Republicans can – and will – hammer President Obama endlessly for the real or perceived missteps of his administration, and warn that the economic malaise of the hour could just be the opening bell of prolonged American decline if he wins a second term.
But a scan of Monday morning’s headlines underscores just how much of the broader picture, with very hefty implications for the November vote, is beyond Obama’s control.
Egyptian voters handed power to that country’s Muslim Brotherhood. Greek voters backed the center-right, pro-euro party, but after an initial surge of confidence European and Asian markets retreated on Monday.
And Russian battleships were reportedly heading toward Syria, where tens of thousands have already died at the hands of the Assad regime.
Obama, as commander in chief and manager of the world’s largest economy outside the European Union, will wear blame for all three crises regardless of their outcome. But, as he meets with world leaders in Mexico at the G-20 Summit, his ability to shape any of the results is unclear, and that lies realistically at neither his feet nor the office’s.
Yes, the electoral verdict will be about the economy. But it will also be about Obama’s perceived ability to manage that economy, an image shaped by his assertiveness in other areas as well.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
How Obama Got From No to Yes on Reprieve For Young Illegal Immigrants
[National Journal, 6/18/12] Eleven months to go, Obama told a leading Hispanic advocacy group that as much as he wanted to stop deporting young illegal immigrants, his hands were tied. National Journal’s Beth Reinhard weighs in on the political circumstances that lead to Friday’s executive order: November’s election, Marco Rubio, and the Dream Act.
On and Off the Romney Bus, Tryouts for a Spot on the Ticket
[New York Times, 6/18/12] With some pushing for a veep announcement as early as July, Romney is whittling down the roster of potential running mates. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio have all campaigned with the nominee.
Will Text-Raising Become the Next Big Thing?
[National Journal, 6/18/12] About a decade ago, the Internet revolutionized political fundraising. Could text messages be poised to repeat the feat?
Following Executive Order, Obama Urges Passage Of DREAM Act
[Time, 6/17/12] In an op-ed, Obama defended Friday's executive order allowing young immigrants to avoid deportation, and called on Congress to pass the stalled DREAM Act. Meanwhile, a new poll of Latino voters in five battleground states shows increased enthusiasm for Obama since the announcement.
Postcards From the Bus-capade: Romney Road Report
[The Atlantic, 4/18/12] James Fallows is out on Romney’s bus tour and drops a few observations, including the fact that the presumptive GOP nominee has honed his campaign message. Oh, and he has a big head -- literally.
Obama Pleads for Voters’ Patience
[The Hill, 6/18/12] President Obama is taking the same tack as former President George W. Bush, in that he's asking voters to give him a bit more time to enact all the change he promised in 2004. While that strategy worked in 2004, it's a gamble for Obama in a year marred by a weak economy.
Romney Amazed by Convenience Store Sandwich Computer
[Yahoo! 6/16/12] While at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, Romney described his experience with the hoagie computer at WaWa that allows you to bypass calling out your order to someone behind a counter: “You press a little touchtone key pad…. You touch this, touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier, and there's your sandwich. It’s amazing!”
Candidates Trade Misquoting Charges
[Associated Press, 6/18/12] How many of the attacks lobbed during stump speeches and campaign ads involve statements taken out of context? A great many, according to the AP, skewing the arguments on both sides even as each denounces such out-of-context attacks.
Romney Embraces Hill GOP
[Wall Street Journal, 6/17/12] On Sunday, Romney campaigned with House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Rob Portman, and today he'll appear with Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. This series of prominent GOP guests is meant to underscore Romney's commitment to the Republican Party in Congress.
Bain Capital: Obama and Romney in a Muddle
[Politico, 6/18/12] The Obama campaign attacks Romney's record at Bain while Obama praises his success as a businessman; the Romney campaign touts Bain's job-creation numbers while Romney declines to offer details on how exactly he created jobs. It's a complicated campaign issue, but one that neither candidate is willing to relinquish just yet.
Are You Better Off Than You Were 10 Years Ago?
[Slate, 6/18/12] He’s not mentioning George W. Bush by name, but Obama is trotting out a new variation on a theme first started by Ronald Reagan: are you better off today than you were a decade ago?
Is Wisconsin Ripe for a Romney Win?
[CBS, 6/18/12] CBS' Leigh Ann Caldwell outlines three political heavy-hitters in Wisconsin that are backing Romney up this election season, and highlights recent events -- like the bad-for-Democrats recall election -- that may put Wisconsin in Romney's pocket come November. On Monday, Romney predicted he would win the state.
Ron Paul's Army May Have a Loud Voice at GOP Convention
[Los Angeles Times, 6/18/12] By working the rules of state and local party conventions to his benefit, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is slowly amassing an array of supporters to speak for him at the Republican National Convention this summer, opening the door for Paul's libertarian-leaning ideology to play a role in crafting the party's platform.
Potential VP Pick Portman Still Unknown to Many in His Own State
[ABC, 6/17/12] He has been called by many "boring," but perhaps that's because most don't know him -- even those in his own state. In northeastern and central Ohio, locals couldn't identify Portman.
Chris Christie: Call Me, Mitt
[Daily Beast, 6/18/12] Did the Jersey governor blow his White House chances? He talks to Peter J. Boyer about why he passed on running—and how Romney could talk him into being his running mate.