Jeff Mason & Steve Holland of the AP: "Facing a cliffhanger re-election attempt, President Barack Obama will launch a round-the-clock, two-day campaign blitz through six battleground states next week to try to fend off the challenge from Republican Mitt Romney. Polls show Obama's strong debate performance this week gained him little or no ground against the former Massachusetts governor with just over two weeks until the November 6 election."
Truly Troubling. Tom Kludt of TPM: "President Barack Obama's lead in Ohio is down to a point, a survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling on Saturday shows.... The poll was conducted after Tuesday's debate, and the results suggest the town hall in Hempstead, N.Y. was not a game changer for the president, whose overall lead dropped despite a plurality of Ohio voters declaring him the winner of the debate." ...
... CW: this is the first time in perhaps six months that I've thought it likely Romney would win the election. I'm pissed off at everybody. (Which is supposed to come first, anger or depression? I went right to anger.) ...
... Nate Silver has more. ...
... AND It Matters that Romney Owns the Fucking Voting Machines. Gerry Bello, at al., in the Free Press: Mitt Romney, "his brother, wife and son, have a straight-line financial interest in the voting machines that could decide this fall's election. These machines cannot be monitored by the public." The controlling firm also "has on its board of directors at least three close associates of the Romney family" who have contributed megabucks to Romney's campaign. Fully a third of [the company's] leadership previously worked at Romney's old Bain firm." ...
... In a somewhat tepid endorsement, the Cleveland Plain Dealer nonetheless favors Obama for re-election.
Alina Selyukhof, et al., of Reuters: "Mitt Romney held a financial advantage over President Barack Obama heading into October thanks to strong fundraising by the Republican Party that will allow its candidate to spend more on the last stretch toward the November 6 election."
New York Times Editors: "Mr. Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan -- have become ... artful about obfuscating their plans for Medicare, Medicaid.... Almost nothing the Republican candidates say on these or other health care issues can be taken at face value.... Mr. Romney ... says his plans would have no effect on people now on Medicare or nearing eligibility. But ... most beneficiaries would see their annual premiums and cost-sharing go up. The average beneficiary in traditional Medicare would pay about $4,200 more over the 2011-12 period, and heavy users of prescription drugs about $16,000 more over the same period, if the act was repealed...."
CW: if, like me, you are a middle-class taxpayer, and if, unlike me, you think Romney will give you a 20 percent tax break & strew your garden path with rose petals, WAKE THE FUCK UP. Pat Garofalo of Think Progress notes that to support his case that his math-free tax plan will totally work, Romney uses a study which assumes that almost all middle-class tax breaks will be eliminated. Thanks to Victoria D. for the link.
Digby: "... obsessing over what the administration said in the first days after the [Benghazi] attack is the stupidest right-wing manufactured pseudo-scandal I've come across in quite some time. And it's pathetic that the mainstream press is still so willing to chase after these shiny objects."
David Firestone: "Bill Clinton took the stage at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday night and delivered an hour-long education in the real issues at stake in this election. He talked about Medicaid and financial reform and the student loan system with an appreciation for the granular not usually displayed by the man he was stumping for, President Obama. It was the dream speech of a policy wonk, but Mr. Clinton never assumed that the details would bore a general audience, and they did not." Thanks to Victoria D. for the link. Here's a taste:
Jeff Sommer of the New York Times: "Through Friday, since Mr. Obama's inauguration -- his first 1,368 days in office -- the Dow Jones industrial average has gained 67.9 percent.... The market's rise and fall has an enormous effect on the wealth of ordinary Americans -- and on whether they feel themselves to be wealthy. American presidents since 1900.... The stock market has flourished under the president -- and under Democratic presidents generally. Since 1900, it has returned 7.1 percent annually when Democrats have occupied the White House, and only 3 percent under Republicans.... Are you better off than you were four years ago? For stock portfolios, at least, the last four years have been bumpy but they haven't been bad at all."
MoDo doesn't like Obama & she doesn't like Romney: "In some ways, the two rivals are alike: cold, deliberative fish, self-regarding elitists with upbringings out of the norm and trouble connecting at times...." Read at your own risk.
This was inevitable:
Multi-billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticizes both candidates, too. At least his criticisms are substantive.
Ha ha. The New York Times reports that the U.S. & Iran have agreed to talks re: Iran's nuclear program. So I wrote: "get ready for the wingers to claim Ahmadinejad is a key Obama supporter." Well, sure enough, here's some person named Quin Hillyer of the American Spectator: "This is nothing other than an Iranian attempt to bolster Obama's re-election chances." Ditto from Jazz Shaw at Hot Air. Must the wing-nuts be so predictable?
The New York Times endorses Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) of New York for U.S. Senate.
The New York Times endorses Rep. Chris Murphy (D) of Connecticut for U.S. Senate.
Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times: "U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is heading back to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn."
In a New York Times column, former Obama economic advisor Christina Romer reports on academic studies that show the stimulus was a big jobs creator. She also goes into what-all could have been done better, implicitly blaming the Obama administration for a failure to communicate. CW: Do you suppose the "undecideds" depicted below will gobble up Romer's analysis & immediately become staunch Obama backers? See, actually, facts don't matter.
For those of you having trouble "Understanding the Undecideds," Brian McFadden of the New York Times is here to help:
Bill Marsh of the New York Times outlines new state voting restrictions. "The most rigid voter ID laws are believed to affect about 10 percent of eligible voters, said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center." CW: of course most of those would be Democratic-leaning voters, so that raises, to as much as double the percentage of Democratic voters who may find they can't or don't dare to vote. So when I said in a comment to yesterday's Commentariat that Obama could lose even though more Americans preferred to vote for him than for Romney, I wasn't exaggerating. Michelle Obama said not long ago that voting rights were the civil rights movement of our era. She was right. ...
... You Are Now Living in a Third-World Country. Alexander Bolton of The Hill: "United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week."
** Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy: "House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) compromised the identities of several Libyans working with the U.S. government and placed their lives in danger when he released reams of State Department communications Friday, according to Obama administration officials.... 'When you dump a bunch of documents into the ether, there are a lot of unintended consequences,' an administration official told The Cable Friday afternoon. 'This does damage to the individuals because they are named, danger to security cooperation because these are militias and groups that we work with and that is now well known, and danger to the investigation, because these people could help us down the road.' ... Even WikiLeaks had approached the State Department and offered to negotiate retractions of sensitive information before releasing their cables.... Issa did not grant the State Department that opportunity...."
Glenn Greenwald on the "unfathomable ignorance" of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (Fla.), who appears, in the embedded video, not to know anything about President Obama's "kill lists."
Tracy Bloom of TruthDig: The Rev. Phil Snider, a Missouri pastor, delivered an impassioned speech before the Springfield City Council in which he appeared to be making the case against amending the city's nondiscrimination ordinance to add protection for sexual orientation and gender identity." Don't be offended, & do listen till the end. Thanks to contributor P. D. Pepe for the link:
... In his post "This Week in God," Steve Benen highlights a preacher of a different stripe: Romney supporter Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association who argues that "'masculine leadership in society over the nation' is 'God's basic plan for today,' and 'political leadership ought to be ... reserved for the hands of males.' Anticipating criticism, the religious right leader added that those who believe in gender equality won't offer a 'reasoned' response to his shameless misogyny." Benen provides video, so enjoy your Sunday sermon. ...
... Also via Benen, Eric Maripodi of CNN reports, "Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham's mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association." Whaddaya bet Mitt didn't diss the cookies this time?
In a New York Times op-ed, Samantha Bee discusses a recent scientific UCLA study which found that GOP female Members of Congress have more feminine faces than do Democratic women MOCs. Bee is thrilled that research dollars are going to such important work.
New York Times: "Russia's security services have killed 49 rebels and captured dozens more in a counterterrorism offensive that officials called a "considerable" blow to the insurgency in the North Caucasus region, the Russian National Anti-Terrorism Committee announced on Sunday. President Vladimir V. Putin had urged the use of increasingly aggressive means to subdue the insurgency in the North Caucasus ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the southern city of Sochi, which is at the edge of the turbulent region."
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Seven people were shot late Sunday morning at a spa near the Brookfield Square Mall [near Milwaukee, Wisconsin] - apparently none fatally - and police were combing the area searching for the suspect. The multiple shooting occurred about 11 a.m. at the Azana Salon & Spa on N. Moorland Road, just south of Blue Mound Road and across the street from Brookfield Square."
New York Times: "George McGovern, the United States senator who won the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1972 as an opponent of the war in Vietnam and a champion of liberal causes, and who was then trounced by President Richard M. Nixon in the general election, died early Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 90." The Washington Post obituary is here.
** ABC News: "The latest intelligence assessment of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi indicates there was little if any pre-planning for it and that it was in part an opportunistic response to the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.'"
Reuters: "Libyan militias captured Muammar Gaddafi's chief spokesman on Saturday, the government said, but an audio clip posted on Facebook purporting to be the voice of Moussa Ibrahim denied his capture."