In choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate over so-called safer picks like Rob Portman and Tim Pawlenty, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney seemed determined to go bold. Gone was the "pale pastel" label that one-time rival Rick Santorum bestowed on him during the primary.
In its place would be an agenda that challenged traditional assumptions and didn't duck the tough issues. Yet, as ABC News Political Director Amy Walter points out: One convention and three Sunday show appearances later, the Romney-Ryan ticket has yet to embrace the bold. Instead of sowing new fields, they are simply treading familiar GOP territory. http://abcn.ws/Sx3J7k
The exchange between ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Ryan yesterday on "This Week" over specifying which tax loopholes would be closed in the Romney plan, is a prime example of how the once-daring House Budget Committee chairman now sounds like just another predictable pol.
"Don't voters have a right to know which loopholes you're going to go after?" Stephanopoulos asked.
Ryan: "Mitt Romney and I, based on our experience, think the best way to do this is to show the framework, show the outlines of these plans, and then to work with Congress to do this. That's how you get things done."
Stephanopoulos pressed: "But why not specify the loopholes now?"
Ryan followed up: "George, because we want to have this debate in the public. We want to have this debate with Congress. And we want to do this with the consent of the elected representatives of the people and figure out what loopholes should stay or go and who should or should not get them. And our priorities are high income earners should not get these kinds of loopholes. And we should have broad-based policies that go to middle class taxpayers to make sure we can advance things that we care about, like charities…."
Ryan, the man who has been willing to buck the establishment, now says he doesn't want to lay out the details of a budget plan without "the consent of the elected representatives"?
To be sure, President Obama has been light on the details of how he'd achieve his second term agenda and quick to lay blame at the feet of a GOP controlled Congress. But, if the Romney-Ryan promise was to change politics as usual, we've yet to see it.
ABC's RICK KLEIN: Mitt Romney's apparent health care shift was the easier headline, but the Sunday-show exchanges with the most potential to stick involve the Romney-Ryan tax plan. Both men's refusal to detail the actual tax breaks they're looking to sacrifice in the interest of tax cuts - a discussion that would allow voters to actually know how their taxes would be impacted by their election - only invites further questioning of a team that's supposed to be detail- and policy-oriented. Not answering those questions plays into the storyline the Obama campaign has been telling - of Romney's secrecy and evasiveness.
EXCLUSIVE: BOB WOODWARD TALKS TO DIANE SAWYER:
-GAPS IN PRESIDENT'S LEADERSHIP LEAD TO DEBT DEAL COLLAPSE. In an exclusive interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer author Bob Woodward said "gaps" in President Obama's leadership contributed to the collapse of a "grand bargain" on spending and debt last year, with the president failing to cultivate congressional relationships that may have helped him break through Republican opposition. Woodward's reporting in his new book, "The Price of Politics," reveals a president whom he said lacked the "stamina" in turning personal relationships with congressional leaders into action the way some of his predecessors have done.
-OBAMA CALLS PAUL RYAN 'JACK RYAN': President Obama told author Bob Woodward that he didn't know Rep. Paul Ryan was going to attend at a major speech he delivered last year on spending and debt, and says in retrospect that it was "a mistake" to dress down Ryan and his budget plans to his face in that setting. In the interview conducted July 11 - about a month before Ryan was tapped as Mitt Romney's running mate - the president also misstated the first name of the man who is now on the opposing presidential ticket. "I'll go ahead and say it - I think that I was not aware when I gave that speech that Jack Ryan was going to be sitting right there," the president told Woodward according to audio transcripts of their conversations, provided to ABC News. "And so I did feel, in retrospect, had I known - we literally didn't know he was going to be there until - or I didn't know, until I arrived. I might have modified some of it so that we would leave more negotiations open, because I do think that they felt like we were trying to embarrass him," Obama continued. "We made a mistake." (ABC's Rick Klein notes: Jack Ryan is the name of a famous Tom Clancy character, and also the name of the Republican who was slated to run against Obama in his 2004 Senate campaign before he withdrew in the wake of a sex scandal.) http://abcn.ws/Olbo71
Tune in to "World News" and "Nightline" on tonight to see Diane Sawyer's exclusive interview with Bob Woodward: http://abcn.ws/OAdQCb
"THIS WEEK" REWIND:
-PAUL RYAN WON'T REJECT DEBT DEAL THAT ROMNEY DISMISSED. Speaking with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan put himself at odds with his running mate, Mitt Romney. Ryan, who currently serves as the chairman of the House Budget committee, refused to tell George that he would reject a hypothetical debt reduction deal - composed of spending cuts and tax hikes by a ratio of ten to one - that Mitt Romney famously rejected during a presidential primary debate last year. "You know, it depends on the quality of the agreement. It depends on the quality of the policy. Our negotiators in the super committee offered higher revenues through tax reform. John Boehner did as well. So George, what really matters to me is not ratios but what matters is the quality of the policy," Ryan said. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/SvkeRn
-PAUL KRUGMAN: RYAN 'WAS NEVER A MAN OF SUBSTANCE.' On the roundtable, Nobel-prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Ryan said that Paul Ryan was "never a man of substance" during a discussion about the Romney-Ryan tax plan. "He was never a man of substance" Krugman said in response to a remark from Newark Mayor Cory Booker, wherein he said Ryan used to be a man of substance. "This is who he always was. That was always an illusion." Other topics discussed on the roundtable: the latest jobs numbers, foreign aid, and the post-convention analysis. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/O5pFPm
with ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield ( @LizHartfield)
OBAMA, ROMNEY CLASH OVER 'GRAND BARGAIN' PROPOSALS. ABC's Matt Larotonda reports, in interviews that aired nearly back-to-back on political talk shows on Sunday, President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney were each asked how they could reach a so-called "grand bargain" to solve the nation's debt problems if they were elected into another divided government. While admitting the $1 trillion cuts in last year's negotiations were a "painful exercise," the president said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he was still "more than happy to work with the Republicans" in another term… On NBC's "Meet the Press," Romney was asked whether he was prepared to cut a deal that would potentially put some members of his party in revolt. The former Massachusetts governor said that while it was "critical" to avoid the financial catastrophes occurring in Europe, he would not back down from his past pledges. http://abcn.ws/Rtd3Yp
ROMNEY: 'NOT GETTING RID OF ALL HEALTH CARE REFORM.' ABC's David Kerley reports, Mitt Romney raised some eyebrows today when he said, "I'm not getting rid of all of healthcare reform." That sounded quite different from the mantra he has repeated for months, that he would "repeal Obamacare." Though the Romney campaign quickly said there has been no change in position, it's clear that despite the rhetoric, the Republican nominee would keep some of the popular elements of President Obama's healthcare reform act. "Well, I'm not getting rid of all of healthcare reform," Romney said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press." http://abcn.ws/Q89Mft
OBAMA: ROMNEY'S TAX PLAN IS 'BAD MATH.' ABC's Jake Tapper, Mary Bruce and Arlette Saenz report, President Obama mocked rival Mitt Romney's tax cut proposals Sunday, telling supporters in Florida that his opponent's plan is bad math and that he should "get some tutoring." Mitt Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, struggled in separate Sunday show appearances to offer specifics when asked what tax loopholes they would close to help pay for their proposed tax cuts. "I guess my opponent has a plan, but there's one thing missing from it: arithmetic," Obama said to laughter from the crowd of 6,000 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. http://abcn.ws/O6r8VI
LEGAL BATTLES ON VOTING MAY PROVE CRITICAL IN ELECTION. The New York Times' Ethan Bronner reports: "The November presidential election, widely expected to rest on a final blitz of advertising and furious campaigning, may also hinge nearly as much on last-minute legal battles over when and how ballots should be cast and counted, particularly if the race remains tight in battleground states. In the last few weeks, nearly a dozen decisions in federal and state courts on early voting, provisional ballots and voter identification requirements have driven the rules in conflicting directions, some favoring Republicans demanding that voters show more identification to guard against fraud and others backing Democrats who want to make voting as easy as possible." http://nyti.ms/PgWMnF
NOTE: The voting rights organizations Common Cause and Demos will release a new report on voter protection laws in 10 states considered critical in the 2012 election this morning. The report is called: "Bullies at the Ballot Box: Protecting the Freedom to Vote Against Wrongful Challenges and Intimidation." Look for it here: www.commoncause.org/bullies.
ROMNEY'S OHIO PROBLEM. ABC's Rick Klein notes: No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio, and Romney isn't in a strong position to become the first. According to ABC News' latest race ratings, President Obama is in strong position for 237 electoral votes, when leaning and solid Democratic states and combined. Mitt Romney has only 206 votes he can expect in his column, as of now. Add in Ohio's 18 electoral votes, though, and Obama stands at 255 - within striking distance of the magic number of 270. Romney would need to win nearly every other battleground state - a list that includes Paul Ryan's Wisconsin, once thought to be safely Democratic - to pull out the presidency without Ohio. http://abcn.ws/RBobwP
PAUL RYAN CHALLENGED OVER BUDGET DEAL. Paul Ryan was challenged in an interview that aired Sunday for being part of a group of Republicans and Democrats who agreed to a deal last summer that included automatic cuts to defense spending in exchange for the debt ceiling being raised, ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports. His running mate, Mitt Romney, said it was a "big mistake" for Republicans, like Ryan, to agree to the deal in a different interview that aired today on NBC's "Meet the Press." http://abcn.ws/P3UUfY
OBAMA BLASTS ROMNEY'S MEDICARE PLAN IN APPEAL TO FLORIDA SENIORS. Courting senior voters in the key swing state of Florida, President Obama Sunday ramped up his attack against Mitt Romney's Medicare plan, saying the GOP presidential nominee would increase health care costs for retired Americans and bankrupt the popular entitlement program, according to ABC's Mary Bruce. "I want you to know, Florida, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher," Obama told roughly 3,000 supporters packed into a gymnasium at the Florida Institute of Technology. "That is going to be part of what's at stake in this election. http://abcn.ws/O60351
ROMNEY SLAMS GOP LEADERS - INCLUDING HIS VP NOMINEE - FOR 2011 BUDGET. ABC's Jake Tapper points out that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as chair of the House Budget Committee, was part of the team that signed off on the budget deal with the White House, mandating immediate spending cuts, creating a "Super-committee" tasked to finding $1.5 trillion in further deficit reduction, and raising a self-imposed sword of Damocles - $1.2 trillion in cuts to the Pentagon and domestic spending that few in Congress wanted - if the Super-committee failed. But over the weekend Mitt Romney said Ryan, the man he picked as his running mate on the Republican presidential ticket, and other House GOP leaders made a "big mistake" in agreeing to that deal, which was part of the summer 2011 negotiations over raising the debt ceiling. http://abcn.ws/QqcVca
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN COZIES UP WITH FEMALE BIKER. Vice President Joe Biden cozied up with a female biker during a stop Sunday at Cruisers Diner in Ohio, notes ABC's Arlette Saenz. The Associated Press snapped this photo of the vice president sitting behind a female biker while he talked with her and two other male bikers looked on. According to the campaign, the bikers were part of a group called the "Shadowmen," but there were no other details on who the female biker was or what sparked the conversation between her and the vice president, because the pool had been escorted out of the diner before the encounter. http://abcn.ws/U3CBrz
NOTED: BIDEN CALLS GOP 'A DIFFERENT BREED OF CAT.' Vice President Joe Biden often proclaims how different the Republican Party is from generations ago, but in Portsmouth, Ohio, Sunday, he had a new way to describe them - a "different breed of cat." "They're not bad guys. It's just a different, as my brother would say, different breed of cat," Biden said at Portsmouth High School. http://abcn.ws/P2haXJ
HUSTLER MAGAZINE OFFERS MILLION-DOLLAR REWARD FOR ROMNEY'S TAX RETURNS. ABC's Matt Larotonda reports, One of the nation's top pornographers is offering a $1 million bounty for the publishing rights to a different kind of booty. Larry Flynt and his publication, Hustler Magazine, have taken out a full-page advertisement in today's Washington Post offering the reward for anyone who can bring them information on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's "unreleased tax returns and/or details of his offshore assets, bank accounts, and business partnerships." http://abcn.ws/U3v4co
WITH CONTROL OF SENATE AT STAKE, GOP AWAITS AKINS NEXT MOVE. The Washington Post's Rosalind Helderman and Jason Horowitz report: "Three weeks after Republican Rep. Todd Akin upended the national political landscape by claiming that pregnancies rarely result from "legitimate rape," the race for Senate in this increasingly conservative state - and in many ways the battle for control of Congress's upper chamber - has settled into a waiting game. A Sept. 25 deadline looms. That's the last day Akin can petition Missouri courts to remove his name from the ballot - and comply with the near-universal calls from party leaders who think his comments have made unwinnable a seat they need for an easier path to a Senate majority. http://wapo.st/Pgzq1o
IN THE NOTE'S INBOX:
-PLANNED PARENTHOOD RELEASES NEW TV AD IN VIRGINIA: Planned Parenthood Votes is running a new 30-second TV ad in Virginia called "Turn Back the Clock on Women's Health." The TV ad highlights what the group calls "Mitt Romney's extreme positions on issues of importance to women and their health, including his stance to overturn Roe v. Wade and his pledge to get rid of Planned Parenthood." The ad's narrator says, "Today, millions of women rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for basic health care, including lifesaving cancer screenings. And millions more know we should be making our personal medical decisions, not Mitt Romney." A source with the group tells The Note that ad will begin running in Virginia for five weeks on cable television in Northern Virginia. It's backed by a $1.85 million ad buy. WATCH: http://bit.ly/UEjyX9
@HotlineAlberta : A combined $225 million raised by the presidential campaigns in August. Stunning.
@jmartpolitico : There's a good story to be done about how much good polling data campaigns and super pacs have and what little public info is avail
- President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are in Washington, DC with no public events.
- Mitt Romney holds an afternoon rally in Mansfield, Ohio.
- Paul Ryan holds a fundraiser in Portland, Oregon.
Check out The Note's Futures Calendar : http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV