- SUPREME COURT DECISIONS LOOMS, BUT ECONOMY LOOMS LARGER. Although all the sound and fury of the week will be centered on the Supreme Court’s big health care and immigration decisions, both issues are still likely to take a backseat to the economy come November. Polling shows that most voters’ views of “Obamacare” are already hardened, which means that no matter how the high court rules this week, the 2012 presidential election still hinges on peoples’ pocketbooks.
- A PEEK INTO ROMNEY’S PARK CITY WEEKEND. In case you weren’t one of the lucky ones invited to Mitt Romney’s retreat for high-dollar donors in Park City, Utah this weekend, ABC’s Shushannah Walshe and Arlette Saenz re-live it all. The three-day festival of money and politics was full of standout moments, GOP rock stars, and Romney family members. Quote of the Weekend: ”I’m tired of boozing,” one wealthy New York City bundler said to Walshe and Saenz Saturday evening. He was spotted leaving one of that night’s private dinners early and told us he was tired from a weekend of chatting and schmoozing. http://abcn.ws/Nq3mDc
- BIOGRAPHER POKES HOLES IN OBAMA LORE. In the latest installment of ABC/Yahoo!’s Power Player series “Political Punch,” ABC’s Jake Tapper interviews David Maraniss, author of the new book “Barack Obama: The Story.” ”The moment that overwhelmed me was actually in Indonesia, in Jakarta,” said Maraniss, where 7-year-old Obama — then called Barry Soetoro, taking the name of his stepfather — lived. Obama, said Maraniss, didn’t know the language, and wasn’t a rich kid going to the international school. He was one of the neighborhood kids at the neighborhood school. ”When I was there, in those alleys, and thinking about that Barry Soetoro becoming President Obama, that was kind of uh, an amazing moment,” Maraniss told Tapper. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/OeRt86
The Supreme Court decision on health care reform will dominate the week, but it’s not going to determine the election.
If the individual mandate is determined to be unconstitutional, President Obama will see his singular achievement undermined. If it upholds the law, the president will have a legacy.
But while Washington will obsess about picking winners and losers, the public is likely to tune out the debate all together.
First, most Americans have already formed an opinion about “Obamacare.” And even a Supreme Court decision won’t change those hardened views.
For example, the Kaiser Family Foundation has been tracking public opinion about the law since April 2011. What it shows is remarkable consistency of opinion. Republicans have hated it all along, while Democrats have supported it (though not as intensely have Republicans have disliked it). And, independents have been consistently un-supportive.
In April of 2011, 46 percent of independents viewed the health care law unfavorably, compared to 36 percent who viewed it favorably. Today, 49 percent view it unfavorably, while 34 percent view it favorably. http://bit.ly/zLaTpP
Second, most Americans have yet to feel the benefits of a law that has not been fully implemented.
And, finally — and most importantly — the economy is driving this election. Period.
The more that folks in Washington, DC and elsewhere spend on this debate, the more out of touch they look to the many voters who are worried, first and foremost, about keeping — or getting — a job.
This isn’t to say that health care isn’t important to voters. It is.
But, what they are tired of is a political culture that is more interested in scoring points than in solving problems. And, it’s clear that regardless of what the Supreme Court decides, Congress isn’t going to solve any of this between now and November.
Our virtual political roundtable:
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: If this week can’t shake this race from its remarkable stability, maybe nothing can. The campaign has a defining week on tap – two major Supreme Court decisions, tense legislative stand-offs, the attorney general on the verge of being held in contempt of Congress. We may be in a race that stays around 47-47 all the way to November. But if outside events can nudge those numbers, this kind of week that can make it start to happen.
OBAMA IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. President Obama heads to New Hampshire for a speech at a high school in Durham, N.H. this afternoon. From an Obama campaign official: “Today in Durham, New Hampshire, the President will offer Granite State voters the choice to break the stalemate between two economic visions on how to grow to the economy — one that builds the economy from the middle class out, and the other from the top down. As a corporate buyout specialist, Mitt Romney was an outsourcing pioneer who invested in companies that helped move American jobs overseas. And while the President would end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, Mitt Romney’s policies offer them additional incentives to outsource.”
PRO-OBAMA SUPER PAC SENDS IN AIR SUPPORT. The super PAC supporting President Obama’s re-election bid, Priorities USA Action, released a new television ad this weekend — the latest in their series of attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at the private equity firm, Bain Capital. The latest ad titled, “My Own Coffin,” features the story of Mike Earnest, a former employee at American Pad and Paper (Ampad) in Marion, Indiana. “Out of the blue one day, we were told to build a 30-foot stage. Gathered the guys, and we built that 30-foot stage, not knowing what it was for,” Earnest says in the commercial. “Just days later, all three shifts were told to assemble in the warehouse. A group of people walked out on that stage, and told us that the plant is now closed, and all of you are fired. I looked both ways, I looked at the crowd, and we all just lost our jobs. We don’t have an income. Mitt Romney made over a hundred million dollars by shutting down our plant, and devastated our lives. Turns out that when we built that stage, it was like building my own coffin. And it just made me sick.” The news spot is part of a $10 million campaign running on television and online in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. WATCH: http://youtu.be/oLo0Jwj03JU
“THIS WEEK” REWIND. House Oversight Committee Chairman DARRELL ISSA sat down with ABC’s JAKE TAPPER on Sunday to discuss the latest developments in the on-going investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.
“There cannot be executive privilege over criminal cover-up or cover-up of crime. Lying to Congress is a crime. We have every right to see documents to say, ‘did you know, when did you know, what did you know,’ including even the president,” he said. Issa also said he believes the operation could have been part of a larger attempt by the Obama administration to push through tougher gun laws in the U.S., though he said he could not be certain. “But here’s the real answer as to gun control. We have e-mail from people involved in this that are talking about using what they’re finding here to support the — basically assault weapons ban or greater reporting. We don’t know which came first; we probably never will. We do know that during this — this Fast and Furious operation, there were e-mails in which they’re saying we can use this as part of additional reporting or things like assault weapons ban. So the people involved saw the benefit of what –what they were gathering. Whether or not that was their original purpose, we probably will never know.” WATCH: http://abcn.ws/xEMGw
Tapper was also joined by a powerhouse round table including Rep. Xavier Becerra, George Will, Major Garrett, Peggy Noonan and Hilary Rosen. In addition to the Fast and Furious investigation, the group discussed the Latino vote, and the latest developments in the 2012 Veepstakes. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/
REMAINDERS FROM THE ROMNEY RETREAT: ABC’s Shushannah Walshe and Arlette Saenz report from Park City, Utah that all weekend long Mitt Romney’s top donors were treated to panels on specialized policy topics, such as healthcare or the financial services industry, heard speeches from stars of the Republican Party, such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and were granted access to the presidential candidate’s senior advisors for information about the inner workings of the campaign. All events were closed to reporters, but ABC News has the rundown of some of what these donors were privileged to hear. http://abcn.ws/Mid12Z
–VEEP SPOTTINGS: A number of vice presidential contenders were in attendance for the weekend Romney donor retreat in Park City, Utah, but while they mostly were kept guarded from reporters, @ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe and I were able to spot a few. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman strolled from the Chateaux at Silver Lake to the Golden Hirsch Inn Saturday evening as he was to appear as a “special guest” at one of the private donor dinners. We chatted with him about the retreat, VP talk, and kayaking. Does he get annoyed by the constant veep chatter or does he like it? http://abcn.ws/KtWbc2
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan sped over to the retreat Saturday morning in a golf cart, waving to reporters, who were kept at a distance, as his golf cart entered the enclosed garage. Ryan arrived at the evening reception, where former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and when Ryan left the reception, he was seen hopping into a van with donors heading to a private dinner at an undisclosed location. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was spotted arriving at the Chateaux early Friday in an SUV that ducked into the garage. Sen. John Thune was on hand Friday and Saturday and spoke with us in the lobby Saturday morning. Thune’s wife, Kimberly, said her favorite of Friday night’s reception at Olympic Park was the performance by the ski jumpers, describing the athletic spectacle as “Wow.” Her husband joked she was “off message” because she didn’t cite Mitt Romney’s speech as her favorite moment from the night. Just moments before, Kimberly Thune was saved from a potential fashion mishap when a Romney staffer came to her aid using a Tide stain stick on a spot on her red and white dress.And while we never set our eyes on former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the reporters stationed on the sidewalk across the street from the Chateaux were duped many times by some Pawlenty lookalikes walking to and from the resorts. http://abcn.ws/Of2xlv
–CONDI STEALS THE SHOW: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s lunchtime speech at the Romney donor retreat Saturday was the highlight of the weekend’s festivities for many of the attendees. ”Many of those same attendees said the star speaker of the weekend was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who received and a standing ovation. Ambassador Charles Cobb, who served as ambassador to Iceland from 1989 to 1992, said Rice was ‘spectacular’ and described her as a ‘very bright, sophisticated, articulate lady.’ Husband-and-wife donors from Los Angeles who did not want to be identified said Rice’s message was one of ‘America needing to take charge.’ ‘We can’t stand by and let things happen,’ the wife said. ‘If we do, someone else will take that leadership role.’ They both described her address as an “impassioned plea” for the country to ‘stand up and take charge.’ Donor Kent Lucken, an international banker in Boston who moved back to his home state of Iowa for six weeks before the caucuses to help Romney, said ‘she rocked it.’ http://abcn.ws/MSXkdy
–PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: SUVs and town cars weren’t the only mode of transportation over the weekend. Attendees hopped into golf carts that transported them between the Chateaux and the Stein Eriksen Lodge. On Friday, Mary Matalin whizzed by, and Saturday morning, Paul Ryan arrived in a golf cart and waved at reporters. Later in the day, Karl Rove, in a blue blazer, dashed out and described his own panel on “media insight” as “damn good.” A few minutes later Romney counsel Ben Ginsberg also got into a golf cart. http://abcn.ws/Nq3mDc
–SUPER PAC SPOTTINGS: A man in a dark suit and purple pocket square was camped out in the lobby of the Chateaux at Silver Lake talking to what appeared to be lanyard-wearing donors. The man was Charlie Spies, the founder of the Mitt Romney-backing super PAC Restore Our Future. He wasn’t attending any of the panels or discussions and didn’t even want to go into get a cup of coffee, but the lobby is really the place to be, with attendees walking to and from meetings or gathering to talk. … It’s legal for Spies to be there, but “coordination” with the candidate is not, a rule that’s hard to enforce and explain. “People here understand that the private sector is not doing fine and we need a president who understands how to create jobs and turn the economy around,” Spies told ABC News. The Romney campaign said the super PAC members were in Park City on their own, and were not attendees of the event. “ROF staff were not invited, nor did they attend or participate the retreat,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “As with members of the media, they may have been in public spaces, and the campaign did not control that. We are fully aware of the law and comply with it completely.” http://abcn.ws/MHc5lq
with ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield (@LizHartfield)
UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRAT SEES IMPACT OF OBAMA SHIFT ON 2012 CAMPAIGN. ABC’s Devin Dwyer reports, José Manuel Godínez-Samperio can’t vote in the November election. But Godínez-Samperio, along with and tens of thousands of other young undocumented immigrants are indelibly influencing the 2012 presidential race. These so-called “dreamers,” who came to the U.S. before age 16, entering the country illegally alongside their parents or as tourists, grew up as Americans and are now at the center of a high-stakes policy debate over deportations, jobs and citizenship. Its tone and substance is particularly resonant with Latino voters in several key swing states, including Florida. http://abcn.ws/Lq0gCo
ANONYMOUS DONOR TO COVER COSTS OF OBAMA’S NEW HAMPSHIRE STOP. The Union Leader’s Gretyl Macalaster reports: “A resident who asked to remain anonymous stepped forward Sunday and offered to donate up to $20,000 to the town for public safety costs related to President Barack Obama’s visit today. The town found itself at the center of a campaign-cost controversy this weekend after the Obama for America-New Hampshire campaign refused a request to pick up the tab for hiring police officers. The President is scheduled to visit Oyster River High School this afternoon.” http://bit.ly/
ROMNEY FLEXES MUSCLE AS HUGE WEEK LOOMS FOR OBAMA. Analysis from ABC’s Rick Klein: This week will bring the Supreme Court’s judgment on the Obama health care law. It will bring either repudiation or validation for the signature accomplishment from the president’s term — enough, perhaps, to shake loose what’s been a remarkably steady race. There’s the big challenge of the unsteady economy, tempered at least for now by dropping gas prices. And there’s an administration facing new challenges from Congress — a stalled student-loan bill, national-security leak investigations, and Attorney General Eric Holder in a tense stand-off with the House of Representatives over a botched gun-running operation across the Mexican border. http://abcn.ws/MJvmmf
THE WHITE HOUSE WAITS… The New York Times’ Jodi Kantor reports: “Mr. Obama and the White House have put on brave faces, insisting that the law and the mandate at its center will be upheld when the court rules this month. In private conversations, they predict that the bulk of the law will survive even if the mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance does not. But even if the White House is a fortress of message discipline, it cannot disguise the potential heartbreak for Mr. Obama, who managed to achieve a decades-old Democratic dream despite long odds and at steep cost.” http://nyti.ms/L9x8fZ
ROMNEY FACES A DRAGON IN JOBS SENT TO CHINA. A conveniently timed piece on Mitt Romney in The Washington Post has given Democrats a big chance to label him as a proponent of outsourcing jobs, a line of attack that brings together the economy, a little-known career at a private-equity firm, and China, reports ABC’s Matt Negrin. The thrust of the Post’s reporting is that while Romney ran Bain Capital, the firm invested in companies that moved jobs from the United States to China, India and other inexpensive countries. Presumably, that type of mentality cuts against Romney’s position as a presidential candidate, which is that America is No. 1. http://abcn.ws/OjhQer
BIDEN, IN LEAKED MEMO, TOLD OBAMA WAR PLAN WAS FLAWED. The AP’s Anne Gearan reports: “As President Barack Obama considered adding as many as 40,000 U.S. forces to a backsliding war in Afghanistan in 2009, Vice President Joe Biden warned him that the military rationale for doing so was flawed, a new book about Obama’s expansion of the conflict says. The book, “Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan,” also says that in planning the drawdown of troops two years later, the White House intentionally sidelined the CIA.” http://apne.ws/MmhgbE
OBAMA KEEPS FAITH IN THE GROUND GAME. The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Nicholas reports: “Once again, the Obama high command is making a big bet on their ground operation. The aim is to flood the zone: open up offices in battleground states, call undecided voters, and swarm the shopping malls to register as many people as possible. In this way, Democrats hope to neutralize the Republican super PAC advantage by out-registering and out-working the GOP on the streets.” http://on.wsj.com/
POLL: LATINOS SOLIDLY BACK OBAMA. USA Today’s Susan Page reports, “The president leads Romney 66%-25% among more than 1,000 Latino registered voters surveyed April 16 to May 31, matching his muscular showing in the 2008 election among Hispanics. Romney is in the weakest position among Latinos of any presidential contender since 1996 — and in those intervening 16 years their percentage of the electorate has doubled. Since the poll was taken, Obama has fortified Hispanic enthusiasm by announcing he would block the deportation of an estimated 800,000 undocumented young Latinos who were brought to the United States as children. In a subsequent USA TODAY/Gallup survey, taken Wednesday-Saturday, more than eight in 10 Latinos approved of the president’s action, most of them strongly.” http://usat.ly/
ORRIN HATCH SEENS TO HAVE WEATHERED GOP STORM. The AP’s Kevin Freking reports, “Dan Liljenquist, hoping to shock the political world on Tuesday, didn’t let Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch’s absence this month stop him. The GOP challenger opened his show with the usual call for new leadership in Washington, took questions from a pretend moderator and used a video recording of old Hatch interviews and speeches to provide the incumbent’s response. Hatch had his own play for the cameras the next afternoon. He met Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Salt Lake City airport and walked with him to an awaiting car as TV stations got the shot…Liljenquist, 37, had no alternative but to undertake some unorthodox moves to get voters’ attention, Hatch, 78, let his campaign treasury of nearly $10 million and other GOP leaders make his case for a seventh and final term. Sensing he’s far ahead in a state where the Republican primary winner is the heavy favorite in November, Hatch has bobbed, weaved and carefully avoided any mistakes that could lead to a surprise loss.” http://bit.ly/NCmSzW
WHO’S WINNING THE BATTLE FOR MARRIED MOMS?. Bloomberg’s Esme Deprez reports: “Obama won married mothers by 4 percentage points in 2008 compared to his 13-percentage- point margin among the gender as a whole, exit polls show. ‘These women are the Republicans’ best shot, especially in the swing states’, said Ange-Marie Hancock, associate professor of political science and gender studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. In 1992, the so-called ‘Year of the Woman’ when female representation in Congress spiked, Democrat Bill Clinton won the White House with a plurality of women voters overall while losing the married-mother vote by one percentage point. Obama won’t win this year if that margin exceeds five percentage points, Hancock said.” http://bloom.bg/PZfeiR
VEEP BEAT: ABC’s Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz) rounds up all the action on the #veepstakes front:
PAWLENTY WON’T BUDGE ON VP: On Face the Nation Sunday, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty would not discuss his vice presidential chances and continued to suggest he could serve Romney better in another capacity than VP. ”I really encourage folks to look at other prospects and to suggest I think I can help him best in other ways,” Pawlenty said on Face the Nation. http://cbsn.ws/Lu7vJz
PAWLENTY & PORTMAN FINANCES: Real Clear Politics’ Erin McPike looks at how the thick financial portfolios of Tim Pawlenty and Rob Portman will make their vetting process more involved as the Romney vetting team will have to sift through a lot more research than other contenders. ”With Mitt Romney’s vice presidential vetting process well under way, two of the likeliest contenders for the nod — Tim Pawlenty and Rob Portman — have some of the thickest financial backgrounds to comb through,” McPike wrote. “Since dropping his own bid for president last August, Pawlenty has joined the boards of seven companies and serves as a senior adviser to another. Portman has a complicated financial history from a previous ownership stake in his family’s since-sold company, Portman Equipment, as well as numerous investments. Republican researchers familiar with both potential picks say neither the former Minnesota governor nor the Ohio senator presents major problems; still, the vetting process might be more involved for the two top contenders than it is for an array of other contenders who appear to be further down Romney’s list.” http://bit.ly/L9zKdI
PORTMAN & RYAN FUNDRAISE: Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Paul Ryan will headline a fundraiser for Mitt Romney tonight on the rooftop of the Homer Building in Washington, D.C.
@politicoroger; The biggest difference between “West Wing” and “News Room” is that the women in “News Room” are portrayed as shallow & shallower.
@daveweigel: Hate-watching the Newsroom is going to be seriously fun.
–President Obama delivers a speech in Portsmouth, N.H. and later in the day, holds fundraisers in Boston.
–Mitt Romney holds a fundraiser in Arizona before traveling to Virginia. On Tuesday he delivers remarks at a campaign event in Salem, Va.
ABC’s Josh Haskell
Check out The Note’s Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV