- MIXING BUSINESS WITH POLITICS: The Obama campaign’s new television ad, going on the air in three battleground states, signals the re-election team’s eagerness to turn Mitt Romney’s business dealings into a huge liability for the former Massachusetts governor. It’s a tactic that Romney strategists dismiss as merely a distraction.
- BEYOND BIN LADEN. Despite all the sound and fury about whether or not the Obama campaign is politicizing the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, ABC News Political Director Amy Walter points out why the whole kerfuffle simply won’t matter much to at least one important group of voters: Walmart Moms.
- NOTE IT! In our virtual roundtable this morning, ABC’s Jake Tapper dissects Mitt Romney’s comments on the ordering of the bin Laden raid and Rick Klein also weighs in on the politics of national security.
The Obama campaign goes negative in a new television ad focusing on Mitt Romney’s business dealings and a private Swiss bank account he once had.
“As a corporate CEO, he shipped American jobs to places like Mexico and China, as Governor, he outsourced state jobs to a call center in India. He’s still pushing tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas,” the ad’s narrator says. “It’s just what you expect from a guy who had a Swiss Bank Account.
The spot is set to air in Virginia, Ohio, and Iowa, and as ABC’s Devin Dwyer notes this is Obama’s second multi-state ad buy directly attacking Romney, and his fourth major television buy of the campaign.
One month ago the Obama campaign spent $1.4 million on a spot that hit Romney on gas prices and ties to Big Oil. It aired in six battleground states. Today’s ad is, in part, an attempt to answer a series of television commercials unveiled by pro-Republican outside groups that have been hammering Obama on the airwaves for weeks.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben La Bolt called the charges in those ads, “dishonest attacks that have been consistently debunked by independent fact checkers.”
But, according to ABC’s Jake Tapper, a Romney strategist speculated that the Obama team is releasing this ad because of the pending jobs report, and other reports indicating weak economic growth – “more distractions and diversions,” the strategist told ABC News.
(President Obama will be visiting the two crucial battleground states of Ohio and Virginia on Saturday for his first official rallies of the campaign season.)
The ad is also evidence that the team at Obama headquarters in Chicago will make Romney’s past business dealings a major talking point of the election cycle.
And it’s not just ads that will push that narrative. A front-page story in today’s New York Times, for example, notes the “overlap” between Romney’s “political apparatus” and a private equity firm run by his son. http://nyti.ms/IFHnWh
ROMNEY COUNTER-PROGRAMMING. Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg responded to the Obama campaign’s new TV ad: “With the worst job creation record in modern history and the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, President Obama is trying to distract Americans from the real issues with a series of sideshows. Unable to defend his failed record of 23 million Americans struggling for work, wasteful boondoggles like Solyndra, skyrocketing national debt, and unacceptably high energy prices, President Obama has once again resorted to attacking Mitt Romney. The American people have suffered enough over the last three years and deserve better.”
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani visit a New York City fire station today — how 2004, or even 2008. It’s a reminder of the politics of national security that we became used to over the past decade, as molded by George W. Bush after 9/11. But the Obama campaign hopes to have changed the game. President Obama has been aggressive in using his order to kill Osama bin Laden as a political weapon: He delivered his attack on Romney yesterday with a glint in his eye, like he couldn’t wait to be asked the question.
ABC’s JAKE TAPPER: By every account, there wasn’t anything easy about President Obama’s decision to take out Osama bin Laden. Many of the president’s top advisers were against it, saying the intelligence was 50/50 at best as to whether bin Laden was at the compound, with others arguing that it was too risky to send the special operations teams in. Whether Obama should be using this success for political purposes is another debate, whether the Obama campaign is being fair to Romney an entirely other discussion. But for Romney to say “clearly if you’ve identified where Osama bin Laden is” any “thinking American” would have ordered this mission — it doesn’t make a lot of sense since nothing had been clearly identified.
VIDEO OF THE DAY: JON KARL INTERVIEWS PAUL RYAN. It is the most difficult thing about agreeing to be considered as a vice presidential candidate: the extensive vetting of your personal life, your finances, your family and your entire political career. For some, it is reason enough to say “thanks, but no thanks” to being considered. One top contender, however, tells ABC News he would not mind going through that. ”I don’t worry about that sort of thing,” Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) says an in interview for my ABC News/Yahoo “Power Players” series. ”That doesn’t bother me too much.” Watch the interview, which took place as Ryan raced between events in his Chevy Tahoe, here: http://yhoo.it/
ROMNEY ON BIN LADEN. Mitt Romney said today that while President Obama deserves credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden it is “disappointing” to see the commander-in-chief using the historic event as a “political football,” reasserting that “any thinking American” would have made the same order, ABC’s Emily Friedman reports. “As I said at the time when the announcement was made about Osama bin Laden having been killed, I congratulated the president and the intelligence community as well of course Seal Team 6,” said Romney in an interview on “CBS This Morning. “I acknowledged the president’s success and think he had every right to take credit for him having ordered that attack.” “At the same time I think it was very disappointing for the president to try and make this a political item by suggesting I wouldn’t have ordered such a raid, of course I would have,” said Romney, echoing remarks he made Monday in which he quipped that “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”
WHY THE DEBATE OVER BIN LADEN DOESN’T MATTER TO WALMART MOMS. Analysis from ABC News Political Director Amy Walter: If you want to know why Americans are frustrated and fed up with Washington, I present exhibit A: the debate between Democrats and Republicans over Osama Bin Laden. Democrats suggest that Mitt Romney may not have had the guts to take out the Al Qaeda leader while Republicans sniff that the President’s public preening over the successful operation is unseemly. Americans, meanwhile, have been very clear that they want the candidates to fix the economy, not one-up each other on their anti-terrorism credentials. Eight years ago, in the first presidential campaign after the 9/11 attacks, 22 percent of Americans said terrorism was their top concern. And, while the economy was important to their vote, just 26 percent said it was their top issue in the 2004 campaign. But today, it is the GDP, not OBL that is driving this election.
ENTER THE MOMS: Nowhere is this frustration more evident than among a group of 29 moms brought together by Walmart for an online discussion about the economy and the upcoming election. When asked to pick their most important issue, all picked the economy or “domestic issues”. Not one picked “foreign policy issues like Iraq, Afghanistan or the war on terrorism.” Moreover, these women expressed a deep frustration with the disconnect between what they experience in their day-to-day lives and what they see going on in Washington. More from the focus groups: http://abcn.ws/Jm3MHN
with ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield (@LizHartfield)
PLAYING POLITICS AT THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION? Florida’s Innisbrook Resort features a championship golf course, swimming pools, restaurants, a lavish spa and fitness center. And, as ABC’s Michael Falcone reports, it’s far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Tampa. Only problem for the Florida and South Carolina delegations to this summer’s Republican National Convention is exactly how far it is from Tampa — the city that will play host to the mega-GOP gathering, which takes place from Aug. 27 through Aug. 30. Each day of the convention these two large delegations will have to travel 30 miles, or nearly 45 minutes, to reach downtown. One member of the South Carolina delegation who will be staying at the resort called it the political equivalent of “Siberia.”
‘NO ONE WAS PENALIZED’ But James Davis, a spokesman for the Republican National Convention, insisted in an interview with ABC News that the far-off hotel assignments were not a punishment for Florida’s decision to leapfrog ahead on the primary calendar, forcing other states (like South Carolina) to follow suit. “No one was penalized,” Davis said. “We have a couple of large delegations. We try not to split up delegations when making hotel assignments.” But it’s obvious some politics were at play here. The delegates from two states that presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney calls home — Massachusetts and Michigan — received hotel rooms right next door to the convention venues. ”I’m pissed off,” Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry told The Tampa Bay Times. “We’re one of the most important swing states, if not the most important swing state, and our activists and our donors are going to be punished for something they had nothing to do with.” But one South Carolina Republican was taking the accommodations in stride, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, “We look forward to the excellent golf and spa.” In all, according to GOP Convention organizers, 106 hotels scattered around the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, will play host to 56 state delegations as well as members of the media and guests. Davis and convention officials have the herculean task of doling out all of those 7,000-plus rooms.
NOTED: The Republican National Convention team launched their new blog today, “Conventional Wisdom.” The blog will utilize a variety of digital platforms to highlight the making of this year’s convention. “Creating an interesting and useful blog is just one way of communicating with people across the country,” said convention Chief Executive Officer William Harris in a statement. “It’s part of our larger plan to open the convention and make it accessible to as many people as possible using cutting-edge technology and interactive social media.” The blog will feature videos, graphics and writing to deliver the latest news and information about planning and holding a national political convention.
VEEP SPECULATION HEATS UP. First, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte joined Romney at a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Monday, stumping for the former Governor of neighboring Massachusetts. ABC’s Emily Friedman reports: “taking the stage ahead of the candidate, Ayotte stayed on message, suggesting that Obama’s regulations have hurt the economy nationwide as well as in the Granite State. ‘If Washington isn’t broken, I don’t know what is,’ said Ayotte, who hasn’t appeared with Romney since she campaigned with him ahead of the state’s primary in January. ‘And now more than ever we need Mitt Romney’s leadership in the White House.’ As the crowd broke into chants of “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!” Ayotte responded, albeit a bit quietly, ‘Mitt, Mitt…yes.’” http://abcn.ws/
AYOTTE EXTRA: Ayotte, 43, is less well-known than some of the other potential VP picks often cited for Romney, but she does bring her own set of strengths to the table- including a strong dedication to the pro-life cause and hailing from a swing state. Plus, according to ABC’s Chris Good, she’s been a Romney supporter for a long time- she backed his bid in November, 2011. http://abcn.ws/JlMuL1
CHRIS CHRISTIE UPDATE: Meanwhile, another GOP star, Chris Christie, said Romney “might be able to convince him” to take the VP job. ABC’s Shushannah Walshe reports: ”He might be able to convince me. He’s a convincing guy,” Christie said during a visit to a high school AP history class, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Christie is a much talked about veepstakes contender and has said that he would “listen” to Romney if he came calling. But in Plainsboro, N.J., today he seemed to open the door a bit more than it has been when a student asked him if he would consider being Romney’s running mate.” http://abcn.ws/JJCFsu
MITT ROMNEY’S SECRET STOP. Mitt Romney broke away from the gaggle of media that usually follows him and made a secret stop while in New Hampshire, on Monday, dropping by a local police station to offer his condolences to a unit that had recently lost their police chief. ABC’s Emily Friedman reports: “It’s not often that Mitt Romney omits from his remarks that he’s running for president, but today the presumptive GOP nominee did just that, secretly dropping by a New Hampshire police station to offer his condolences to a unit grieving over the sudden death of their police chief. ‘There was no mention of votes, he didn’t talk about any political issues,’ said current Police Chief Tara Laurent in an interview with ABC News. ‘He kept his remarks exclusively to offering condolences to the officers here.’ Greenland’s Police Chief Michael Maloney was killed earlier this month when he went to serve a search warrant to an individual being investigated for a drug charge.” http://abcn.ws/
MARCO RUBIO’S IMMIGRATION BALANCING ACT. Speaking of potential VP picks, Marco Rubio is currently walking a tight rope, trying to woo both Democrats and Republicans as he tried to pitch his immigration proposal- a version of the DREAM Act, which would offer a pathway towards a more permanent citizenship for children of illegal immigrants. A task easier said than done, according to POLITICO. “Rubio is working an odd-bedfellows coalition, ranging from hard-line anti-illegal immigration groups like Numbers USA to progressive leaders in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. And as he meets with Democrats, he is actively moving to head off a conservative rebellion, trying to curry support from the influential Heritage Foundation, religious leaders like Richard Land and tea party favorites like Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and Rep. Steve King of Iowa. But the rookie senator is already finding that building a coalition on a hot issue like immigration — in an election year, no less — is an incredibly tough slog. If his proposal is too tough on enforcement, he’ll lose support from Democrats and Latino advocacy groups. If he softens his proposal too much, he risks turning off conservatives who are approaching Rubio, a rising star in the party, with an open mind. For now, both sides are reluctant to fully embrace his proposals.” http://politi.co/
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX:
DEMOCRATS HIGHLIGHT GOP VULNERABILITY IN THE HOUSE. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a new web video today, “In Jeopardy,” reacting to what they call House Speaker John Boehner’s “stunning admission that the House Republican Majority is in jeopardy. Boehner said Republicans face ‘real challenge’ in this November’s election and could lose the House. He singled out more than 50 seats that are vulnerable — Democrats only need 25 seats to win the House.” WATCH: http://dccc.org/pages/10587/
@ByronYork: Team Romney view: There isn’t much Romney needs or wants from Santorum. There was a time when Santo had leverage; no more.
@PhilipRucker: Romney says he sits down w/ 3-4 families almost every day, without cameras, to hear from “the great bulk of America, middle-income America.”
@ZekeJMiller: My story this AM: Republicans Play Tech Catch-Uphttp://www.buzzfeed.com/zekejmiller/republicans-play-tech-catch-up
@ariannahuff: Hitting below the belt: @JonWard11 on the Obama campaign’s bin Laden ad http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/obama-bin-laden-ad_n_1466132.html?1335834854
–Mitt Romney is in New York City where he’ll hold two off-the-record stops with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
–Michelle Obama spends the day in Nevada and New Mexico holding two campaign fundraisers. The First Lady will also greet service members at the Albuquerque International Airport.
–Ron Paul will attend a campaign dinner at the Ayres Hotel in Hawthorne, California.
ABC’s Josh Haskell (@HaskellBuzz)
Check out The Note’s Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV