Veep Wars: Joe Biden's Unchained Melody Meets GOP Ire

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


  • THE DOG DAYS AREN'T OVER: President Obama finally went there yesterday, ABC's Mary Bruce reports from Oskaloosa, Iowa. He teased Mitt Romney for famously putting the family dog on the roof of his car as the president blasted his opponent's energy policy. Touting the job-creating potential of wind energy in Iowa, the president criticized Romney for saying, "You can't drive a car with a windmill on it." "Now," the president said chuckling. "I don't know if he's actually tried that. I know he's had other things on his car."
  • JUST IN FROM BOSTON: The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee released a new Spanish-language TV ad this morning called, "No Podemos Más," which, according to a statement accompanying the ad "highlights the adverse way in which the Hispanic community has been impacted by President Barack Obama's failed economic policies." WATCH:
  • MISTAKES WERE MADE: A controversial TV ad tying Mitt Romney to a woman's cancer death aired today for the first time in Ohio, apparently in error, according to the pro-Obama super PAC that produced it. "Station error is all," explained Priorities USA Action senior strategist Bill Burton. The ethics and accuracy of the claims in the 30-second spot have been the subject of intense debate since it first appeared online one week ago. Republicans and some Democrats say the group crossed a line in suggesting Romney's role at Bain Capital contributed to a woman's death, especially after fact-checkers debunked the suggestion that the woman died immediately after her husband's layoff from a Bain-owned factory or entirely lacked health insurance because of the move.
  • HE'S BAAACK: Today former presidential candidate Rick Santorum will hold a "Who Shares Our Values?" event at The Tangier in Akron, Ohio on behalf of the Romney campaign.
  • NOTE IT! In today's virtual political roundtable, ABC's David Muir asks whether the campaign has already gone to the dogs (and it's not even Labor Day) while ABC News Political Director digs into the results of a focus group of 12 suburban, white women in Milwaukee who think Mitt Romney is "hiding something" by not releasing more tax returns.


Was it worth it?

"We got a real clear picture of what they all value," Vice President Joe Biden said at a campaign event in Virginia yesterday, referring to the Republican budget conceived, in part by newly-minted vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. "Every Republican's voted for it. Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they're proposing. Romney wants to let the - he said in the first hundred days he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, 'unchain Wall Street.' They're going to put y'all back in chains."

Opponents immediately seized upon those comments to say, as the Romney campaign did, that the Obama re-election effort had "reached a new low."

"His campaign has resorted to diversions and distractions, to demagoguing and defaming others," Mitt Romney said on the final stop of his bus tour in Ohio last night. "It's an old game in politics; what's different this year is that the president is taking things to a new low."

Later on Tuesday, as ABC's Arlette Saenz reports, the vice president said he misspoke and intended to use the word "unshackle," which has been used by the GOP in the past.

"I'm told that when I made that comment earlier today in Danville, Virginia, the Romney campaign put out a tweet. You know, tweets these days? Put out a tweet, went on the airwaves saying, 'Biden, he's outrageous in saying that,' I think I said instead of 'unshackled,' 'unchained.' 'Outrageous to say that.' That's what we had. I'm using their own words. I got a message for them. If you want to know what's outrageous, it's their policies and the effects of their policies on middle class America. That's what's outrageous," Biden added.

Nevertheless, the outcry from Republicans continued unabated.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus labeled the Obama campaign "one of the most hateful, divisive operations that we have ever seen in this country."

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren last night, said Biden's outburst should be "the nail in the coffin" for his place on the Democratic ticket.

"Strategists there in the Obama campaign have got to look at a diplomatic way of replacing Joe Biden on the ticket with Hillary," Palin suggested. "And I don't want to throw out that suggestion and have them actually accept the suggestion because then an Obama-Hillary Clinton ticket would have a darn good chance of winning."

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani even questioned whether Biden had the "mental capacity" to be president if the need arose.

Whether the outcry from Republicans is real or manufactured, let that be a lesson to Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan. People are listening to the No. 2's - especially this week - just as much as they are to the top of the ticket.


ABC's DAVID MUIR: With Mitt Romney's most scathing rebuke yet of the President, Vice President Joe Biden trying to defend his words, and the President talking about Mitt Romney's dog - what happened to talk of a high-minded campaign post Ryan pick? And we haven't even hit Labor Day. Watch Muir's "World News" report from Ohio:

ABC's AMY WALTER: Reality Check: While the campaigns trade barbs and the pundits obsess about the wisdom of the Ryan pick, swing voters are still busy focusing on the economy. Almost every one of the twelve suburban, white women in Milwaukee who participated in a focus group sponsored by the Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania last night experienced some serious economic loss or distress. And, while they think Obama is more approachable than Romney, are leery of the Ryan budget, and think Romney is "hiding something" by not releasing his taxes, they are more concerned about their own economic situation. Michelle, a 38 year old unemployed wire technician and mother of three, voted for Obama in 2008 and said she is leaning to Romney this November. She summed it up like this: "When you are without a job it's just not nice out there. In 2008, when I was still working I was into it [Obama and the election]. This year, I'm not so into it….I have a lot of anger. I have been laid off for three years. It is terrible out there."

ABC's JONATHAN KARL takes on Paul Ryan's Medicare Controversy: What Does It Mean For You? Karl breaks down what every American needs to know. WATCH:


With ABC's Chris Good ( @c_good)

PAUL RYAN, MASTER BOWHUNTER. ABC's Gregory J. Krieg reports: Ryan is a proper hunter, an "aficionado" who's "always consumed with trying this and trying that," Archery Trade Association chief Jay McAninch tells ABC News. The Washington-based group has "given him a refuge at some of the more, you could say, high-falutin' events to step aside and talk about gadgets and new equipment," McAninch said. "When Paul came down to Congress in 1999 he was very active as a Wisconsinite in bowhunting, so he joined the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus." McAninch was head of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation at the time, "so we got to know each other that way."

'ANGRY AND DESPERATE.' ABC's Emily Friedman reports from Chillicothe, Ohio on a fiery Romney stump speech and a new attack line on Obama: Closing out his four-day bus tour, Mitt Romney stood on the steps of the courthouse here and ripped apart President Obama's campaign strategy as one of the "diversions" that have taken the nation's highest office to a "new low" that appears "angry and desperate." "You don't hear any answers coming from President Obama's re-election campaign," said Romney "This is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like," said Romney … "That's because he's intellectually exhausted, out of ideas, and out of energy," said Romney of Obama in what was one of his most strongly worded speeches to date …"This is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like," said Romney.

RYAN MEETS NEVADA DONORS AS PROTESTS RAGE OUTSIDE. ABC's ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports from Las Vegas: Hundreds of protesters greeted Paul Ryan as he met with a small group of Nevada donors including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson at the Venetian hotel. Protesters gathered outside the casino on Tuesday and chanted "Paul Ryan go home" and waved signs that read, "Romney/Ryan Road to Ruin," "Paul Ryan Hustling for the One Percent" and "This is What Democracy Looks Like?" The group was mostly made of labor organizations including the American Federation of Government Employees who were in Las Vegas for a conference. They joined up with local labor chapters to protest, including members of the AFL-CIO.

FIRST SOLO VP INTERVIEW: BRIT HUME PRESSES RYAN FOR DETAILS. Fox News' Brit Hume landed Paul Ryan's first solo interview as Mitt Romney's VP, and he pressed the House Budget Committee chairman for details on the campaign's policy claims. Hume challenged Ryan for specific answers on Medicare cuts in his own budget plan, taxes, and how long it would take before that plan balances the budget.

RYAN TO HUME: WE CAN BALANCE IN 10 YEARS. While declining to cite specific analyses of his House budget plan, Paul Ryan told Fox's Brit Hume: "The House budget doesn't budget until the 2030s under the current, of what we call measurement of the CBO baseline. We believe that if we get the economy growing, if we get people back to work, we'll balance a budget within 10 years."

RYAN ON BREAKING UP WITH AYN RAND. Asked about his affinity for the conservative author, Ryan told Hume: "Now you see, I really enjoyed her novels, Atlas Shrugged in particular. It triggered my interest in economics, that's where I got into studying economics, that's why I wanted to study the whole field of economics. I later in life learned what her philosophy was, it's called objectivism. It's something I completely disagree with, it's an atheistic philosophy. So, but I think what she's done, is she showed, she came from Communism, she showed how the pitfalls of Socialism can hurt the economy … But her philosophy which is something quite a bit different, is something that I just don't agree with."

RYAN: 'WE DO NOT ADD CUTS TO MEDICARE.' Hume: "But it is the case that in the budget that you had passed for the House of Representatives, significant savings of upwards of $500 billion dollars are planned right?" Ryan: "We do not add cuts to Medicare program in the House Budget. We don't take more cuts to Medicare. We simply prevent the raid of Medicare so that those dollars go to setting up the life of Medicare."

FACT CHECK: OBAMA, RYAN, ROMNEY BACKED THE SAME MEDICARE CUTS. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports: Voters might be left with the impression [after Mitt Ronmey's latest TV ad] that Romney and Ryan have both opposed the cuts. The truth is that Ryan himself endorses them in his signature budget plan-the same plan Romney has said he would sign as president if it reached his desk. … But in an added twist through all of this - further complicating the picture in a way that voters might not be aware - Romney asserts that the Romney-Ryan ticket is running on his budget proposal, not Ryan's, and he would restore those cuts.

ADDING WISCONSIN TO THE MAP? USA Today's Judy Kleen reports that Romney and Ryan can't count on winning in the Badger State, but Gov. Scott Walker tells her they could try: "No Republican presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1984 has carried Wisconsin, but the state has undergone a dramatic political shift since Republican Scott Walker was elected governor. … Walker says the Romney campaign, which so far has not aired TV ads in Wisconsin, intends to reassess that decision after the Republican National Convention and he expects a bigger effort here. The Romney-Ryan campaign will use his recall infrastructure, which included 24 'victory centers' coordinating grass-roots activity that accumulated 4.5 million voter contacts. 'What it did was reawaken the Republican base of volunteers,' he says."

AT SOLO RALLY, RYAN COMES OUT SWINGING. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports from Lakewood, Colo.: Paul Ryan, on the stump as Mitt Romney's running mate Tuesday, aimed his fire directly at President Obama. He said the Democratic campaign has to "distort, demagogue, to divide," all to distract from the "real issues" of the campaign. "He comes to change the tone and culture in Washington," Ryan said to a boisterous crowd at a high school. "And so here's where we've arrived. He can't run on his record. He hasn't changed his tune. So all that he has left is to distort, demagogue, to divide, to try and confuse, to distract you from the real issues of this election." Tuesday was Ryan's second solo day of on the campaign trail.

OBAMA STOPS FOR 'JUST ONE MORE' BEER. ABC's Mary Bruce reports from Waterloo, Iowa: Earlier today, President Obama recounted how much he enjoyed his pork chop and beer at the Iowa State Fair on Monday night. "It was good. I might have another beer today. You know, just one," he jokingly told supporters in Marshalltown. "Just one." Sure enough, on the way to his final campaign event of the day, the president's motorcade pulled into the Pump Haus in Cedar Falls for one more Bud. "I'm thinking I should order my beer and come back and talk," the president said, according to pool reports, shortly after entering the pub. After ordering a draft Bud Light, Obama spent several minutes chatting with the bar owners and some of the other patrons.

OBAMA TV AD: ROMNEY SHOULD 'GET REAL' ON STUDENT LOANS. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports: The 30-second spot says Romney wants to cut federal college aid for millions of students and encourage them to go into debt, replaying several times this line from a March speech at Otterbein University: "Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business," Romney said. In response, says the Obama ad's narrator: "Get real, Mitt."

OBAMA VISITS WIND FARM. ABC's Mary Bruce reports from Marshalltown, Iowa: President Obama made a surprise detour to a wind farm today, part of his ongoing effort to tout his support for one of this swing state's top industries. … Once again, Obama criticized Mitt Romney for wanting to end tax credits for clean energy production. "He's called these sources of energy 'imaginary'; his new running mate has called them a 'fad,'" he said.

OBAMA: STILL THE SOCIAL-MEDIA CANDIDATE. Pew Research Center reports: "On the eve of the conventions, Barack Obama holds a distinct advantage over Mitt Romney in the way his campaign is using digital technology to communicate directly with voters. The Obama campaign is posting almost four times as much content and is active on nearly twice as many platforms, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. … The Romney campaign averaged 1 tweet per day while the Obama campaign averaged 29 tweets, 17 per day on @BarackObama (the Twitter account associated with his presidency) and 12 on @Obama2012 (the account associated with his campaign). Obama also had about twice as many blog posts on his campaign website than did Romney and more than twice as many YouTube videos."

MICA WINS IN FLA., PALIN ENDORSEMENT RECORD TAKES A HIT. Rep. John Mica has fended off an incumbent tea partier in his Florida Republican primary, driven by House redistricting. The 10-term representative collected 61 percent of the vote to defeat Sarah-Palin-backed Rep. Sandy Adams in Florida's new 7th district, which encompassed much of Adams's current territory in the 112th Congress. Palin, who endorsed Adams in July, was delivered her second primary-pick loss in as many weeks; Sarah Steelman's loss in the Missouri GOP Senate primary last Tuesday broke Palin's unbeaten streak in Senate-primary picks. Palin's endorsees have gone four for five in GOP Senate primaries. After tonight, Palin will be 12 of 14 in House primaries, after Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, lost her March primary to political newcomer and Army Reserves Major Brad Westrup.

WISCONSIN BADGERED FOR ANOTHER VOTE: THOMPSON WINS SENATE PRIMARY. Former governor, Health and Human Services Secretary, and momentary '08 presidential candidate Tommy Thompson won Wisconsin's Republican Senate primary, staving off three GOP rivals. The result is a win for an established figure and a loss for tea partiers and free-market groups in Washington, D.C. The usual suspects in conservative politics were divided sharply over the race, between Thompson's two main competitors: former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann and businessman Eric Hovde. The Club for Growth and Sen. Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund came to Neumann's assistance, funding ads that fueled a late surge. Neumann's loss is a blow to his Washington backers, but it would have been more severe had Hovde won, given the money those groups spent attacking him. Thompson carried 34 percent, while Hovde trailed with 31 percent and Neumann placed third with 23 percent.

LONGTIME CONGRESSMAN TRAILS IN FLORIDA SHOCKER. Though he did not concede as 100 percent of precincts reported his downfall late into Tuesday night, twelve-term Rep. Cliff Stearns trails his primary opponent in what could be a shocking upset. Ted Yoho, a veterinarian and political newcomer, leads Stearns by 829 votes, according to Associated Press vote totals. Redistricting forced Stearns into a geographically larger, newly drawn district stretching north and west of his old territory, into Florida's panhandle. One of Stearns's opponents, Clay County Clerk of Courts James Jett, alleged in March that Stearns had attempted to bribe him out of the race through a middleman. A Stearns spokesman denied the accusation. Jett ranks fourth in the unexpectedly crowded primary with 14%

MCMAHON WINS CONN. PRIMARY. Former WWE CEO and self-funding candidate Linda McMahon has bested Rep. Chris Shays in their Connecticut Senate primary on Tuesday night. McMahon rated as a clear favorite, having led handily in polls since last year. The win ensures her a place on the ballot against Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy in November. Polls indicate a close race with Murphy leading by single digits. McMahon lost her 2010 Senate bid to Democrat Dick Blumenthal.

POLL: NON-VOTERS FOR OBAMA. Suffolk University releases findings from a new poll: "Nearly 40 percent of adult U.S. citizens will stay away from the polls this coming November, but if these Americans were to vote, President Barack Obama would coast to a second term in office, according to a Suffolk University-USA TODAY nationwide survey of unregistered and unlikely voters. Obama was the choice of 43 percent of unregistered Americans, while 23 percent said they would choose a third-party candidate over Republican Mitt Romney (14 percent). The Democratic president also pulled 43 percent of registered voters who said they are less likely to cast a ballot, while 20 percent chose Romney, and 18 percent would prefer a third-party candidate, according to the poll."

CHELSEA CLINTON LEAVES THE DOOR OPEN. ABC's Amy Bingham reports: Chelsea Clinton may follow in her parents' footsteps after all. After years of shooting down rumors that she may run for office, the 32-year-old Clinton left the door open to having another Clinton on the electoral ballots. "Before my mom's campaign I would have said no," Clinton said in an interview published in the latest issue of Vogue magazine. "And now I don't know …"


-SCOTT BROWN RELEASES NEW RADIO REPORT "TAXMAGEDDON." Scott Brown's campaign is out with a new radio report this morning titled "Taxmageddon." The 60 second ad addresses tax increase set to take effect January 1st, 2013 and will air statewide. "On January 1st, tax rates for all Americans are scheduled to go up. Such an event, if it happens, has been dubbed 'Taxmageddon,' one of the largest tax hikes in history" Brown says in the ad. LISTEN:

-OBAMA WEB VIDEO: ENDING MEDICARE. President Obama's campaign "Truth Team" has released a Web video splicing together cable-news commentary on and coverage of Paul Ryan's plan to "end Medicare as we know it." From the campaign's release: "Let's pretend Paul Ryan can so easily walk away from the disastrous policies he has championed for years. In that imaginary world where the Romney-Ryan ticket puts the interests of the middle class first, we have to ask: what might Paul Ryan take back next?"

-OFA ON RYAN/ADELSON: 'KISS THE RING.' As ABC's Devin Dwyer notes, Obama for America is fundraising off Ryan's meeting with Adelson. Deputy Campaign Manager Julianna Smoot e-mailed supporters with a solicitation: "Today, just 72 hours after joining the GOP ticket, Paul Ryan is making a pilgrimage to the Sands' Venetian casino in Las Vegas to kiss the ring of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who's already donated more than $35 million to Republican groups in this election. …"


@SusanPage : Joe who? Only 39% of unlikely voters in our new poll could name the current vice president.

@thegarance : CBO devil in details: 68% of health-care cost spending wld transferred to individuals under Ryan Medicare plan by 2030

@jennaportnoy : Keynote may be a springboard for @GovChristie, but experts say first it's about "the team".

@DavidMDrucker : Romney-Ryan rift averted?: According to the Green Bay Packers 2012 schedule, they do not play the Patriots during the regular season.

?@reidepstein : A photo of Paul Ryan w/Beth Myers's son in her kitchen the day he accepted the VP slot. via @jimmyvielkind

COMING ATTRACTIONS: DIANE SAWYER SITS DOWN WITH BOB WOODWARD. ABC's Diane Sawyer will speak with author and journalist Bob Woodward in an exclusive interview about his much anticipated book, "The Price of Politics." Woodward's reporting provides a sweeping account of how President Obama and the highest profile Republican and Democratic leaders in the United States Congress attempted to restore the American economy and improve the federal government's fiscal condition. Sawyer's interview will begin airing on "World News" on Sept. 10 and the extended interview will air later that night on "Nightline." Portions of the interview will be released Monday afternoon as part of the ABC News-Yahoo! News "Newsmakers" video series. On Sept. 11, Woodward will sit down with George Stephanopoulos for his first live television interview on "Good Morning America." Woodward's "The Price of Politics" will be published by Simon & Schuster on Sept. 11.


-President Obama campaigns with the First Lady in Dubuque and Davenport, IA. These two stops will be the final stops of the President's Iowa Bus Tour.

-Mitt Romney is fundraising Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. and Birmingham, AL. In Charlotte, Romney will hold a fundraiser with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus at The Duke Mansion.

-Vice President Biden is in Blacksburg, Va. where he'll deliver remarks at Virginia Tech.

-Paul Ryan is in Oxford, Ohio at his alma mater Miami University. Ryan will speak to students in the Engineering Quad.

ABC's Josh Haskell ( @HaskellBuzz)

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