Friendly Fire: Barack Obama, Rick Perry Feeling The Heat (The Note)

Aug 18, 2011 8:47am

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone) and AMY WALTER (@amyewalter)

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — The traveling economic road shows of Barack Obama and Rick Perry have been dominating the media narrative all week. And while they each took shots at the other, the past few days have been just as noticeable for the friendly fire aimed at both men.

Republicans like Rick Santorum and Ron Paul continued to criticize Perry's Bernanke comments, while Jon Huntsman's campaign manager took the Texas governor to task for his comments on global warming.

"Now they have this other governor, I can't remember his name," Paul said at a speech at the opening of his New Hampshire campaign headquarters in Concord, N.H. last night. "He realizes that talking about the Fed is good, too. But I'll tell you what, he makes me sound like a moderate. I have never once said Bernanke has committed treason.”

Perry, who called global warming “a scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question” yesterday, drew the fire of John Weaver of Huntsman’s campaign.

“We’re not going to win a national election if we become the anti-science party,” Huntsman campaign strategist John Weaver told the Washington Post yesterday in reference to Perry’s comments.

What was even more telling, however, was the Twitter feeding frenzy that erupted after Jonathan Alter reported that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was conducting focus groups to test out his presidential prospects. The Christie camp quickly shot this down, but it was a clear reminder that there are plenty of Republicans out there who still aren't happy with their choices. The speculation and continued pressure on Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., is another reminder as well. 

Perry continues to campaign in new Hampshire today before heading to another important early primary state — South Carolina.

Meanwhile, of all the hits delivered on Obama yesterday it was the one from a Democrat — Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., that was not only the most unexpected but also the most troublesome.

ABC's John Parkinson reports that at a Congressional Black Caucus "For the People" Jobs Initiative event in Detroit, Waters, the former chair of the CBC told the audience that while she defended the president and was supportive of him, African-American lawmakers will "unleash" on the president when black voters say it's time.

“We’re supportive of the president, but we getting tired, y’all. Getting tired. And so what we want to do is we want to give the president every opportunity to show – to show what he can do and what he’s prepared to lead on,” Waters said as the crowd encouraged her along. “We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is.”

Waters also questioned why the president was not visiting any black communities on his three-day blitz through the Midwest and reiterated that she was in Congress to represent her constituents, not the president.

African Americans make up the most loyal core of Obama's supporters. And while Obama doesn't have to worry about losing them to a Republican opponent, he does have to worry that they will stay home Election Day in significant enough numbers to matter. Rep. Waters' comments come at the same time that a Gallup Poll showed support of Obama's handling of the economy was down to 26 percent.

The Obama campaign strategy can be summed up as "demographics is destiny" — they win thanks to strong support in states with big minority populations like North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Nevada. But, as we know, the unemployment situation is hitting minority communities the hardest. 

So, will Obama's post-Labor Day jobs speech help with these frustrated voters? What's being leaked out now doesn't look particularly "bold" or game changing. And of course, the GOP digging in against much of what Obama would want to get makes his prospects even more dire.

ABC’s Arlette Saenz contributed reporting.


@michaelpfalcone: #Perry protesters lining street in Portsmouth NH awaiting his arrival


Obama Promises Job Plan in September: Jake Tapper’s “World News” report on the final leg of the president’s Midwestern bus tour and the road ahead: 


WHITE HOUSE WATCH: President Obama will spend this morning in closed-door meetings at the White House, before heading to Martha's Vineyard in the afternoon where he begins a 10-day vacation.

As ABC’s Mary Bruce notes, “President Obama spent the last three days traveling throughout the Midwest promoting his proposals to get the economy moving again and telling Americans that he shares their frustration with partisan gridlock in Washington. Take a look at the numbers, however, and one could easily argue that Obama has been barking up the wrong tree. The president’s three-state economic bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois brought him to small democratic leaning towns and to states where his approval rating is above the national average. Add to that, the fact that all three states visited have unemployment rates well below the national 9.2 percent and what resulted were largely supportive crowds. This week the president’s approval rating on the economy hit a new low of just 26 percent, according to Gallup, an 11 point drop since May.”

MADE IN AMERICA? NOT SO MUCH. “At his rural economic forum in Iowa Tuesday, President Obama exhorted the need to boost the manufacturing and export of U.S. cars and trucks to create jobs,” ABC’s Devin Dwyer and Ann Compton write. “But it turns out the president's new custom motor coach comes stamped with a brand that's located someplace else: Canada. The $1.1 million jet-black rumbling bus that has been carrying Obama through the Midwest this week was designed in part by Prevost, a motor coach manufacturer based in Quebec. The New York Post was first to report this, and Provost officials confirmed this fact to ABC News. ‘We just build an empty shell of a bus, and then sell them to a converter for outfitting,’ Prevost's Steve Zeigler told ABC News.”


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: ABC’s Amy Walter and Zach Wolf discuss Rick Perry’s electability with The New York Times’ Nate Silver. Then American author and Herbert Hoover’s great-granddaughter, Margaret Hoover, joins the “Top Line” crew. Hoover’s new book is called "American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party." Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. 

“TOP LINE” REPLAY: Conservative Colin Hanna said Rick Perry’s campaign announcement in South Carolina was “well-constructed,” but he’s not ready to throw his support behind him. “I am a great believer in competition,” Hanna, the conservative activist and founder of Let Freedom Ring, told ABC News’ Top Line. “I'm a free market guy, and I think that competition improves the competitors, and there is no competition in politics quite like the national stage of running for president. So I'm very encouraged by the early words of Rick Perry, and the way he has been received, and the way he has resonated, but I'm a believer in competition. I want to see how he does in this tough competitive field.”  


VIDEO OF THE DAY: Blast from Perry's Past: Rick Perry Signs 1966 Yearbook of High School Classmate.  (video courtesy of ABC’s Arlette Saenz)


@AliEWentworthBIG NEWS- i am guest-hosting my husband's @Gstephanopoulos Twitter tomorrow (Friday) at 9am. BRING IT PEOPLE!




IN GOP CROSSHAIRS: THE EPA. “The Environmental Protection Agency is emerging as a favorite target of the Republican presidential candidates, who portray it as the very symbol of a heavy-handed regulatory agenda imposed by the Obama administration that they say is strangling the economy,” the New York Times’ John Broder notes. “Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota wants to padlock the E.P.A.’s doors, as does former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas wants to impose an immediate moratorium on environmental regulation. Representative Ron Paul of Texas wants environmental disputes settled by the states or the courts. Herman Cain, a businessman, wants to put many environmental regulations in the hands of an independent commission that includes oil and gas executives. Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former Utah governor, thinks most new environmental regulations should be shelved until the economy improves. Only Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has a kind word for the E.P.A., and that is qualified by his opposition to proposed regulation of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming. … But while attacks on the E.P.A., climate-change science and environmental regulation more broadly are surefire applause lines with many Republican primary audiences, these views may prove a liability in the general election, pollsters and analysts say. The American people, by substantial majorities, are concerned about air and water pollution, and largely trust the E.P.A., national surveys say.”

BACHMANN CAMPAIGN: ROUGH AROUND THE EDGES. “In less than two months since entering the 2012 race, [Michele] Bachmann’s campaign staff has become embroiled in at least five unusually hostile encounters with the traveling media marked by pushing, shoving and, in one instance, the allegation of a threat of violence to a reporter,” Politico’s Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin reports. “Some of it has unfolded in full public view: Bachmann aides’ tussles with the press have twice turned into news stories, once when veteran ABC News reporter Brian Ross was shoved and pushed by Bachmann staffers in South Carolina and on a second occasion when Bachmann’s husband and two staffers pushed CNN’s Don Lemon into a cart, producing a furious on-air complaint. In another incident that did not make the air, a camera captured Fox News correspondent Steve Brown telling a bodyguard in Iowa, “Do not put your hands on me. Don’t ever do it again.” A foreign reporter also alleged to POLITICO this week that an aide threatened to break his arm — an allegation the Bachmann campaign denied. Friction between the press and high-profile politicians and celebrities is nothing new. But the number and intensity of incidents is unusual, particularly in Iowa, where reporters and the public are accustomed to almost unlimited access as an early state presidential ritual.”

NOTABLE: BACHMANN GETS A SUPER PAC. ABC’s Amy Walter reports: “Political consultant Ed Brookover, who has served as a Michele Bachmann’s strategist since 2006, has established a Super PAC to help support her candidacy. Brookover told ABC News that his goal for the group – Citizens for a Working America  - is ‘to be real participants in the process’ and to “help her in the states” that are key to winning the primary. This PAC was first formed in September of 2010 raised and spent about $260,000 that year. It will now be dedicated solely to helping Bachmann.”

RON PAUL HEARTS JON STEWART. “Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, opened the doors of his New Hampshire campaign office tonight at an event that attracted hundreds of his supporters,” ABC’s Jason Volack writes. “Paul took shots at the media, who was widely criticized for ignoring his strong second place showing in the Ames Straw Poll. ‘We did have a rough and tumble on the media over the weekend, but I think this has made up for it, ‘referring to the more than 400 people that showed up at the event according to ABC affiliate WMUR. ‘The media coverage on Sunday morning was less than perfect for us,’ he said. Paul added it was Jon Stewart who came to his defense. ‘Then there's this guy on the Comedy Central or something, Jon Stewart, I think I've been on his program once or twice and I think he's thinking about getting me on again. Isn’t it great that somebody like that comes to defend us.’”

ORGANIZED LABOR JUMPING INTO 2012. “Organized labor won't sit out President Obama's reelection campaign and let a Republican win the presidency, the AFL-CIO's political director said Wednesday,” reports The Hill’s Michael P. O’Brien. “Despite the frustration labor activists have expressed toward the administration for the deals it has cut with congressional Republicans, Obama still provides a better alternative to a potential Republican president, said Michael Podhorzer, the labor federation's top politics officer. ‘I don't think that the labor movement will be on the sidelines with President Obama,’ he said in a sit-down interview with The Hill Wednesday. Podhorzer said that the union is likely to announce this fall that it's creating a so-called ‘super PAC’ that can spend and receive unlimited amounts of campaign donations. Podhorzer said the labor federation has been limited by election laws to contacting just its own members but with a super PAC, the AFL-CIO can expand its outreach to non-union voters as well. It's part of the revamped political strategy first outlined by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka this May, when he said that the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation, would reduce its emphasis on directly helping candidates. That announcement was driven, in part, by frustration that labor-supported Democrats failed to deliver on their promises to working voters.”

WHAT IF THE HOUSE RAN AMERICA? The Washington Post’s David A. Fahrenthold offers this thought experiment: “If the House ran America, what would America look like? It would no longer have a far-reaching health-care law. The House voted to repeal that legislation in January. It would no longer have federal limits on greenhouse gases. The House voted to ax them in April. And it would not have three government programs for homeowners who are in trouble on their mortgages. The House voted to end them all. These and many other changes are included in an ambitious slate of more than 80 bills that have passed since Republicans took control of the chamber this year. Most of these measures will die in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Still, they are a revealing kind of vision statement — the first evidence of how a tea-party-influenced GOP would like to reshape the country. That vision is aimed at dismantling some Democratic priorities. The GOP’s philosophy holds that paring back an expensive and heavy-handed government bureaucracy would help restore the country’s financial footing and give private businesses the freedom to grow and create jobs.”



@pwire: VIDEO: Christine O'Donnell walks out during interview when asked about gay marriage…

@JillDLawrence: Economy, war or scandal has plunged every president since LBJ into the “dirty 30s,” says @LarrySabato. Some recovered

@FrankBruni: Are there bad hair days ahead for Rick Perry? Thoughts on dream versus actual candidates, in the NYT,

@posglen: Read Reid Wilson's analysis on the tipping point for Obama's… Okay, guilty as charged — I'm quoted in there too.

@HotlineJess: Club for Growth pres. Chocola says Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) is his "greatest worry" ton the Super committee



(all times local)

Rick Perry holds a meet-and-greet in Portsmouth, N.H., at 9 a.m. At 11:45 a.m., he lunches with voters in Dover. At 1:45 p.m., he tours Epoch Homes in Pembroke.

* Mitt Romney holds a private function near Afton, Wyoming in the morning, followed by another private fundraiser in Wilson. At 1:15 p.m., he will hold a meet-and-greet at the Afton Civic Center.

Ron Paul speaks to the New Hampshire House Business Coalition & Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce at 8 a.m. in Concord, N.H. At 12: 30 p.m., he attends a Q&A with Real Estate Brokers in Concord. At 7 p.m., Paul attends a house party in Amherst.

Michele Bachmann attends the "Join Team Bachmann!" Rally in Columbia, S.C. at noon. At 4:00 p.m., she attends a rally by the same name in Florence.

Herman Cain hosts a meet-and-greet to detail his "Economic Vision for America" at 3:30 p.m. at Hudson's Barbecue in Lexington, S.C.

Newt and Callista Gingrich screen the documentary 'Nine Days that Change the World' for The Hollywood chapter of Legatus, a national organization of Catholic business leaders, in Hollywood, Calif., at 7:30 p.m.

Fred Karger campaigns in New Hampshire, making stops in Manchester, Dover and New Castle.


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