Mitt’s Massachusetts (The Note)

May 31, 2012 8:52am
gty romney gov kb 120531 wblog Mitts Massachusetts (The Note)

Image credit: Bill Greene/Boston Globe via Getty Images

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

NOTABLES:

  • BAY STATE BLUES: That’s how the Obama campaign is casting Mitt Romney’s record in Massachusetts. The presumptive Republican nominee’s time as governor is at the center of the Democrats’ latest offensive, which includes a press conference today in Bostonwith senior strategist David Axelrod who plans to discuss Romney’s “economic philosophy and his failed economic record in Massachusetts.” The Romney campaign plans to hold a competing press conference at the State House to talk about Romney’s “record of job creation.”
  • ROMNEY REBOUND: The latest ABC News-Washington Post poll shows Romney making inroads with women, while Obama’s favorability rating among women, and on the whole, have decreased. According to the fresh numbers Obama still beats Romney in favorable ratings overall, by an 11-point margin, 52 percent vs. 41 percent. But that’s down from 21 points last month.
  • BUSH IS BACK: Despite frequently blaming his predecessor for the “messes” he inherited, today President Obama will welcome former President George W. Bush back to the White House to honor his legacy, ABC’s Mary Bruce reports. The 43rd president and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, will be back at their former home for the official unveiling of their portraits — an often uncomfortable presidential tradition. http://abcn.ws/L52XKb
  • VEEP BEAT: Condi Rice endorses Romney, calling him a  leader who “understands how really exceptional the United States of America is, and is not afraid to lead on the basis of that exceptionalism,” Rob Portman continues his tour of Israel, and Jeb Bush prepares to head to Capitol Hill.

THE NOTE:

Up until now, it seemed like the one word the Obama campaign most wanted voters to remember about Mitt Romney on Election Day was “Bain.”

But today it just might be “Massachusetts.”

As previewed by ABC’s Jake Tapper on “Good Morning America,” the Obama campaign announced it is dispatching senior strategist David Axelrod as well as elected officials who served with then Gov. Romney to the State House in Boston today to “discuss Mitt Romney’s economic philosophy and his failed economic record in Massachusetts.”

In a memo released yesterday Axelrod attempted to tie Romney’s record in business (Axe is fond of the phrase, “corporate buyout specialist”) to his performance as governor from 2003 to 2007.

“Romney Economics actually resulted in fewer jobs, more debt and bigger government,” Axelrod wrote. “That’s because Romney Economics isn’t about long term economic growth – it’s about two sets of rules, one for those at the top and another for everyone else. It didn’t work in then, and it won’t work now.”

In an accompanying four-minute web video, ABC’s Devin Dwyer notes that the Obama campaign highlights how Romney presided over a lackluster state economy. Between 2003 and 2007, Massachusetts slid to 47th out of 50 states in job creation, the manufacturing sector saw a net job loss and workers’ wages fell.  Taxes and fees on state services climbed, while state debt grew by $2.6 billion. http://abcn.ws/LJM1Ui

And while we’re on the topic of word association. The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee have one for Obama too: “Solyndra.”

Romney frequently uses the bankrupt solar startup, which received $535 million in federal loan guarantees, as an example of one of the biggest failures of the Obama administration. Solyndra was also the subject of a Romney web video released on Tuesday that didn’t get much traction due to the Donald Trump extravaganza. (WATCH: http://bit.ly/Jr9ute)

But there is heightened speculation that Romney, who is in Northern California today, might pay a visit to the failed Fremont, Calif. company.

The Republicans unveiled a web video of their own  this morning that, according to an RNC spokesperson, is “focused on the warnings and red flags the president and his team had about Solyndra” as well as “substantial 22 page briefing on Solyndra focused on the corruption that is at the heart of the Obama economic strategy with Obama comments like ‘the true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra’ and Biden saying Solyndra ‘is exactly what the Recovery Act is all about.’”

 

WHAT WOMEN WANT. Young Guns Action Network, the Republican group affiliated with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, held a series of focus groups in Las Vegas and Philadelphia to kick off their “Woman Up” venture, In each city, YG hosted two separate focus groups, one with female voters who voted Republican in 2010 but are leaning Obama or unsure in this cycle, and another with women who did not vote in 2010, but who plan to vote in this cycle, and are undecided or lean Obama. “Economic issues dominated the conversation — with barely a mention of, unless prompted, social issues.  The issues that matter the most to these women revolve around jobs.  Health care was also important and the majority wants Obama Care repealed” the findings revealed. Full results: http://bit.ly/LZ16VP

CALIFORNIA CONNECTION: ROMNEY AND MEG WHITMAN. At Mitt Romney’s high-dollar California fundraiser last night, the guest list was to include former California gubernatorial candidate and Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman. Much was made of the optics of Whitman’s appearance since she recently announced that HP would be laying off thousands of workers. It appears she didn’t show. But a plugged-in Democratic operative and Friend of The Note passes along another tidbit: Back in 2009, Whitman’s gubernatorial campaign paid $96,000 to the investment firm, Solamere Capital, which was led by Romney’s son, Tagg, Romney and Spencer Zwick, who now heads the Romney campaign’s finance operation. The expenditure was listed as campaign consulting, but it’s unclear what services were provided. Notably, one year later in 2010, Whitman’s son Griff Harsh got a job as an analyst at Solamere. “Just sayin,” the Democrat tells The Note.

 

THE BUZZ

with ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield (@LizHartfield)

POLLING REPORT: ROMNEY REBOUNDS AMONG WOMEN, OBAMA’S FAVORABILITY SLIPS. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Romney making inroads with women, while Obama’s favorability rating among women, and on the whole, have decreased. ABC’s Gary Langer reports, Obama still beats Romney in favorable ratings overall, by an 11-point margin, 52 vs. 41 percent. But that’s down from 21 points last month, giving Romney the better trajectory. And both get only even divisions among registered voters, marking the closeness of the race between them. All Romney’s gains have come among women – up by 13 percentage points in personal popularity from last month, while Obama’s lost 7 points among women. (Views among men have been more stable.) Obama’s rating among women, 51 percent favorable, still beats Romney’s 40 percent — but again that margin is far smaller than what it was six weeks ago. http://abcn.ws/M7wJiF

RNC: VICTORY FOR WALKER EQUALS ‘LIGHTS OUT’ FOR OBAMA. The Republican National Committee had some strong talk about their chances next week in the Wisconsin recall and what a victory for Gov. Scott Walker would mean for their state’s going red in November, reports ABC’s Shushannah Walshe. ”Certainly [if] Wisconsin goes red, I think it’s lights out for Barack Obama,” said RNC Chairman and Wisconsinite Reince Priebus on Wednesday. http://abcn.ws/NikgFP

NOTED: THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN DISAGREES. The Hill’s Geneva Sands reports: “President Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, downplayed Wednesday the impact that the upcoming Wisconsin recall election might have on the presidential race in the fall. “This is a gubernatorial race with a guy who was recalled and a challenger trying to get him out of office. It has nothing to do with President Obama at the top of the ticket and it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with Mitt Romney at the top of the Republican ticket” said Cutter on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown.” http://bit.ly/LIHANF

THE NOTE’S TAKE: ABC News Political Director Amy Walter points out that a new poll out from Marquette University suggests that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a big lead ahead of the June 5 recall. But, even though GOPers are optimistic, they warn that this thing is going to be really close.  (The poll showed Walker up by 7 points – 52 percent to challenger Tom Barrett’s 45 percent.)

WHAT CAN YOU GET FOR $1 BILLION? ABC’s Matt Negrin asks, how far can $1 billion get you in politics? That’s the magic number being thrown around — a Politico report said outside groups backing Republicans have pledged to spend that much money to influence the races for president and key congressional seats. $1 billion — well, it’s enough to close Connecticut’s budget deficit — six times. It could fund one-seventh of the National Science Foundation. It’s enough to pay every senator his salary almost 6,000 times. http://abcn.ws/JBz1ov

OBAMA PHONES ROMNEY. President Obama Wednesday offered personal congratulations to GOP rival Mitt Romney for formally clinching the Republican Party presidential nomination in Texas. ABC’s Devin Dwyer and Emily Friedman report, Obama spoke with Romney by phone around 11:30 am ET, aides on both sides said. The president placed the call from the White House, reaching Romney in Las Vegas, where he was preparing to depart to California for a day of fundraisers. The call is the first time the two men have spoken since the start of the GOP primary race and one of the few times they have ever connected in person. http://abcn.ws/KcWu0y

ANN ROMNEY: ‘I COMPLETELY SUPPORT 90 PERCENT OF WHERE MITT IS.’ ABC’s Shushannah Walshe reports, Despite their famously close relationship, Ann Romney doesn’t agree with her husband on all of his policy stances all of the time. ”I don’t think we’re ever exactly on the same page one hundred percent,” Ann Romney told Fox News in an interview that will air Thursday. Mrs. Romney wouldn’t name a policy or issue the two disagree on saying, “I’m not going to name one because I don’t think that’s important.  I’m not the one running for president, this guy is.  And I completely support 90 percent of where Mitt is.” http://abcn.ws/JNpw70

HOUSE DEBATES SEX-SELECTION ABORTIONS BILL. The House debated a bill that would ban sex-selection abortions in the United States on Wednesday, reports ABC’s John Parkinson. The debate Republicans and Democrats in a showdown over a woman’s right to choose, which opponents contend is “intended to chip away at a woman’s right to obtain safe, legal medical care.” A vote on the measure was postponed until Thursday. Approval of the measure is subject to a two-thirds majority, which may be difficult to attain given the Democrats’ general opposition to what they perceive as another Republican attempt to engage Democrats in the so-called War on Women. http://abcn.ws/NgBYJQ

ILLINOIS STATE REP’S EPIC RANT. Irate over a quick vote on a pension bill, Illinois State Rep. Mike Bost exploded on the floor of the Illinois House Tuesday, ABC’s Matt Jaffee reports. ”Total power in one person’s hands, not the American way!” Bost screamed, tossing the bill up in the air and then taking an errant swing at the papers as they fluttered down around him. He then took the papers  that settled near him and threw them at his colleagues. http://abcn.ws/KdKYBk

SUPER PAC MEGA-DONORS: STOP PICKING ON US. Politico’s Ken Vogel reports: “All they wanted was to get involved. But to hear some of the biggest donors of 2012 tell it, their six- and seven-figure contributions have instead bought them nothing but grief. In their view, cutting a million-dollar check to try to sway the presidential race should be just another way to do their part for democracy, not a fast-track to the front page. And now some are pushing back hard against the attention, asking: Why us? http://politi.co/Kzvs1s

JUSTICE STEVENS: SECOND THOUGHTS LIKELY IN CITIZENS UNITED. The AP’s Jeannie Nuss reports: “Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said Wednesday night he expects that the court has already had second thoughts about parts of its controversial Citizens United ruling that eased restrictions on corporate spending in political campaigns…Stevens, who dissented from that 2010 decision, said that at some point the court will have to issue an opinion ‘explicitly crafting an exception that will create a crack in the foundation’ of that ruling. Speaking to hundreds of people at an event in Little Rock, the retired justice said President Barack Obama accurately criticized the ruling for reversing a century of law and allowing special interest groups to pump money into elections. http://abcn.ws/LJmPy4

POLISH PRESIDENT WRITES TO OBAMA AFTER ‘DEATH CAMP’ GAFFE. Yahoo!’s Olivier Knox reports, Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski said Wednesday he had written a personal letter to President Barack Obama urging him to do more to correct the record after Obama referred to “a Polish death camp” in a White House ceremony on Tuesday. Komorowski stopped well short of explicitly demanding an apology from Obama, who used the phrase Tuesday as he honored World War II Polish resistance hero Jan Karski with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian American honor. http://abcn.ws/JBCmUx

OBAMA CELEBRATES JEWISH HISTORY MONTH. Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month, President Obama Wednesday recalled the struggle against anti-Semitism in the U.S. reports ABC’s Mary Bruce. In a year when the Jewish vote takes on a new importance, Obama said it’s his generation’s turn to “stand up for our shared values… Beyond our borders, we have to stand alongside our friends who share our commitment to freedom and democracy and universal rights; and that includes, of course, our unwavering commitment to the State of Israel and its security and the pursuit of a just and lasting peace,” he said. http://abcn.ws/LHmfkh

A BERMUDA TRIANGLE OF CONSERVATISM. ABC’s Chris Good reports that in August, Tampa, Fla., will become a Bermuda Triangle of conservatism as the city will host three events in the span of a week, all centered around the Republican National Convention. Between the GOP convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Paul Festival, organized by Ron Paul supporters, and Sarah Palin’s expected presence after FEC disclosures for her political action committee revealed that the group put down on a “deposit for space” at the Channelside Bay Mall, there will be something for every kind of Republican.  http://abcn.ws/LIQryM

GOP FOREIGN POLICY ESTABLISHMENT SLOW TO EMBRACE ROMNEY. The New York Times’ Richard Oppel Jr. reports: “As Republican leaders fell in behind Mr. Romney this spring, many members of the party’s foreign policy establishment have been more muted. Reluctance by this group to come forward for Mr. Romney more quickly reflects an unease over some of his positions, including his hard line on Russia and opposition to a new missile treaty.” http://nyti.ms/KdLOht

 

IN THE NOTE’S INBOX:

TODAY IN WASHINGTON: Charlie Drevna, President of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers is testifying today in a House Oversight Committee hearing assessing the impact of federal regulation on Hydraulic Fracturing. According to a source, his testimony will focus on two areas: developing American resources and the regulatory environment refiners face. Here’s an excerpt of his remarks:  ”Indeed, to the extent that there is an ‘energy crisis,’ it is self-imposed. The Administration should allow the oil and natural gas industry to fully develop onshore and offshore resources on federal lands, streamline and expedite the leasing and permitting processes, and immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline. How we accomplish these important national goals is an important debate that should be grounded in fact. Unfortunately, while the administration claims to support an ‘all of the above’ approach to U.S. energy, its actions do not always match its rhetoric, and its approach would be more aptly characterized as ‘all of the above, but none of the below.’”

BUDDY ROEMER CALLS IT QUITS: A statement from the former Louisiana governor and long-shot presidential candidate on the suspension of his campaign: “Today, I am no longer a candidate for President of the United States. After 17 months of a wonderful campaign, the lack of ballot access in all 50 states makes the quest impossible for now. … We ran like we would serve – Free to Lead. To protect that freedom, we fully disclosed every contribution. We accepted no contributions above $100. We accepted no PAC money, no Super PAC money, no corporate money, and no lobbyist money. We assumed no debt and we end this campaign with money in the bank. Once again, we ran like we intended to serve. We received contributions averaging less than $50 each from thousands and thousands of Democrats, Republicans and Independents in all 50 states. We were not included in a single one of the 23 nationally televised GOP debates, and yet received 7% of the popular vote in a national poll conducted just a few weeks ago. My team was amazing and I thank you.”

 

VEEP BEAT: Our daily look at all the action on the veepstakes front, brought to you by ABC’s Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz):

RUBIO, CHAMPION OF THE INTERNET: Buzzfeed’s Zeke Miller takes a look at Sen. Marco Rubio, who manages his own Twitter account but leaves Facebook to his staff, as he tries to navigate through an Internet world on Capitol Hill and beyond. “Rubio is carving a space out for himself as a champion of the Internet and is on the leading edge, along with Rep. Darrell Issa, of a new wave of Republican leadership on issues like Internet privacy and regulation,” Miller reported. “The conservative Republicans have emerged as surprising champions for an industry whose youth and cultural leanings has traditionally aligned it with Democrats, and which has emerged as a key support base for President Barack Obama, whose White House also helped kill the piracy legislation. But Rubio shrugs off a partisan realignment, saying the shift is more about the rise of younger, more Internet-savvy, lawmakers. “I’ve never really seen it as a partisan” issue, he said. “I’ve seen it as more of a generational one than a partisan one.” http://bit.ly/Ku7jsZ

HUCKABEE SAYS PICK RUBIO: After the NH Republican State Committee Victory Dinner in Manchester Wednesday night, Mike Huckabee laughed when reporters asked if he’d consider being Romney’s runningmate, according to the Bedford Patch.”Let’s see if my phone is ringing, I don’t think anybody has called,” Huckabee said. “No, not yet. But if they do I’ll let you know.”  Huckabee then pointed to Marco Rubio as the best candidate to join Romney on the ticket this fall. “I’ve personally said I love Marco Rubio,” Huckabee said. VIDEO: http://bit.ly/KeLQ9o

PORTMAN IN ISRAEL: Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, touched down in Israel Wednesday and today toured the Iron Dome Protection System, ABC News’ Gregory Simmons reports. While in Israel, Portman will meet with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

CONDI ENDORSES ROMNEY: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice endorsed Mitt Romney Wednesday evening at a fundraiser in California.  “If America is going to rebuild its strength at home, rebuild its sense of who we are, it needs a leader that also understands how really exceptional the United States of America is, and is not afraid to lead on the basis of that exceptionalism,” Rice said, according to the pool reports.  Rice said the country needs “someone who understands the truly exceptional nature of this country — a country in which its people are not bound together by religion” or by ethnicity, “but rather by a creed – a simple creed: you can come from humble circumstances, and you can do great things…That’s the truly exceptional nature of this country. It’s understood in this world; its leadership is craved in this world. And Gov. Romney, you can bring it back.”

JEB BUSH TO CAPITOL HILL: Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush will testify before the House Budget Committee Friday during a hearing titled “Removing the Barriers to Free Enterprise and Economic Growth.”

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@ThisWeekABC: Joining @GStephanopoulos on the #ThisWeek roundtable Sunday:@EricFehrn@stefcutter, George Will, @matthewjdowd and @NYTimeskrugman.

@ZekeJMiller: Kind of fitting that this Rubio story is illustrated with a GIF http://www.buzzfeed.com/zekejmiller/the-senator-from-the-internet

‏@GOP12: Newt on Romney: “I threw the kitchen sink at him, he threw a bigger kitchen sink at me.” http://bit.ly/LJmHyD

@GeraldFSeib: Forget other stuff. Most important political stories of the week: Europe’s woes, US jobs report Friday. #election 2012 http://on.wsj.com/KtAnka

@MarkLeibovich: Planning trip to Antietam. Major battleground. Maybe I’ll take a poll.

 

POLITICAL RADAR

–President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will welcome former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush to the White House for the official unveiling of their portrait

–Mitt Romney will hold an event in the Bay Area

–The Obama campaign’s top strategist David Axelrod will hold a press conference on Mitt Romney’s record as governor at the Massachusetts State House

–Sen. Marco Rubio will address the Council of Foreign Relations in New York City

–Sen. Rob Portman will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak

–Gov. Susana Martinez will tour the damage left behind from the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire in New Mexico

ABC’s Joanna Suarez

 Check out The Note’s Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV

 

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