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Romney: The race card

Ron Fournier on “how and why the Romney campaign is playing the race card”: After opening with a powerful anecdote with a Detroit firefighter, he writes, “Working-class whites, in other words, are already more prosperous and secure than working-class minorities, but they’re less optimistic because they don’t believe they’re climbing anymore. They’re simply trying to hold on to what they’ve got, and see others grabbing at it. Thanks to Romney, they see minorities grabbing at their way of life every day and all day in the inaccurate welfare ad. It opens with a picture of Bill Clinton (a man obsessed with Macomb County and Reagan Democrats) signing the 1996 welfare reform act, which shifted the benefits from indefinite government assistance to one pushing people into employment and self-reliance.” 

More: “Why ignore fact-checkers? First, internal GOP polling and focus groups offer convincing evidence that the welfare ad is hurting Obama.  Second, the welfare issue, generally speaking, triggers anger in white blue-collar voters that is easily directed toward Democrats. This information comes from senior GOP strategists who have worked both for President Bush and Romney. They spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution. Furthermore, a senior GOP pollster said he has shared with the Romney camp surveys showing that white working-class voters who backed Obama in 2008 have moved to Romney in recent weeks ‘almost certainly because of the welfare ad. We’re talking a (percentage) point or two, but that could be significant.’”

He concludes: “That ad is exploiting the worst instincts of white voters – as predicted and substantiated by the Republican Party’s own polling. That leaves one inescapable conclusion: The Romney campaign is either recklessly ignorant of the facts, some of which they possess – or it is lying about why (and how) it is playing the race card.”

McKay Coppins: “In its first sustained and organized attempt to woo Hispanic outreach this election cycle, the Romney campaign is preparing a major post-convention blitz aimed at wooing Latinos in Florida. … The effort will include a dramatic increase in Spanish-language ad spending, an aggressive bilingual mail program geared toward early voter turnout, and an ambitious ground game led by 13 full-time field staffers dedicated solely to courting Hispanics — more, the aide claimed, than ‘any other Republican presidential campaign in history.’ The stakes are high: Swings of a few percentage points among Hispanic voters in Florida, as in other crucial states, could easily swing the election.”

The reason for doing this is obvious. According to the NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll, Romney was down nearly 40 points with Hispanic voters. Further, in Florida, Obama won Florida because of Hispanics, more so than any other group, be it African Americans or young voters. In 2004, George W. Bush won Latinos in Florida. In 2008, Obama won them. It was a 27-point reversal, a larger swing than with any other group. If Romney can’t cut into that margin, he’s going to have a hard time winning, especially in a place like Florida. 

Political Wire clips: “Mitt Romney helped secure a federal bailout to keep Bain & Company from collapsing, according to government documents obtained by Rolling Stone. ‘Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC - the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers - out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds.’”

There’s a headline the Romney people didn’t want: “Jane Romney: My Brother Won't Ban Abortion.” “A ban on abortion is ‘never going to happen’ under a Romney administration, Jane Romney said. ‘Women would take to the streets. Women fought for our choice, we’re not going to go back,’” she told National Journal.