With this morning's stagnant jobs picture - the country only added about 80,000 jobs during the month of June - President Obama won't get the bragging rights he was hoping for.
Look for Obama, who is on his second and final day of a swing-state bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania, to talk about how there's much more work to do.
Meanwhile, the Romney campaign gets to leave health care messaging purgatory and get back to their main message. Look for Mitt Romney, who is on vacation at his lakeside retreat in New Hampshire this week, as well as Republicans leaders to cast the new jobs data as another sign the president's time is up.
After the May employment report, which showed that the economy added a weaker-than-expected 69,000 jobs, it took the Romney campaign only about a half-hour to blast out a statement calling it "devastating news for American workers and American families."
And despite the past week's war of words over whether Obamacare's individual mandate represents a "tax" or "penalty," it's this morning's numbers and the ones that will be announced each month between now and November that are still likely to weigh far more heavily on the minds of voters on Election Day.
"I don't know whether it is because American voters are myopic, or because they are forward-looking," Andrew Gelman, the director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University, told The New York Times' Annie Lowrey and John Harwood. "But they appear to care most about change in the economy in the year preceding the election."
Lowrey and Harwood note: "Analysts say voters give more heed to where the economy is headed than to its current state. That means a president overseeing a high but falling unemployment rate might have a better shot than a president overseeing a lower but increasing one." http://nyti.ms/L4qrz7
FLASHBACK: ROMNEY ON MASSACHUSETTS JOBS NUMBERS: 'A LOT OF IT IS OUTSIDE OF OUR CONTROL.' The researchers at the Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century have done another deep dive into the Massachusetts archives and unearthed this clip of Mitt Romney at a June 24, 2006 press conference talking about jobs numbers in the state. "Today when the new round of jobs numbers come out, the Romney campaign will resort to their typical criticism that the President is not doing enough to create jobs, not taking into account the deep recession the President inherited," according to an American Bridge statement accompanying the video. "In the clip below …. you will see Romney claiming that he shouldn't be held responsible for the jobs lost during the early parts of his administration."
ROMNEY: "You guys are bright enough to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs had been just falling right off a cliff, I came in and they kept falling for 11 months. And then we turned around and we're coming back and that's progress. And if you are going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got elected, somehow jobs should have immediately turned around, well that would be silly. It takes awhile to get things turned around. We were in a recession; we were losing jobs every month. We've turned around and since the turnaround we've added 50,000 jobs. That's progress. … A lot of it is outside of our control, it's federal, it's international, it's private sector." WATCH: http://bit.ly/MDayku
MITT ROMNEY'S $100 MILLION MONTH . June was a big month for Mitt Romney's fundraising, as his campaign took in $100 million in June combined with the Republican National Committee and the joint fundraising operation Romney Victory Fund, the Associated Press confirmed on Thursday. http://wapo.st/ OdqWDD
It's a big number, ABC's Chris Good notes, coming on the heels of the Supreme Court's health-care decision, and coming after Romney and the RNC outraised President Obama and the Democratic National Committee in May. But it falls short of the president's biggest month, September 2008, when Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee reported taking in a combined $192 million.
Comparing June totals, Romney far outpaced the money being raised at this time in 2008. In June of that year, John McCain and the RNC reported taking in a combined $48 million, while Obama and the DNC combined for $62 million.
STRATEGISTS ON ROMNEY'S VERBAL GYMNASTICS. ABC's Amy Walter reports: A lot of folks, ranging from Rupert Murdoch to Bill Kristol have weighed in on Mitt Romney's awkward dance on the Supreme Court's health care reform decision. But, we wanted to get the opinion of campaign professionals - the people who live and work in the political trenches every day - for their take on both the Romney campaign flub and the handwringing among some in the GOP establishment. Their bottom line: Yes, the Romney campaign mishandled this whole Obamacare tax debate, but ultimately, it doesn't suggest that Team Romney or the campaign strategy needs to be shaken-up.
A former communications director in House Leadership: "It is curious that, at a time when every Republican in the country is hitting the President for a tax increase on the middle class and those who can't afford health insurance, the party's nominee is NOT taking that opportunity. I don't subscribe to the theory that this misstep - and it is a misstep - takes the issue off the table for Senate or House candidates. They'll be running against their opponent for supporting a health care law that increases taxes on the middle class and the working poor."
Jon McHenry, Vice President of North Star Opinion Research: "The base is going to be fired up to vote out Obama, regardless of any of this. But I suspect Republicans would be happier if we were all singing off the same sheet of music to talk to the independents."
Former communication director in House leadership: "It is group over think to worry about the MA law and what it means. People don't care about the Massachusetts health law. They do, however, care that ObamaCare is a new middle class tax, that it will raise their health costs, and they may have to give up their current care even if they like it. There's always tactical concerns, but it's the man in the arena who has to make those calls, as Roosevelt noted. In this case, I agree with the WSJ's concern - but the ship has turned, smartly so on July 4 when no one was paying attention. "
Jon Lerner, founder and principal of Red Sea and Basswood Research: "The criticism of Romney is way overblown. I think the campaign made a mistake in getting into the semantics about whether the health care mandate was a tax. They are a bit excessively concerned about shielding the Massachusetts record, which was a big deal in the primaries, but is really little relevant now. They should have just called it a tax straight away. But they got to that point after a few days. And in the scheme of things, it doesn't matter anyway. What matters is that Obama is the pro-Obamacare candidate, and Romney is the anti-Obamacare candidate, and that's crystal clear to everyone, even with a small misstep by the Romney campaign."
ABC's RICK KLEIN: Implicit in President Obama's "Betting on America" slogan is that the other guy is taking odds on the other side of the ledger. That may be a stretch in defining a guy with the perfect family who knows the obscure verses of "America the Beautiful," but it won't be if Democrats' dual messages break through. The main storylines Obama aides are pushing - Romney's offshore bank accounts, and Bain's outsourcing of jobs overseas - both are meant to suggest that the president is the candidate on the side of American workers. If that message penetrates, the Obama bus tour that took place while Romney vacationed will be memorable.
OBAMA'S BUS TOUR: HOW'S IT PLAYING?
FRONT-PAGE HEADLINES from Ohio:
Sandusky Register: "Obama: Education is Key" … "President stops at Kosy Corners, Bergman Orchards"
The Toledo Blade: "Obama's Maumee Rally Ups Ante on Ohio Tour … Bus visits directed at middle-class voters"
The Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Obama Campaign Bus Winds Way Across Ohio, With Frequent Stops … From Maumee to Parma, contrast is is theme"
Akron Beacon Journal: "Republicans Give Scoop on Romney … Campaign bus stops at Falls ice cream stand; Jindal, Pawlenty meet local politicians, chat with customers" … "Obama Says He Stands With Ohio Communities … Bus tour starts day before key jobless report is due; leader notes gains in state"
OBAMA JABS AT ROMNEY OVER HEALTH CARE. ABC's Jake Tapper points out that in an interview with Cincinnati's NBC TV affiliate WLWT, Obama went on the attack. "On the health care bill, Mr. Romney was one of the biggest promoters of the individual mandate in Massachusetts," the president said. "His whole idea was we shouldn't have people who can afford to get health insurance to not buy it and then force you or me to pay for it when he gets sick. That's irresponsible. That's exactly what's included as part of my health care plan." http://abcn.ws/Odie8p
A WELL-ORCHESTRATED TOUR. From the Toledo Blade's Tom Troy: "[T]he Obama bus tour, skillfully executed by an army of operatives, aided by Secret Service agents and local and state police and sheriff's departments, will be a high bar to match for Mr. Romney, who is also competing to carry Ohio, considered by many to be the most important battleground state in the country because of its history of picking the winner since 1964." http://bit.ly/L5CyvX
OBAMA'S FOCUS: MIDDLE-CLASS ECONOMY. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Henry J. Gomez: "Obama presented himself as a president who has invested in working Americans, citing his support of the federal loans to Chrysler and General Motors. The U.S. auto industry's subsequent rebound has been key across northern Ohio's car manufacturing belt between Toledo and Youngstown." http://bit.ly/M8JJ2F
VIDEO: ORLANDO PACE INTRODUCES OBAMA. The Sandusky Register reports on 13-year NFL tackle Orlando Pace, who went to two Super Bowls with the St. Louis Rams: "[F]or this Sandusky native, chatting with the president ranks right up there with winning a Super Bowl and being selected as the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1997. … 'It's a once-in-a-lifetime moment,' Pace said in an exclusive interview with the Register." After Pace's introduction, Obama said, "Let me first of all say that Orlando makes me feel real small. I want him blocking for me every time." http://bit.ly/N26NRo
PHYSICAL CONFRONTATION AS PAWLENTY SPEAKS. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Brandon Blackwell reports on a clash between a Romney supporter and a protester: "'Pawlenty go home, Pawlenty go home,' the protesters chanted over the former governor's speech. … Romney supporter Richard Brysac of Parma confronted protester Al Neal of Canton, who attended with members of a group called Fight for Fair Economy Ohio. Brysac, 77, attempted to hush Neal by emptying a bottle of water into the 25-year-old union worker's mouth. … When the bottle didn't work, Brysac pulled out his handkerchief and gagged Neal. Neal removed the handkerchief and continued chanting until the group of protesters was escorted from the rally." http://bit.ly/L5E2Gs
with ABC's Chris Good ( @c_good)
ABC VIDEO: ROMNEY VACATIONS, OBAMA CAMPAIGNS. ABC's Jake Tapper reports on President Obama's bus tour through Democratic strongholds in northern Ohio: The president is accusing Mitt Romney of not caring about working Americans and the middle class … others in the Obama campaign, discussing wealth Romney has invested overseas in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, painted an even more nefarious picture of the presumptive Republican nominee. … and these new Obama attacks come at the same time that Mitt Romney is being assailed by Republicans. http://abcn.ws/MEM3TW
ON THE TRAIL, OBAMA HIGHLIGHTS FAMILY BACKGROUND. ABC's Mary Bruce reports: President Obama is highlighting his modest family background as he travels throughout Northern Ohio … the president is discussing everyone from his grandfather, who "fought in Patton's army" and was able to "study on the GI Bill," to his grandmother, who helped raise him, to his wife's father, "a blue-collar worker," and her stay at home mother. http://abcn.ws/RqHWtv
BRAD PITT'S MOM HEARTS ROMNEY (GAYS AND ABORTION, NOT SO MUCH). ABC's Elicia Dover reports that the Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader has verified this letter to the editor was written by the actor's mother: "[A]ny Christian should spend much time in prayer before refusing to vote for a family man with high morals, business experience, who is against abortion, and shares Christian conviction concerning homosexuality just because he is a Mormon. … Barack Hussein Obama … sat in Jeremiah Wright's church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage." http://sgfnow.co/N42bMi
NEW ABC/YAHOO VIDEO: WHAT DC INTERNS REALLY DO ON THE HILL. In the latest installment of "Politically Foul," ABC's Amy Walter flags Rep. Loretta Sanchez's intern-driven "Call Me Maybe" video, Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel's yearbook crossdressing, and calls fair on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foul language. http://yhoo.it/NsavEp
VEEPSTAKES OLYMPICS. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports on campaign-trail tryouts in Ohio: Driving around Ohio Thursday in a Romney for President bus (no mountain biking here), [Louisiana Gov. Bobby] Jindal and [former Minnesota governor Tim] Pawlenty campaigned on Romney's behalf as he spends time with his family (think: Olympic water sports) and undoubtedly listens to the very loud criticism coming from the Wall Street Journal … On a conference call only for conservative reporters, Jindal and Pawlenty came to Romney's rescue. Jindal said the president is "engaged in class warfare, divide-and-blame rhetoric, because he simply can't run on his record," according to the National Review. http://abcn.ws/MNZOz0
AXELROD: ROMNEY IS THE 'MOST SECRETIVE CANDIDATE SINCE NIXON.' ABC's Ann Compton reports: Senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod today accused Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney of being "the most secretive candidate that we've seen, frankly, since Richard Nixon." He "won't release his tax returns, won't reveal his bundlers, left Massachusetts with the hard drives from his computer. He believes in keeping the public in the dark," Axelrod said in an interview with ABC News Radio at the first stop on Obama's campaign bus tour through Ohio. http://abcn.ws/N49X8J
OBAMA CHALLENGED TO ARM-WRESTLE FOR VOTE. ABC's Mary Bruce reports on Obama's stop with former Ohio governor Ted Strickland at Ziggy's Pub and Restaurant in Parma, Ohio: After speaking with several diners about issues ranging from education to support for veterans, he met Jeff Hawks, who had a unique proposition for him.? "I'll arm-wrestle you for your vote," Hawks said. "No, I'll play basketball for your vote," the president replied. http://abcn.ws/LZK4nb
OBAMA'S RIDE: GROUND-FORCE ONE. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports: The jet-black armored motor coach ferrying President Obama from Air Force One in Toledo, across northern Ohio and into Pennsylvania, got an upgrade for its first trip of the 2012 campaign: a large colorful presidential seal emblazoned on its side. … The Obama campaign will reimburse taxpayers for fuel and operation costs of the bus according to an established formula, an administration official told ABC News. http://abcn.ws/M4iRpJ
GOP'S SWING-STATE FIRE DRILL. USA Today's Martha T. Moore reports: "Mitt Romney's campaign is pretending Saturday is the day before Election Day. Romney volunteers will canvass in swing states on Saturday. In the first of a series of massive volunteer mobilization efforts, the campaign and the Republican Party will undertake "Super Saturday," a day when GOP volunteers call and canvass hundreds of thousands of swing-state voters, just as they will before Nov. 6. The goal is not just to know which voters are on board with Romney, but to test the presidential campaign's ability to turn out the vote - something the GOP struggled with in 2008." http://usat.ly/LtF5l3
ROMNEY CAMPAIGN PLANNING FOREIGN-POLICY TOUR. From Politico's Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin: "The tentative plan being discussed internally would have Romney begin his roll-out with a news-making address at the VFW convention later this month in Reno, Nev. The presumptive GOP nominee then is slated to travel to London for the start of the Olympics and to give a speech in Great Britain on U.S. foreign policy. Romney next would fly to Israel for a series of meetings and appearances with key Israeli and Palestinian officials. Then, under the plan being considered, he would return to Europe for a stop in Germany and a public address in Poland, a steadfast American ally during the Bush years and a country that shares Romney's wariness toward Russia. Romney officials had considered a stop in Afghanistan on the journey, but that's now unlikely." http://politi.co/NaoSuV
HOUSE REPUBLICANS PLANNING 'OBAMACARE' REPEAL. House Republicans have tried to repeal health reform before, and Politico now reports: "House Republicans are moving forward with plans for a new attempt to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. The House Rules Committee announced Thursday that it will meet at 5 p.m. Monday to discuss the 'Repeal of Obamacare Act' - the GOP's response to the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law." http://politi.co/NcpwvD
TWO STATES LEFT BEHIND. The AP's Donna Gordon Blankinship reports: "The U.S. Department of Education is announcing that Washington and Wisconsin have won their bid to be relieved of some requirements of the federal 'No Child Left Behind' law. The two states are joining 24 other states that have earned waivers from the federal education law. Washington state education officials confirmed their state's waiver. The Wisconsin waiver was reported by The New York Times. " http://abcn.ws/M4lB6z
LEAHY TO BE IN 'BATMAN,' AGAIN. The Washington Post's Reliable Source column reports: "Remember the last time, when [Leahy] actually traded dialogue with Heath Ledger as the Joker in 2008's "The Dark Knight"? … the right people must have been impressed, because they gave the lifelong 'Batman' fanatic another speaking role. His spokeswoman, Carolyn Dwyer, would give us no spoilers other than that it's in a scene filmed last summer with stars Christian Bale and Morgan Freeman." http://wapo.st/N2lELC
N.Y. LAWMAKER CANCELS LADY-ETIQUETTE CLASS. From CBS and the AP: "A New York state lawmaker has canceled a feminine etiquette class after it incited outcry from his colleagues and constituents. Republican Sen. Marty Golden's website advertised a July 24 class that would teach women from his Brooklyn district to 'sit, stand and walk like a model' and how to 'walk up and down a stair elegantly,' according to CBS Station WCBS. Other goals of the 'Polished Professional' summer series were to teach women "posture, deportment and the feminine presence'…" http://cbsn.ws/LtI9h9
IN THE NOTE'S INBOX
-BIDEN HEADS TO NAACP CONFERENCE. From the Obama for America Press Office: "On Thursday, July 12, Vice President Biden will address the 103rd NAACP Annual Convention in Houston, Texas, where he will keynote the convention's final plenary session. The Vice President has been a strong advocate for justice and equality throughout his career as a public servant."
-PLANNED PARENTHOOD PROTESTS BOB MCDONNELL: A statement from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund: "In response to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell being named chair of the platform committee for the Republican National Convention in Tampa next month, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, issued the following statement: 'This selection is a huge red flag for America's women. Governor McDonnell has a deeply troubling record on women's health, including his notorious mandatory ultrasound law that sparked national outrage. … In the past year alone, Governor McDonnell has shown time and again that he does not share the concerns, priorities, or values of American women.'"
@newtgingrich : Taxation without representation led to the American Revolution-taxation with MISrepresentation should be a central theme of this election
@shearm : @mittromney made it clear in 2006 that the tax code would serve as the vehicle for the penalty part of his mandate. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/us/politics/in-defending-his-health-care-plan-romney-often-called-its-mandate-a-tax.html
@mattklewis : My position on Romney hasn't changed. He will run a safe, competent campaign. He can raise $. He will not be exciting or inspiring.
@lrozen : In '08, candidate Obama traveled to Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, West Bank, Germany, France and UK.
-President Obama starts day two of his bus tour in Poland, Ohio with a campaign event at Dobbins Elementary School. Then, the President heads to the battleground state of Pennsylvania for a speech at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
-Mitt Romney is vacationing in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire and has no public events.
Potential VP picks Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal are on a bus tour representing the Romney Campaign. The Bus tour has followed the Presidents own tour and will make a morning stop in Pittsburgh.
-Marco Rubio, another VP possibility, is on a book tour taking him through South Carolina and North Carolina.
ABC's Josh Haskell ( @HaskellBuzz)
Check out The Note's Futures Calendar : http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV