The Young And The Restless: Can Obama Re-Charge The Youth Vote? (The Note)

(Image Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

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


  • YOUTH AND INDECISION : President Obama heads to swing state college campuses in North Carolina and Colorado today, and for good reason. While polls show him leading Mitt Romney among young voters, enthusiasm for the president among this group has toppled since 2008.
  • PREDICTIONS, BOEHNER HAS A FEW: "I would say that there is a two in three chance that we win control of the House again but there's a one in three chance that we could lose and I'm being myself, frank, we've got a big challenge and we've got work to do," House Speaker John Boehner said in an interview on Fox News airing today.
  • PRIMARY TUESDAY: Voters are voting in five states - Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Connecticut. Three big questions: Will Romney win all of the more than 200 delegates up for grabs? How well will Newt Gingrich do in Delaware - the state he's been focusing on over the last few weeks? And will also-ran candidate Rick Santorum get much of the vote in any of these states? ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield has your primary primer:
  • NOTE IT! Check out our new Note section - a virtual roundtable with our ABC News political team where we share quick thoughts, questions, favorite reads and more. If you read nothing else this morning, Note It!



President Obama's visit to college campuses in swing states today reminds us that at the end of the day, campaigns are about math. And for Obama a strong turnout by younger voters is part of the winning equation.

A recent Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll found that while the president enjoys a substantial, 60 percent to 34 percent lead, against Mitt Romney, among young voters, Obama's "enthusiasm has taken a nosedive," according to The Hill newspaper.

The Hill's Amie Parnes notes: "In 2008, 63 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds took a big interest in the election. Four years later, 45 percent have the same level of interest, reflecting the most sizable drop in one of the major voting groups. The falling poll numbers come as data compiled by The Associated Press show that 53 percent of college graduates are unemployed or currently have a job that doesn't meet their qualifications."

Another part of the calculus for 2012: How much of the white vote can Obama afford to lose versus how much of the Hispanic vote does Romney need to win?

In the most recent Pew Research Center poll, Obama is doing as well among non-white voters as he did back in 2008.In a match-up with Romney, Obama takes 67 percent of the Hispanic vote and 95 percent of the black vote - the exact percentage he got in 2008. But, his percentage among white voters dropped four points, from 43 percent in 2008 to 39 percent now.

A four percentage drop is literally the difference between winning and losing key swing states like Virginia.

Meanwhile, the answer to Romney's Hispanic math problem is to 1) perform as well, or better than George W. Bush in states like Florida and Nevada. This means about a ten-point improvement from John McCain's showing in 2008; and/or 2) see a drop-off in Hispanic turn-out.

Take Nevada. If Latino turn-out falls back to 12 percent (where it was in 2000), Romney only needs to win about 34-35 percent of the Latino vote in order to win the state.

In short, Obama needs turn-out among non-whites to expand, while it benefits Romney to see it shrink.


YOUTH VOTE POINT-COUNTER-POINT: From ABC's Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller:

"It seems not much has changed," said Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "Five years ago, just like today, the President put campaigning before governing. As a result, 50% of new graduates can't find full time employment in this economy."

"It's no secret that Barack Obama ran for President in 2007," said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. "And it's no secret that he has doubled funding for college scholarships and fought Republican attempts to increase the debt burden for students."

ROMNEY CAMPAIGN COUNTER-PROGRAMMING: From headquarters in Boston: "Today, former Senator Hank Brown, Congressman Aaron Schock, and College Republican National Committee Chairman Alex Schriver will hold a press conference call to discuss the effect of President Obama's failed policies on young adults." When? 9:45 a.m. ET Call name: "President Obama Has Failed Young Adults"


ABC's AMY WALTER on House Speaker John Boehner's prediction that there is a one in three chance the GOP could lose control of the House in November: The folks at thee Rothenberg and Cook Political reports would disagree with Boehner. My guess: He is worried that folks on his side are getting too complacent about their chances. Plus, he's sending a not so subtle message to American Crossroads not to forget about the House in their drive to take Senate and the White House.

ABC's RICK KLEIN asks: What's easier to change - migration patterns from Mexico, or the politics thereof? Here's guessing the former. The startling statistics from the Pew Hispanic Center, pegging net a net decrease in Mexican immigrants to the United States, land smack in the middle of a white-hot political debate that's being stoked by the Supreme Court this week.

ABC's JOHN BERMAN noted on "Good Morning America" today that this is the earliest he can remember seeing Veep nominee tryouts. Does it mean Mitt Romney's going to pick sooner than the convention?

ABC's JONATHAN KARL writes in: I have a review of the Robert Draper's book in the WSJ today. "Mr. Draper embedded himself in the House in 2011, getting to know the key players -newcomers and old-timers alike. In his group portrait, he doesn't make any sweeping judgments about who is to blame for the failure of this Congress to address the country's long-term problems. But his refreshingly balanced account captures the drama of one of Congress's most combative and maddeningly frustrating years in memory." Read it here:

THE SPEAKER PREDICTS: House Speaker John Boehner looked into this campaign crystal ball in an interview with Fox News' Bill Hemmer on "America's Newsroom," and weighed in on Republican House candidates' chances in November: "I believe that we will but we've got a real challenge. We have fifty of our members in tough races, eighty-nine freshmen running for their first reelections and we have thirty two districts that are in states where there is no Presidential campaign going to be run, no big Senate race and we call these orphan districts. You take eighteen of them, California, Illinois and New York where you know we're not likely to do well at the top of the ticket and those districts are frankly pretty vulnerable…I would say that there is a two in three chance that we win control of the House again but there's a one in three chance that we could lose and I'm being myself, frank, we've got a big challenge and we've got work to do."

BREAKING: YOUNG GUNS NETWORK LAUNCHES ENERGY AND CONSERVATION POLICY NETWORK. The Young Guns Network, a non-profit group focused on promoting center-right policies, tells ABC News it is launching an "Energy and Conservation Policy Network." According to the organization, it's meant to be an "ideas group within the YG Network" that "will focus on center-right solutions that support long-term smart energy policy and strong environmental stewardship." YG Network spokesman Brad Dayspring notes, "America needs a smart, long-term energy strategy and leaders in Washington to develop and put one into action.  Leaders must also balance the need to produce American energy with the need to take care of our environment.  Being conservative and being green should go hand-in-hand; it's what's best for the next generation, best for the marketplace and best for America."


@waltershapiroPD : My Edwards trial scooplet: High odds Bunny Mellon never knew about Rielle Hunter. How that complicates Edwards defense:

@GeraldFSeib : Obama, Romney, cool customers both, are in a race marked by a likability gap, advantage Obama. My latest:  @WSJ

@HowardKurtz : Jon Huntsman's Rehab Tour: A look at why he's trashing his party so soon after seeking its nomination.



with ABC's Christopher Good ( @c_good)

ROMNEY SPENDS ELECTION NIGHT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. Today Romney will spend the day at campaign headquarters in Boston before traveling to Manchester, N.H. for a campaign event this evening, "A Better America Begins Tonight," ABC's Emily Friedman reports. The speech here tonight is expected to include new material. Romney launched his primary campaign in New Hampshire in June and will now "launch" his General Election campaign in the same state.  This is Romney's first trip back to New Hampshire since the New Hampshire primary on January 10.

NOTED: And greeting Romney in New Hampshire: a new WMUR-Granite State poll that shows him trailing the president, 42 percent to 51 percent.

MITT TALKS FRENCH VACATIONS…. Asked by a French reporter on Monday about his memories of the country, Romney curiously spoke about his vacations there, rather than his missionary work. ABC's Emily Friedman reports: "'I have a lot of memories of France,' said Romney, who did his Mormon missionary time  in France in the late 1960s and who has talked extensively about his experience there. 'The best memories were with my wife on vacations from time to time in France … The last vacation we had there, walking around the city of Paris, walking not just on the Champs Elysees but walking over to the Jardin of Luxembourg and around the city … It's one of the most magnificent cities in the world, and I look forward to occasional vacations again in such a beautiful place.'"

….ANN ROMNEY TALKS WOMEN. ABC's Shushannah Walshe catches Mrs. Romney's speech to Republicans in Stamford Connecticut: "'The kindness and sweetest of all is that so many women that I've never met before and may never see ever again in my life tell me how much they care for me and how much they are praying for me,' Romney said at a GOP fundraiser and awards ceremony here. 'And I can't tell you how much I appreciate that because the days are long and the road is hard, the trials are there and I never know when I have this little gray cloud that's over my head when it's going to start raining on me again and I do need those prayers, but I honestly feel like we are there for a purpose.'"

BILL KRISTOL'S ADVICE FOR MITT: ACT LIKE A PRESIDENT. In his latest Weekly Standard column, Kristol predicts a big win for Romney-if he can stay out of the mud: "Romney has to behave presidentially-more like a leader than a campaigner. Let Obama lower himself by acting as campaigner in chief rather than commander in chief. Let Obama be shrill. Let his campaign be petty. Meanwhile, Romney can lay out his governing agenda to restore our solvency, put us on a path to prosperity, attend to our security, and safeguard our liberty. Romney can visit the troops in Afghanistan and our ally Israel. Instead of giving rebuttals and prebuttals to Obama's speeches, Romney can give serious speeches about the Constitution and the Supreme Court … Romney might even consider offloading his entire opposition research and instant response operation to the Republican National Committee. Let the RNC and the super-PACs put out the statements denigrating the Democratic candidate."

GINGRICH SUPER PAC STILL HAS $5 MILLION. ABC's Elicia Dover on the latest Zombie PAC: "So what will Winning Our Future do with all of that money? The fact is, anything they want to. 'They can buy a yacht and sail off in to the sunset drinking margaritas or whatever they want,' said Paul Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that gives legal advice and assessments of campaign finances. … Rick Tyler, a senior adviser and spokesman for Winning Our Future told ABC News that no one from the super PAC would be taking any sunset cruises any time soon. "All of the money will be used for Newt's benefit," Tyler said."

NEWLY BLEAK PICTURE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY. ABC's Serena Marshall on the Treasury's latest projections: "'In 2033, incoming revenue and trust fund resources will be insufficient to maintain payment of full benefits,' Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said, referring to Social Security. 'At that point there will only be enough money to cover about  three-fourths of full benefits.' … Medicare's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund maintained the same projection as last year, with sufficient resources to maintain benefits through 2024."

HERMAN CAIN'S RALLYING SPEECH TO EARTH. Appearing on The Daily Show for an interview with John Oliver, Herman Cain was asked to pretend earth has been attacked by aliens and deliver a 30-second rallying speech. He did: "Citizens of Earth. It was the spirit of humanity that built this planet. It is that same spirit of humanity that will allow us to defend ourselves against unknown enemies. It is that same spirit of humanity that will allow us to destroy the aliems." Another highlight: he still doesn't know who is president of Uzbekistan. "I did go and look it up, and at one point I knew his nam, but since it's not something I use every day, it's gone again."

FORCING A VOTE ON AZ IMMIGRATION LAW. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in the Obama administration's challenge to SB 1070, and if the Court upholds it, Senate Democrats want a vote, The Washington Post reports: "Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will announce the fallback legislation at a hearing on the Arizona law Tuesday. … The legislation would have little chance of passing in a stalemated Senate or being approved by a GOP-held House, but it would allow Democrats to push their electoral advantage with Latino voters just as the presidential campaign heats up in July."


-DEM SUPER PACS: ROMNEY WANTS TO CUT EDUCATION. A new video and memo from two super PACs, the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action and the Democratic-aligned American Bridge 21st Century, aims at Romney's record in Massachusetts. From the press release: "The Massachusetts decline from 37th to 47th in job growth under Governor Mitt Romney was not just a coincidence - his cuts to job training and higher education helped make Massachusetts less competitive. Now, Romney wants give massive new tax cuts to the wealthiest while making dramatic cuts to job training and higher education on a national level." Video:



@HotlineAlberta : Chris Christie, on the Nets leaving NJ: "My message to them is, goodbye. You don't want to stay, we don't want you."

@joshtpm : My take on the weirdest thing about the 2012 prez campaign money chase via  @TPM

@jaketapper : Latest adorbs pic of  @WinstonTapper



-President Barack Obama brings his message to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the University of Colorado Boulder. Obama will deliver remarks  to students regarding the doubling of interest rates on student loans. The President will also be a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. First Lady Michelle Obama is on the campaign trail in Nebraska and Iowa, meeting with campaign fundraisers in Des Moines.

-Mitt Romney is in Manchester, NH where he'll deliver a speech at his "A Better America Begins Tonight" campaign event.

-Newt Gingrich is in Charlotte, North Carolina taking a tour of the Billy Graham Library. Gingrich will also hold a Primary Night watch Party Tuesday evening.

ABC's Josh Haskell (@HaskellBuzz)

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