Risky Business (The Note)

May 15, 2012 8:51am

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

NOTABLES: 

  • RISK AND REWARD: President Obama’s decision to announce his support for same-sex marriage last week could be an important base-energizer, a new ABC News-Washington Post poll shows, but there are risks too. While Democrats say they view the president’s policy shift in strongly positive terms, more independent voters see it negatively, according to today’s poll.
  • CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF BAIN: A super PAC supportive of the president is picking up where the Obama campaign left off yesterday, doubling down on an attack on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital. The new ad, which is backed by a $4 million buy, is going on the air in key swing states: Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
  • DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT… JESSICA SIMPSON? The ladies of “The View” put President Obama through a “pop culture pop quiz” in an interview taped yesterday that will air in its entirety on the show today. But the president weighed in on more pressing issues too, including the big losses at J.P. Morgan and same-sex marriage.
  • NOTE IT! In our virtual political roundtable, ABC’s Jonathan Karl talks Mitt Romney and the culture wars, Rick Klein on the failure of Americans Elect, and Jake Tapper on the Democrats’ big Bain push.

 

THE NOTE:

Will President Obama’s decision to publicly back same-sex marriage backfire in November?

That’s the question raised by fresh data from an ABC News-Washington Post poll out today that shows slightly more Americans — 47 percent — view the president’s shift toward supporting gay marriage unfavorably compared to 46 percent who see it favorably.

Within those groups, a larger portion — 38 percent — have “strongly” negative views than those with “strongly” positive views — 28 percent — of the position change. http://abcn.ws/MfCaLn

ABC News pollster Gary Langer notes that it’s unclear how same-sex marriage issue may affect the fall campaign, but the partisan divide is clear.

“Seventy percent of Democrats view Obama’s declaration favorably; 76 percent of Republicans respond negatively,” Langer notes. “But swing-voting independents tell a more mixed story: On one hand, they tilt slightly more favorably than unfavorably overall, 49-43 percent. On the other, somewhat more independents respond strongly negatively, 35 percent, than strongly positively, 26 percent — and strong sentiment can better predict voter turnout and vote preferences.”

And while the White House and the Obama campaign deal with the fallout from gay marriage, the president’s allies are looking to turn Mitt Romney’s private sector experience — a part of the presumptive Republican nominee’s biography that his campaign portrays as an asset — into one of his biggest liabilities.

One day after the Obama campaign unveiled a two-minute ad attacking Romney for his work at the private equity firm, Bain Capital, a Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA, is pouring $4 million into a new ad that sounds the same alarm.

The group released a new ad this morning featuring a worker at a Kansas City steel plant who lost his job after Bain took over the company, which later went bankrupt. (WATCH: http://youtu.be/fncJZXrzG8k)

“With Romney and Bain Capital, the objective was to make money. Whether the companies they came in and worked with made money or not, was irrelevant. Bain Capital always made money,” the worker, Pat Wells, says in the 30-second spot. “He promised us the same things he’s promising the United States. And he’ll give you the same thing he gave us. Nothing. He’ll take it all.”

The ad is going on the air in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia and Priorities USA’s anti-Romney campaign also includes a new website www.RealRomneyRecord.com that focuses on the candidate’s business experience.

Strategists for the group say the Bain issue could be a defining one for Romney, but the Republican is not letting the attacks go unanswered.

 

GOP COUNTER-PROGRAMMING. On the same day that Mitt Romney returns to Iowa, an important swing state, his team is circulating a new web video titled “A Few Of The 23 Million.” The video features stories from Iowans who “are out of work, underemployed, or have stopped looking for work.” WATCH: http://mi.tt/JC5U1q

Meanwhile, as ABC’s Shushannah Walshe reports, the Republican National Committee continued their week-long roll out highlighting what they call the president’s “failure on the debt and deficit.” Today they will hold six—yes six—conference calls throughout the day with lawmakers and Romney supporters in the battleground states of Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, and Colorado.

Hoping to keep the focus on the economy, they began the roll out Monday with a call focused on Iowa with Rep. Steve King. Although he did talk about the nation’s debt: “You reach a point you can’t borrow anymore,” King said. “[We are] the largest economy and we cannot go on this trajectory.” King finally endorsed the presumptive GOP nominee, five months after the Iowa caucuses. The RNC today is hoping the heat stays squarely on the president: http://abcn.ws/Jr2emP 

 

NOTE IT!

ABC’s JONATHAN KARL: From the Washington Post’s Metro page:  A reminder that waging culture wars is not the way to win Mitt Romney’s heart. Erstwhile culture warrior Bob McDonnell is resisting efforts by some Virginia conservatives to block the judicial nomination of Tracy Thorne-Begland, an openly gay man who favors same-sex marriage. Says McDonnell’s spokesman: “The governor has long made clear that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not acceptable in state government.”

ABC’s JAKE TAPPER: The new Priorities USA ad tells the same story about GST Steel in Kansas City featured in the Obama campaign ad announced yesterday. Recall that coordination between the two camps is against the law. Priorities USA says there are four or five companies with stories like this they’ve been preparing to tell, and this was an obvious place to start given the ramifications of steel plant closures in swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

ABC’s RICK KLEIN: The experiment of Americans Elect was, by design, a movement in search of a candidate. The process put in place to get a third-party candidate on enough presidential ballots to matter left the actual part of finding a person to run for later. If they build it, he or she will come — except nobody’s arrived. The group’s deadline passed last night with no candidate close to the support needed to get the nomination. Americans Elect is left reassessing its options, but the lesson is as clear as the straight line from Roosevelt to Perot: Third-party movements can’t survive on abstractions, no matter how ripe the moment seems.

 

 

PREVIEW: OBAMA ON “THE VIEW”: President Obama sat down with the ladies of “The View” in New York on Monday. He answered questions about same-sex marriage and JP Morgan and event attempted a pop culture quiz. 

On Same-Sex Marriage:  ABC’s Mary Bruce, Christina Ng and Aaron Katersky report that the President declined to say whether or not he would lead the charge to repeal the Defense of Marriage of Act. ”We don’t think the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional…This is something that historically had been determined at the state level and part of my believing ultimately that civil unions weren’t sufficient, and I’ve been a longtime supporter of civil unions for same-sex couples, was partly because of the issue of Social Security benefits and other laws.” http://abcn.ws/JOWtxn

On JP Morgan: Obama called JP Morgan Chase “one of the best managed banks.” ”JPMorgan is one of the best-managed banks there is. Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we got and they still lost $2 billion and counting. We don’t know all the details. It’s going to be investigated, but this is why we passed Wall Street reform.” http://abcn.ws/KHt0EX

Pop Culture Quiz: Yahoo’s Olivier Knox reports: “Quizzed on ABC’s “The View” on Monday, Obama slam-dunked a question about Kim Kardashian but got whipped by a query seemingly about the erotic novel ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ ”Which Kardashian was married for only 72 days?” co-host Joy Behar asked the president. ”That would be Kim,” Obama replied. http://abcn.ws/LN5giw

Watch a preview of the interview on last night’s World News with Diane Sawyer. http://abcn.ws/8Qd1f

 

 

VIDEO OF THE DAY: ABC’s Jon Karl joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for her morning walk in the most recent installment of ABC News/Yahoo!’s series “Spinners & Winners.” As they powered along the paths of the Georgetown water park they talked fundraising, reducing the debt, and winning back the house. ”It isn’t about me, it is about what is at stake in this election and quite frankly I wish that so much were not at stake in this election” Pelosi said. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/LMMibE

 

THE BUZZ

with ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield (@LizHartfield)

RON PAUL: DOWN BUT NOT OUT. Ron Paul’s campaign announced on Monday that they would not longer be spending Monday to compete in any of the 11 states that had not held primaries yet, but they will continue to maintain a presence at state conventions in their quest to pick up delegates. ABC’s Jason Volack who covered the Paul campaign reports that money was a concern for the campaign. The 76-year old Texas congressman’s coffers have dried up recently and actively campaigning in the 11 states yet to hold primaries would have thrown the campaign into debt — something Paul strongly opposes. But beyond the financial considerations, senior aides concede that Paul was nervous that the actions of his supporters at state conventions threatened to tarnish the long-term viability of the movement he spent decades building. http://abcn.ws/Kbqxi0

NEBRASKA SENATE PRIMARY PRIMER. Republican and Democratic voters in Nebraska will both select their nominees for the state’s open senate race today. ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield reports, 0n the Democratic side, Bob Kerrey, the former governor and senator for the state, is considered the likely nominee. The Republican race is more fluid. The primary is between three candidates: Jon Bruning, the state’s attorney general, Deb Fischer, a state senator, and state treasurer Don Stenberg. Bruning, 43, has long been considered the favorite, but heading into the primary he faces a late in the game surge from Fischer, 61.http://abcn.ws/J87OtA

AMERICANS ELECT MISSES DEADLINE, RE-THINKS FUTURE. Politico’s Ken Vogel reports that “Americans Elect, the deep-pocketed nonprofit group that set out to nominate a centrist third-party presidential ticket, admitted early Tuesday that its ballyhooed online nominating process had failed. But just after a midnight deadline Monday, the group acknowledged that its complicated online nominating process had failed to generate sufficient interest to push any of the candidates who had declared an interest in its nomination over the threshold in its rules.” http://politi.co/JhLsEV

ONE DAY ONLY: LATEST OBAMA CAMPAIGN AD. The Obama campaign’s latest ad attacking Romney’s record at Bain Capital, titled ”Steel” will air in five swing states, but ABC’s Devin Dwyer reports that it won’t air for long. The Obama campaign says the full two-minute spot — dubbed “Steel” — will air just once in targeted markets during the evening news on Wednesday. Independent media trackers tell ABC News the buy is roughly $83,000 — a tiny amount compared to the multimillion dollar recent ad buys by pro-GOP super PACs and the Obama campaign’s $25 million blitz initiated last week. http://abcn.ws/LL2R7T

ROMNEY BULLYING STORY ECHOES IN HOUSE VOTE: The report in last week’s Washington Post about Romney bullying a classmate presumed to be gay could have a ripple effect on House Republicans messaging on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein and Laura Bassett report “The House will vote this week on VAWA. But rather than follow the Senate’s lead, House GOP leadership will consider a pared-down version that does not extend protections to gay and lesbian victims of domestic abuse. House Republicans have insisted that such an extension was unnecessary. But with Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, eager to change the subject to different matters, the House bill could not be more poorly timed — inviting critics to portray the GOP as insensitive to the serious threats of violence the LGBT community faces.” http://huff.to/MdHQ8C

GINGRICH HITS THE TRAIL TO CAMPAIGN FOR ROMNEY: Newt Gingrich will hit the campaign trail again on Friday, this time to campaign for Mitt Romney at Georgia’s GOP convention, reports ABC’s Elicia Dover. But their togetherness comes at an uncomfortable time. As the attacks over Romney’s involvement with Bain Capital spew forth  from the Obama campaign, many are reminded of the source of the original Bain attacks against Romney during the primary — Gingrich and his super PAC,  Winning Our Future. http://abcn.ws/KnEYUG

THE HISTORY OF CEO’S AS PRESIDENTS: Mitt Romney likes to tout his success in the business world on the campaign trail, but Bloomberg’s David Lynch reports that there have been few businessmen in the Oval Office since the 1900′s, and the job brings constraints unfamiliar to most CEO’s. “The presidency’s unique requirements mean that everyone who holds the office needs some on-the-job training, something Romney has done before. Still, the White House would bring unfamiliar constraints. There’s no equivalent in the corporate world to the separation of powers that often thwarts a president’s will. And the job demands political savvy more than managerial excellence. ‘Our entire system of government is meant to preclude models and skills used in the corporate world, which may be why presidents with business experience are not our most successful presidents,’ says Barbara Perry, a senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.” http://bloom.bg/JCVPlb

 

IN THE NOTE’S INBOX:

–PCCC-ENDORSED CANDIDATE RELEASES NEW AD ON WALL STREET ACCOUNTABILITY. On the heels of JP Morgan Chase’s massive losses, New Mexico District 1 congressional candidate Eric Griego released a new ad calling for greater accountability on Wall Street- specifically advocating to jail the bankers. WATCH: http://bit.ly/Kccglq

–SPEAKER BOEHNER UNVEILS SLICK NEW SITE: House Speaker John Boehner has a new and improved website this morning. An aide to the Speaker tells the Note that the new site features “a mobile version (check it out on your phone), a section where the Speaker’s press conferences and events will be streamed live (beginning with his remarks today at 2:45 PM ET), and a more robust blog that is now the center of the site.” Check out the new site: http://www.speaker.gov/ and a video preview: http://bit.ly/Jh5iQr

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@globeglen: DEVAL PATRICK: “Health care reform is working in Mass.” says governor, which should be recognized given nat’l. debate… #mapoli

@daveweigel: Author of new Ron Paul bio says Paul’s campaign announcement was “utter idiocy.” http://slate.me/J6dJiq

@PhilipRucker: Interesting to see snow on ground in Romney video about struggling Iowans. http://mi.tt/JC5U1q How long ago was footage shot?

@Brendan_Buck: Cap Hill reporters: @michael_steel is back from his honeymoon. Now leave me alone.

@RonKaufmanIntrn: Boots on Tuesday. Polished. http://pic.twitter.com/C1NK0cej

 

POLITICAL RADAR

–Mitt Romney delivers a speech on the economy in Des Moines, Iowa. 

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

 

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