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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sunday Breakfast Menu, Sept. 2


Presidential politics will again dominate the conversations on the news shows on Sunday, on the weekend between the closing of the Republican National Convention and the opening of the Democratic National Convention.

As chairman of the Democratic National Convention, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles is in demand, appearing on Fox, CNN, Univision and C-Span to preview the week ahead.

In addition to Mr. Villaraigosa, “Fox News Sunday” interviews David Axelrod, Obama campaign strategist, about what the convention can do for President Obama's re-election prospects.

CNN's “State of the Union” will broadcast live from Charlotte, with Mr. Villaraigosa, Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland and Gov. Bev Perdue of North Carolina. Plus, Robert Gibbs and Eric Fehrnstrom, senior advisers to Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney respectively, will have an exchange over Mr. Obama's policies.

Having served as Mr. Obama's chief of staff, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago offers his perspective on the president's re-election efforts on NBC's “Meet the Press.” Also on the program will be Newt Gingrich, former Republican presidential candidate, and Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard and vice chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Mr. O'Malley; Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico; and Stephanie Cutter, Mr. Obama's deputy campaign manager, will be in Charlotte with CBS's “Face the Nation.”

David Plouffe, a White House adviser, who played a crucial role in getting Mr. Obama elected in 2008, talks to ABC's “This Week” about the race, particularly how voters may be swayed by the conventions.

Univ ision's “Al Punto” offers a packed program this week, with Mr. Richardson and Mr. Villaraigosa previewing the festivities in Charlotte, as well as the party's platform and Mr. Obama's re-election hopes. Univision will feature interviews from the Republican National Convention with Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Mr. Romney's wife, Ann, and his son Craig, and Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida.

Mr. Villaraigosa will also talk about the convention on C-Span's “Newsmakers.”

Mayor Anthony Foxx of Charlotte appears on Bloomberg's “Political Capital.”

TV One's “Washington Watch” returns from summer hiatus with a discussion of the presidential contest, especially the conventions and health care after the election.

In a Post-Convention Bump, Romney Draws Huge Crowds in Cincinnati


CINCINNATI â€" A crowd of thousands cheered Mitt Romney at a rally here during the opening leg of a cross-country campaign swing on Saturday, testing for the first time whether he can sustain political momentum coming out of the Republican National Convention.

A line of people that stretched for five city blocks awaited Mr. Romney as his motorcade pulled into the Union Terminal. Inside there were so many people that the campaign had to redirect a few hundred of them into a small overflow room, where they crammed in shoulder to shoulder.

Mr. Romney has often failed to spark much of a connection with his audiences, and enthusiasm for him along the campaign trail has often been in short supply.

But inside a soaring Art Deco-styled rotunda here, the candidate, joined by Senator Rob Portman and Representative John Boehner, the House speaker, delivered a vigorous and sharply focused speech that sent the audience into ear-splitting roars.

Mr. Romney added new punch lines to his denunciation of President Obama's first term as a betrayal of the promises he made and a failure to lead.

“One of the promises he made was he was going to create more jobs. And today, 23 million people are out of work or stopped looking for work or underemployed,” Mr Romney said. “Let me tell you, if you have a coach that's 0 and 23 million, you say it's time to get a new coach. It's time for America to see a winning season again, and we're going to bring it to them.”

In the last few weeks, Mr. Romney has relied on his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, to infuse energy into his campaign rallies. But Mr. Ryan was in Columbus, north of here, campa igning at one of the state's high holidays, the season opening football game at Ohio State, playing Miami University of Ohio, which is Mr. Ryan's alma mater.

The two men are scheduled to appear together later in the day at a second rally on the waterfront in Jacksonville, Fla.

The setting for Mr. Romney's speech here has a history of providing the backdrop for major political events. On Oct. 7, 2002, George W. Bush delivered a televised address from Union Terminal to make his case for the Iraq War.

Though Mr. Romney devoted much of his remarks to crowd-pleasing put-downs of the president, he confronted head on a subject that he has been more reluctant to wade into: chastising Republicans for running up the deficit when they controlled Washington.

The more popular and convenient story line for many Republicans has often been to lay the blame for record deficits squarely at the feet of the Obama administration.

“We're going to finally have to d o something that Republicans have spoken about for a long time, and for a while we didn't do it,” he said. “When we had the lead we let people down.”

The speech hit some of the same notes that Mr. Romney made in Tampa, Fla., where he accepted his party's nomination on Thursday night. He accused the president of putting teachers' unions, not students, first. He said that the president would raise taxes on small business. And he pledged to repeal the president's health care overhaul, which he called a “big cloud” raining over small businesses.

That line drew the most thunderous response from the crowd, which erupted into a half-minute of chants of “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!”

Compared to the energy level inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum last week, which often seemed muted as many seats went unfilled and spectators milled about in the aisles checking their smart phones during speeches, the rally on Saturday morning was a noticeable improvement.

“ America's going to come roaring back,” Mr. Romney said as he concluded. “We're going to get America strong again, for you, for your children, for the future.”

The speech, complete with sports metaphors and the “roaring back” line, recalled the message of a Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler called “Halftime in America.” The ad's star? A speaker who made a controversial appearance at the convention: Clint Eastwood.

Obama Returns to Iowa on Eve of His Convention


URBANDALE, Iowa â€" On the eve of his party's nominating convention, President Obama took his re-election campaign to Iowa on Saturday, returning to the state where he opened his unlikely quest for the presidency five years ago.

It was Mr. Obama's seventh visit to the state this year, and his 13th as president, reflecting the importance of this swing state's six electoral votes to his prospects of winning the necessary 270 votes in a close, unpredictable election.

Speaking at an outdoor rally in this rural town near Des Moines, Mr. Obama lampooned Mitt Romney's just-concluded Republican convention as heavy on criticism of the president, bereft of new proposals and stuck on ideas of the past.

“You might as well have watched it on a black-and-white TV,” Mr. Obama said, to the applause and amusement of his audience. He offered a summary: “Everything's bad, it's Obama's fault and Governor Romney is going to be the one who knows the secret to creating jobs and growing the economy.”

“There was a lot of talk about hard choice and bold choices, but nobody ever bothered to actually tell you what they were,” he added. “And when Gov. Romney had his chance to let you in on his secrets, he did not offer a single new idea - just retreads of the same old policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years.”

Mr. Romney and other Republicans did not provide policy details, Mr. Obama said, “because they know you won't like it, because you've lived through it and you can't afford to repeat it.”

He said he opposed their ideas of providing additional tax cuts to wealthy Americans and turning Medicare into a voucher program for futu re beneficiaries. And Mr. Obama lambasted Republicans for their vows to undo laws tightening regulations of financial institutions, expanding health insurance coverage and protecting air and water quality.

Mr. Obama, who was introduced at the rally by Lucas Beenken, a veteran of the Iraq war, for the first time pointed to an omission in Mr. Romney's speech accepting his party's nomination: “Gov. Romney had nothing to say about Afghanistan last week, let alone offer a plan for the 33,000 troops who will have come home from the war by the end of this month.”

“You know, he said ending the war in Iraq was tragic; I said we'd end that war and we did. I said we'd take out Bin Laden and we did” â€" a line that drew among the biggest bursts of applause and chants of “U.S.A.” from the crowd.

After his first appearance, Mr. Obama did interviews with three local television stations from separate parts of the state, before flying to Sioux City, Iowa. From t here he goes to Colorado on Sunday and then Ohio, both battleground states.

On Monday he will tour the hurricane damage in Louisiana, a solid Republican state, and visit Virginia, a swing state, on Tuesday before arriving for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.

The Weekend Word: Political Theater


Today's Times

  • Clint Eastwood's rambling and off-color appearance just moments before the biggest speech of Mitt Romney's life drowned out much of the usual post-convention analysis that his campaign hoped to bask in, Michael Barbaro and Michael D. Shear report. It was a reminder of how fleeting a successful political moment can be, and how carefully staged events can be upset by an unpredictable turn.
  • For all the allegations and counterallegations about Medicare on the campaign trail, the outcome of the election will probably have a more immediate and profound effect on Medicaid and the middle-class older people who rely on it for nursing home care, Abby Goodnough reports.
  • Some Democrats are saying that Mitt Romney was too presumptuous in touring hurricane-ravaged regions of the Louisiana bayou, as it seemed intended to convey a presidential air of authority, Jeremy W. Peters writes. While Mr. Romney's campaign noted that politicizing the moment would be unseemly, a chance for him to show empathy and warmth could help counter perceptions that he cannot connect on a personal level.
  • As Mitt Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan champion their proposed changes to Medicare, Republican lawmakers and candidates are distancing themselves from the issue, disappointing party members who say they will benefit from showing a willingness to make hard choices about the deficit, Jonathan Weisman reports.
  • The political conventions do not seem to be must-see TV for many Americans, Susan Saulny reports. Voters' attention has floated in and out, with interviews suggesting that critical campaign moments are often lost a mid a tide of distractions both personal and political.
  • Every four years politicians blur the line between acceptable political argument and outright lies, but recent events have raised new questions about whether the political culture still holds any penalty for falsehood, Michael Cooper writes.
  • The lack of disturbances in Tampa this week stood in stark contrast to the last three Republican conventions, which resulted in hundreds of arrests, the use of tear gas and an onslaught of lawsuits against the police, Colin Moynihan reports.

Weekly Addresses

  • President Obama observed the second anniversary of the end of major combat in Iraq by spending the day with soldiers at Fort Bliss in Texas. “This anniversary is a chance to appreciate how far we've come,” he said. “But it's also a reminder that there is still difficult work ahead of us in Afghanistan.” He said that the transition to Afghan leadership was expected to be complete by 2014, but acknowledged that the mission would not be over until veterans and their families were taken care of at home. “As we turn the page on a decade of war, it's time to do some nation-building here at home,” he said. “It's time to build a nation that lives up to the ideals that so many Americas have fought for â€" a nation where they can realize the dream they sacrificed to protect.” He named infrastructure projects like rebuilding roads and laying broadband lines across the country, as well as giving veterans jobs as police officers and firefighters, as a great way to honor the troops.
  • Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana delivered this week's Republican address, lauding national efforts to support the region after the devastation caused by Hurricane Isaac. He then moved to couple the Labor Day holiday with a plea for Congress to stop a scheduled tax increase on small businesses, which he says would “destroy” more tha n 700,000 jobs. “Because for millions of Americans, this Labor Day finds them still looking for work and still asking ‘Where are the jobs?'” he said. “It doesn't have to be this way, and we can turn it around, because in America it's times of adversity that bring out the best in us.”  The measure is set to take effect on Jan. 1. Mr. Scalise urged the Senate to act in preventing “a blow our small businesses just can't afford to take.”

Around the Web

  • President Obama suggested amending the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizen United ruling, The Washington Post reports.
  • Ronald Reagan's hologram debut at the Republican National Convention was canceled due to concerns that it would overshadow Mitt Romney, multiple news outlets revealed.
  •  Some of the organizations spending big money on ads against President Obama have failed to spell his name correctly, Politico reports.

Happenings in Washington

  • The Islamic Society will continue its 49th annual convention through the weekend.
  • There will be a rally in front of the White House on Sunday to condemn the violence in Syria, and another in DuPont Circle to highlight a humanitarian crisis in Tibet.