The More Things Change… (The Note)

ABC News: Ma'ayan Rosenzweig

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


  • HEALTH CARE REFORM VS. THE STATUS QUO: ABC News pollster Gary Langer notes Americans are equally dissatisfied with the current health care system and with the federal law intended to improve it - suggesting that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on that law will by no means end the country's sharp political debate over health care policy. Just 36 percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll express a favorable opinion of the health care law under Supreme Court review. But ratings of the health care system as it currently stands are about as weak, 39 percent favorable. That means that while the intended fix is unpopular, so is the status quo - leaving the public still in search of solutions.
  • VIDEO OF THE DAY: WHAT WOMEN WANT. The latest episode of the ABC/Yahoo! Power Players series "Top Line" tackles an age-old question recently re-ignited by an article in The Atlantic penned by a former top advisor to Hilary Clinton. ABC's veteran White House correspondent Ann Compton, correspondent Reena Ninan, and 'Good Morning America' contributor and author Claire Shipman joined Top Line's own Amy Walter to tackle the question: Can women have it all?
  • VEEPBEAT: Sen. Rob Portman predicts Mitt Romney would be willing to be a one-term president, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is all of a sudden mum on the vice presidential vetting process and is Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan more interested in another House chairmanship than being the GOP running mate?


With lots of new polling out today there is a natural instinct to highlight any bit of movement for either Mitt Romney or President Obama.

But, ultimately what they all of the new numbers show is remarkable stability. This race is a jump ball and is likely to stay that way until the fall.

According to a series of new Quinnipiac University surveys in swing states, President Obama is still holding onto a lead over Romney in three key states.

In Florida, Obama has a 4 point lead: Obama, 45 percent; Romney, 41 percent.

In Ohio, Obama has a 9 point lead: Obama, 47 percent; Romney, 38 percent.

And in Pennsylvania, Obama has a 6 point lead: Obama, 45 percent; Romney, 39 percent.

Each of the polls was conducted June 19-25 and each has a 2.8 percent margin of error.

These results come after nearly two months of what has essentially been general election campaigning on the part of Obama and Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee.

But despite developments on the policy front (see, for example, President Obama's executive order on the deportation of young immigrants), a weak May jobs report, as well as an early volley of television ads - both positive and negative - that are popping up on television screens in these battleground states, consistency has ruled the day.

Compare today's Quinnipiac poll results to numbers from the same poll released on May 3. Back then, Romney had a 1 percentage point lead in Florida, 44 percent to 43 percent for Obama. In Ohio, Obama led Romney 44 percent to 42 percent. And in Pennsylvania Obama edged out Romney 47 percent to 39 percent.

That means neither of the candidates moved more than a few percentage points in all three states over the past two months (but take note of ABC News Political Director Amy Walter's point below about the impact of the negative ads).


ABC's virtual political roundtable:

ABC's AMY WALTER: Pro-Obama super PAC chief Bill Burton and Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod have to be smiling about this quote from Wall Street Journal-NBC News Republican pollster Bill McInturff who concedes that Obama's 50-42 percent lead in the swing states of Nevada, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Virginia is an indication "that advertising is having some impact." The Acela corridor may hate the Bain attacks, but they work. At what point do Romney's allies in Super PAC world turn their attention to pumping up Romney instead of beating down Obama?

ABC's RICK KLEIN: President Obama's incredibly shrinking convention has plenty of immediate culprits: lagging fundraising, unions' complicated relationship with the host state, the very real desire of Democrats in close races to spend time In their home states instead of partying with national Democrats. But taken together, the depths of this convention compared to the mile-high moments of Obama's first nominating event are a remarkable measure of the diminished ambitions of the Obama campaign. This convention won't showcase a confident party staking out new ground; it will be a defensive party guarding what once belonged to them.

DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO…CHARLOTTE? There will be some extra hotel space in Charlotte, N.C. come this September as several Democratic elected officials have announced that they will not be attending the Democratic National Convention this year, ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield notes. Yesterday, Talking Points Memo reported that Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill will not be attending the convention, becoming the third Democratic senator, and eighth Democratic member of Congress, to opt out of the event. Late Tuesday she tweeted, " Whole lot of nothing over me campaigning w/Mo folks instead of going to convention w/party honchos. Bet POTUS agrees with my decision." Several of the elected officials who have decided to forgo the convention hail from places where Obama is unpopular; West Virginia's Democratic House Rep. Nick Rahall, Sen. Joe Manchin and its governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, have all announced they're not going. Obama's low popularity in the state is perhaps best exemplified by the strong performance of prison inmate Keith Russell Judd in the state's Democratic presidential primary. Other elected Democrats not going include Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana. McCaskill is in the same boat as her colleagues from West Virginia, Utah and Montana, in the sense that she hails from a state where Obama is unpopular- a Gallup poll from January, 2012 put his approval rating in the state at just 39 percent- and she faces a tough re-election campaign this cycle.

DCCC CHAIRMAN STEVE ISRAEL says he supports his fellow Democrats' decisions: "If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts," Israel said at the Reuters Washington Summit on Tuesday. "I don't care if the president was at 122 percent favorability right now, I think [candidates] should be in their districts … A trip to Charlotte may be interesting, but why leave your districts?"

FLASHBACK: Then DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen had a very similar response four years ago when some Democrats opted not to go to Denver. "Our overall advice to candidates has been to stay home" he said at the time. "Not to separate themselves from the Democratic party, but because that's where their constituents are."


SURVIVORS: VICTORY FOR CHARLIE RANGEL, ORRIN HATCH. Longtime Congress members Charlie Rangel and Orrin Hatch survived their respective primary challenges, the first competitive race for both candidates in many years, reports ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield. Rangel won the Democratic primary for the 13th congressional district in NY and Orrin Hatch won the Republican Senate primary in Utah, the AP projected on Tuesday night…Both men are expected to win again in the general election, meaning that for the foreseeable future, these two institutions of Congress will likely remain in Congress. N1x8wU

-RANGEL, 82, faced a competitive primary challenge from state Sen. Adriano Espaillat. Rangel, who has served in Congress for 42 years, has had his share of scandal in the past several years- he was found guilty of 11 ethics violations and censured by the House of Representatives in 2010- but the conventional wisdom was that his primary contest was competitive because his district was redrawn this cycle. In the end, Rangel, who was better financed and had much stronger name recognition, pulled out another victory.

-HATCH faced a primary challenge from tea party candidate Dan Liljenquist - his first primary challenge in more than 30 years. Hatch, 78, also enjoyed much stronger fundraising than his challenger. Recent polling leading up to the primary indicated that Hatch had a strong lead heading into today's contest.

POLL: HEALTH CARE LAW LACKS SUPPORT, BUT SO DOES STATUS QUO. More from ABC's Gary Langer on the new ABC News-Washington Post poll, which "finds sharp political differences, with the [Affordable Care Act] seen favorably by 59 percent of Democrats, falling sharply to 36 percent of independents and just 14 percent of Republicans. Ideological divisions are similar, with liberals nearly three times more supportive of the law than are conservatives. Divisions on the current health care system are more muted. Republicans divide, 47-49 percent, in favorable vs. unfavorable opinions of the system as it is now. Positive views are 10 and 13 percentage points lower among Democrats and independents, respectively. Among one group - conservative Republicans - favorable views of the current system inch over the halfway point, to 51 percent, while positive ratings of the ACA crater in this group at just 11 percent. Across the spectrum, among liberal Democrats, the current system is less popular by 19 points, while the ACA is more popular by a vast 60-point margin vs. conservative Republicans." QhSs5U

GOP REJECTS WHITE HOUSE APPEAL ON HOLDER CONTEMPT VOTE. ABC's Jake Tapper and John Parkinson report, days before the House of Representatives is scheduled to take an unprecedented vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, Obama administration officials and House Republican aides met today at the White House in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the standoff over documents related to the Fast and Furious gunwalking operation. Those participating in the meeting included White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, Justice Department associate deputy attorney general Steven Reich and staff representing House Speaker John Boehner and Oversight and Government Reform chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, although neither lawmaker was there.

DID OBAMA CAMPAIGN OUTSOURCE WORK OVERSEAS? Mitt Romney's election campaign today circulated a Washington Free Beacon report purporting to show that the Obama campaign operation has outsourced call center work abroad, despite criticizing Romney for supporting the same practice, reports ABC's Devin Dwyer. The Beacon points to expenditures in the Obama campaign's most recent Federal Election Commission filing that showed $4,600 spent on telemarketing services from British Columbia-based Pacific East and $49,600 with the Los Angeles-based Donor Services Group (DSG). Both operate call centers, according to their websites… Closer examination of the facts, however, finds the Beacon's claims are not fully substantiated. M2dUwU

STUDENT LOAN DEAL TAKES SHAPE ON CAPITOL HILL. ABC's Sunlen Miller reports, Congress is starting to see some light at the end of the student loan impasse tunnel. Both the Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate today announced that a deal is almost complete to avoid student loan rates from doubling on July 1. The deal, which both Senate Majority Leader Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced today, is contingent on the House Republican leadership getting their members on board.

JUSTICES' PERSONAL HEALTH STRUGGLES MAY INFLUENCE RULING. The Hill's Elise Viebeck reports: "The Supreme Court justices who will rule Thursday on President Obama's healthcare law have grappled with a wide variety of health issues throughout their lives. The experiences are not expected to play a major role in the historic ruling, which will come down with the reliable mix of judicial reasoning and analysis. But health struggles shape people's perspectives, and the justices are no exception. A review of prior news articles and the justices' own writings provides a personal glimpse of the individuals who are about to play a leading role in what is expected to be a watershed moment in the nation's history. The nine justices range as widely in personal health as they do in age - from Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 79 and has twice suffered from cancer, to Elena Kagan, 52, who has not had any health scares.

HISPANICS LOOKING FOR GAINS IN U.S. HOUSE IN NOVEMBER. The AP's Henry Jackson reports: "The 2012 election is shaping up as a big one in the House for Hispanics. There are currently 29 in the House - including a Pacific islands delegate and Puerto Rico's resident commissioner - according to the Congressional Research Service. That number is virtually guaranteed to increase by at least three or four seats because of once-a-decade redistricting that's created new Hispanic-majority districts in California and Texas. On top of that, Hispanics could win more seats in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Florida … For the GOP, a prominent Hispanic candidate, Abel Maldonado, California's former lieutenant governor, is one of its best chances to pick off an incumbent. Maldonado is running against endangered Democratic Rep. Lois Capps, who has seen her district turn more conservative with redistricting." QiK5qB

INQUIRY LOOKS INTO A SHIELD FOR DONORS IN ELECTIONS. The New York Times' Nicholas Confessore reports: "Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York has begun investigating contributions to tax-exempt groups that are heavily involved in political campaigns, focusing on a case involving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been one of the largest outside groups seeking to influence recent elections but is not required to disclose its donors….The investigation is also looking at connections between the chamber's foundation, the National Chamber Foundation, and another philanthropy, the Starr Foundation, which made large grants to the chamber foundation in 2003 and 2004. During the same period, the National Chamber Foundation lent the chamber $18 million, most of it for what was described as a capital campaign. QfP7V4

CONGRESS TO HONOR MONTFORD POINT MARINES. ABC's John Parkinson reports, throughout the years, the Montford Point Marines received little recognition and few accolades for their contribution to U.S. history. More than 19,000 black Marines trained at Montford Point Camp, a facility set up exclusively for blacks during World War II after President Franklin Roosevelt desegregated the Marine Corps. About 13,000 of them served overseas during the war. Over the years, the vast majority of the men have passed away. Those who survived have grown old and gray. Today, 63 years after the camp they trained at closed its doors, 368 survivingMontford Point Marines will finally be recognized by Congress with the nation's highest civilian honor, the congressional gold medal.


-PRO-DEMOCRATIC SUPER HOUSE WADES INTO COLORADO HOUSE RACE. House Majority PAC, a super PAC which supports Democratic House races, launches a new website in Colorado's sixth congressional district today called "" The site attacks Rep. Mike Coffman by highlighting remarks he made in a local interview which implied he held beliefs associated with the Birther movement. "When he publicly outed himself as a Birther, Mike Coffman made clear to voters in CO-06 exactly how out of touch he is," said Alixandria Lapp, executive director of House Majority PAC in a press release about the new site. "And now, no matter how much this newly-inaugurated member of Congress' Birther Caucus tries to hide it, will remind Coloradans of Coffman's extreme record."

VEEP BEAT: ABC's Arlette Saenz ( @ArletteSaenz ) rounds up all the action on the #veepstakes front:

PORTMAN SAYS ROMNEY'S 'WILLING TO RISK BEING A ONE TERM PRESIDENT' Sen. Rob Portman said Tuesday that he believes Mitt Romney's leadership style as president may cost him his second term, ABC News' Gregory Simmons reported. "This is something I have never said publicly, I've told my wife this, but I think he'd be willing to risk being a one-term president in order to make the tough decisions that are going to be required," Portman said at the Reuters Washington Summit Tuesday.

ROB PORTMAN: ZOMBIE HUNTER? Sen. Rob Portman can now add "zombie hunter" to his resume after he introduced legislation which would ban the synthetic drug known as "bath salts," which some people have recently consumed and then attacked others by eating their flesh, Yahoo! News' Chris Moody reported. "Rob Portman introduced an amendment to a Senate FDA bill that would implement a federal ban on the substance. The bill passed the Senate 92-4 on Tuesday and is on its way to the White House, where the president is expected to sign it," Moody wrote.

MCDONNELL QUIET ON VEEPSTAKES: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell suddenly has some sealed lips when it comes to whether he is being vetted for VP, the Washington Post's Anita Kumar reported. " In May, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told listeners to his monthly radio show that he was not being vetted for vice president. He had a different answer Tuesday," Kumar wrote. "McDonnell declined to say whether Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign was examining his background. 'I'm not discussing the vice presidential vetting,' he said on his monthly call in show on WTOP.

RYAN ANGLING FOR WAYS AND MEANS? Real Clear Politics' Erin McPike looked at how Rep. Paul Ryan, who's budget plan is his signature issue, may have his eyes set on becoming head of the Ways and Means committee in Congress, not on the VP spot. "Ryan is an affable 42-year-old who jokes about poring over federal budgets since age 22, and that interest has propelled him to superstardom within his party and has made President Obama take note of him. Senior aides on the House Republican leadership team worship Ryan, but when they discuss his prospects, they talk of how badly he wants to chair the all-powerful House Ways and Means Committee (where four Republicans currently outrank him), rather than the executive branch."


@NancyPelosi : We will all miss the brillance & genius of Nora Ephron, a pioneer who challenged all women to break the rules. #Legend

@jaketapper : Nora Ephron credited Billy Crystal with coming up with "I'll have what she's having." Classy and talented. RIP

@ariannahuff : "Nora just looked at every situation and cocked her head and thought, 'Hmmmm, how can I make this more fun?'" - Meryl Streep

@emmagkeller : Chip McGrath (as usual) does a brilliant, brilliant job. This time it's Nora Ephron's obit.

@joanwalsh : Deeply sad about Nora Ephron. What a generous spirit. Only met her once. It felt like much more.


- President Obama is in Washington DC, where he will meet with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed. Later, the President will attend a campaign finance roundtable and address a picnic for Members of Congress.

- Mitt Romney will hold a campaign event in Sterling, Virginia. In the evening, he will attend a private fundraiser in Washington DC.

- Vice President Joe Biden will continue his tour through Iowa, with stops in Dubuque and Clinton.

ABC's Joanna Suarez

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