BEDFORD, N.H. — At one point during their dueling bus trips in Iowa yesterday, the vehicles carrying President Obama and Texas Gov. Perry came within secen miles of each other. But, only one man dominated the media narrative on Tuesday — and it wasn't the president.
Perry, who opens a two-day campaign swing in New Hampshire today, has burst onto the scene like no other Republican candidate this year. His brash-talkin', glad-handin' style stands in stark contrast to the more reserved Mitt Romney and the increasingly cocooned Michele Bachmann.
But, as we saw on Monday, his style comes with its own pitfalls. While Perry wanted to keep the focus on jobs and the economy, the media was just as interested in his comments about Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Neither Perry nor Perry's aides backed down from his earlier comments that suggested any decision by the Fed Chairman to "print more money" should be considered "treasonous."
“I am passionate about the issue but we stand by what we said,” Perry said to reporters on Tuesday.
Even so, it was clear that the campaign wasn't eager for another off-the-cuff display. Unlike the first day of the bus trip, there were no press availabilities on Tuesday. We’ll see how many questions Perry answers while traveling through the Granite State over the next two days.
Instead, on his last day in Iowa, Perry kept his focus squarely on the President.
“I guess we’ve kind of got competing jobs tours, if you want to know the truth of the matter," he said. At his final stop of the day at the world’s largest truck stop just off Highway 80 here, addressed the president directly: “Mr. President we have tried two and half years of government creating jobs. It’s time to let the private sector create the jobs.”
Meanwhile, the President tried to use his million-dollar, security-enabled black tour bus as a traveling bully pulpit.
"The only thing that is holding us back is our politics… The refusal of a faction in Congress to put country ahead of party. And that has to stop. Our economy cannot afford it,” Obama said at the Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa reports ABC's Mary Bruce, who is traveling with the President.
The second day of his three-state Midwest bus tour focused on the rural economy, urging Iowans to send a message to Congress to “put politics aside and get something done.”
“There's nothing wrong with this country. We'll get through this moment of challenge. The only question is if, as a nation, we're going to do what it takes to grow this economy and put people back to work now."
And, this morning comes news that President Obama will deliver a major speech on the economy shortly after Labor Day. ABC's Jake Tapper reports that a White House source says the speech will detail “a package to help boost the economy and to reduce the deficit … Ideas that the president will present include a payroll tax cut, an infrastructure bank, patent reform, the passage of three important trade deals, tax credits to encourage the hiring of veterans, and many news ones as well. The speech will also include ways to reduce the deficit and to pay for the new programs to stimulate job growth. News of the speech was first reported by Ben Feller of the Associated Press.”
So how will their competing economic visions match up? Democrats are hoping that they can undermine Perry's credentials by pointing to the underbelly of the Texas economy (deep cuts in education, 8 percent unemployment, lots of low wage jobs etc.). But this may be tough to do.
Number crunching guru Nate Silver of the New York Times and 538.com steers us to http://www.politicalmathblog.com/ to get a fuller picture (with graphs and charts and no political rhetoric) of the Texas numbers. The conclusion of the post: Texas is doing pretty darn well no matter how you slice it.
ABC’s Arlette Saenz contributed reporting.
Jobs Cowboy on the Iowa Prairie: Jake Tapper’s “World News” report on the dueling jobs road shows between President Obama and Gov. Rick Perry: http://abcn.ws/oLDCyV
OBAMA TO IOWANS: I WANT YOU. “At the White House Rural Economic Forum in Iowa yesterday, President Obama made his case to “enlist” Iowans in the fight to end partisan gridlock in Washington, which he said is to blame for the lack of economic growth, ABC’s Mary Bruce reports. “The only thing that is holding us back is our politics… The refusal of a faction in Congress to put country ahead of party. And that has to stop. Our economy cannot afford it,” Obama said at the Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa. The president announced several new initiatives aimed at boosting the rural economy and creating jobs, including doubling the amount of investment capitol funneled to rural small businesses and recruiting more doctors for rural hospitals. http://abcn.ws/qvC13D
PERRY VS. OBAMA ON A SO-CALLED JOBS AGENCY. WALCOTT, Iowa — At his final campaign stop of his debut trip to Iowa as a presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry seized on reports that the Obama administration is toying with the idea of creating a new federal agency dedicated to job creation. “If you want to create jobs, don’t create a new agency,” Perry said. “Americans need work they don’t need symbolism.”
In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blizter yesterday, Obama was asked about his plans for such an agency.
BLITZER: There's been reports you want to create a new department of jobs, something along those lines. Is that true?
OBAMA: You know, that is not true.
(h/t ABC’s Devin Dwyer)
WHITE HOUSE WATCH: OBAMA KEEPS ON TRUCKIN’ President Obama wraps up his Midwest bus tour today in the state that launched his political career, Illinois, ABC’s Mary Bruce notes. Obama will hold two town halls today in his home state, stopping first in Atkinson, Ill., at the Wyffels Hybrids Production Facility and then in Alpha, Ill., at the Country Corner Farm. Expect the president to also make more surprised stops along the road. Yesterday Obama dropped by four towns in Iowa unexpectedly to spend time with members of the local communities. Tonight the president will return to Washington before heading out to Martha's Vineyard with his family tomorrow for ten days of R&R.
ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: ABC’s Amy Walter and Z. Byron wolf speak with Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, who will join the program live from Capitol Hill. Also on “Top Line,” Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring , a conservative non-profit organization. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. http://abcn.ws/toplineliveabc
“TOP LINE” REPLAY: ALEX CONANT’S CRYSTAL BALL. Former Tim Pawlenty communications director Alex Conant was mum on his future plans on ABC's 'Top Line' yesterday. “I think the next couple of weeks are going to be fascinating to watch, and I'm looking forward to doing it from the sidelines,” said Alex Conant. “For the next couple of weeks.” Weighing in on the future of the rest of the GOP field, Conant said several important states were still up for grabs. “Really anybody could win in Iowa,” said Conant. “I think anybody could win in New Hampshire. I spent a lot of time in New Hampshire with Tim Pawlenty as well, and a lot of undecided voters there. Same goes for South Carolina and Florida, so I think it's not too late for other people to get in the race.” http://abcn.ws/qTQBtc
TRUMP: STILL IN THE RUNNING? Business tycoon Donald Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos he’s still considering a third-party presidential bid when the two sat down at Trump Towers yesterday. But there are a few conditions that need to be met in order for him to make a 2012 bid. “If the economy continues to be bad, which I think it will because we have incompetent leadership, and if the Republicans pick the wrong candidate, which they may, I won't know that for a little while, I will absolutely consider being a candidate,” Donald Trump said. We’ve been down this road before, of course. And it sure doesn’t seem like Trump will actually jump in this time. But, with a twinkle in his eye, Trump insists this is not a game. “I've been treated unfairly in that regard,” he said. “I thought about it years ago one time, not two times, one time, very briefly, like for a few days, got a little publicity, and I decided I wasn't going to do it. Then recently I seriously, very seriously thought about it for a period of three months.” http://abcn.ws/r5MdqX
BACHMANN: I HAVE A SUGGESTION FOR WARREN BUFFET. “Michele Bachmann rejected Warren Buffett’s plea for the wealthy to pay more in taxes,” ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf notes. “‘We also believe, unlike Warren Buffett, that taxes are high enough already,’ said Bachmann at a campaign event in South Carolina yesterday. Buffett’s argument was that because of lower rates on certain types of income, like capital gains made in the stock market, he pays a far lower tax rate – percentage of his annual income – than his secretary. ‘I have a suggestion. Mr. Buffett, write a big check today,’ said Bachmann. ‘There’s nothing you have to wait for. As a matter of fact the president has redefined millionaires and billionaires as any company that makes over $200,000 a year. That’s his definition of a millionaire and billionaire. So perhaps Mr. Buffett would like to give away his entire fortune above $200,000. That’s what you want to do? Have at it. Give it to the federal government. But don’t ask the rest of us to have our taxes increased because you want to have a soundbyte. We want to have real job creation in this country and that’s what we’ll stand for as fiscal conservatives.’ Bachmann’s own soundbyte is not entirely accurate. Buffett did not suggest no one could make more than $200,000. President Obama has said he wants Bush-era tax cuts for those individuals making more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000 to expire after next year. But those people would not have to hand over every dollar made over $200,000, just a higher percentage of that income. And, if the Bush-era tax cuts expire, they’d have to hand over a higher percentage of money made on the stock market.” http://abcn.ws/r97FWt
ROMNEY HUNTS FOR COMMON GROUND. “In a political era that has been marked by partisan rancor and a stick-to-your-principles mantra, Mitt Romney increasingly seems to be banking on the notion that voters will appreciate someone who calmly calls for common ground,” the Boston Globe’s Matt Viser reports from Berlin, N.H. “[As] he worked his way through New Hampshire, the Republican presidential hopeful has made a point to praise Democrats for their patriotism. ‘Leaders [are successful] not by attacking their opposition but by finding common ground where principles are shared,’ Romney said tonight at a town hall meeting in this North Country community. ‘You see, in our nation, Democrats love America, too. I’m a Republican, I love America. Democrats love America. We need to find places where we can agree and work together to help America.’ … Romney continued to focus on President Obama throughout the day, never mentioning any of his Republican rivals unless prompted. But he subtly appears to be testing out new lines that make the case that his experience in the private sector trumps any experience in government. ‘This for me is not about the next step in my political career,’ Romney said tonight. ‘I don’t have a political career. I spent 25 years in business.’” http://bo.st/nlBlfD
RISE OF THE SUPERBUNDLERS. “The 2010 elections saw the rise of “super PACs,” outside political groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. The 2012 contest brings “super bundlers,” a new breed of fundraisers who can raise millions for candidates and outside groups at the same time,” reports the Washington Post’s Dan Eggen. “Wealthy donors who bundle contributions for candidates have long exercised inordinate influence in U.S. politics, often being rewarded with cushy ambassadorships or powerful positions in Washington. But recent changes in the landscape of campaign-finance law have given these donors even greater influence with candidates and their advisers. As recently as two years ago, corporations were barred from spending any money on elections and donors were more tightly restricted as to how they could help candidates. But a 2010 Supreme Court ruling effectively swept away the corporate spending ban and other limits, making it easier than it has been in decades to bankroll a high-dollar election effort. A wealthy donor now has the ability to give nearly $67,000 directly to a presidential candidate and his or her party, plus unlimited amounts to super PACs — which must reveal their donors — and nonprofit advocacy groups, which do not. What’s more, donors can enlist their friends and family in the effort and funnel their largesse through opaque corporations, compounding their influence within a candidate’s inner circle. The super bundler phenomenon appears confined to Romney and President Obama (D), who are far ahead of their competitors in raising money. But there are signs that other Republican candidates will soon catch up.” http://wapo.st/r8Bo2z
TRUE STORY: WHAT COLBERT LOST TO PERRY. “No joke: Presidential candidate Rick Perry and comedian Stephen Colbert, who last week barraged Iowa voters with advertisements urging voters to support ‘Rick Parry,’ shared the same political committee treasurer – until they didn’t,” writes Politico’s Dave Levinthal. “Salvatore Purpura, who has represented numerous political committees as treasurer over the years, told POLITICO that he resigned on Thursday as treasurer of Colbert’s super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. Then, on Monday, Perry – not Parry – formally filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission listing Purpura has his campaign treasurer. ‘Obviously, there was a potential conflict of interest,’ Purpura said. “I told [Colbert lawyer] Trevor [Potter] on Thursday I would not be able to be treasurer anymore.’ … To date, Purpura remains listed as treasurer in FEC documents for both Perry’s presidential committee and Colbert’s super PAC, which Purpura attributed to a paperwork lag time. Shauna Polk, an official at Washington, D.C.-based law firm Caplin & Drysdale, has assumed treasurer duties for Colbert’s super PAC, Purpura said.” http://politi.co/pI8QK7
@brianjameswalsh: So after his campaign bus tour and Vineyard vacation, POTUS might finally turn to jobs. Prediction – it will involve more govt spending.
(all times local)
*President Obama holds town hall meetings in Atkinson and Alpha, Iowa, before returning to Washington, D.C.
*Rick Perry speaks at Politics and Eggs in Bedford, N.H. at 7:45 a.m. At 11:30 a.m., he takes a tour and hosts business roundtable at Resonetics in Nashua.
* Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, screen "A City Upon a Hill" at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and hold a Q&A session after.
*Ron Paul launches his New Hampshire headquarters in Concord.
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