Page Turner: Mitt Romney Re-Groups

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images | Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT/Newscom

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone ) and AMY WALTER ( @amyewalter )


  • RESPONDING TO TRAGEDY: Both President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney responded to the news of a shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., early Friday that, so far, has left at least 12 people dead and at least 50 people injured.
  • PRESIDENT OBAMA: "Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family."
  • MITT ROMNEY: "Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice."
  • VEEPWATCH: The timetable for Romney to announce his running mate ahead of his international trip is narrowing with the presumptive GOP nominee set to leave the country by the middle of next week, notes ABC News' Veep Whisperer Arlette Saenz. Romney is slated to hold an event at Coastal Forest Products in Bow, N.H., where a home state senator and VP potential - Kelly Ayotte - is expected to appear. Most of the vice presidential contenders have returned to their home states with Rob Portman scheduled to appear at Dannon Yogurt headquarters in Ohio today and at a fundraiser for Romney in Lima, Ohio. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is still expected to be at his home in Eagan, MN where he's been all week.


BOSTON - Though today's news will be dominated by the tragic shooting in Colorado, politically it feels like we're turning the page - or at least the momentum.

After two weeks of volleys from both sides on tax returns and Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, the former Massachusetts governor and his allies have been finally been able to move onto offense and capitalize on President Obama's "you didn't build it" comment.

The Romney campaign's latest television ad, released this morning, features the owner of a metal fabricating company who asks: "My father's hands didn't build this company? My hands didn't build this company? Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business. Why are you demonizing us for it? It's time we had somebody who believes in us, someone who believes that achievement should be rewarded, not punished." WATCH:

And although the context of President Obama's quote is taken out of context, in a campaign where both sides have actively twisted the words and meanings of their opponents, the Obama campaign's protestations ring hollow.

Between today's new offensive and yesterday's favorable polling for Team Romney, the campaign has managed to end the week on the upswing.

And assuming Romney does not announce a running mate before going abroad, which seems like a pretty safe assumption, the Romney campaign was able to draft off of all of the speculation fairly masterfully.

From the rumor that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on the short list to the campaign's decision to let many of the possible vice presidential contenders loose on the television and radio airwaves this week, Romney officials fed a media frenzy at the moment when everyone was hungry for more.

NOT SO FAST: PRO-OBAMA GROUPS TELL ROMNEY TO RELEASE HIS RETURNS (EN ESPAÑOL). The pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action and the political arm of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have put together a Spanish-language ad on Mitt Romney's tax returns. Translated script: "Our vote is based on trust but Mitt Romney's not telling us everything. He made millions while firing workers and outsourcing jobs overseas. He keeps accounts in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes here in the U.S. Now, Romney refuses to share all of his tax returns. What is he hiding? Romney He wants us to show him our papers. But he doesn't show us his. How can we trust Mitt Romney?" The new ad, called "SinConfianza" (translated: "No Trust") will run in Colorado, Nevada and Florida. WATCH:

NEW ABC/YAHOO! VIDEO: LEAHY GETS ANOTHER BATMAN ROLE. What happens when a politician trades the C-SPAN camera for the movie camera? Senator Patrick Leahy is a mild mannered judiciary committee chairman by day, Gotham crime fighter by night. WATCH:


with Arlette Saenz ( @ArletteSaenz)

EYES ON THE VEEPS: ABC News reporters have kept tabs on the vice presidential contenders in recent days, and ABC News' Matt Negrin wraps up the best of these potential candidates movements, from Pawlenty's perfectly manicured lawn to Ryan walking through a Capitol Hill building with a pillow in one hand in his son's hand in the other. "It's been reported that Mitt Romney's campaign has asked potential running mates if they've been faithful. ABC News can attest that in recent days, none of them have been unfaithful. The short list has been subjected to a near round-the-clock scrutiny by the media," Negrin wrote. "Here's what we've learned: Paul Ryan entered his Capitol Hill office this morning carrying a pillow and holding his son's hand. Ryan, a budget chief in the making from Wisconsin, sleeps on a cot in his office, where he dreams of deficits jumping over a cliff….Tim Pawlenty is … somewhere. Shush Walshe reports from his home in Eagan, Minn.: 'It's on a pretty, manicured street. Everyone seems to have a dog, bike, and running habit. His house is a modest gray clapboard home. The lawn is perfectly manicured with flower boxes on the windows. A white wicker chair is by the front door.'

PORTMANIA: ABC News' Russell Goldman caught up with Portman at the Cincinnati airport close to 1 a.m. on Friday morning, and the Ohio Senator told him he had a chatty seatmate on his flight into Ohio because he's "much more recognizable these days." A May Quinnipiac poll showed 59 percent of Ohio voters didn't know enough about Portman to have an opinion of him, but with his name in the news as a potential VP pick, this unfamiliarity with the Ohio senator could be changing.

THE CONTENDERS' DAIRY STOPS: ABC News' Shushannah Walshe picks up on a common theme between two of the vice presidential possibilities as they wait to hear Romney's verdict on his Running mate. "We don't know who will be Mitt Romney's running mate, but both contenders reported to be on the short list are cornering the dairy market. [Friday] Ohio Senator Rob Portman is meeting employees at the Dannon Yogurt and Crown Equipment in New Bremen, Ohio," Walshe wrote. "On a call Thursday with reporters, Portman was asked if he would be confirming his VP candidacy at a press conference following the tour. 'The only thing I can confirm is that I will be eating yogurt,' Portman said. And the New Hampshire Republican Party - perhaps thinking more longterm, if less about calories - sent out this tweet Thursday afternoon that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be at an ice cream social event in Manchester on Aug. 11. @NHGOP Aug 11 ice cream social w/ Tim Pawlenty at 1800 Elm St Manch from 1 - 3. $20 per ticket, RSVP online here A New Hampshire Republican confirmed the event and tells ABC News the ice cream social is a 'state party event,' but they 'work closely with the Romney campaign' and they are 'aware of the event.'"

DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT MARCO RUBIO?: Elizabeth Hartfield lists nine fun facts voters might not know about Sen. Marco Rubio, from his hate of the BeeGees and disco to how he's one of the least wealthy members of the senate.


with Chris Good ( @c_good)

OBAMA CHANNELS AYN RAND. The Washington Times' Dave Boyer reports: "… President Obama changed his tune Thursday night about some roundly criticized comments that entrepreneurs don't build businesses on their own. 'I was saying the other day, we take pride in individual initiative and … we don't like handouts,' Mr. Obama told supporters in West Palm Beach, Fla. 'We don't expect government to solve every problem and we don't think the government should help people who don't want to even help themselves.'" Q9jDDK

ROMNEY'S BAIN DEPARTURE: NO ABSENTEE OWNER. The Boston Globe's Beth Healy and Michael Kranish report: "Interviews with a half-dozen of Romney's former partners and associates, as well as public records, show that he was not merely an absentee owner during this [after taking leave to run the Olympics in 1999]. He signed dozens of company documents, including filings with regulators on a vast array of Bain's investment entities. And he drove the complex negotiations over his own large severance package, a deal that was critical to the firm's future without him, according to his former associates. Indeed, by remaining CEO and sole shareholder, Romney held on to his leverage in the talks that resulted in his generous 10-year retirement package, according to former associates."

BAIN ALUMS RAISE CASH FOR ROMNEY. USA Today's Gregory Korte, Fredereka Schouten, and Christopher Schnaars report: "Among Mitt Romney's most prolific fundraisers are two dozen current and former employees of Bain Capital and its parent firm who have helped raise at least $4.5 million to help their former colleague defeat President Obama. The Romney campaign has not disclosed the 26 current and former Bain employees as "bundlers," but USA TODAY has identified them through invitations to fundraisers where they served on the host committee."

ROMNEY'S FOREIGN TRIP: LOOKING STATESMANLY. The Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Dan Balz write: "Mitt Romney plans to depart next week for a visit to Britain, Israel and Poland, and the Republican presidential candidate hopes the trip will help him project the aura of a statesman and signal to voters back home that he would make a plausible commander in chief. … said Tom Rath, a senior adviser to Romney … 'He's not going to suggest strategic alliances or say he's going to sign treaties. This is not the place. This is to demonstrate that he can lead the foreign policy of the United States.'"

WIVES ON THE STUMP. ABC' Matt Negrin reports: [B]oth President Obama and Mitt Romney are dispatching their other halves to the stump. Michelle Obama is in Virginia today, and Ann Romney is in North Carolina. So what's the difference between a rally hosted by FLOTUS or POTUS, or Ann or Mitt? We spliced together their stump speeches to see.

BIDEN HITS ROMNEY ON OUTSOURCING. From ABC's Arlette Saenz: He's not running on his experience as governor, where he had a couple good ideas like health care and other things he did," Biden told the Plumbers and Pipefitter Local Union [in COlumbus, Ohio]. He's running as the chairman of the board and the founder of Bain.

RON PAUL DOESN'T KNOW IF HE'LL VOTE FOR ROMNEY. "I have not made a decision," Paul told Fox Business Network's Liz Claman and David Asman. When asked what he thinks about Romney as a candidate for president, Paul responded, "Compared to whom? He certainly offers different things than the current president. But the current conditions make it rough for anyone. They are going to have a very though job."

OBAMA TO SENIORS: ROMNEY'S MEDICARE PLAN IS WRONG. ABC's Mary Bruce reports from West Palm Beach, Fla.: "He plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program," the president told a rowdy crowd at Century Village. "Understand how that works. If the voucher isn't worth what it takes to buy health insurance in the private marketplace, you're out of luck. You've got to make up the difference. You're on your own."

FLORIDA IS ROUGH TERRAIN FOR OBAMA. The Wall Street Journal's Carol E. Lee and Arian Campo-Flores report: " … Mr. Obama's aides say Florida and North Carolina are the biggest stretches for him. … Florida's seniors are a tough audience for Mr. Obama. Polls show the president's support among them to be about as weak now as it was in 2008, when 45% voted for him and 53% voted for Republican John McCain. A Mason-Dixon poll of registered voters in Florida, released last week, showed 42% of the state's seniors backing Mr. Obama, compared to 47% for Mr. Romney. It was the weakest hold that Mr. Obama had on any age group."

DEMS ALLEGE VOTER SUPPORESSION AS LEGAL BATTLES HEAT UP. The New York Times' Ethan Bronner reports: "Whether true or not, the focus on what Democrats call 'voter suppression' is accelerating as the Nov. 6 election looms. Last week, Texas took the Obama administration to federal court because it blocked a voter identification law there on racial discrimination grounds. In Florida, officials successfully sued for access to a federal database of noncitizens in hopes of purging them from voter rolls, a move several other states plan to emulate."

BOEHNER: ACCUSATIONS AGAINST CLINTON AIDE ARE 'PRETTY DANGEROUS.' ABC's John Parkinson reports: For the second time in two days, a top Republican has rejected claims by Rep. Michele Bachmann and four other Republicans that an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ties to a radical Islamic organization. House Speaker John Boehner said the suggestion by Bachmann, R-Minn., and the others was "pretty dangerous." Earlier this week Sen. John McCain called the insinuations "ugly" and "sinister."

DEMS WINNING THE CONGRESSIONAL MONEY RACE. The Wall Street Journal's Naftali Bendavid reports: "The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which coordinates the party's campaigns for House races, has raised $107.3 million this election season, according to new reports-about $10 million more than the National Republican Congressional Committee. In the three months ended June 30, the Democrats raised $23.7 million, the reports show, slightly more than the Republicans' $23.6 million."

SENATE KILLS OUTSOURCING BILL, DEMS POINT TO ROMNEY. From ABC's Ned Potter: The Senate has rejected further consideration of a bill Democrats say would have eliminated existing tax breaks for employers who ship their jobs overseas. While Republicans sought to squash it as political theater, Democrats admit quarreling over the "Bring Jobs Home Act" was openly influenced by the 2012 presidential campaign. … Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said at a press conference before the vote … "They're obviously defending their presidential nominee, who of course made a fortune by shipping jobs overseas."

HOW OBAMA SPENDS 'EVERY WAKING HOUR.' From ABC's Devin Dwyer reports from Jacksonville, Fla.: He explained it this way today at a grassroots rally here: "I told you … I would wake up every single day, every single day and spend every waking hour thinking about you, fighting as hard as I knew how for you because I see myself in you." Republicans say that line is just too cute by half. Today they hit the president in an email blast for "just more words." They note that tonight Obama will again set a new record for time spent fundraising by an incumbent.

ROMNEY DISSES OBAMA'S PUSH FOR ROADBUILDING. ABC's Emily Friedman and Mary Bruce report: Mitt Romney went to a Massachusetts truck repair shop [Thursday] to refute President Obama's point that businesses are built only with the help of roads and other government services. "The president does in fact believe that people who build enterprises like this really aren't responsible for it, but in fact a collective success of the whole society that somehow builds enterprises like this," said Romney. "In my view, we have to celebrate people who start enterprises. In my view, we have to celebrate people who start enterprises and employ other people."

OBAMA: U.S.-ISRAEL TIES HAVE NEVER BEEN STRONGER. Ahead of Mitt Romney's upcoming trip to Israel, the Los Angeles Times' Michael Memoli reports: "President Obama on Thursday said strategic cooperation between the United States and Israel 'has never been closer,' as he defended his handling of the key Mideast alliance in advance of his rival's planned trip to the region. 'I know a lot of people in this community care about the state of Israel,' he said at the Century Village community. 'I want everybody here to know that under my administration we haven't just preserved the unbreakable bond with Israel, we have strengthened it.'"


@BretBaier : Horrific RT @nytjim Cellphone video of people fleeing Aurora theater after mass shooting during Batman movie. Chaos.

@HotlineJosh : #VASEN candidate Tim Kaine, who has experiencing dealing w/ horrific tragedies, first SEN candidate to put out stmnt on CO shootings.

@amyrschultz : Once again wondering why average citizens have access to automatic weapons?

@dickstevenson : Legal fights heating up over voter ID laws. @ethanbronner

@RobSaliterman : RT @frates: K Street Searches for New Technology, Finds Google


-President Obama holds a campaign event at the Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers, Florida and another event at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

-Mitt Romney attends a campaign event at the Coastal Forest Products Warehouse and Fishing Facility In Bow, N.H.

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