To hear one side argue the case, Barack Obama is the most powerful president in the nation’s history, using his office to advance the Democratic agenda through executive orders and unilateral action. To hear the other side, Obama is hobbled by a floundering world economy and conservatives in Congress intent on blocking his agenda at every turn.
The irony on both sides is rich. To make the case that the current economic malaise isn’t his fault, and that it will take more time for his policies to solve the crisis, the most powerful man in the world is, in essence, admitting that he’s not really that powerful at all. Meanwhile, the same Republicans who wanted more legislative-branch guidance for stimulus spending kicked off the 112th Congress by banning earmarks.
Both sides have a point. No administration has ever willingly ceded executive powers to the legislative branch, and Obama’s first three and a half years have built on the powers Bush accumulated while in office. But Obama is simultaneously powerless. No other president has had to deal with such an interconnected global economy, in which problems across the ocean in Greece could be but the first dominoes to fall in a worldwide chain of renewed recession.
The 2012 election is devolving into a frenzy of finger-pointing, with each side blaming the other for our economic malaise. After all, it couldn’t possibly be their party’s fault — the other side is simply too powerful. Read more
-- Reid Wilson
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
RNC Haul Gives Romney Boost in May
[National Journal, 6/21/12] Although the Obama camp brought in over $39 million in May, the Republican National Committee carried Romney over the Democratic haul: The RNC brought in an additional $34.3 million in May, far more than the almost $20 million that the Democratic National Committee brought in.
Poll: Romney Supporters More Engaged Than Obama Voters
[National Journal, 6/21/12] Voter turnout could reach a record high this year, a new poll suggests, but Democrats and younger voters so far are less engaged in the presidential campaign -- suggesting that Obama has lost some ground in the electorate that propelled him to win in 2008. Overall, Obama had a statistically insignificant edge over Romney among registered voters, 50 percent to 46 percent.
Poll: Obama Takes Slight Lead in Florida
[National Journal, 6/21/12] According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, Obama has battled back in vote-rich Florida, wrestling away a slight lead from Romney on the backs of independent voters. But neither candidate should feel too comfortable in this largest of swing states.
Romney Says He’ll Replace Obama’s Immigration Plan
[National Journal, 6/21/12] Romney said in Florida on Thursday that immigration reform is “not just a moral imperative, it’s also an economic necessity” and pledged to replace Obama’s plan to grant legal status to some children of illegal immigrants with a long-term policy that he said will keep families together.
Rove: Obama Camp Trying to Intimidate Crossroads GPS With 'Thuggish Behavior'
[Fox News, 6/20/12] After the Obama camp demanded donors to Crossroads GPS be disclosed, Karl Rove accused the president of trying to intimidate would-be donors to his “social welfare” organization.
Romney Emphasizes Economy, Immigration in Speech to Hispanics NEW!
[Wall Street Journal, 6/21/12] In a speech to Latino elected officials on Thursday, Romney told the group that Obama is taking their support for granted. He focused his remarks on the economy and emphasized long-term immigration solutions.
Romney Camp Denies Asking Scott to Downplay Fla. Job Growth
[Washington Post, 6/21/12] Romney’s campaign on Thursday denied point-blank allegations that they asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott to downplay job gains in the Sunshine State, first reported by Bloomberg on Wednesday.
How Worried Is the Obama Campaign? A Q&A With Campaign Manager Jim Messina NEW!
[The Atlantic, 6/21/12] The Atlantic's Molly Ball sat down with Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, after a rough few days for the Obama reelection team. Messina projected an unperturbed vibe and discussed the campaign's fundraising deficit and Romney's debating skills.
Obama Cash Advantage Eroded By Spending Spree
[Wall Street Journal, 6/20/12] Obama’s re-election campaign spent more money than it took in last month, allowing Romney to make up ground in the money chase. Romney also enjoys a big advantage when it comes to money gathered by outside political groups like super PACs and advocacy groups.
Romneycare In Massachusetts, Six Years Later
[ABC News, 6/21/12] Generally speaking, the health care law in Massachusetts appears to be working well. Some 98 percent of Massachusetts residents are insured and 439,000 residents have gained insurance since the reform passed. But premiums remain high.
Romney Winning the Mega Donor War
[Politico, 6/21/12] Romney and his allies raised about $86 million in May, compared to roughly $65 million raised by Obama and his allies. And this weekend, Romney is looking to raise even more: He invited 100 big-money supporters to join him and top GOP dignitaries at a lavish Utah ski resort.
Poll: 18 Percent of Americans Would Not Vote for a Mormon President
[National Journal, 6/20/12] Eighteen percent of Americans say they wouldn’t vote for a well-qualified presidential candidate who is a Mormon, according to a Gallup poll released on Thursday. The bias against a Mormon candidate has remained essentially unchanged since 1967, when Romney's late father -- former Michigan Gov. George Romney -- was running for president.
Romney, House GOP Prepare for Health Care Ruling
[Roll Call, 6/21/12] Romney and the GOP are going to great lengths to show a unified front ahead of Monday’s anticipated decision, in order to avoid any intraparty squabbles that could jeopardize the nominee’s chances at the White House.
Obama Campaign Girds For SCOTUS Decision
[Chicago Tribune, 6/21/12] On the other side of the fence, the Obama campaign is preparing to defend the president’s signature legislative accomplishment – regardless of the Court’s decision. The game plan will involve highlighting some of the law’s most popular elements to the group’s most affected by them.
Republican Governors Off Message for Romney [TPM, 6/21/12] As Romney continues to tour the country, explaining the poor state of the economy, he’s coming across a problem: Some states are doing well, and Republican governors are touting their respective state’s success—specifically in Wisconsin and Ohio.