There are 122 days between today and the Republican Convention. That means that, outside a slew of Supreme Court decisions in June, we are facing a drought of presidential political news. No debates. No primaries that matter. Just idle vice presidential speculation that probably won’t get settled until the week before the convention anyway. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney will be desperate for all the free media they can get during this time.
But outside groups are not going to miss this opportunity to seize the microphone. Yesterday, two conservative Super PACs, Americans for Prosperity and American Crossroads both unveiled new anti-Obama ads that are expected to be aired repeatedly in key swing states.
The AFP ad, “Wasteful Spending,” attacks Obama for spending billions of stimulus dollars on clean energy projects in other countries. “President Obama wasted $34 billion on risky investments. the result? Failure. American taxpayers are paying to send their own jobs to foreign countries. AFP will spend $6.1 million to air the ad in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia.
American Crossroads has not said how big or wide their ad buy will be, but they did spend $20 million last June on television ads attacking Obama’s economic record. They currently have $24 million to spend. Their ad, “Cool,” contrasts Obama’s many pop culture triumphs (jamming with Jimmy Fallon, dancing with Ellen DeGeners, singing Al Green tunes) with headlines about the bleak economic situation facing today’s young. Half are unemployed or underemployed, and 85 percent have to move back with their parents as they start paying off more than $1 trillion in student loan debt.
According to Gallup, 50 percent of Americans currently approve of the job Obama is doing as president. If AFP and Crossroads can get that number down to 45 by August, they’ll be happy.
Obama: Former President Bill Clinton is telling his network of donors to hold off an giving to Obama’s Super PAC until more of Obama’s major donors do it first. So far, only 12 of Obama’s 532 top fundraisers have donated to Priorities USA Action. Obama will sign an executive order today aimed at protecting members of the military, veterans and their families from diploma mills.
Romney: Romney has hired Rick Santorum’s campaign manager, Michael Biundo, to be deputy national director of coalitions.
Veepstakes: In a speech at Georgetown University yesterday, Paul Ryan explained how his budget is consistent with his Catholic faith: “Simply put, I do not believe that the preferential option for the poor means a preferential option for big government. Look at the results of the government-centered approach to the war on poverty. One in six Americans are in poverty today – the highest rate in a generation. In this war on poverty, poverty is winning. We need a better approach.” And in an interview with National Review on Wednesday, Ryan addressed internet rumors that he forced his staff to read Ayn Rand , “You know you’ve arrived in politics when you have an urban legend about you, and this one is mine… I reject her philosophy.”
Polls: According to a new Gallup poll, while Obama leads Romney by more than 30 points among voters under 30, only 60 percent of them are registered to vote and only 56 percent of those registered plan to.
Indiana Senate: A new Citizens United poll shows conservative state Treasurer Richard Mourdock beating moderate Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., 44 percent to 39 percent.
Around the Bigs
The Los Angeles Times, Republicans seek to hold attorney general in contempt over Fast and Furious: House Republicans have drafted a contempt of Congress citation against Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, charging that he and his Justice Department have repeatedly “obstructed and slowed” the Capitol Hill investigation into the ATF’s flawed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation.
The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Firms Add Jobs, but Mostly Overseas: Thirty-five big U.S.-based multinational companies added jobs much faster than other U.S. employers in the past two years, but nearly three-fourths of those jobs were overseas, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.
The Washington Post, Foreclosures rose in major metro areas in first quarter; jobless claims data mixed: According to RealtyTrac, during the first three months of this year the number of foreclosures rose in more than half of the nation’s metropolitan areas.
The Wall Street Journal, Health Insurers Plan Over $1 Billion in Rebates: Health insurers are expected to give rebates of more than $1 billion to consumers and employers this year, under a provision of Obamacare that forces them to offer refunds if they don’t spend enough of the premium dollars they take in on health care.
ProPublica, Broadcasters’ Last-Ditch Push to Hide Political Ad Data: Broadcasters are fighting a new FCC rule that would force them to post political ad data online.
Pew, Growing Gap in Favorable Views of Federal, State Governments: Just a third of Americans have a favorable opinion of the federal government, the lowest positive rating in 15 years. Yet opinions about state and local governments remain favorable, on balance.
The Mercatus Center‘s Matt Mitchell shows that debt reduction plans that are heavily weighted toward spending reductions and not tax increases, have the best chance of reducing the debt and increasing economic growth.
The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard notes that focus groups show blue collar Dems resent Obama’s high-priced vacations.
The Daily Caller reports that the Agriculture Department has officially withdrawn its proposed child labor regulation.
Salon‘s Steve Kornacki says the only way Obama can win reelection is to blame all of America’s problems on Bush.
ThinkProgress is attacking Romney adviser Ambassador Pierre Prosper for calling the Czech Republic and Slovakia “Czechoslovakia” on a press conference call.
Mother Jones‘ Adam Sewer encourages Obama to embrace Sen. Marco Rubio’s version of the DREAM Act.