** Kim Barker of ProPublica: "Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all super PACs put together, new spending estimates show. These nonprofits, also known as 501(c)(4)s or c4s for their section of the tax code, don't have to disclose their donors to the public.... Crossroads GPS ... is the brainchild of GOP strategist Karl Rove, and spent an estimated $41.7 million. Americans for Prosperity ... is backed in part by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, and spent an estimated $18.2 million."
** Joe Stiglitz & Mark Zandi, in a New York Times op-ed: "Housing remains the biggest impediment to economic recovery, yet Washington seems paralyzed.... A mass refinancing program would work like a potent tax cut.... Senator Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, has proposed a remedy.... Mr. Merkley's plan would speed the healing."
Ernesto Londoño of the Washington Post: in a few short weeks, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has defied predictions by standing up to the military & restoring the power of the presidency.
First Lady Michelle Obama on healthcare reform. You can see other segments of her Leno interview here:
Helene Cooper of the New York Times: "President Obama came out swinging at Mitt Romney's running mate on Monday, accusing Representative Paul D. Ryan of standing in the way of aid to farmers and ranchers who have been hurt by the severe drought."
Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Representative Paul D. Ryan received a raucous baptism into public speaking as a vice-presidential candidate, State Fair-style, when he encountered determined hecklers on his first day of solo campaigning." ...
... Dana Milbank went to the fair, & -- watching Ryan attempting to speak -- realized why Romney had chosen him: "Ryan is almost as awkward as Romney."
Jonathan Chait of New York: "The non-extremist defense of Ryan is that his extremist plan is a 'negotiating' position designed to lead to a bipartisan fiscal adjustment with tax and entitlement reform. But literally nothing in his actual record (as opposed to his rhetoric) supports this interpretation." ...
... Garance Franke-Ruta of The Atlantic looks at Paul Ryan's so-called "legislative career" -- during his Congressional career, he has sponsored a total of two bills that passed into law, one naming the Janesville post office & the other changing tax policy on arrows (he's a bow hunter). It is a "... symptom of the corruption and divisiveness of contemporary Washington that a man who has not passed a single piece of substantive legislation, ever, can be hailed as a substantive and deep thinker and the voice of budgetary sanity while racking up an actual record consisting overwhelmingly of renaming post offices, honoring Ronald Reagan and Wisconsin, providing for the issuance of commemorative coins, and increasing the deficit through massive tax cuts.... [He has been] a force for gridlock and the sort of legislative failure that has come to characterize the 112th Congress.... Since he took over the chair of the House Budget Committee, the budgeting process has been even more of a mess than usual."
A Really Scary Thing about Paul Ryan I Didn't Know. Matthew O'Brien of The Atlantic: "Ryan is scared of the inflation monster under his bed.... He thinks that trying to bring down unemployment will unleash the inflation monster -- and that's why he wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal back in May of 2008 calling on Congress to revoke the Fed's dual mandate to target both low inflation and low unemployment.... He has sharply criticized Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke for printing money, and issued melodramatic (and incorrect) predictions about 'currency debasement.' ... Where did Paul Ryan get such a truly nutty idea?" Literally, literally, from Ayn Fucking Rand.
Gene Robinson: "Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate underscores the central question posed by this campaign: Should cold selfishness become the template for our society, or do we still believe in community? ... At least three times in recent days..., Romney has told campaign audiences...: 'When a young person makes the honor roll, I know he took a school bus to get to the school, but I don't give the bus driver credit for the honor roll.' ... What I hear Romney saying, and I suspect many others will also hear, is that the little people don't contribute and don't count."
Holly Bailey of Yahoo! News: "Speaking to reporters on the tarmac outside his campaign plane at [Miami International A]irport, Romney repeatedly declined to get into the specifics of where he and Ryan differ on federal budget proposals. Asked specifically to say where he disagrees with Ryan, Romney twice dodged the question."
Jeff Spross of Think Progress: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) is pushing back against Mitt Romney's claim that he and Paul Ryan "co-led a piece of legislation to make sure we can save Medicare." Wyden issued a statement, which reads in part, "I did not 'co-lead a piece of legislation.' I wrote a policy paper on options for Medicare. Several months after the paper came out I spoke and voted against the Medicare provisions in the Ryan budget. Governor Romney needs to learn you don;t protect seniors by makings things up, and his comments today sure won't help promote real bipartisanship."
Catalina Camia of USA Today: "Americans don't believe GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney hit a home run with his choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, with more of the public giving him lower marks than high ones. Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, is seen as only a 'fair' or 'poor' choice by 42% of Americans vs. 39% who think he is an 'excellent' or 'pretty good' vice presidential choice."
** Alec MacGillis: if Romney and "Sad Paul" get away with their lies while pretending to take the high ground, blame the press, which is unable to distinguish between a bald-faced lie and innuendo. ...
... CW: much has been made of the fact that members of focus groups, conducted by Democrats, just couldn't believe Ryan's budget was as draconian as it really is. Maybe, just maybe that is because the public reads/listens to the MSM, and the MSM simply won't tell the truth about Republican policies. ...
... Paul Krugman: The Ryan pick "is ... about exploiting the gullibility and vanity of the news media.... Ryan has a completely undeserved reputation in the media as a bluff, honest guy, in Ryan's case supplemented by a reputation as a serious policy wonk. None of this has any basis in reality.... So, a memo to the news media: you have now become players in this campaign, not just reporters. Mitt Romney isn't seeking a debate on the issues; on the contrary, he's betting that your gullibility and vanity will let him avoid a debate on the issues, including the issue of his own fitness for the presidency. I guess we'll see if it works." ...
** ... Matt Miller of the Washington Post: "The striking thing about Paul Ryan's ascent is the gulf between his proposals and the way the media have characterized them. Since Mitt Romney named Ryan to the ticket on Saturday, the news has been filled with talk of the 'fiscal conservative' (NPR) 'intent on erasing deficits' (New York Times) who has become 'the intellectual heart of the Republican Party’s movement to slash deficits' ( The Post). All of this is demonstrably false."
Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic on the Romney-Ryan "cynical Medicare Strategy." It's complicated, but among other things, "... the Romney campaign is attacking a proposal that Romney and his allies endorse." The difference: where ObamaCare moves $$ from Medicare to other healthcare cost savings, Ryan takes the money & runs.
Dylan Byers of Politico: "The Commission on Presidential Debates has decided on the moderators for this year's debates." As Jeanne B. writes, why not Rachel Maddow?
It Don't Begin Til the Fat Boy Sings. AP: "Chris Christie, the sometimes abrasive but always entertaining governor of New Jersey, is set to be announced Tuesday as the keynote speaker for the Republicans' national convention later this month." ...
... CW: Democrats, in a move of monumental idiocy, decided to hold their convention at a little place called Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina (a "right-to-work" state, the better to infuriate unions). The DNC thinks it can get around acknowledgment of some of its monumental idiocy by not calling it BoA Stadium. Oh, and by finally getting around to moving its money out of BoA & into Amalgamated Bank, "which is the only union-owned bank in the United States."
Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "It only took two hours after the Paul Ryan vice presidential announcement for Republican congressional candidates to get their talking points on how to spin the Ryan budget and Medicare attacks. 'Do not say: "entitlement reform," "privatization," "every option is on the table," the National Republican Congressional Committee said in an email memo. 'Do say: "strengthen," "secure," "save," "preserve," "protect." ... The internal email ... was a clear and immediate sign that Republicans knew Ryan could create trouble down ballot for GOP candidates in tight congressional races." ...
... Cameron Joseph & Alexandra Jaffe of The Hill: "Republicans strategists are worried that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) addition to the presidential ticket will cost their party House and Senate seats this fall. Their concern: Democrats will successfully demonize Ryan's budget plan, which contains controversial spending cuts and changes to Medicare."
New York Times: "The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, denied on Tuesday a report on the Web site of The Guardian that he had decided to grant asylum to the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. 'Rumor of asylum for Assange is false,' Mr. Correa said in a post on his Twitter account. 'There is still no decision.'"
New York Times: "Syria's former prime minister, [Riyad Farid Hijab,] who defected to Jordan last week, appeared in public on Tuesday for the first time since his escape, telling a news conference that the government of President Bashar al-Assad was collapsing and controlled no more than 30 percent of its territory."
New York Times: "A new release of stolen corporate e-mails by WikiLeaks has set off a flurry of concern and speculation around the world about a counterterrorist software program called TrapWire, which analyzes images from surveillance cameras and other data to try to identify terrorists planning attacks.