Don’t Panic*, Continue Doing What We’ve Been Doing

Two key data points and a message for worried DEMs and other Obama supporters:

1) In today’s Gallup poll President Obama’s job approval rating is 54%, the highest he’s ever had in that poll.

2) Also, in CBS’s snap poll overnight, while it did show improved numbers for Romney on the question of who you think can most help the country (from 30% to 63%), for the president the same figure went from 53% to 69%, still a 6-point edge.

The president’s got most of the country with him. I believe he can keep the people with him. Even though he didn’t do as well in the debate as we hoped he would–I think he was befuddled, unfortunately caught off guard by Romney’s ambidextrous shape-shifting and unabashed dissembling, as TPM’s Brian Beutler’s written–but I would add the president has no small reservoir of goodwill, the truth, and a skillful campaign, all on his side. My message is don’t panic, keep doing what we’ve been doing, especially all the truthtelling and fact-checking that the campaign has done all day–with the blogger community, including this one, pushing out that information–and things will be okay. And we get another crack at Romney/Ryan next week. It’s still a race, but the president remains in a strong position.

*Thanks to the late Douglas Adams for his book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and its valuable nostrum, “Don’t Panic.”

The Truth about Pre-Existing Conditions

The Obama campaign assembled this brief video as a fact-check on Romney’s false claim in the Denver debate that under him people with pre-existing conditions would still have coverage. Fact is, only people who’ve had uninterrupted coverage would be able to evade problems over this. Today, Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom told TPM reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro, “With respect to pre-existing conditions, what Governor Romney has said is for those with continuous coverage, he would continue to make sure that they receive their coverage” but that others, lacking “continuous coverage,” would, according to McMorris-Santoro’s summary of Fehrnstrom’s comments, ‘need their states to implement their own laws’ to make sure that residents with pre-existing conditions would not lose coverage. Think about it: ill people, amid a healthcare ecosystem where many seniors would also be paying more for what medicare used to provide free, would now be at the mercy of their often underfunded home states to guarantee their medical care. It would be a disaster and more people would endure untreated illnesses and lingering conditions.


Repub Commentator: Todd Akin’s Situation=David Koresh’s Situation

Unreal–a Repub consultant, Kellyanne Conway, thinks she’s doing a Todd Akin a favor by likening his resolve to stay in the Missouri senate race to the determination shown by David Koresh–the late apoca-death wish zealot–who refused to exit the Branch Davidian compound. Koresh’s megalomanical obstinacy led to the death of his whole flock in 1993. This is what Conway said:

“The first day or two [after Akin’s widely condemned legitimate rape comment] where it was like the Waco with the David Koresh situation where they’re trying to smoke him out with the SWAT teams and the helicopters and the bad Nancy Sinatra records. Then here comes day two and you realize the guy’s not coming out of the bunker. Listen, Todd has shown his principle to the voters.”

Yep, Kellyanne, that should do Todd a world of good! Via TPM’s Igor Bobic, here’s the story, with a link to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch source. This is on top of Akin’s own recent comments, complaining about Claire McCaskill’s demeanor in their debate this week, as “unladylike” and like a “wild cat.” This man is so weird!

Note: After an Akin spox took issue with Conway’s comment, she contacted the St. Louis reporter, Kevin McDermott, supposedly to clarify herself, but her revision doesn’t change anything:

UPDATE 1:48 p.m.: Akin spokesman Ryan Hite has responded with a one-line written statement: “It was a stupid comment to make.”

UPDATE 2 p.m.: Conway just called to clarify that she was not comparing Akin to Koresh, but rather was comparing the GOP leaders who were trying to dislodge Akin to the federal agents in the standoff with Koresh. “It was about how overbearing the Republicans had been. It was about the tactics being used to force (Akin) out,” Conway said. “I wasn’t comparing the (two) men. . . . I don’t consider David Koresh a man of fortitude. Todd Akin is a man of fortitude.”

5 Key Analyses of Mitt’s VP Pick

I’m sure there will be lots more important columns to read as the process of vetting Paul Ryan moves forward, but this is where I recommend we begin. Dear readers, if you have faves of your own, please let me know what they are.

1) Greg Sargent’s take at the Plum Line on Mitt’s choice to double down on economic radicalism; 

2) Benjy Sarlin’s TPM piece, Democrats Can’t Wait to Run Against Paul Ryan’s Budget;

3) Also at TPM, Evan McMorris-Santoro reports that (incredibly, but typically and absurdly) Mitt’s already trying to distance himself from the Ryan Budget;

4) At the WonkBlog, Ezra Klein writes about what he believes the Ryan pick means, with a helpful 10 point list;

5) At NY magazine, Jonathan Chait explains It’s Paul Ryan’s Party: With Romney VP Pick, Movement Conservatives Openly Control GOP At Last.

What Mitt Thinks is Funny

Courtesy of TPM, from an interview by Josh Tyrangiel with Romney in Bloomberg Businessweek, he’s asked about the emblematic photo of him with his Bain colleagues:

“When you look at it now, does that photo of you and your Bain colleagues posing with money in your pinstripe suits make you laugh or make you cringe?”
“Oh, that was a moment of humor as we had just done what we thought was impossible. We had raised $37 million from other people and institutions who entrusted us with their funds, and we thought it was a miracle that our group had been able to be so successful in fundraising. And ultimately we were able to yield for them a very attractive return by such investments as Staples (SPLS), which was in our very first fund.”

Hilarious, right?

Also worth noting from the full interview, is this softball question, which elicits only an utterly unresponsive response:

“On the subject of leadership, why does Mormonism produce such a disproportionate number of political and business leaders?”
“I don’t know that I have an answer for you on that. I believe that people of faith by and large have a great interest in the institution of family and that a family is a great place to learn leadership skills. I’m sure I benefited by having a Mom and Dad, both of whom were actively involved in the community and in various enterprises. And by watching them interact with other people, I learned the kinds of lessons which serve me well. I presume that’s true for people of faith, if their faith, like mine, draws you to your family.”

Clearly, Mitt doesn’t want to say anything substantive about being Mormon or his Mormonism. Reading Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, which I am currently making my way through, I can see why. Like many religions, this is a movement with a blood-soaked history, and a bizarre theology–including so-called posthumous baptisms– that adherents to the faith nowadays would just as soon not discuss in public.

Finally, Mitt also slips the knot when Tyrangiel asks him about his tax returns:

“Let’s frame the issue around your tax returns in a slightly different way. If you’re an investor and you’re looking at a company, and that company says that its great strength is wise management and fiscal know-how, wouldn’t you want to see the previous, say, five years’ worth of its financials?”
“I’m not a business. We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency which candidates are required to meet. I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns. This happens to be exactly the same as with John McCain when he ran for office four years ago. And the Obama team had no difficulty with that circumstance. The difference between then and now is that President Obama has a failed economic record and is trying to find any issue he can to deflect from the failure of his record. Thanks, guys. Goodbye.”

The thing here that caught my eye is the “I’m not a business” statement. As Aaron Blake put it this afternoon in The Fix,”The man who once said ‘corporations are people’ apparently doesn’t believe the inverse.” Truth, or what Romney says, is all about what’s convenient at the moment, not what he really believes. This photo of Mitt lost in a cornfield accompanied Blake’s Washington Post story. Now that’s funny! Read more