s demographics are their destiny.

I wish I had better news to report but based on the 10 reasons cited above I conclude that President George W. Bush and President Millard Fillmore might just have something in common.

Fillmore in 1850 was the last Whig Party president and Bush re-elected in 2004 might be the last Republican Party president.


Inside Romney’s Boston headquarters, strategists — who have pored over polling and census data and studied state-by-state vote breakdowns from the past three presidential elections — say they see a number of ways for Romney to win 270 electoral votes…

Their overall optimism is based on the assessment that Obama’s big electoral vote victory was predicated on the enthusiasm he generated in 2008, which they say is now largely gone. In states such as North Carolina and Virginia, for instance, Obama won in part by achieving vote edges among 18- to 25-year-olds, Hispanics and African Americans. But Romney’s strategists do not believe Obama can match those levels this year.

“They changed the composition of the electorate and they won by big margins,” said Romney pollster Neil Newhouse. “The problem in ’12 is there just isn’t the enthusiasm. The bloom is off the rose.”


If the carefully choreographed kick off was any indication, Obama will face some challenges in recapturing the 2008 magic — especially among young voters who weathered three years of souring job prospects and rising college costs.

The campaign was only able to muster 14,000 supporters in an arena designed to hold more than 18,000. Several thousand empty seats ringed its upper deck, mostly out of view from the cameras…

The campaign had made an aggressive push to fill the cavernous arena, and turnout fell well short of Obama’s fall 2010 campus rally, which attracted an estimated 30,000 people to the campus quad…

“It’s still about hope,” he told the crowd. “It’s still about change.”


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