EDITOR’S NOTE: The Need-to-Know Presidential Race memo will not publish during the national political conventions, which begin next week. Instead, National Journal will offer morning and evening updates that focus on convention news. Publication will resume on Sept. 7.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Give Mitt Romney’s campaign this: They recognize how important the Pauls -- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas --have become to the Republican Party.
The decision to give both prominent roles at the convention -- Rand has a prime-time speaking slot on Monday and Ron gets a video tribute on Tuesday -- seems designed, at least in part, to keep the father-son duo’s legion of young, energetic supporters in line with the GOP ticket. As Ron Paul found out, that voting bloc isn’t nearly large enough to win a GOP primary, but it certainly carries enough enthusiasm to animate a political debate just about anywhere in the country.
And in an election less about persuading a thin slice of undecided voters than turning out dedicated partisans, keeping all parts of the coalition happy is a must. If that causes one or two headlines about Rep. Paul’s affinity for the gold standard, so be it -- the base is more important.
-- Alex Roarty
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Rubio to Be Bumped? NEW!
[Weekly Standard, 8/24/12] The Republican National Committee really wants Americans to see Ann Romney at the convention, so much so that they’re considering moving Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to Tuesday night to give Mrs. Romney a prime spot on Thursday night ahead of her husband’s address. She had originally been scheduled to speak on Monday night. Earlier this week, the major networks announced they would not air live prime-time coverage of Monday’s proceedings.
Romney: 'No One Has Ever Asked to See My Birth Certificate'
[CNN, 8/24/12] Mitt Romney opened a stump speech in Michigan on Friday by cracking a joke about birth certificates, a sensitive topic given the birther movement. Speaking in Michigan about himself and his wife, he remarked: "No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."
Republican Spending Advantage Growing
[National Journal, 8/24/12] Romney and the outside groups that support him have spent more than twice as much as Obama and his allies in three of the past four weeks, according to sources watching the television advertising market. All told, Republicans and Romney's campaign have spent $296 million on television advertising, compared to $273 million from the other side.
The Hidden History of the American Electorate
[National Journal, 8/24/12] NJ has updated and expanded its in-depth analysis of historic exit polling data to provide a fine-grain picture of divisions of the electorate and the strategies each candidate could pursue to win the presidency.
Oil Donors Fete Romney Ahead of Energy Plan Announcement
[Bloomberg News, 8/24/12] Days after holding fundraisers attended by key members of America’s oil and gas industry, Romney on Thursday called for the aggressive development of fossil fuels to make the U.S. an “energy superpower.” Oil industry executives lauded the proposal, while Democrats said it would weaken federal environmental safeguards.
Romney Doubles Down on Fossil Fuels
[NPR, 8/23/12] Romney’s energy plan makes no mention of climate change and would end subsidies for cleaner sources of energy, such as wind and solar. The plan, which focuses on fossil fuels, relies heavily on creating deeper partnerships with Mexico and Canada.
Romney Says He's 'An Emotional Person,' Likes The Killers [Parade Magazine] Both Ann and Mitt Romney sit down for a Q&A with Parade. Mitt makes a joke about crying when he tithes and insists, "I'm an emotional person.” He also talks about his favorite music, which runs the gamut from country to classic rock to, yes, The Killers.
Poll: Obama Retains Likability Edge Over Romney
[National Journal, 7/24/12] A new poll finds that President Obama continues to hold a sizable advantage over Romney on personality, even as the GOP aims to boost Romney’s likeability at next week’s convention. Romney, however, still has the edge on whom voters trust more to manage the economy.
GOP Convention to Feature Ron Paul Tribute
[National Journal, 8/24/12] The Republican National Convention on Tuesday will feature a video testimonial to former presidential candidate Ron Paul, a nod to the libertarian icon’s influence on the GOP. Campaign strategists say Paul and Romney, once rivals, still respect each other.
Booker, Villaraigosa Added to Democratic Convention Speakers
[National Journal, 8/24/12] Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Los Angeles Mayor and convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa are among the latest speakers added to the lineup at the Democratic National Convention early next month.
Romney: 'Big Business is Doing Fine'
[National Journal, 8/23/12] As he argued for the need to cut regulations for small businesses, Romney told a group of donors on Thursday that “big business is doing fine” due to the ability of large companies to utilize “low tax havens around the world.” The comments draw attention to the fact that he has kept and invested much of his own money overseas.
Romney's Florida Fat Cat
[Daily Beast, 8/24/12] The 82-year-old Mel Sembler -- the former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee as well as a former U.S. ambassador to Italy -- has been raising money for Romney since the two had a heart to heart in 2007.
GOP Moves Up Romney Nominating Vote
[New York Times, 8/23/12] Due to concerns about Ron Paul supporters, as well as the impact Tropical Storm Isaac could have on the convention, Republican delegates will begin the roll call vote to officially nominate Romney on Monday -- days before the party normally nominates a candidate.
Forget the Mormon Moment; It's About Catholics
[Associated Press, 8/24/12] This campaign is the first in which Catholics are on both major party tickets. While Catholics don’t vote as a bloc, they comprise about one-quarter of the electorate -- and the candidate who wins Catholic voters usually wins the White House. But neither Obama nor Romney has established a consistent lead among these voters.