Michael Luo & Mike McIntire of the New York Times: "Buried deep in the tax returns released by Mitt Romney's presidential campaign are references to dozens of offshore holdings.... Mr. Romney ... has offered a narrow defense, saying only that the investments, many made through the private equity firm he founded, Bain Capital, have yielded him 'not one dollar of reduction in taxes.' ... [But] in some cases, the offshore arrangements enabled his individual retirement account to avoid taxes on its investments and may well have reduced Mr. Romney's personal income tax bills."
** Mitt's Moochers. Frank Bass of Bloomberg News: "Almost 2,400 people who received unemployment insurance in 2009 lived in households with annual incomes of $1 million or more, according to the Congressional Research Service."
Maybe This is Mitt's Secret Jobs Plan:
... This Wikipedia entry has more on Unicor, which has been around since 1934.
Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: "Senate leaders are closing in on a path for dealing with the 'fiscal cliff' facing the country in January, opting to try to use a postelection session of Congress to reach agreement on a comprehensive deficit reduction deal rather than a short-term solution.... House Republicans continue to resist any discussion of tax increases. But lawmakers and aides say that a bipartisan group of senators is coalescing around an ambitious three-step process to avert a series of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts." CW: read what Paul Krugman thinks about such a plan (linked in yesterday's Commentariat.)
Adam Nagourney of the New York Times: in California, "wealthy conservatives are championing a ballot measure that would bar unions from donating to candidates. Labor leaders describe it as the starkest threat they have faced in a year of nationwide challenges to diminish their once-formidable power. The measure, Proposition 32..., would prohibit both unions and corporations from making contributions, but the corporate provision is far less stringent than the one aimed at unions.... If passed, it would also bar unions from using automatic payroll deductions to raise money for political campaigns, a major source of labor's political funding."
Jonathan Chait liked David Leonhardt's essay in the New York Times (linked in Sunday's Commentariat, & I'm still recommending it if you missed it) on what President Obama could have done better. But, Chait notes, "Leonhardt is implicitly measuring Obama against a very tough baseline. He asks is there anything more Obama could have done, and the answer is yes. But that is true of almost any leader in history.... On the whole, Obama's response was quite good. But if Obama is going to say he did everything in his power to alleviate the crisis, then people like Leonhardt should point out that he didn't."
We Learn that ObamaCare Is Racist. They’re going to tax tanning booths. Do black people tan? -- Romney Volunteer from Massachusetts
Eric Lipton of the New York Times: "As the Obama administration has cracked down on corporate fraud, lawyers representing whistle-blowers have reaped multimillion-dollar rewards. Now, as they seek to sustain these historic payouts, they are donating generously to the president's re-election campaign." Along with the political implications & intrigue, which are fascinating enough, Lipton gives some interesting stats: "Since January 2009, $13.2 billion has been collected by the federal government from companies through the False Claims Act, the primary whistle-blower tool, with about $9.4 billion of that involving alleged health care fraud. The federal government has recovered more in financial penalties against drugmakers since 2009 than in the previous 18 years combined, with whistle-blowers credited for helping initiate about three quarters of the cases...."
Michael Shear & Ashley Parker of the New York Times: yo, Romney has another new campaign theme: "something, something, I'm not Obama." The old campaign theme, "I'm not Obama," has not worked out.
Gene Robinson: "Wednesday’s presidential debate promises sharp contrasts. One candidate wants to repeal Obamacare, one candidate invented it. One opposed the auto industry bailout, one takes credit for it. One doubts the scientific consensus about climate change, one believes in it. One wants to 'voucherize' Medicare, one wants to save it. One dismisses nearly half of Americans as a bunch of moochers, and one claims to champion the struggling middle class. It promises to be an epic clash: Mitt Romney vs. Mitt Romney. Oh, and President Obama will be there, too."
Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "Romney's team has apparently been hard at work on the zinger front, and the New York Times reports that they've 'equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since August.' Great. I don't doubt that Team Obama is doing the same, but the big difference here is that the Romney guys actually bragged about it. This is so mind-numbingly stupid that Romney probably ought to be tossed out of the race just for sheer campaign incompetence." ...
... Frank Bruni writes a fairly funny column on the Obama campaign's efforts to lower expectations for his performance at Wednesday's debate.
Craig Unger in Salon: "According to a highly reliable source..., top Republican operatives are primed to a new two-pronged offensive that will attack Obama as weak on national security, and will be based, in part, on new intelligence information regarding the attacks in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens on Sept. 11.... The source described the Republicans as chortling with glee that the Obama administration 'definitely had intel' about the attack before it happened." This is supposed to be Romney's "October Surprise." Boo! ...
... Roger Cohen in the New York Times: Obama has made foreign policy mistakes, but Romney sees the world as it was 30 years ago.
Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: the "47 percent" remark is still hurting Romney, thanks in part to ads the Obama campaign is running in swing states.
Allison Sherry of the Denver Post: "Young illegal immigrants who receive temporary work permits to stay in the United States under an executive order issued by President Barack Obama would not be deported under a Mitt Romney administration, the GOP presidential hopeful told The Denver Post Monday. 'The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I'm not going to take something that they've purchased,' Romney said. 'Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I've proposed.'"
Jason Schwartz in Boston Magazine on why Romney is so unpopular in Massachusetts. Thanks to contributor MAG for the link. ...
... Molly Ball of The Atlantic on why Romney is so unpopular in Appalachia.
Steve Benen counts six incidents that Republicans or conservatives have identified as "Obama's Watergate," the latest of course being the Libyan attack.
CW: When even the Very Serious People on the Washington Post's editorial board accuse Paul Ryan of "budget flimflam," you know it wasn't just Romney who made a mistake in selecting Ryan as his running mate. Ryan made a mistake in accepting. When you get kicked up to VP nominee, even some VSPs will stop talking long enough to try to figure out what you're actually saying. Result: Ryan is no longer the VSP's darling boy.
Benjy Sarlin of TPM: "Haley Barbour's ... firm Resurgent Republic conducted focus groups of blue collar voters in Ohio and suburban women in Virginia who supported Obama in 2008 but are now undecided.... Their findings? Voters are a lot more willing to believe attacks based around Romney quotes than they are on Obama quotes. 'Whenever we showed direct quotes from President Obama..., voters consistently say that this is probably taken out of context and they don't seem to hold that same standard with Governor Romney,' pollster Linda DiVall ... said. CW: um, maybe that's because Romney does pull Obama quotes out of context. Apparently that trick works better when the quotes are, you know, believable.
CW: When Alex Pareene of Salon ran this picture of Romney in a post in which Pareene compared Romney to Dick Cheney (linked in yesterday's Commentariat), I thought maybe Pareene had altered the photo to make Romney look more like Cheney. But, no, I found U.S. News using the same photo, so it's the real deal. Romney is morphing into Cheney, villainous sneer & all.
Now it's time for our new show, "Two Hacks in an Office." At least Brooks says some of the right things about Willard:
... Via Driftglass: "What Mistah Kurtz fails to mention is that Mr. Brooks's 'longstanding conservative tradition' is a work of fiction, invented by Mr. Brooks almost entirely out of whole cloth in order to bury the deeply troubling, bigoted, anti-science, anti-reason, pro-global-conquest real conservatism to which Mr. Brooks owes his entire professional career and from which he now flees like a vampire trying to outrace the dawn."
First General Election Results Counted. Caitlin McDevitt of Politico: "Michelle Obama has won Family Circle's 2012 Presidential Cookie Bake-Off, the magazine reports in its November issue.... [Ann] Romney's M&M cookies got 48.5 percent of votes, while Obama's white and dark chocolate chip cookies won with 51.5 percent. Family Circle notes that the bake-off, which it's hosted since 1992, 'has been a bell-weather in four out of five elections.' The exception? Obama lost to Cindy McCain four years ago, despite complaints that the Arizona senator's wife had cheated."
Martin Finucane of the Boston Globe: "Republican US Senator Scott Brown portrayed himself as an independent voter and thinker in Washington, while his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, charged that he had voted 'in lockstep' over and over with Republicans, as the two clashed in a debate at the University of Massachusetts Lowell tonight." Here's video of the full debate:
... Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post with six takeaways from the Warren-Brown debate. ...
... CW: Here's the best clip, IMHO, & may be the gaffe that costs Brown the election. You might want to watch twice: first to "See Scott Squirm," & second to watch Warren's delighted reaction to his choice:
... Steve Benen: "For much of the media, the key line in the debate was apparently Brown's pre-planned 'zinger' about not being a student in Warren's classroom. But theatrical soundbites notwithstanding, what voters actually learned last night is that Brown's centrist facade is thin and easily chipped away. Anyone who sees Antonin Scalia as a 'model Supreme Court justice' isn't a moderate." ...
... Eric Randall of Boston Magazine pans Warren-Brown moderator David Gregory & otherwise comments on the debates. Highlight clips included. ...
... ALSO, see the report in today's Comments by Julie in Massachusetts, who attended the debate.
How Low Will They Go? T. W. Farnam of the Washington Post: with Arkansas the only state in the South that still has a Democratic state legislature, the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity has its sights set on flipping a few seats to turn the statehouse Republican. ...
... Looks like the Koch Brothers Express has taken on more than one local route. Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald in a National Memo post: "The new stealth campaign against three Florida Supreme Court justices is being backed by those meddling right-wing billionaires from Wichita, Charles and David Koch. They couldn't care less about Florida, but they love to throw their money around."
New York Times: "Prosecutors in Lille have dropped a sexual assault investigation into Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief, after a Belgian escort recanted her original account about a brutal encounter. But Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 63, still faces a criminal charge of participating in an organized prostitution ring, the result of sex parties that he attended in northern France and at a deluxe hotel in Washington."
AP: "A former Penn State graduate assistant who complained he saw former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a young boy on campus and testified at his sex abuse trial sued the university on Tuesday for what he calls defamation and misrepresentation. Mike McQueary's whistle-blower lawsuit claims his treatment by the university since Sandusky was arrested in November has caused him distress, anxiety, humiliation and embarrassment."
New York Times: "The American military's top-secret Joint Special Operations Command is preparing detailed information that could be used to kill or capture some of the militants suspected in the attack last month in Libya that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, senior military and counterterrorism officials said on Tuesday."
ABC News: "Pope Benedict's former butler took the stand at his own trial today to say that while he admits he took thousands of documents from the pope's private apartments and leaked them to the media, he is not guilty of theft because he was doing it for the good of the church, 'to bring the church back on the right track.' ... Intrigue, corruption and back-stabbing are clearly not new here at The Vatican, what is new is that Gabriele's indiscretions have opened the doors on Vatican dirty deeds in a way that has never happened before."
New York Times: "Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, plans to travel to Europe before the end of the year, among other things to press for a toughening of sanctions against Tehran, Israeli officials said Tuesday. The plans appeared to be another indication of a shifting Israeli emphasis, at least for now, toward efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program by means other than military action."
Philadelphia Inquirer: "A Commonwealth Court judge issued an injunction today blocking Pennsylvania's controversial new voter ID law from taking full effect before the presidential election, clearing the way for voters without government-issued identification to cast regular ballots on Nov. 6. Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. in essence ruled that the general election would be - like the primary - a soft rollout of the law. 'I reject the underlying assertion that the offending activity is the request to produce photo ID; instead, I conclude that the salient offending conduct is voter disenfranchisement,' he said." Here's a pdf of the opinion.
New York Times: "With the surge of American troops over and the Taliban still a potent threat, American generals and civilian officials acknowledge that they have all but written off what was once one of the cornerstones of their strategy to end the war here: battering the Taliban into a peace deal."
Washington Post: "The White House has held a series of secret meetings in recent months to examine the threat posed by al-Qaeda's franchise in North Africa and consider for the first time whether to prepare for unilateral strikes, U.S. officials said. The deliberations reflect concern that al-Qaeda's African affiliate has become more dangerous since gaining control of large pockets of territory in Mali and acquiring weapons from post-revolution Libya. The discussions predate the Sept. 11 attacks...."
New York Times: "Georgia's larger-than-life president, Mikheil Saakashvili, conceded defeat on Tuesday after early results in Georgia's hotly contested parliamentary race showed that a coalition backed by the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili had edged out his party...."