The President's Weekly Address:
... The transcript is here.
Mark Murray of NBC News: "... President Barack Obama maintains his lead in the key battleground state of Ohio and is locked in a close contest with ... Mitt Romney in Florida, according to new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls. In Ohio, Obama holds a six-point advantage over Romney among likely voters, 51 percent to 45 percent, which is unchanged from last month's poll in the Buckeye State. And in Florida, the president gets support from 49 percent of likely voters, while his GOP challenger gets 47 percent. Those numbers are virtually identical to the ones from October, when it was Obama 48 percent, Romney 47 percent." ...
... Nate Silver: "There were 22 polls of swing states published Friday. Of these, Mr. Obama led in 19 polls, and two showed a tie. Mitt Romney led in just one of the surveys, a Mason-Dixon poll of Florida.... Although the fact that Mr. Obama held the lead in so many polls is partly coincidental -- there weren't any polls of North Carolina on Friday, for instance, which is Mr. Romney's strongest battleground state -- they nevertheless represent powerful evidence against the idea that the race is a 'tossup.'"
What Might Have Been. Mike Allen & Jim Vanderhei of Politico: "One of the most tantalizing subplots of the 2012 campaign has been the curious and sometimes controversial performances of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Now, campaign insiders tell Politico that Christie was Mitt Romney's first choice for the Republican ticket, lending an intriguing new context to the continuing drama around the Garden State governor. The strong internal push for Christie, and Romney's initial instinct to pick him as his running mate, reflects how conflicted the nominee remained about choosing a running mate until the very end of the process." CW: Kinda explains some of Christie's recent behavior, doesn't it?
The New York Review of Books has a special election edition. Read these four essays, starting with the one by Frank Rich. They're all terrific. Thanks to reader Doug C. for pointing me to the NYRB. ...
... Speaking of terrific writers, here's Rick Hertzberg of the New Yorker on God & presidential politics. Hertzberg, BTW, is an atheist. Or at least he was till the storm hit; maybe that kernel of conventional wisdom -- "There are no atheists in foxholes" (variously attributed, most often to Ernie Pyle) -- is at work on Hertzberg! ...
... Jonathan Chait of New York magazine, makes "the case against Romney: at heart he's a delusional one-percenter." A very good piece, too. ...
... Now read Chait on why Obama "is a great president. Yes, great."
Washington Post Editors: "Through all the flip-flops, there has been one consistency in the campaign of ... Mitt Romney: a contempt for the electorate. How else to explain his refusal to disclose essential information? Defying recent bipartisan tradition, he failed to release the names of his bundlers.... He never provided sufficient tax returns to show voters how he became rich. How, other than an assumption that voters are too dim to remember what Mr. Romney has said across the years and months, to account for his breathtaking ideological shifts? ... The same presumption of gullibility has infused his misleading commercials ... and his refusal to lay out an agenda.... And then there has been his chronic, baldly dishonest defense of mathematically impossible budget proposals." CW: too bad most people thing the Post is a liberal paper.
John Cassidy & Rick Hertzberg speak with Dorothy Wickenden about how Sandy might affect the presidential election:
... Cassidy has a good post on the implications of the October jobs numbers: "For the first time, Obama can now say that more Americans are working than when he took office. Doubtless, it's a point he'll be making over the next few days."
Charles Pierce takes up the same theme Paul Krugman illuminated in his Friday column: "As part of his 'closing argument,' Willard Romney, who has tried on every argument for making him our president that can be conceived by the mind of mortal man, seems to have settled on simple blackmail." Read to the end; Pierce doesn't waste words. ...
... More from Jonathan Chait, who explains why the blackmail argument is appealing to know-nothing voters -- they have no idea what the issues are, but the don't like the Bickersons of Capitol Hill. Chait also provides a little history lesson to show how Romney's promise would work out in the Real World of said Bickersons. (Think Bush III.) Oh, and catch Chait's point on Romney's clever use of the passive voice. ...
... Here's Romney making his blackmail threat. Watch that smirk creep across Romney's face as he pauses after making the threat. I think it might be the same expression a goulish murderer assumes when denying the crime -- as blood drips from his hands:
Steve Benen in the last of his long-running series, "Mitt's Mendacity": "I've published 40 installments in this series, which, before today, featured 884 falsehoods. (If you include today's edition, the new total is 917 falsehoods for the year.)"
"You don't scare hard-working Americans just to scare up some votes. That's not what being President is all about":
CW: I don't usually put much stock in what celebrities say, & Stephen Stills, in this Rolling Stone endorsement of President Obama doesn't say much that the editors at the New Yorker & the New York Times haven't said in their endorsements, but there is a certain something to the vernacular that makes Stills' piece compelling: "At the second debate, somebody asked how Bush and Romney differ. I'll give you the answer: Romney's taller, Mormon and a little smarter and meaner. That's about it. I couldn't believe how he acted at that debate. He's a churlish little prick. At least Bush was affable.... It's not right to be that rude to the President of the United States, let alone anybody else." Coincidentally, I was also just thinking this, too: "I never in my lifetime thought I would see a creepier politician than Richard Nixon, but in the last few days, it became clear that Willard Mitt Romney is really, really creepy." Thanks to contributor Ken W. for the link.
Charles Blow on why Romney appears to be losing.
Even Fox "News" Is Sick of Fox "News." Terry Krepel of Media Matters: "Fox News' argument that the Obama administration deliberately abandoned Americans in Libya to let them die in the Benghazi terrorist attack is apparently so odious that even Fox's own experts and commentators are rebelling against the narrative." Krepel cites examples & includes video. Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.
Jon Ortved of the New York Times: "There's always Canada." With some caveats.
NEW. Paul Krugman fingers Karl Rove as a con-man -- someone who is not just conning voters but also his clients: "We've been seeing him as a man dedicated to helping angry right-wing billionaires take over America. But maybe he's best thought of instead as an entrepreneur in the business of selling his services to angry right-wing billionaires, who believe that he can help them take over America."
NEW. Carol Leonnig & Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post: "The investigation into the arrest of a man on charges of dumping voter registration forms last month in Harrisonburg, Va., has widened, with state officials probing whether a company tied to top Republican leaders had engaged in voter registration fraud in the key battleground state, according to two persons close to the case."
Jayne Mayer of the New Yorker rebuts a rebuttal to her recent article on Hans von Spakovsky, a self-described legal scholar at the Heritage Foundation & "a prominent alarmist about election fraud in America." Bottom line: "...there is virtually no modern record of individual voters trying to steal elections by impersonating others at the polls."<[>Michael Cooper of the New York Times: "The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is threatening to create Election Day chaos in some storm-racked sections of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut -- and some effects may also be felt in other states, including Pennsylvania, where some polling sites still lacked power on Friday morning. Disrupted postal delivery will probably slow the return of absentee ballots. And with some polling sites likely to be moved, elections officials were bracing for a big influx of provisional paper ballots -- which could delay the vote count in places."
Craig Child in a New York Times op-ed: "Hurricane Sandy showed us how sea-level rise actually works. It comes up in spikes that top historic highs and then fall back to normal.... We talk about life slowly returning to normal along the Eastern Seaboard, but ultimately, it never will. A new high-water mark has been set. In the aftermath, one fact stands out above all: seas are rising, and we are in the way."
Eric Lipton & Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: "The first trickle of federal funds has started to go out after Hurricane Sandy -- $29 million to rebuild highways, $30 million to hire temporary workers to help with the cleanup. But lawmakers are just beginning to tally what is certain to be a multibillion-dollar bill for the federal government at a time of fiscal restraint."
Charles Pierce also has something to say about Senate Republicans' killing a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service which concluded, "essentially, that almost 35 years of Republican economic policy was sheer lunatic moonshine.... Republicans in the Senate have the same problem with numbers and with math that they have with science in general -- namely, that numbers and -- math were invented by Democrats, probably in Nate Silver's Carpathian la-BOR-a-tory, in order to help Republicans look foolish." Pierce characterizes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell thusly: "... [his] presence in a position of influence is an embarrassment to every democracy back to Pericles." (CW: I linked the underlying story, by New York Times writer Jonathan Weisman, in yesterday's Commentariat.
NBC News: "A jury on Friday ordered an American military contractor to pay $85 million after finding it guilty of negligence for illnesses suffered by a dozen Oregon soldiers who guarded an oilfield water plant during the Iraq War. After a three-week trial, the jury deliberated for just two days before reaching a decision against the contractor, Kellogg Brown and Root."
New York Times: "As long lines persisted at gas stations in the New York metropolitan area, federal authorities moved on Friday to restore supplies, instructing the Defense Department to send 24 million gallons of fuel to the region and lifting restrictions on deliveries by foreign-flagged ships." ...
... Update: "The lights flickered on in Manhattan neighborhoods that had been dark for days, and New York's subways rumbled and screeched through East River tunnels again. But in shorefront stretches of Staten Island and Queens that were all but demolished, and in broad sections of New Jersey and Long Island, gasoline was still almost impossible to come by, electricity was still lacking, temperatures were dropping and worried homeowners wondered when help would finally arrive."
New York Times: "Four dark days after Hurricane Sandy blew through the New York region, residents and businesses in the lower end of Manhattan began to get power back on Friday.... In other boroughs and in the suburbs, the prognosis for full restoration was grimmer. In many parts of the region, utility companies forecast that people might be without power until the middle of November."
AP: once more, Staten Islanders feel they live in the forgotten borough. The New York City borough hardest-hit by Hurricane Sandy, help was slow to arrive, partly because the Verrazano bridge was closed until Friday. CW: the bridge story sounds like an excuse to me: according to this report, on Tuesday the Port Authority re-opened the three bridges that connect Staten Island to New Jersey.
New York Times: "Just when they might have thought they were in the clear, people recovering from meningitis in an outbreak caused by a contaminated steroid drug have been struck by a second illness. The new problem, called an epidural abscess, is an infection near the spine at the site where the drug -- contaminated by a fungus -- was injected to treat back or neck pain. The abscesses are a localized infection, different from meningitis, which affects the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. But in some cases, an untreated abscess can cause meningitis."
AP: "Some documents sealed in the 1970s as part of the court case against seven men involved in the Watergate burglary must be released, a federal judge ... says. U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth said in a two-page order Friday that some materials being sought by a Texas history professor should be released. He gave the National Archives and Records Administration a month to review and release the materials."