The Note: Battleground Blues

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

A day after Texas Gov. Rick Perry marched through Virginia, telling Republicans there that the GOP’s special election victories in New York and Nevada on Tuesday “sent signals that President Obama will be a one term president” a new poll of voters in the battleground state carries more bad news for Obama.

Fifty-four percent of Virginia voters disapprove of the way Obama is doing his job while 40 percent who approve, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out today. Even more troubling, Obama’s job approval is “plummeting among independent voters, who disapprove 62-29 percent, compared to a 54-41 percent disapproval June 30,” the new polls shows.

Perry, the Republican front-runner (both nationally and in Virginia) descended on the state yesterday saying that the president’s “big government,” “tax-and-spend” economic policies were “re-energizing conservatives” across the country, including those who swept a Republican into office in a heavily Democratic district in New York.

“The voters are getting the message. The voters in New York sure got the message,” Perry said. “For the first time in almost 90 years there is going to be a Republican representing that part of New York City.”

Meanwhile, Democrats sought to downplay the loss.

ABC’s Shushannah Walshe notes that Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who held the seat for 18 years, said in a conference call held by the Democratic National Committee yesterday that the election was “unusual” and “unique,” but it was not a referendum on President Obama.

“The bottom line is it’s not a bellwether district,” Schumer said. “Anybody that tries to extrapolate between what’s happened in this district and what would happen in New York City, New York state or the country is making a big mistake.”

Maybe so, but prominent figures in Obama’s own party — even former members of his inner-circle — are increasingly voicing concern about the future of his presidency.

The National Journal’s Beth Reinhard, in a story headlined, “Obama Allies: Time to Wake Up,” hears from some of those voices of Democratic discontent, including former White House principal deputy press secretary Bill Burton.

“Democrats should be very nervous,” Burton, a senior strategist at Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA, told Reinhard. “They need to put on their war paint and get ready for what is going to be a very difficult battle. Unless activists really engage and recognize the stakes of this fight, it’s going to be impossible for the president to win.”


RNC CHAIR: I’m ‘Very Satisfied’ With GOP 2012 Field. Here’s what the Chairman of the Republican National Committee told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos this morning when asked if there’s still time for other candidates – namely Chris Christie or Sarah Palin - to jump in the race. “I think that there is time for a lot of people to get in. I mean Bill Clinton joined the race I think in October of the year before the election,” Reince Priebus said on “Good Morning America.” “But I’m also very satisfied with where the field is at in the Republican side of the aisle. And I think that it’s time to start to debate about how to get American back on the rails and save ourselves economically and make Barack Obama a one-term president,” he said.  The Republican candidates taking shots at each other doesn’t bother Priebus – he said it makes the Party stronger. But he refused to weigh in when I asked if Sarah Palin was right when she called the mandatory HPV vaccination in Texas ”crony capitalism” because Gov. Perry took campaign donations from the drug maker and his former chief-of-staff went on to lobby for Merck.  “You know, I’m not going to debate that. I’m not going to referee that issue. I’m the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, I can’t take sides,” he said.

@ ReincePriebus : Thanks  @GMA for having me on set today! I had a great time.


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE. ABC’s Rick Klein and Amy Walter interview Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump organization and special counsel to Donald Trump. Also on the program actor Robert David Hall and Lt. Colonel Tim Karcher who are speaking later today at the National Press Club on behalf of the Foundation for Biomedical Research. Both men will be discussing their experiences as double leg amputees and the latest advances in the field of prosthetics research.   Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.


PERRY DEFENDS HPV DECISION. On Wednesday Rick Perry dismissed rival Michele Bachmann’s claim that the vaccine he sought to make mandatory for young women in Texas causes mental retardation. “I think that was a statement,” Perry said, that has “no truth and no basis in fact.” In 2007 Governor Perry signed an executive order requiring all sixth-grade girls in Texas to receive the vaccine Gardasil, which prevents the HPV virus, a trigger for cervical cancer. The order was later overturned by the Texas state legislature before the mandate went into effect. At Monday night’s presidential debate in Tampa, Bachmann sharply criticized Perry for endangering the lives of “innocent little 12-year-old girls.” She went even further in an interview on Tuesday. “I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate,” Bachmann said on NBC’s “Today Show.”  ”She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.” Speaking to reporters after an appearance at a Virginia Republican Party fundraiser here on Wednesday, Perry defended his HPV decision. “I hate cancer and that’s what this has always been about for me. I made a mistake in the way that I took this forward,” he said. “But nothing’s changed in my life from the standpoint of giving people the opportunity to conquer a disease that is impacting so many people in our country.”


SANTORUM CAMP HITS PERRY. At Monday night’s debate Bachmann suggested Perry signed the HPV vaccine executive order because of campaign donations he received from pharmaceutical giant Merck, Perry replied, “If you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.”

Hogan Gidley, National Communications Director for Rick Santorum’s campaign told the Note: “It’s true that Governor Perry never said he couldn’t be ‘bought,’ he just said he was ‘offended’ to think $5,000 could do it.  But that’s silly gotcha stuff — we all know what he meant.  What is extremely troubling is that Governor Perry advocated the government takeover of 12 year old girl’s bodies, explored bi-national healthcare with Mexico, and supported Al Gore for President after the Reagan years.  That clearly begs the question — what in the world pushes Governor Perry’s policies?  Clearly, the answer can’t be conservatism.”


RICK AND THE DONALD. ABC’s John Berman wraps up Perry’s meeting and dinner with real estate mogul Donald Trump in New York City last night. Berman notes that the meeting was held at Perry’s request. WATCH:



THE BOEHNER ALTERNATIVE. As President Obama continues to drum up support for his jobs $447 billion jobs plan, House Speaker John Boehner will deliver an alternative path for job creation in an address to the Economic Club of Washington later today, focusing chiefly on tax reform by broadening the base of the tax structure without raising taxes and continuing the GOP’s quest to cut red tape from Washington’s bureaucracy,” ABC’s John R. Parkinson reports. “According to a senior aide to the speaker, Boehner will push to enact the GOP’s Plan for America’s Job Creators by “streamlining and reforming a burdensome tax code, stopping harmful regulations, and cutting Washington spending,” which Boehner will say “have combined to create a toxic environment for job creation that has rattled confidence and prevented job creators from hiring new workers.” Boehner will add that although there is some common ground between his vision for job creation and the president’s bill known as the American Jobs Act, the speaker will continue to push for Republican alternatives to be part of a jobs bill because Obama’s plan is “no substitute for the pro-growth policies needed to remove barriers to job creation in America.” The House is not expected to bring Obama’s bill in its full legislative language to the floor for a clean vote, but sources indicate that aspects of the president’s proposal will work through the committee process and pieces of his plan will eventually come to the floor for consideration.”

TODD PALIN SLAMS ANTI-PALIN BOOK. ABC’s Sheila Marikar notes: “Todd Palin released a statement late Wednesday condemning claims author Joe McGinniss makes about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in his upcoming book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.” “This is a man who has been relentlessly stalking my family to the point of moving in right next door to us to harass us and spy on us to satisfy his creepy obsession with my wife,” Todd Palin said via SarahPAC’s Rebecca Mansour. “His book is full of disgusting lies, innuendo, and smears. Even The New York Times called this book ‘dated, petty,’ and that it ‘chases caustic, unsubstantiated gossip.” In his book, McGinniss claims that Palin used cocaine, had a one night stand with retired NBA player Glen Rice, and engaged in an extramarital affair.



@ samsteinhp : initial Unemployment benefit applications was 428,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 417,000.

@ DavidMDrucker : @MittRomney announces endorsement of MI’s Saul Anuzis.

@ politicoroger : The mob takes a seat at “ghoulish” GOP debates. My latest column:

@ CainPress : Thank you, friends!  @THEHermanCain now has more than 70,000 followers on Twitter!  #tcot

@ Heritage : The House is set to rebuke  #NLRB for meddling in Boeing’s expansion plan. They never should have done that!



(all times local)

*  Jon Huntsman tours Rokon Motorcycles in Rochester, N.H., at 10 a.m. At 2 p.m. he speaks at a meet-and-greet in Exeter, N.H.

*  Rick Santorum attends a fundraiser for the South Carolina Republican Party in at The Poinsett Club Greenville at 11:30 a.m.

*  Michele Bachmann hosts a breakfast chat in San Rafael, Calif., at 9:15 a.m.

*  Rick Perry stops at Greene County Fairground in Jefferson Iowa at 6:30 p.m.

*  Herman Cain attends an open forum in Thomaston, Ga., at 7 p.m.

The Note Futures Calendar:


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