For a president who went out of his way to distance himself from Bill Clinton as a candidate, Obama is depending on his help as he faces a tough re-election campaign. While he may not be embracing the former president’s centrist message, he’s relying on him for tactical advice, fundraising help and as a surrogate lending him credibility on national security.
The first sign that Clinton would be playing a bigger role than expected was when the Obama team sought him out to raise money. Despite all the early bluster of a billion-dollar campaign, they needed the help. Obama’s fundraising pace is behind what it was in 2008, and his allied super PAC has struggled to bring in big bucks. As president, Clinton was a master fundraiser and his connections should give a jolt to the Obama campaign. He held the first joint fundraiser on Obama’s behalf on Sunday, which netted the campaign a cool $2.1 million.
The second boost has been on the tactical side. In recent weeks, word leaked that Clinton had been advising senior Obama strategists to abandon the attacks on Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper and instead portray him as a far-right conservative. So far, his advice has been heeded. Despite predictions that Obama’s messaging would try to paint Romney as a candidate without a political core, they have instead portrayed him as insensitive to working-class interests and women’s issues.
Clinton’s most striking appearance, though, came in the Obama campaign’s testimonial over his national security strengths in making the call to kill Osama bin Laden. There were plenty of officials within the administration to make that case, but the Obama campaign chose to go with the most prominent outsider.
Four years ago, President Obama was flying high and felt unencumbered enough to downplay the former president’s accomplishments. Now he’s in political trouble, and could use a little of that Clinton magic.
—Josh Kraushaar, Hotline executive editor
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
Romney’s Road to the Presidency Looks Narrow on Electoral Map
[Washington Post, 4/29/12] A detailed analysis of Mitt Romney’s various paths to the 270 electoral votes he would need to claim the presidency suggests he has a ceiling of somewhere right around 290 votes – a paper-thin margin for error.
Romney: ‘Of Course’ I Would Have Attacked bin Laden NEW!
[National Journal, 4/30/12] Romney said on Monday that "of course" he would have ordered military forces to make the 2011 raid that ended with the death of Osama bin Laden. Romney’s remarks come on the heels of recent attempts by the Obama camp to capitalize on what they see as one of the greatest achievements of Obama’s presidency.
Mitt Romney’s Frenemies
[Politico, 4/30/12] With the nomination all but wrapped up, a number of high-profile national Republicans who’d stayed on the sidelines have reluctantly emerged as Romney endorsers. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Mitch Daniels and Rudy Giuliani are just a few to jump on the Romney bandwagon – and each one less enthusiastically than the last.
Obama Campaign Releases New Long-Form Web Ad
[National Journal, 4/30/12] The Obama camp released a new long-form Web ad on Monday that touts the president’s accomplishments in his first term. From killing Osama bin Laden to touting credit card reform, the campaign's new 7-minute Web ad, called “Forward,” paints the president as a strong commander in chief. The "Forward" motto could be the Obama campaign's slogan in the coming months. Already today, the RNC took to Twitter to promote the #Forward hashtag--which trended worldwide earlier today.
Election Between Obama and Romney Will Be Boring—and That’s Fine
[Daily Beast, 4/30/12] Head's up, America: this election is going to be dull. But Peter Beinart argues that this is quite all right. With little chance of starting a major war overseas, a recovery that is slow to take place, and a culture war with little resemblance of the days of old, a boring election with played out issues is exactly what the U.S. needs, he argues.
Bill Clinton Says Economic Recovery Ahead of Pace If You Look at Last 500 Years NEW!
[Boston Globe, 4/30/12] Former President Bill Clinton defended President Obama and his handling of the nation’s economic recovery Sunday night, saying “we are beating the clock” historically in comparison to Japan and other economies that have been through similar tumult.
Portman Wants Policy Details From Romney, Obama
[BuzzFeed, 4/29/12] Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is asking Romney and President Obama, “What’s your plan?” The insiders’ favorite VP pick called for both candidates to release detailed outlines of their tax plans ahead of the general election. Portman was a top economic official during the last Bush administration, and has warned against a possible “taxmageddon.” Meanwhile, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, another possible running mate, will make a campaign appearance with Romney on Monday.
Bill Clinton Joins Obama For First of Three Fundraisers
[National Journal, 4/29/12] Former President Clinton appeared alongside President Obama Sunday at a fundraiser for Obama’s re-election campaign, the first of at least three joint fundraisers. Obama and Clinton both went after the presumptive Republican nominee in their remarks.
Florida Shafted on Hotel Assignments Despite Hosting GOP Convention NEW!
[National Journal, 4/30/12] Florida got the chance to host a key presidential primary by breaking RNC rules to take the No. 4 spot on the nominating calendar in January. Now they will pay dearly for that honor, being shunted to the furthest hotel from the Republican Convention in Tampa this August despite their status as the state hosting the event.
Ryan’s Path From Follower to GOP Trailblazer
[New York Times, 4/29/12] Paul Ryan has become the most influential policy maker in the GOP, its de facto head of economic policy and potentially a running mate for Romney. Now, Ryan faces some big questions about his ideas and his future.
GOP Pricks President; He Needles Them Back
[Wall Street Journal, 4/29/12] Republicans have stepped up their accusations that Obama is handpicking issues to divide voters, but the White House fought back this weekend at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner: Obama poked fun at Romney, Newt Gingrich, the Secret Service, the Huffington Post, Donald Trump, and joked about eating dog meat. BuzzFeed has the highlights.
Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake! NEW!
[Daily Beast, 4/30/12] This may not be the horror story that readers are used to, but famed author Stephen King offers his take on the current tax debate in the country. As a member of the super-rich, he colorfully argues for higher taxes, while lambasting Mitt Romney and other Republicans for stalling on the debate.
White House To Rubio: Don’t Blame Obama If Your DREAM Act Fails
[Talking Points Memo, 4/30/12] Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is attempting to blame the White House for blocking action on the DREAM Act. But the White House on Monday shot back. Rubio, a possible Republican vice presidential candidate, has broken from his party on this issue—and, if selected, would give Romney a boost in the much-needed Latino voting bloc.
Iowa Straw Poll Safe in Caucus Tweaks
[Des Moines Register, 4/29/12] After being humiliated on caucus night—and the days following—the Iowa Republican Party is reviewing their process and reevaluated the future of their first-in-the-nation status. One thing that they are sure about keeping: the Iowa straw poll, where Michele Bachmann claimed victory in 2011.
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