- MAY I HAVE A WORD? Both Republicans and Democrats are starting this week trying to capitalize on last week’s verbal missteps of President Obama (“the private sector is doing fine”) and Mitt Romney (“He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers”). It’s a reminder that every word counts — especially when they are the candidate’s own.
- BETTER TOGETHER: The Service Employees International Union and the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA have teamed up to release a series of Spanish-language ads to air in three key battleground states — Florida, Colorado and Nevada. The ad campaign, “Mitt Romney: En Sus Propias Palabras” (Mitt Romney: In His Own Words), aims to use Romney’s own words against him (“You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus,” Romney once said) and feature responses from Hispanic voters. WATCH the ads: http://bit.ly/N1r1iQ
- IT’S MONDAY: DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS? If you answered “off,” you are right, ABC’s Tom Shine notes. The House was off the week of May 21 and the first two days of the following week. They came back for seven work days and now they are gone again for another week. When they come back from this break, they will have eight work days before their one-week recess to celebrate July 4th. Then comes their five week August summer vacation, starting August 3 and extending through the first week of September. Last Thursday, Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke warned Congress of “Taxmageddon,” and used words like “fiscal cliff.” He said “what is particularly striking here is that it is all pre-programmed…if you all go on vacation, it’s still going to happen…” The House listened — and then went on vacation.
During a presidential campaign that will be televised, YouTubed, Twitterized and Facebooked — now more than ever, every word counts.
At a time when negative ads are starting to lose their punch, the best way to break through is with a candidate in his own words. And lately, President Obama and Mitt Romney’s own words are counting against them.
Ever since the president declared at a news conference on Friday that “the private sector is doing fine,” Republicans have been relentlessly reminding him why he was wrong.
The Romney campaign released two new web videos since Friday, including one titled “Jolt” out this morning, seizing on the remark, which even the president attempted to walk back just hours after he said it. WATCH: http://mi.tt/Mkoqxf
The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, circulated a research document noting that “far from “doing fine,” Americans have lost faith in Obama’s ability to create jobs and his failed policies have let them down.” http://bit.ly/KrLRka
But the Obama campaign tried just as hard to change the subject, focusing on Romney’s own comments on Friday about Obama: “He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
In their own web video this morning, the Obama campaign sought to focus on Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts and features testimonials from Democratic state and local officials who served during his tenure, ABC’s Devin Dwyer notes. WATCH: http://bit.ly/LTtkQ7
“We lost police, firefighters, teachers at rapid rates — people that directly impacted the lives of every citizen. Our cities were less safe, not as clean, larger class sizes,” says Rob Dolan, mayor of Melrose, Mass.
But in the pantheon of verbal slip-ups, the president still appears to have done the most damage.
As ABC’s AMY WALTER notes, teachers and firefighters are sympathetic characters, but as we saw in Wisconsin, the threat — real or perceived — of lay-offs of these workers doesn’t pack the punch it once did. When unemployment is as high as it is, it’s hard to get folks to worry about someone else’s job when they are more worried about their own.
CABINET OFFICIAL SUSPECTED OF FELONY HIT AND RUN. ABC’s Jake Tapper reports: U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson is suspected of felony hit and run from an incident that took place on Saturday evening in Southern California — one that the White House was not told about until Sunday night, officials told ABC News. Bryson hit two cars three times, and was found unconscious behind the wheel of his Lexus. A statement from Jennifer Friedman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Commerce, stated that Bryson was “involved in a traffic accident over the weekend in Los Angeles. He was taken to the hospital for examination and has been released. He has sustained no injuries and the investigation is ongoing.” http://abcn.ws/Kvjn99
PRO-OBAMA SUPER PAC, SEIU LAUNCH SPANISH-LANGUAGE AD BLITZ. Yahoo!’s David Chalian reports: “The pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA, and the Service Employees International Union are using Romney’s own words from the 2011-2012 Republican nomination season in a new round of television and radio ads going up today and running through the summer in Florida, Colorado and Nevada, three critical battleground states where Hispanic voters will have a major impact on the outcome. The groups are spending $4 million on the ad campaign. The Spanish language ads utilize some of Romney’s more awkward moments on the stump such as when he joked about being unemployed and when he expressed his love for firing people.” http://abcn.ws/KvcXJ4
The ad campaign, “Mitt Romney: En Sus Propias Palabras” (Mitt Romney: In His Own Words), “is part of a broader effort to ensure Latino voters know the stakes in this election and who has been on the side of Latino Families and who will continue to stand with them in the coming years,” SEIU National Political Director Brandon Davis said in a statement. Paul Begala, Senior Advisor for Priorities USA Action noted, “Mitt Romney’s policies would be devastating to Latino families. In a Romney administration, the tax burden would shift onto middle class families in order to protect corporations and the wealthiest Americans.” WATCH the ads: http://bit.ly/N1r1iQ
BUT….OBAMA FACES A FRUSTRATED HISPANIC ELECTORATE. The New York Times’ Julia Preston reports: “Mr. Obama, who easily won a majority of their votes in 2008, promised to move in his first year to overhaul the immigration system and to give legal status to illegal immigrants. As it becomes clear that Mr. Obama faces a tight race against the presumed Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, pressure is building for him to do something more for Latinos. Early in his term, Mr. Obama put a stop to raids in factories and fields that snared many illegal immigrants who were working to support families. But quiet inspections of employers’ hiring records have accelerated, forcing many thousands of unauthorized workers to leave their jobs.” http://nyti.ms/LKTnuz
“THIS WEEK” REWIND: DAVID AXELROD AND RICK SANTORUM. In an interview on Sunday with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod pivoted from the president’s remark that the “private sector is doing fine,” to presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s own words. “Governor Romney chose to jump on the word, but what was most interesting is how he reacted to the spirit of the thing, because his statement was we don’t need any more teachers, we don’t need any more firefighters or police. The president is out of touch. Out of touch? We have lost 250,000 teachers in the last 27 — couple of years.” WATCH: http://abcn.ws/xEMGw
RICK SANTORUM responded to Axelrod, “teachers are great, we love teachers, but if anyone believes that hiring more teachers as we did for many, many years in this country…if that’s dramatically improved the quality of education, you’ve got to show me the numbers.”
SANTORUM, HUCKABEE SHOOT DOWN VEEP SPECULATION. Asked if they had been/were being vetted by the Romney campaign for a potential place on the GOP ticket this fall, Santorum and former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee both said no. “No one has asked me for anything right now” Santorum told George, “if he calls me, I’ll answer the phone call. But I’m not anxious to get back involved in the fray right now.” Huckabee, who was one of the guests on the roundtable, had a slightly sterner response. ”I have not been asked. I think there’s a greater likelihood that I’ll be asked by Madonna to go on tour as her bass player than I’ll be picked to be on the ticket.” http://abcn.ws/MxwRGc
More highlights and video from this Sunday’s edition of “This Week”: http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/
WHY JUNE WILL BE A MONTH TO REMEMBER. “Political Insights” from ABC’s Rick Klein: Taken together, the beginning of June 2012 may be remembered as a time period that shook the pillars of the Obama reelection effort. If nothing else, it’s shown the 2012 landscape to be so different from 2008 as to make assumptions based on four years ago seem worthless. The Democratic base, while still solidly behind Obama, has shown signs of atrophy, as the failed recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker displays. Former President Bill Clinton’s comments on Romney’s business record and how to handle expiring tax cuts, meanwhile, show fraying of party unity in a way Democrats find all too familiar. On the other side, the Republican Party and its high-powered allies have clearly improved in terms of organization and focus since 2008 and even 2010. The Walker victory was a psychological boost, and it gave deep-pocketed GOP allies a chance to flex their still-flush wallets. Plus, the speed and breadth with which Republicans pounced on Obama’s “doing fine” comments show a marked improvement on the communications front. Financially, operationally, and strategically, Obama’s Chicago team is clearly facing a formidable match in Romney’s team in Boston. http://abcn.ws/LSeRnE
with ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield (@LizHartfield)
VIDEO OF THE DAY: WHAT OBAMA ISN’T TELLING US. In the latest installment of ABC News/Yahoo! Power Players Series, ABC’s Jake Tapper talks with author and chief White House Correspondent for the NY Times, David Sanger about his book ”Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power.” Check out it out to hear how Obama responded to Mubarak, and for more on the “remarkable effort” to hunt down Osama bin Laden. http://yhoo.it/LPA7Iu
SWING STATE ECONOMICS 101. ABC’s Matt Negrin notes, because the United States still holds elections under the arcane rules of the electoral college, only a handful of states will determine who the next president is. And in those states, the state of the economy is much more important, politically of course, than in the old party standard bearers. http://abcn.ws/LtHs3t
GABBY GIFFORDS CAMPAIGNS FOR FORMER AIDE. Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords spent the weekend campaigning for her ex-aide, Ron Barber, as he attempts to inherit the vacant seat left by his old boss in the House of Representatives, reports ABC’s Matt Larotonda. On Tuesday voters in Arizona’s 8th District will decide the outcome of the special election between Democrat Barber and Republican Jesse Kelly. http://abcn.ws/LBq4vY
TEA PARTY PREPS FOR MORE LABOR FIGHTS. Politico’s Robin Bravender and Anna Palmer report: Next stops for the tea party after Wisconsin: Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Fresh off last week’s seismic victory against Big Labor, conservative activists are revving up their ground game in key presidential swing states where unions have long dominated. The goal: secure big wins in the House, Senate and the White House. http://politi.co/LgWSWR
SUPER PACS: A PERSONAL MATTER. The Washington Post’s Dan Eggen reports: “The phenomenon began in the Republican presidential primary, when a handful of millionaires lined up to support their candidates through specially targeted super PACs, including one funded by Jon Huntsman Jr.’s billionaire father. The same kinds of very personalized groups have sprouted in House and Senate races across the country, inundating voters with ads and mailings and testing the limits of federal rules forbidding coordination between fundraising committees and candidates. http://wapo.st/
OBAMA TO EMPHASIZE RURAL AMERICA IN INTERVIEWS. Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev reports: “President Barack Obama will conduct interviews with eight local television stations — in mostly Republican-friendly parts of swing states — to promote his Democratic administration’s efforts for rural communities. Obama, who is seeking re-election in November, also will announce an additional investment of about $2 billion through 2016 for rural businesses, according to a White House official familiar with the plans, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. A joint report about rural America will be released by the Council of Economic Advisers, the White House Rural Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://bloom.bg/
WISCONSIN RECALL OFFERS STRATEGIC LESSONS FOR OBAMA. Roll Call’s David Drucker reports: “Even if the June recall election proves less than a broad political harbinger, the Republicans’ rare opportunity to test-run their voter turnout operation this close to November could pay important tactical dividends in key battleground states that could decide the presidential race. Before all of the votes were tallied last Tuesday, top Republican strategists were already crunching the data, and they believe what they learned on the ground in Wisconsin can help them elsewhere. ‘We never dubbed it a dry run … But there is no better testing ground than an election,’ said Rick Wiley, the Republican National Committee political director. ‘Now we have strategy teams in D.C. and Boston looking at how things are performing.’ http://bit.ly/
AS NOVEMBER NEARS, SPLITS IN DEMOCRATIC COALITION RESURFACE. The Hill’s Niall Stanage reports: Divisions in the Democratic coalition have burst into view, endangering both President Obama and his party colleagues in Congress as November’s election nears. Fissures have opened over everything from tax policy and former President Bill Clinton’s off-message comments to recriminations following the party’s fiasco in the Wisconsin recall, which some say should have been avoided. http://bit.ly/JWIpOX
ANN ROMNEY’S HORSE PLACES 3RD IN OLYMPIC QUALIFYING EVENT. Ann Romney’s dressage trainer Jan Ebeling and the horse they co-own, Rafalca, came in third this weekend at the United States Equestrian Federation National Dressage Championships in Gladstone, N.J, ABC’s Shush Walshe reports. This competition, which will continue next weekend, also serves as an Olympics qualifying event for the U.S. Dressage Team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. http://abcn.ws/LLE96l
@paulwestdc: CAMPAIGN 2012: THE BATTLEGROUNDS For Obama and Romney, Virginia could hold the key http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-virginia-presidential-20120611,0,5745375.story
@SalenaZitoTrib: Casey, Toomey enjoy rare cross-party bond, respect | TribLIVE http://triblive.com/home/1962023-74/casey-toomey-party-senate-political-respect-vote-pennsylvania-tax-bill
@lheron: Is Twitter putting an end to our private lives? http://m.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jun/09/twitter-privacy-melissa-stetten?cat=technology&type=article
–President Obama will sit down for local television interviews at the White House with stations in Roanoke, Va., Jacksonville, Fla., Greenville, S.C., Sioux City, Iowa, Green Bay, Wisc., Colorado Springs, Co., Reno, Nev. and Fresno, Calif.
–Mitt Romney holds a fundraiser in Atlanta, Ga. Tomorrow Romney holds a campaign event at Con-Air Industries in Orlando, Fla.
ABC’s Joanna Suarez
Check out The Note’s Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV