A Campaign on Pause - But Not On Break (The Note)

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

By AMY WALTER ( @amyewalter ), ELIZABETH HARTFIELD ( @LizHartfield ) and CHRIS GOOD ( @c_good )


  • CONSOLER-IN-CHIEF. President Obama traveled to Aurora, Colo. on Sunday, where he met with victims and families of those lost in Friday's tragedy. ABC's Matt Larotonda reports that after more than two and a half hours of private meetings with the distraught victims he emerged, red-eyed, to quote scripture. "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes," the president said in a hallway of University of Colorado Hospital, quoting from Revelation 21:4. "Neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more. For the former things have passed away … " Friday's tragedy marks the fourth violent shooting rampage during his four years in office: Binghamton, N.Y., in 2009; Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009; and Tucson, Ariz., in 2011. http://abcn.ws/OguynL
  • WHITE HOUSE SUGGESTS OBAMA WILL NOT PUSH FOR MORE GUN CONTROL. It was the topic of debate across the Sunday shows as lawmakers debated the topic of gun control in the wake of Friday's tragedy, but ABC's Jake Tapper reports the White House has signaled that President Obama does not intend to push for more gun control. http://abcn.ws/MD9xJL
  • MITT ROMNEY OLYMPIC ARCHIVE STILL OFF LIMITS. ABC's Matthew Mosk reports that archival records from the 2002 Winter Olympics, which were donated to the University of Utah to provide an unprecedented level of transparency about the historic event, remain off limits to the public. And some of the documents that may have shed the most light on Romney's stewardship of the games were likely destroyed by Salt Lake Olympic officials, ABC News has learned. The archivists involved in preparing the documents for public review told ABC News that financial documents, contracts, appointment calendars, emails and correspondence are likely not included in the 1,100 boxes of Olympic records, and will not be part of the collection that will ultimately be made public. http://abcn.ws/MCDbLt
  • THE PAUSE CONTINUES. The Obama campaign says it has "no plans to advertise in Colorado for the rest of the week." Team Romney says it will remain off the air "until further notice." No word yet from the outside groups about how long they plan to stay off the air. National Journal's Reid Wilson reports that as of the end of last week, Romney and his GOP allies were actually outspending Obama and his allies in the state. http://bit.ly/PHz2oV
  • …OR DOES IT? In response to the ABC Winter Olympics story, Obama adviser David Axelrod tweets: "Tax returns. Bundlers. Bain. MA records & now key docs from Olympics. When it comes to secrecy, Mitt takes the gold! http://t.co/KzXBeTrL " As the ABC story reports, however, there is no evidence that Romney had any role in conducting or directing the destruction of the documents.


Four days after a senseless attack at a movie theater in Colorado, the two candidates for president remain in a somber and respectful mode. The fiery rhetoric and personal attacks on the campaign stump have been put on hold. But, while the overt campaigning may be suspended, the actual work of the campaign - fundraising in particular - continues.

And, just a few minutes ago, Obama adviser David Axelrod broke the silence with a tweet.

At a fundraiser last night in San Francisco, Mitt Romney thanked President Obama for his trip to Aurora, saying that it was "the right thing for the president to be doing this day. I appreciate that." Romney then told his audience that his remarks would "not be as partisan as normal and instead I am going to talk about my vision for the country, in part keeping with the seriousness and the thoughts of the day. We obviously have heavy hearts. It is a reminder of loss, a loss of young minds and youthful voices and soaring spirits lost senselessly and thoughtlessly. We turn to a power greater than our own to understand purpose and if not to understand at least to be able to soothe the wounds of those who have been seriously hurt."

The Obama campaign canceled a big grassroots rally that had been planned in Portland on Tuesday. Obama's speech today at the VFW Convention in Reno will focus on "his administration's work to secure our nation, fight terrorism, renew American leadership in the world, better serve our troops and military families and honor our veterans," said White House press secretary Jay Carney on Sunday. The speech will not involve overt electioneering or direct contrasts with rival Mitt Romney, Obama's campaign aides say.

Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak Monday to the National Association of Police Organizations in Palm Beach, Fla., where he is expected to address the law enforcement community's response to the shooting.

But, while the campaign ads may be off the air in Colorado, the attacks continue to pour over the airwaves in the other battleground states.

The fundraising continues as well. Obama is on the left coast for a total of nine fundraisers in California, Oregon, and Washington. Romney raises money in Irvine, California today.


HICKENLOOPER: HOLMES WOULD HAVE KILLED WITHOUT GUNS. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, to ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week": "This wasn't a Colorado problem, this was a human problem, right, and how we can have such a warped individual and no one around them be aware? You know, I worry that if we got rid of all the guns, and certainly we have so many guns in this country, and we do have a lot more gun violence than many other countries, but even if he didn't have access to guns, this guy was diabolical, right? He would have found explosives, he would have found something else, some sort of poisonous gas. He would've done something to create this horror." http://abcn.ws/NGngwz

JOE KLEIN: DEMS HAVE 'CHECKED OUT' SINCE '94. Joe Klein, in ABC's "This Week" roundtable: " … politicians stopped talking about this. In 1994 the Democrats lost the House. The mythology that evolved from that was that the National Rifle Association picked various congressional districts and defeated Democrats who supported gun control. I don't know that that's entirely true, but Democrats have checked out of this debate ever since, including the president of the United States, and so there hasn't been a debate about gun control since then.

GEORGE WILL: GUN LAWS CAN'T PREVENT ANOTHER AURORA. More from ABC's "This Week" roundtable: "The killer in Aurora, Colorado was very intelligent and farsighted and meticulous. I defy you to write a gun-control law that would prevent someone like this with a long time horizon and a great planning capability from getting the arms he wants. I just think that this is a mistake."

WATCH the full episode here: http://abcn.ws/SQ4CUR


with Arlette Saenz ( @ArletteSaenz)

HOW PAWLENTY'S LACK OF PIZZAZZ HELPS. In 2008, John McCain's opted for Sarah Palin, a wild card selection, over a safe and dull candidate, Tim Pawlenty. But while McCain took a chance on a potentially game-changing pick, Mitt Romney's desire for a harmless and grounded running mate boosts Pawlenty's veepstakes chances, The StarTribune's Rachel Stassen-Berger and Kevin Diaz reported. "In 2008, then-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was the odd man out in a Republican presidential campaign that needed to gamble on its vice presidential pick. But the 2012 campaign is being led by Mitt Romney, a man not given to rolling the dice, and that has vastly improved Pawlenty's prospects for being on the national ticket," Stassen-Berger and Diaz wrote. "Romney's detailed, methodical style has campaign advisers betting on a safe vice presidential pick - some even use the word bland - who won't distract from Romney's desired focus on President Obama and his stewardship of a shaky national economy." That calculation is fast making Pawlenty a consensus favorite in a closely guarded VP selection process, one reportedly shared only by Romney and a few top aides. 'Nobody knows,' said Romney adviser Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman who is close to Pawlenty. 'But from everything I hear, I think [Pawlenty] is in good shape.'" http://bit.ly/NOst3K

RUBIO'S 'MARKETPLACE' IDEA MIRROR OBAMA'S HEALTH EXCHANGES. As speaker of the House in Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio promoted a "marketplace" for healthcare called "Florida Health Choices," which is about to be implemented in the Sunshine state, and potentially mirrors President Obama's plan for "health exchanges," The Miami Herald's Tia Mitchell reported. "In the months before he became Florida House speaker, Marco Rubio crisscrossed the state searching for ways to make Florida better. The best proposals, dealing with topics ranging from property taxes to education, became a book: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future. Chapter 8 is titled 'Quality Healthcare at an Affordable Price,' and it includes Idea No. 87: 'Florida should launch a marketplace of affordable health insurance.' Why is any of this important now, more than five years later?" Mitchell wrote. "While Gov. Rick Scott has said Florida will refuse to participate in optional provisions of the federal health care law, including the creation of a state health insurance exchange, Rubio's vision for an insurance marketplace is about to come to fruition. It's called Florida Health Choices. And though Republicans such as Rubio and Scott won't admit it, Florida's marketplace is a lot like President Barack Obama's exchange." http://hrld.us/Qrci17

PORTMAN KAYAKS: Sen. Rob Portman tweeted that he spent Sunday kayaking with wounded warriors on the Potomac River in Maryland as part of Team River Runner. Photo here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjAQTf6Y

JINDAL FACTS: ABC' Elizabeth Hartfield runs down nine nuggets voters may not know about Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, from switching his name from Piyush to Bobby and was named one of the top 20 American seniors by USA Today when he graduated from Brown University. http://abcn.ws/OTcYq1


@marcorbuio: What terrible news from #Colorado this morning.Praying that God provides comfort to the victims & families and healing to the survivors.

@robportman: The families & friends of those whose lives were cut short in CO are in our prayers this morn, as are those injured & a community grieving

@gov christie: Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

@govva: Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the tragic and senseless shooting in Colorado

@kellyayotte: A senseless and terrible tragedy. Thoughts & prayers are with everyone in Aurora

@condoleezzarice: Having lived in Denver, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Aurora

today. May God continue to bring you comfort. #theatershooting

@govmikehuckabee: Heartfelt prayers for the victims in Aurora, Colorado and all those impacted by this terrible tragedy.


with Elizabeth Hartfield ( @LizHartfield)

ROMNEY PREPS FOR OVERSEAS TRIP. This week Mitt Romney will travel to London, Poland and Israel in a highly anticipated six-day foreign trip that offers a long list of pros and cons. ABC's Emily Friedman reports that Romney's staff describes the trip as a learning opportunity, rather than an effort to define his foreign policy. Still, the trip offers Romney, who has limited foreign policy experience, a chance to present himself as a leader on the international stage. Romney begins in London, where he will attend the opening ceremonies of the 2012 summer Olympics. http://abcn.ws/NOqpsF

ROMNEY: OBAMA DID THE RIGHT THING BY GOING TO COLORADO. Yahoo!'s Holly Bailey reports, Mitt Romney offered rare praise for President Barack Obama Sunday, telling supporters at a San Francisco fundraiser that his opponent did "the right thing" by traveling to Colorado to meet with family members of those killed in Friday's shooting. "I know the president is in Colorado today before he'll be here in San Francisco. He's visiting with families of the victims, which is the right thing for the president to be doing on this day, and we appreciate that," Romney said. http://abcn.ws/Nrkez1

DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL: A PROMISE (EVENTUALLY) KEPT. In the fourth article in a series examining Obama's campaign promises from 2008, ABC's Matt Negrin looks at Obama's record on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. In 2008, Obama promised to repeal the policy that bars gays from serving openly in the military, a rule that gay rights activists have long said is discriminatory. Obama said he would consult Pentagon brass and lawmakers to end the law, keeping in mind that Bill Clinton tried to do just that in 1993 but failed because of Republicans' opposition. Finally, a year ago, in July, Obama formally announced that the policy would end, after the Pentagon spent lots of time studying how it should be curbed. Obama said that after a 60-day period, gays would be allowed to serve openly in the military. http://abcn.ws/NLNord

MCCAIN ADVISER: ROMNEY'S TAXES COMPLEX BUT NOT 'DISQUALIFYING.' The Hill's Justin Sink reports: "A top campaign official who worked for Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential bid and helped select his running mate said Sunday that Mitt Romney's tax returns "do not look anything like the average American," but held nothing which prevented him from being on the ticket. Steve Schmidt, McCain's former campaign strategist, who viewed Romney's tax returns when the presumptive nominee was being vetted for the vice presidential slot in the last cycle said Romney was an "extremely wealthy man." http://bit.ly/OUMqs0

GOP MAKES ROOM FOR RON PAUL IN TAMPA. USA Today's Jackie Kucinich reports: "Ron Paul supporters have feuded with state Republican parties across the country, battling for delegate seats at the national convention, but the national party is welcoming Paul and his supporters to the event with open arms, even helping the Texas congressman organize his troops. The Paul campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) have been working closely over the past few months to work out logistics in order to include the Texas congressman and his supporters in the August convention in Tampa. http://usat.ly/NqytUD

TECH START- UPS MAKING MILLIONS OFF PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Bloomberg's Julie Bykowicz reports: "Federal candidates and super-PACs have spent more than $46 million so far this election cycle for the services of just three firms - Targeted Victory and the two major Democratic tech operations, Blue State Digital and Bully Pulpit Interactive, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of Federal Election Commission reports conducted for Bloomberg News. Targeted Victory's roster of 45 clients includes Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the super-political action committee American Crossroads, which was formed with the help of Karl Rove, a former political adviser to President George W. Bush." http://bloom.bg/NKvVze

OBAMA'S BURN RATE WORRIES DEMS. The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas and Danny Yadron report: "The Obama campaign has been spending heavily on payroll, television ads and polling for months, hoping to tarnish Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the eyes of voters at an early stage of the general-election showdown. But some Democrats worry that the overhead built by the Obama camp over the past 15 months will prove impossible to sustain. Unless fundraising picks up, the Obama campaign may enter the season's final stretch confronting hard choices: paring salaries, scaling back advertising or pulling out of swing states in a bid to control costs, these Democrats say." http://on.wsj.com/NKFzlx

CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS SEEK A TURNAROUND. The New York Times' Adam Nagourney reports: "This would seem a moment of great opportunity for California Republicans. The state has become a national symbol of fiscal turmoil and dysfunction, the Legislature is nearly as unpopular as Congress and Democrats control every branch of government. But instead, the state party - once a symbol of Republican hope and geographical reach and which gave the nation Ronald Reagan (and Richard M. Nixon) - is caught in a cycle of relentless decline, and appears in danger of shrinking to the rank of a minor party." http://nyti.ms/MDgN8s


OFA VIDEO: WELCOMING TROOPS HOME. Obama for America is out with a new web video, highlighting Obama's commitment to veterans. Obama, in the video: "As your commander in chief and on behalf of a grateful nation, I'm proud to finally say these two words, and I know your families agree: 'Welcome home.'" http://bit.ly/MS3GuQ

BROWN CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES NEW WEB AD "LET AMERICA BE AMERICA AGAIN." Scott Brown's campaign will release a new web ad today criticizing Elizabeth Warren for comments she made in 2011 where she said "there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for." The statement was brought to light again recently after Obama echoed it in a speech. The ad features clips of past presidents- from Kennedy to Reagan to Clinton- talking about free enterprise. Watch here: http://bit.ly/LGgymY


@mtaibbi This graph about declining U.S. assault rates http://nyti.ms/NMrRLY is pretty amazing when you consider this one http://bit.ly/Oj3ndZ

@FixAaron Romney has a $25 million advantage in cash on hand, including RNC. Turned $90M deficit into $25M advantage in 3 months.

@hotlinereid David Beckham has apparently sent 50 pairs of his designer underwear to Pres. Obama, per NY Daily News #HotlineSort

@nxthompson "We are alive." Remnick's amazing #longreads profile of the indestructible Bruce Springsteen. http://nyr.kr/MDPHOG

@JimPethokoukis Chart of the Day: How a surge in labor-force dropouts is suppressing the unemployment rate http://bit.ly/MDPB9K

@brainpicker Conspectus of the History of Political Parties - amazing vintage map circa 1880 charting the flow of political power http://bit.ly/NroH4u


-President Obama Will address the 113th National Convention of the VFW in Reno, Nevada. Later, Obama hosts a fundraiser in Oakland, California.

-Mitt Romney hosts fundraiser in Irvine, CA. Later, Romney will hold small business roundtable in Costa Mesa, California.

-Vice President Biden Will address the NAPO 34th Annual Conference in Manalapan, Florida.

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

Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

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