The Democrats have found their mid-summer message, and they're sticking to it.
It's all about Romney's time at Bain Capital (and whether or not companies the private equity firm invested in sent jobs overseas), his offshore accounts and paining a portrait of the presumptive Republican nominee as an out-of-touch rich guy.
A man in a new Spanish-language television ad debuting today from the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA, summarizes the message nicely. Romney, the man says: is "a person without feelings who doesn't care about people whether they be Hispanic, Latino, white."
We've heard it all before, but now President Obama and his allies are coming at the Romney campaign with renewed vigor after polls have started to indicate the attacks are paying off.
To underscore the rich-guy theme, the Democratic National Committee unveiled a new web video todaywith a tongue-in-check title: "Mitt Romney's $ecret $tash," which offers a round-the-world tour of the places Romney had set up off-shore bank accounts.
In German, the video notes: "Mr. Romney had a Swiss bank account worth 2.9 million Swiss francs - or 3 million U.S. dollars," and en Francais: "Monsieur Romney avait des invetissements dans la Bain Capital au Luxembourg." In other words: "Mr. Romney held interests in Bain Capital in Luxembourg." WATCH: http://bit.ly/PSrghE
Perhaps even more buzz-worthy than that, the Boston Globe reports today that Romney stayed at Bain Capital for three years longer than previously stated. According to the Globe's Callum Borchers and Christopher Rowland:
"Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm's 'sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.' Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney's state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain 'executive' in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings." http://b.globe.com/N6LpOJ
Also popping online this morning, Mother Jones' David Corn reports on "a 1998 deal in which Mitt Romney, while he was running Bain Capital, invested millions of dollars in a Chinese manufacturing firm that depended on US outsourcing for its profits and that explicitly stated that such outsourcing was crucial to its success." http://bit.ly/N6m9YY
It's another reminder that the Bain attacks are not going away.
Reporters are like a dog to a bone. How many more of these stories are going to come out between now and November? None of these revelations today on their own are fatal. But, the collective weight of all of these stories could take a serious toll on Romney come Election Day.
ROMNEY'S TURN: NEW TV AD, 'NO EVIDENCE' In a new television ad released today, Mitt Romney accuses President Obama of lying and asks how voters can trust him to lead if he "doesn't tell the truth," ABC's Emily Friedman notes. The ad, titled "No Evidence," is the campaigns clearest and most aggressive pushback thus far against the claims made by the President's campaign that Romney outsourced jobs while working at the private equity firm he founded, Bain Capital. The claims have been largely debunked by fact checking organizations. "When a President doesn't tell the truth," the ad opens, "How can we trust him to lead?" … "There was no 'evidence' that Mitt Romney shipped jobs overseas," a narrator says. The ad also uses then-candidate Hillary Clinton's famous "Shame on you" line she delivered during the 2008 raise in reference to Obama's attacks on her. WATCH: http://mi.tt/LbwFc4
ABC's AMY WALTER: Regarding the new Romney television ad: Is calling a guy who is personally popular a "liar" going to be an effective push back? Or will the fact that Obama has taken on a far more partisan tone on the trail make it easier for Romney to paint him as a typical politician? Either way, there's still the question of when/how Romney makes the case for himself.
ABC's RICK KLEIN: What's better for Mitt Romney - getting booed at the NAACP convention, or getting cheered at Dick Cheney's house? Both receptions are better than the alternatives - and both hold value for the GOP candidate who's still seeking to define himself, to Republicans and to independents. The prospect of jeers from a Democratic-aligned interest group (and let's face it, pandering might have won him, what, a half dozen extra African-American voters?) isn't necessarily a bad thing for voters wondering what Romney stands for. And standing alongside Cheney and the Republican Party's old guard is an important embrace, only underscored by yesterday's show in Houston.
RICK PERRY TO HIT THE TRAIL FOR ROMNEY. Texas Gov. Rick Perry will make his first campaign appearance on behalf of Mitt Romney Friday in Nevada, ABC's Arlette Saenz reports. Perry will appear at the opening of the Romney campaign's field office in Elko, Nevada, on Friday. Romney will not be in attendance. Perry, who dropped his own presidential bid and threw his initial backing behind Newt Gingrich just two days before the South Carolina primary, endorsed Romney in late April but has yet to publicly campaign for his one-time rival. In late May, Perry and Romney held a joint conference call with the Texas governor's top donors, urging his network to raise money for the former Massachusetts governor. First lady of Texas Anita Perry attended a fundraiser with Ann Romney in Texas in May as well. http://abcn.ws/LbEiit
NOTED: In a series of Op-Eds on Thursday, Texas Governor Rick Perry asserts his decision to not implement portions of the Affordable Care Act and slams the Obama administration for "jamming mandates down the throats of the American people." "As a general rule, the more a salesman offers you to sign a long-term contract, the closer you should scrutinize the deal. That's the situation we're facing in Texas, as the Obama administration extends a handful of cash with one hand while keeping a sledgehammer behind its back," Perry writes in an op-ed for USA Today. http://usat.ly/NjFu86 In a second op-ed in the Washington Times, Perry characterizes the expansion of Medicaid as "a little like expecting to win the Indy 500 in a 1965 Chevy Corvair. It's just not the right tool for the job." http://bit.ly/LL8dob
with Elizabeth Hartfield ( @LizHartfield)
ROMNEY BOOED AT NAACP, BUT SAYS IT'S 'OK.' ABC's Emily Friedman reports on Romney's not so warm reception at the NAACP convention on Wednesday. The crowd in Houston held a sustained boo - for about 15 seconds - when Romney vowed to eliminate Obamacare, a program he called "expensive" and "non-essential…" "That's OK," said Romney, of the response he received at the NAACP. "I want people to know what I stand for and if I don't stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that's just fine." http://abcn.ws/NoIy29
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. Watch Jon Karl's report on the NAACP speech from last night's "World News." http://abcn.ws/M3DlNn
PELOSI: ROMNEY'S NAACP BOOS A 'CALCULATED MOVE.' In an interview with Bloomberg TV's Peter Cook House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that Romney's speech at the NAACP convention "was a calculated move on his part to get booed." Pelosi also said that Democrats are on the same page with President Obama on extending the Bush tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year. She also said that the business community saw the Supreme Court's decision on the health care law as a "relief." (h/t Bloomberg News) WATCH: http://bloom.bg/N0CWwZ
OBAMA AD DRAWS CONTRAST WITH ROMNEY ON TAXES. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports: A new TV ad airing in nine battleground states this week promotes Obama's plan to hike taxes on wealthier Americans and corporations while keeping rates lower for middle-income earners. It casts GOP rival Mitt Romney's plan as the polar opposite, favoring tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires while raising rates on working families. http://abcn.ws/ LahjVc
VOTER ID: POLL TAX OR COMMON SENSE? The Jim Crow-era poll taxes have been outlawed for more than 50 years, but if you ask Attorney General Eric Holder, they may be making a comeback in the form of state voter ID laws, reports ABC's Amy Bingham. "We call those poll taxes," Holder said, detouring from his prepared remarks during a speech at the NAACP on Tuesday to equate Texas's photo ID law to the poll taxes of the early 1900s…Voter ID laws, enacted in 11 states over the past two years, require voters to show a government-issued photo ID that the state will provide for free. But while the ID is free, the documents residents need to prove their identity in order to get that ID, such as a birth certificate, are not. Texas and the Justice Department are teeing off in federal court this week over whether Texas' law discriminates, intentionally or not, against minorities, who are less likely to have the required form of ID. http://abcn.ws/NzgV6f
WHITE WOMEN WHO LIKE OBAMA, DISLIKE HIS POLICIES, HOLD KEY TO 2012. ABC political analyst Matt Dowd reports, there is one group this year that, over and over again as you look at polls and emerging patterns, consistently pops up as crucial - white, middle-class women…This election will be decided by the 10 percent of the electorate that have a favorable personal view of President Obama, disapprove of his performance in office (or are unsure), have an unfavorable personal view or are uncertain of Mitt Romney, who think the country is on the wrong track, and who aren't solid Democrats or Republicans. These voters right now are split between Obama and Romney - and they are very prone to swinging between the two candidates. So right now, there is a small segment of voters who like the president, dislike Romney, but are voting for Romney because they think the country is on the wrong track. There are also voters in this 10-percent group who think the country is on the wrong track, but are supporting for Obama at this time. Two-thirds of these key voters are white, middle-aged, middle-class women. http://abcn.ws/O7BDGT
MAINE SENATE RACE LOADED WITH INTRIGUE. If you're lucky enough to be in Maine this summer, you're sure to come across the trademark fishing boats, lighthouses and lobsters. But you're less likely to see much political activity, despite the intricate and somewhat confounding Senate race playing out across the state. ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield reports, the frontrunner is former Independent governor Angus King. King is challenged in the race by two candidates: Secretary of State Charlie Summers, the Republican nominee, and state Sen. Cynthia Dill, the Democratic nominee…. King is popular, well-known and independently wealthy, but his candidacy has left some people scratching their heads because he has so far made his bid a referendum on compromise and bipartisan spirit. http://abcn.ws/NqkaJQ
ROMNEY AND OBAMA ALLIES FIGHT FOR HISPANIC VOTE. ABC's Shush Walshe reports :Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are battling for the Hispanic vote and taking that fight to the airwaves. A few hours after the Romney campaign released a new Spanish language ad, the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA, partnered with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and released three new ads Wednesday, a total of nine so far. This is all on the same day a new Quinnipiac University poll found the president leading Romney among Hispanic voters, 59 percent to 30 percent…Priorities USA and the SEIU have pledged to spent $4 million dollars over the summer in their Spanish language ad campaign. Wednesday, the Romney campaign also launched a Spanish language ad featuring Romney's youngest son, Craig…The ad also promotes the campaign's new Spanish language site aimed at Hispanic voters: JuntosConRomney.com, which means United for Romney. http://abcn.ws/NhMNwU
WILL THE DONALD BE AT THE RNC? Those who took time to peruse the Sarasota, Fla. GOP's announcement of Donald Trump as "Statesman of the Year" may have also noticed some convenient timing, notes ABC's Jennifer Wlach. The date of the award ceremony - August 26 - is the day before the Republican National Convention is set to kick-off in nearby Tampa. So is The Donald attending the Republican National Convention? "One would not be shocked to see Donald Trump at the RNC convention this August," Michael Cohen, executive vice president and special counsel for the Trump Organization, told ABC News. http://abcn.ws/LPPHGj
ROMNEY SIDESTEPS TAX QUESTION AGAIN. ABC's Shush Walshe reports, Mitt Romney offered a slightly inaccurate version of his tax return history in an interview Wednesday, saying he's released two years of tax returns and that he has released the "same level of information" as John McCain and John Kerry. "We've of course released all the financial statements that are required by law and then two years of tax returns-the most recent year will be released as soon as that's prepared," Romney told Fox News' Neil Cavuto. "Other financial disclosure is there, the same information that John McCain, or John Kerry for that matter released when they were running for president." The presumptive GOP nominee has released one year of his returns and an estimate of his 2011 returns, which he mentioned. He received an extension and said at the time he would release them in the next six months, which would be October. John McCain released two years, but John Kerry actually released more than that in his 2004 race, going back to 1999. http://abcn.ws/Mj8iKk
VOTERS POISED TO RE-ELECT INCUMBENTS THEY DON'T MUCH LIKE. Bloomberg's Greg Giroux reports: "For a member of the U.S. Congress, Republican or Democrat, the numbers could hardly look worse. Almost 8 in 10 Americans disapprove of lawmakers' performance, and unemployment has been above 8 percent for 41 consecutive months. It's a recipe for a rout of incumbents in November's election, as in 2010 when 56 were ousted. That won't happen this year, say analysts. Even when dissatisfaction with Congress in general runs high, incumbents traditionally can count on most voters being willing to support their own lawmakers. In the 10 general elections between 1990 and 2008, an average of 19 Senate and House members lost their seats. http://bloom.bg/N0inRe
IN THE NOTE'S INBOX:
-WISCONSIN DEM SENATE CANDIDATE RAISES $2.2 MILLION. An aide to Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is running for an open U.S. Senate seat, notes that the campaign raised more than $2.2 million in the second quarter. The average individual donation was $67.84 and 90 percent of individuals gave $100 or less during the quarter. More than 55,000 contributors have donated to the campaign during the cycle. From a source close to the Baldwin campaign: "It's important to note that despite having to compete with the Wisconsin recall primary and general during this period, we exceeded the $2 million we raised in Q1 (will Thompson match his Q1 fundraising?) And none of the GOP candidates have faced any paid media attacks, yet we have faced $1.4 million and two polls this week show we are either even or ahead in the general."
VEEP BEAT: ABC's Arlette Saenz ( @ArletteSaenz) rounds up all the action on the veepstakes front:
A SUITABLE PAWLENTY: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty doesn't have the mega superstar qualities of contenders like Marco Rubio or Chris Christie, but the former GOP candidate's "suitable" nature along with his ease on the trail as a surrogate could be what draws Mitt Romney's team to pick him for the number two spot, the AP's Brian Baskt reported. "As a presidential hopeful, Tim Pawlenty won respect among GOP insiders, social conservatives and the tea party movement. Far from the first love of any faction, he quickly washed out as a candidate. Almost a year after he abandoned his White House bid, Pawlenty's reputation as being suitable but not a standout is actually fueling the speculation that the former Minnesota governor is a serious contender in Republican Mitt Romney's search for a running mate," Baskt wrote. "To hear these insiders tell it, the earnest Pawlenty might end up satisfying many Republicans without risking the unwelcome distractions that could result from a running mate who is flashier than the nominee, who has close ties to an unpopular past administration or whose background has largely avoided scrutiny." http://wapo.st/P2caU5
JINDAL'S HIRING FREEZE IN LOUISIANA: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal implemented a year long hiring freeze of state workers, the Times-Picayune's Jeff Adelson reported. "Gov. Bobby Jindal has once again implemented a year-long state hiring freeze, continuing what has become a yearly tradition for his administration. Officials hope the hiring freeze will save at least $13 million over the next 12 months, according to Jindal's executive order," Adelson wrote. http://bit.ly/MjX51k
@mattcanter : Shelley Berkley fights back, putting Dean Heller on defense. Watch her new ads. #nvsen http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/jul/12/berkley-launches-new-ad-campaign-defend-against-et/
-President Obama has no public events and will hold meetings at The White House.
-Mitt Romney heads to Wilson, Wyoming for a fundraiser hosted by former Vice President Cheney.
-Vice President Biden is in Houston, Texas where he'll address the NAACP Annual Convention as their keynote speaker. Dr. Jill Biden is also in Houston where she will speak at a campaign event.
ABC's Josh Haskell ( @HaskellBuzz)
Check out The Note's Futures Calendar : http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV