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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beyoncé and Jay-Z Host Obama Fund-Raiser

By MARK LANDLER

On a day when Mitt Romney's videotaped remarks at a Republican fund-raiser dominated the campaign, President Obama attended two fund-raisers of his own in New York City, one hosted by the music super-couple Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z.

Mr. Obama did not address Mr. Romney's comments during the small portion of each event that reporters were allowed to cover, though he did speak about them earlier in the evening, when he taped an episode of CBS's “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

“My expectation is, if you want to be president, you've got to work for everybody, not just for some,” Mr. Obama said to applause. Later, he added, “What I think people want to make sure of is, you're not writ ing off a big chunk of the country.”

As is its usual practice, the Obama campaign allowed the White House press corps access only to Mr. Obama's introductory remarks, escorting reporters from the room before donors were able to ask questions of the president. During that brief period, Mr. Obama stuck to the script he generally uses with high-dollar donors.

“I don't want people to be complacent, but I also don't want people to be discouraged,” the president said to a fashionable crowd of about 100, seated on sofas, according to a pool report.

“We're on the brink of an election, but more importantly, we're on the brink of moving America in a direction where we're going to be more just, more fair,” he said at the 40/40 Club in Manhattan, where Jay-Z is an owner. “The economy's going to grow in a way that includes everybody, an America that's respected around the world because we're putting forward our best values and out best ideals.”

Ms. Knowles, who sang at Mr. Obama's inauguration in 2009, kept her remarks brief in introducing him. “I can't tell you how proud we are to host tonight's event with President Obama,” she said. “We believe in his vision.”

When he took the stage, Mr. Obama said, “To Jay and Bey, thank you for your friendship.” He said his wife, Michelle, and daughters, Malia and Sasha, were annoyed that he got to spend the evening with the glittery couple. Beyoncé, he said, was a role model to his girls, while Mr. Obama said he felt a sense of kinship with Jay-Z because, he said, “we both have daughters and our wives are more popular than we are.”

Mr. Obama has attended his share of celebrity fund-raisers, from one at George Clooney's home in Los Angeles to an event at the Atlanta mansion of Tyler Perry, with Oprah Winfrey on hand. But this fund-raiser had some memorable touches, including a tower of 350 Champagne bottles by Armand de Brig nac, Jay-Z's favorite. Tickets cost $40,000.

At an earlier fundraiser with 200 donors at the Waldorf-Astoria â€" tickets starting at $12,500 per family â€" Mr. Obama said of the Republicans, “These people have super PAC's that are writing $10 million checks and are going to bury us under advertising like you've never seen before. We can't match these people dollar for dollar.”



Seeking a Truce on the Links

By SARAH WHEATON

President Obama has never seemed particularly perturbed by Republicans' attacks on the frequency of his golf outings. But for the golf industry, the politics of golf is not just a game.

“Please reconsider your political strategy of criticizing President Obama's passion for golf,” was the request in a letter to Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, from a group called We Are Golf that arrived in his office on Tuesday.

At the Republican National Convention, Mr. Rubio said that Mr. Obama was “a good husband and a good father and, thanks to lots of practice, a good golfer.”

“Our problem is not that he's a bad person,” Mr. Rubio said. “Our problem is that he's a bad president .”

We Are Golf was founded over three years ago and is backed by associations of players, golf course owners and managers. Dave Marin, a spokesman for the group, said that Mr. Rubio had been a “great supporter” of the golf industry, and that similar letters had gone out to members of both political parties, including Democrats who make fun of Speaker John A. Boehner's golf hobby.

“The golf industry is understandably sensitive to this line of politicking,” Mr. Marin said, “because it reinforces misperceptions of the game that don't square with the facts - and because those misperceptions, in turn, have led to unfair legislation and regulation.”

He pointed to the fact that commercial golf clubs, along with massage parlors, racetracks and liquor stores, were blocked from receiving some federal relief funds after Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Marin conceded that the request for a political détente might be “naïve.”

Indeed, Alex Conant, a spokesman for Mr. Rubio, suggested that the golf lobby might be a bit too earnest.

“There's nothing wrong with golf,” Mr. Conant said. “But there is something wrong with Washington lobbyists who can't take a joke.” 



Romney Campaign Borrowed $20 Million to Get Through Convention

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE

Mitt Romney borrowed $20 million for his presidential campaign in August, a campaign official said on Tuesday, money that helped carry Mr. Romney through the Republican convention until he could tap into tens of millions of dollars in general election money his campaign raised.

The loan, which was reported on Tuesday by The National Review, underscored the significant cash flow problem that afflicted Mr. Romney even as he was outraising President Obama in June and July. By the time Mr. Romney had won the Republican nomination last spring, an unusually high percentage of his donors had already contributed the maximum allowed to his campaign for the primary election. Many of the contributions he wa s raising after winning the G.O.P. primary in the spring were general election checks or money earmarked for the Republican National Committee. General election checks to Mr. Romney's campaign could not be spent until after he was formally nominated at the Republican convention in late August.

One consequence: Mr. Romney had been spending far less than Mr. Obama on advertising in recent weeks and waited until earlier this month to unleash his first major advertising campaign against the incumbent.

The cash crunch appeared to have been more dire than previously disclosed. To give his campaign a cushion, Mr. Romney's campaign took out a bank loan against the contributions that he would be allowed to tap after the nomination. (The exact amount of money he will come into is unknown because much of it remains stored in a joint fund-raising committee with the R.N.C., making it difficult to calculate how much of the Republicans' $168.5 million in cash on hand at the en d of August was general election money reserved for Mr. Romney's campaign.) The official said that $5 million was repaid before the end of August and $4 million more this month, leaving about $11 million left to be paid. Some of the debt will appear on Mr. Romney's August report with the Federal Election Committee, due on Sept. 20.

Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee have declined to say how much cash on hand they have before the filing is due.



The Caucus Click: Biden Makes Surprise Visit in Iowa

By BRENDAN HOFFMAN

Scott Brown Says He Disagrees With Romney\'s \'47 Percent\' Comments

By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE

Senator Scott P. Brown, the Massachusetts Republican who is trying to fend off a strong challenge from Elizabeth Warren, has found himself burdened once again by his party label and is trying to distance himself from it.

His latest move comes in response to comments by Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, who said at a closed-door fund-raiser in May that almost half the country backs President Obama because they view themselves as victims and are dependent on government for health care, food and housing.

“That's not the way I view the world,” Mr. Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in.”

Mr. Brown, who saw Mr. Romney as a mentor during their days in Massachusetts politics, has endorsed him for president. They even share a top political adviser.

But as a Republican running in a deep blue state, Mr. Brown has stepped away from his national party on several occasions. He made only a brief appearance at the Republican National Convention last month in Tampa, Fla., and declined a speaking role there. He also took issue with the party's platform on abortion, saying it was too stringent. Mr. Brown has released six years of his tax returns and has urged Mr. Romney to release more of his.

Mr. Brown's latest step-away comes as polls show that Mr. Romney is faring miserably in the polls in Massachusetts against President Obama, despite having once been elected as the state's governor. Such severe unpopularity could drag Mr. Brown down on Election Day.

Ms. Warren criticized M r. Romney's comments, saying that he “just wrote off half the people in Massachusetts and half the people in America as deadbeats.”

For good measure, she added: “Scott Brown is strongly supporting Mitt Romney for president of the United States. I'm strongly supporting Barack Obama.”

Mr. Brown also used Mr. Romney's remarks to attack Ms. Warren. He said that people were being forced onto public assistance because they could not find a job and that her policies would lead to higher taxes on small businesses that would cost Massachusetts thousands of jobs and “force even more people onto public assistance.”

Other Republicans who have criticized Mr. Romney's statements include Linda McMahon, who is running for the Senate in Connecticut, and Representative Allen B. West of Florida.

Follow Katharine Q. Seelye on Twitter at @kseelye.



A Mood of Gloom Afflicts the Romney Campaign

By MICHAEL BARBARO

SALT LAKE CITY â€" Mitt Romney's traveling press secretary walked to the back of the candidate's plane midflight on Tuesday and teasingly asked a pair of journalists in an exit row if they were “willing and able to assist in case of an emergency.”

Under the circumstances, it was hard to tell whether it was a question or a request.

A palpably gloomy and openly frustrated mood has begun to envelop Mr. Romney's campaign for president. Well practiced in the art of lurching from public relations crisis to public relations crisis, his team seemed to reach its limit as it digested a ubiquitous set of video clips that showed their boss candidly describing nearly half of the country's population as g overnment-dependent “victims,” and saying that he would “kick the ball down the road” on the biggest foreign policy challenge of the past few decades, the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

Grim-faced aides acknowledged that it was an unusually dark moment, made worse by the self-inflicted, seemingly avoidable nature of the wound. In low-volume, out-of-the-way conversations, they are now wondering whether victory is still possible and whether they are entering McCain-Palin ticket territory.

A flustered adviser, describing the mood, said that the campaign was turning into a vulgar, unprintable phrase.

Aides did little to hide their annoyance: on Tuesday night, a Romney aide cursed loudly as he tried to corral reporters into an impromptu news conference in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Mr. Romney himself seemed pensive on the early-morning flight Tuesday from California to Utah, sitting alone with a white legal pad and a pen a s he picked at a vegetarian breakfast burrito. An aide said that he had eaten dinner alone in his hotel room the night before as the video controversy began to unfold.

The campaign did its best to change the subject. At an airport in Salt Lake City, Kevin Madden, a senior adviser, waved a group of reporters over to look at his iPhone. It displayed a headline in the Romney-friendly Drudge Report about a poll that showed the presidential race tightening.

A few hours later, Mr. Romney's staff members summoned a handful of reporters to watch him carry four of his young grandchildren across a tarmac here and onto his plane for a tour.

But the video kept coming up anyway. When pressed, Mr. Madden offered a relentlessly on-message reply to questions about the candidate's mood and reaction to the drip-drip-drip release of the fund-raiser footage by Mother Jones magazine.

“We're still focused,” he said. “This is an election that is focused on the economy . It's focused on the direction of the country.”

Mr. Madden wanted to be clear: despite the video, Mr. Romney was focused, a word he used eight times. “We remain pretty focused and determined,” he said, before opting for a stronger adjective. “Very focused and determined,” he said.

The campaign did its best to blunt the onslaught, starting on Monday afternoon.

Around 4 p.m., Garrett Jackson, Mr. Romney's closest aide, showed the candidate the grainy video from the fund-raiser on an iPad during a car ride.

It was a buzz kill: Mr. Romney had just finished his inaugural intelligence briefing at a local F.B.I. building, a ritual reserved for those just inches from the presidency.

The next minute, he was watching himself deliver those words â€" about the “47 percent” and “dependents” â€" to a group of wealthy campaign donors in Florida.

Mr. Romney and his advisers quickly grasped the severity of the footage. A decision was mad e: Mr. Romney must go in front of cameras immediately to explain himself, lest questions about the video linger and overshadow two full days of his campaign at a crucial stage in the general election.

By Tuesday afternoon, the campaign seemed to find its footing. Aides inside Mr. Romney's Boston headquarters began highlighting a video of their own: a 1998 clip showing Barack Obama, then a state senator, saying that he wanted the government to facilitate the distribution of wealth. “I actually believe in redistribution,” Mr. Obama said on the tape.

Soon, Mr. Romney was on Fox News, his television comfort zone, mocking the video. Twitter lit up with Romney aides taking the president to task for his word choice.

Suddenly, the mood in the Romney camp began to perk up, ever so slightly.

As the campaign plane landed in Dallas on Tuesday night, Mr. Romney got on the intercom to welcome home two reporters whose families live in Texas, one from CNN, the o ther from NBC News. He said he was sorry to miss a planned pool party that one of the reporters planned to hold In the evening. “I was a little offended not to be invited for cobbler,” he said, playfully. He asked that some be brought to him on Wednesday.



Dust-Up Over Ad in Kentucky House Race Featuring Executive Dressed as Miner

By JOHN ELIGON

The man wearing a hard hat and jean overalls draped over a neon green T-shirt has his arms folded and stares sternly into the camera. Standing on a graveled railroad track, he speaks bluntly of the decline of the coal industry as images of Ravenna, Ky., flash across the screen. The blame, he says, is with President Obama, Representative Ben Chandler, a Democrat from Kentucky, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

This latest television ad from Andy Barr, the Lexington lawyer running as a Republican to unseat Mr. Chandler, has drawn sharp criticism from the incumbent â€" in large part because the man dressed as a coal miner is a coal company executive who has contributed thousands of dollars to politici ans, mostly Republicans, and has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Mitt Romney and Karl Rove at fund-raising events. The executive, Heath Lovell, vice president of River View Coal, does not live in Ravenna or anywhere in the district Mr. Barr is running for.

“His ad is not only shamefully deceptive, but it's an insult to hard-working Kentucky coal miners who put their lives on the line every day to power our communities and our economy,” Eric Nagy, Mr. Chandler's campaign manager, said in a statement. “Ben Chandler has a long history of fighting to protect coal jobs and ensure the safety of coal miners, and Barr should be ashamed to use a corporate shill to suggest otherwise.”

Mr. Lovell and Mr. Barr's campaign pushed back forcefully, saying that Mr. Lovell started working in coal mines as a teenager and worked his way up to become an executive. Mr. Lovell said his father and grandfather worked in coal mines. He still goes i nto the mine he manages every week, Mr. Lovell said.

“That was my hard hat in the video,” he said. “That was not some costume that I've put on.”

David Host, a spokesman for Mr. Barr, said the idea for the ad was conceived during a jobs tour in the spring in which residents of Ravenna told the candidate that their town was once a thriving railroad hub that transported coal, but much of that industry has since vanished. Mr. Barr has blamed that on what his campaign describes as burdensome regulations put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency, backed by Mr. Obama and Mr. Chandler.

Even though Mr. Lovell was not from the area, he was speaking of problems the coal industry faces statewide that he sees firsthand, Mr. Host said.

“What he has to say accurately reflects the sentiments of miners in his mine and across Kentucky, about the war on coal,” Mr. Host said. “They're concerned about their future, about their jobs. That certainly is something that the ad brings across.”

Mr. Chandler's campaign argues that he has been an important ally of the mining industry, advocating for the safety and rights of miners and speaking out against overreaching regulations.

In the ad, Mr. Lovell stands in front of another man dressed in miner's clothing.

“Devastating,” he says. “Four, five, six a day. Northbound. Southbound. Full rails, full of coal. Now near nothing.” He goes on to say that Mr. Obama, Mr. Chandler and the E.P.A. “are destroying us.”

“They're putting the coal industry out of business, and it's just devastating,” he adds. “This is our way of life.”

Mr. Lovell and his wife, Lori, have donated $21,400 to candidates for federal office over the past two years including to Mr. Romney and Rand Paul. Mr. Lovell was at a fund-raiser at the home of the founder of Papa John's Pizza, according to pictures on his wife's Facebook page, one of which showed him making a pizza with Mr. Romney.

“Heath and Mitt Romney,” Mr. Lovell's wife wrote about the picture. “I am pretty sure this was the greatest day of Heath's life!”



The Caucus Click: Obama and Letterman

By DOUG MILLS

The Agenda: \'Dependent Upon Government\'

By MICHAEL COOPER
Just who are the people dependent upon government that Mitt Romney was talking about in the video surreptitiously recorded at a May fund-raiser? This graphic, from an article in February by Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff, shows that the share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007.

By MICHAEL COOPER

Just who are the people “dependent upon government” that Mitt Romney was talking about in the video surreptitiously recorded at a May fund-raiser? This graphic, from an article in February by Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff, shows that the share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007.



The Agenda: \'Dependent Upon Government\'

By MICHAEL COOPER
Just who are the people dependent upon government that Mitt Romney was talking about in the video surreptitiously recorded at a May fund-raiser? This graphic, from an article in February by Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff, shows that the share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007.

By MICHAEL COOPER

Just who are the people “dependent upon government” that Mitt Romney was talking about in the video surreptitiously recorded at a May fund-raiser? This graphic, from an article in February by Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff, shows that the share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007.



TimesCast Politics: Fallout Over Romney Video

By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Jim Wilson/The New York Times


Mother Jones Releases Complete Video of Romney at Private Fund-raiser

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

On Tuesday afternoon, Mother Jones magazine released the complete version of the video that showed Mitt Romney speaking to donors at a May 17 fund-raiser. The magazine had originally released clips from the video on Monday evening.



Randy Newman Weighs In on Race and Presidency in New Song

By JAMES C. MCKINLEY JR.

You can always trust Randy Newman to talk about the elephant in the room. The award-winning songwriter, who supports President Obama, has weighed in on the role of race in the presidential election, releasing a satirical song on Tuesday poking fun at voters who long for the days when a white man was in the White House.

The song has the refrain “I'm dreaming of a white president” and is written from the point of the view of a voter who casts his ballot solely on the basis of race. Mr. Newman said in a press release he felt the passionate opposition to President Obama over issues that generally put the public to sleep â€" the budget deficit and health care policy, for instance â€" belie a d eep strain of racism in the electorate.

“I think there are a lot of people who find it jarring to have a black man in the White House and they want him out,” Mr. Newman said. “They just can't believe that there's not a more qualified white man. You won't get anyone, and I do mean anyone, to admit it.”

Mr. Newman, who is white, released the song as a free download on his Web site, but encouraged listeners to donate to the United Negro College Fund.

At 68, Mr. Newman is perhaps best known for the songs he has composed for films like “Cars,” “Monsters, Inc.,” and the “Toy Story” films, as well as the theme song for the television show “Monk.”

On his albums, he often writes songs in character, with biased narrators who express extreme views for satirical effect. “Short People,” for instance, his 1977 single that reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, attacked people of small stature, as a general statement about prejudi ce. He used a similar lyrical technique on his song “Rednecks” from his 1974 album “Good Old Boys,” which explored the topic of institutionalized racism.

This time, however, Mr. Newman is wading right into the presidential race. The song includes the line: “He won't be the brightest, perhaps / But he'll be the whitest / And I'll vote for that.”

Mr. Newman told The Associated Press: “I felt that sentiment exists in the country. I don't know how many people you can get to admit it. I think maybe zero.”

A few other liberal songwriters have taken on the same issue recently, though none quite so directly. For instance, Ry Cooder released “Election Special” last month, an album which featured songs written from the point of view of a disillusioned poor white voter.

Speaking to The A.P., Mr. Newman said the topic was “delicate enough that I'm not going to offend people every which way” and added he was worried there may be backlash from conservatives.



New Romney Ad Targets Women

By JIM RUTENBERG

As Mitt Romney's presidential campaign was consumed once again by events out of its control - the release of Mr. Romney's blunt discussion with donors in May - it was seeking to at least remain focused in the one place on TV where it has ultimate control of what is on screen: Its television advertising.

And this morning, the campaign released a new ad aimed at winning over women - among whom President Obama holds a considerable lead. Called “Dear Daughter,'' it features imagery of a woman holding a newborn as the narrator ticks through ways the Romney campaign says “Obama's policies are making it harder on women.”

“The poverty rate for women - the highest in 17 years. More women are unemp loyed under President Obama,” the voice-over says. “More than 5.5 million women can't find work. That's what Obama's policies have done for women. Welcome, daughter.”



Does Long-Term Care Insurance at a Young Age Make Sense?

By ANN CARRNS

The average age of people buying long-term care insurance has been falling, as people seek to balance the possible need for nursing home or in-home care with the considerable cost of the insurance premiums. Even some very young people are buying the insurance, and a few of them are making claims under their policies, according to an industry group.

Last year, 3.5 percent of individual policies were bought by people age 44 or under, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, which tracks industry data and trends. (In contrast, 56.5 percent of individual buyers last year were between 55 and 64, and the average age is now 57, down from 67 about a decade ago, according to the associat ion's data).

The youngest claimant is a young man who bought coverage at age 21 and began receiving payments under the policy at age 24; he has continued receiving benefits for seven years, association research shows. The youngest female policyholder currently receiving benefits under a claim obtained coverage at age 28 and needed care within the same year. She qualified for benefits that have amounted to over $135,000, the association said. A number of insurers reported claims from policyholders in their 30s, the association found.

The association didn't gather information about why younger adults make claims under the policies. But it is likely that they had an accident or were diagnosed with a serious medical condition that required longer periods of care, said Jesse Slome, the association's executive director. (People who already have serious medical conditions are ineligible for long-term care insurance, which requires health assessments before applicants ob tain coverage.)

But does purchasing a long-term care policy at a young age generally make financial sense?

It's true that younger people tend to qualify for coverage more easily and pay lower premiums. A policy that provides for $164,000 in total benefits over time before it runs out, with the option to increase coverage in the future, costs roughly $635 annually â€" or about $53 a month - for a 25-year-old, according to the association's 2012 price index.

Enid Kassner of the AARP's Public Policy Institute said people in their 20s and 30s should be cautious about buying the insurance because while their premium may seem low at a time when they may not own a home or have children, it's very difficult to predict whether they will be able to continue to afford the premiums over a very long period of time. “It's not a product for everyone,” she cautions.

Most policyholders, she noted, don't use their benefits until they ar e in their 80s. If young policyholders later decide that they can't afford or don't want to continue the insurance, they will have wasted all those premiums they paid since they don't accrue to your benefit the way they might with certain kinds of life insurance. (And young policyholders should expect that premiums will go up over time, she said; while most policies are meant to have stable premiums, insurance companies sometimes can impose increases, sometimes large ones, on an entire “class” of policyholders). While Ms. Kassner said that she focuses primarily on policy issues rather than on consumer matters, “The advice I tend to give is, you should only buy if you intend to keep it.”

Another caveat to buying the insurance at a young age, she noted, is that few long-term care policies sold today provide lifetime benefits; they typically are structured to provide specific benefits over a certain period of years. So if a young adult bought a policy and then nee ded to file a claim because of an accident or illness at a young age, the coverage wouldn't necessarily extend for the rest of his or her life. (Mr. Slome of the long-term care association said lifetime coverage is available but is generally very costly because of the unlimited benefits.)

Would you consider buying long-term care insurance before you turn 50?



Tuesday Reading: Exaggerating Your Race Results

By ANN CARRNS

A variety of consumer-focused articles appears daily in The New York Times and on our blogs. Each weekday morning, we gather them together here so you can quickly scan the news that could hit you in your wallet.



How the Romney Campaign Scrambled to Respond to Secret Video

By MICHAEL BARBARO

COSTA MESA, Calif. - Around 4 p.m. Monday here, an aide to Mitt Romney showed him a grainy video that had been circulating online all afternoon.

It was not pleasant viewing.

On a day freighted with symbolism and expectancy, the 50th until the election, Mr. Romney quietly watched himself deliver words at a fund-raiser - about the “47 percent,” “victims” and “dependents” - that would cast a new cloud over his campaign.

Mr. Romney and his advisers quickly grasped the severity of the footage, shot surreptitiously in Florida a few months ago and suddenly dominating the cable news airwaves and political blogs.

A decision was made: Mr. Romney must go in front of cameras that nig ht to explain himself, lest questions about the video linger and overshadow two full days of his campaign at a crucial stage in the general election.

But there was little time. It was already 7 p.m. on the East Coast, after the evening newscasts, and Mr. Romney was scheduled to attend a major fund-raiser in Costa Mesa in a few hours.

So aides quickly began arranging an impromptu news conference, giving the journalists who travel with Mr. Romney just a few minutes to race over to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, an elegant modern glass-and-steel building where he would hold the fund-raiser.

Reporters, who had expected a quiet evening, had already fanned out around town. As their phones began buzzing with urgent messages, they sprinted over to the arts center in whatever they were wearing (blue jean shorts, T-shirts), looking unkempt (one had just finished a run, but had not showered) and without their gear (in their rush, several left behind their laptops ).

Well-dressed donors, sipping wine, stared at the journalists now traipsing through their event in confusion.

The location was less than ideal. Aides had commandeered a small ballroom at a fund-raiser to have Mr. Romney discuss embarrassing remarks he had made at, well, a previous fund-raiser.

Kevin Madden, Mr. Romney's spokesman, peeked his head out from behind a black curtain, looking somewhat nervous. Around 10 p.m. Eastern time, Mr. Romney walked out, delivered his statement and took three questions.

Back inside the fund-raiser, Mr. Romney was running late. His longtime campaign finance chief, Spencer Zwick, apologized to donors for the delay, telling them that the candidate hated to be late and offering up a vague explanation.

“We had a press event that we had not anticipated we would do in the middle of a fund-raiser,” he told them. “But this is a presidential campaign and we don't always get to predict what's going to happen every single day.”



The Early Word: Executive Privilege

By JADA F. SMITH

Today's Times

  • President Obama harnessed the full powers of incumbency on Monday after he filed a broad new case against China with the World Trade Organization, accusing it of unfairly subsidizing exports of cars and auto parts, Mark Landler reports. With Mitt Romney's campaign arguing that Mr. Obama is not doing enough to protect American workers, the president drew an explicit link between his action on China and the economic travails of  “working men and women on the assembly lines” across the Midwest.
  • Many Latino leaders are infuriated by a White House ruling that excludes young illegal immigrants â€" who were recently told they could apply to remain in the country without fear of deportation â€" from health insurance coverage under President Obama's health care overhaul, Robert Pear reports. The administration views the immigration initiative and health coverage as separate matters.
  • Mitt Romney was caught on video giving a blunt political and cultural assessment of nearly half of American voters at a private campaign reception, Michael D. Shear reports. It offers a rare glimpse into Mr. Romney's personal views and undermines an attribute that his aides have long argued would appeal to independent voters: a sense that he is an empathetic and caring man.
  • Though Mitt Romney tried on Monday to give new direction to his campaign with more specifics about his proposed policies, his campaign continued to be hit with reports of infighting amongst his team and the video of him describing almost half of Americans as “dependent upon government,” Jim Rutenberg and Ashley Parker report.

Around the Web

  • Six cable stations and six broadcast networks have agreed to show a film by Citizens United that critiques President Obama from Tuesday until Election Day, Politico reports.

Happenings in Washington

  • The Minnesota Lynx, the 2011 W.N.B.A. champions, will be honored at the White House.  President Obama will then head to New York to tape an appearance on “Late Show With David Letterman” and attend a campaign event at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace laureate and Burmese democracy advocate, at the State Department.