Daily Presidential Update
Swing State Polls from Last 2 Days:
Thursday, Oct. 25:
Virginia (Rasmussen) – Romney 50, Obama 48
Florida (Gravis) – Romney 50, Obama 49
Wednesday Oct. 24:
Michigan (Baydoun/Foster) – Romney 47, Obama 47
Ohio (Time) – Obama 49, Romney 44
Ohio (Rasmussen) – Romney 48, Obama 48
Ohio ( SurveyUSA) – Obama 47, Romney 44
New Hampshire (Rasmussen) – Romney 50, Obama 48
Nevada (PPP) – Obama 51, Romney 47
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER: Education Trust Fund budget avoids cuts
For Meredith Bishop, principal of Wilson Elementary School off Ray Thorington Road, budget cuts mean less money for supplies and less opportunity for professional development.
“We have some phenomenal teachers in our school system,” Bishop said Wednesday morning. “Everyone needs to be molded so they can certainly grow.”
Bishop’s school hosted the chairmen of the Legislature’s budget committees, who said at a news conference in the school’s library that the state’s 2012 Education Trust Fund showed a $14.4 million surplus at the end of September, the first time in four years the budget did not face proration.
Rep. Jay Love, R-Montgomery, and Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, the chairmen of the House and Senate education budget committees, said Wednesday the surplus showed the Republican majority had made good choices over the past two years.
“We’ve made a lot of good investments, and I think we’re going to see the fruits of that as the economy picks up,” Pittman said.
But the improving economy gave the budget its biggest push.
The Education Trust Fund gets about 85 percent of its revenues from sales and income taxes, both of which respond strongly to economic conditions. In good economic times, receipts to the Education Trust Fund skyrocket; in bad ones, they crash to Earth without a parachute.
According to the Legislative Fiscal Office, gross income tax and sales tax receipts grew 4.7 percent for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
AL.COM: AEA working across state over next several days to get Amendment 4 defeated
The Alabama Education Association is making the rounds across the state this week and next in hopes of talking members into voting against Amendment 4, which looks to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution.
But Henry Mabry, AEA’s executive secretary, said today that a deeper look into the amendment shows that other segregation-era language that says there is no constitutional right to an education in Alabama would still exist.
“Proponents say we need to get rid of the racist language, and absolutely we need to. But in the process, we’re making it even more racist,” Mabry in an interview with The Birmingham News this afternoon, before a closed-door meeting with Birmingham-area AEA members.
Specifically, the proposed language maintains wording added to the state constitution in the 1950s that says “nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense.”
Mabry said he is concerned the amendment would hurt funding for public schools by setting up a system in which money from the Education Trust Fund could be diverted to private schools.
“The reason we have two funds (the general fund and the ETF) is because when all the money was lumped together, anytime there was an economic downturn, schools were the red-headed step child and got the brunt of the cuts,” he said. “With this constitutional amendment, they could argue the ETF does not have protection.”
What would be removed from the Alabama constitution, among other things, is wording that dictates that “separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race.”
The words were invalidated by the courts long ago, but they remain in the 111-year-old Alabama Constitution, a written reminder of the state’s segregationist past.
Supporters of the amendment say a “no” vote sends the message that Alabama is still living in its segregated past.
Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard is calling for legislation that would require people who are monitoring polls for any election held in Alabama to be citizens of the United States, according to the blog Yellow Hammer Politics and the Daily Caller.
Hubbard’s purposed legislation is in response to the news that United Nations poll watchers would fan out across the United States looking for any signs of voter suppression during the Nov. 6 presidential election.
Hubbard has some company when it comes to a dislike for the idea of poll watchers in the United States. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot told UN officials in a letter that they have no jurisdiction in Texas, and will be arrested if they interfere at polling places there, according to the Daily Caller.
“Groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas,” Abbot wrote. “This State has robust election laws that were carefully crafted to protect the integrity of our election system. The Texas Election Code governs anyone who participates in Texas elections—including representatives of the OSCE.”
National & International Politics
BUSINESS INSIDER: Obama Calls Romney ‘A Bullshitter’
President Barack Obama had some startling words for his opponent in an interview with Rolling Stone, according to an advance report on the article from Mike Allen at Politico.
Allen says Obama told Rolling Stone’s editor that kids look at Mitt Romney and say, “Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell.”
Here’s the excerpt from the upcoming cover story, via Playbook’s Mike Allen:
“We arrived at the Oval Office for our 45-minute interview … on the morning of October 11th. … As we left the Oval Office, executive editor Eric Bates told Obama that he had asked his six-year-old if there was anything she wanted him to say to the president. … [S]he said, ‘Tell him: You can do it.’ Obama grinned. … ‘You know, kids have good instincts,’ Obama offered. ‘They look at the other guy and say, “Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell.”‘”
This is the first time we can ever recall a President using that sort of language in an interview. We look forward to hearing the White House’s response.
POLITICO: How Mitt Romney would govern
Mitt Romney’s transition team — dubbed the “Readiness Project” — has stepped up its activities as the nominee has surged in the polls, planning a series of modest but quick accomplishments should he win and bracing for the likelihood Romney would butt heads with House Republicans as he seeks a fiscal “grand bargain.”
The team is plotting out a delicate exercise of power for a possible President Romney — wanting to show speedy action to improve the economy while taking pains to avoid over-promising, given the narrow margins Republicans will enjoy in Congress, even if they take back the Senate.
The difference would be felt most immediately and acutely on health reform. Romney’s repeated promise to “repeal Obamacare” is sure to be curtailed, even with a Republican Senate, his advisers admit. One official said that under a Democratic Senate, “we would just have to try to grind out changes by starving Obamacare through regulations.”
“In the campaign, there’s a lot of bravado about jamming things down people’s throats,” a Romney official said. “But that’s not really Romney. That’s not his style. He’s a pragmatist.”
Working with government-issued emails and office space on C Street Southwest, Romney’s team is calling its opening legislative agenda a “200-day plan,” rather than the storied 100-day lingo of President John F. Kennedy, because the current toxic climate makes it too tough to promise much in only three months, aides say.
13: REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.)
Minimum net worth: $26.43 million
The House minority leader’s reported minimum net worth dropped by almost $9 million last year but had little effect on where she landed among Congress’ wealthiest.
Pelosi’s husband, Paul, invested more heavily in the United Football League last year, reporting 27 separate purchases. His stake in the league is now valued at $1 million to $5 million, and he has a separate interest in the Sacramento Mountain Lions worth $5 million to $25 million.
Much of the couple’s wealth comes from real estate. A vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., had a reported worth of $5 million to $25 million and generated at least $50,000 in grape sales. A San Francisco commercial property was also worth at least $5 million, as was a commercial rental property Paul Pelosi owns in San Anselmo, Calif.
The Pelosis reported about $12.85 million in liabilities, including newly disclosed mortgages on their residences and a brokerage collateral loan with City National Bank that was taken out in 2011 for $1 million to $5 million.
10: REP. JIM RENACCI (R-OHIO)
Minimum net worth: $36.67 million
Renacci’s minimum net worth remains relatively unchanged from the year before, rising just slightly to $36.67 million.
The first-term Ohioan’s portfolio is one of the most diverse in Congress. Renacci reports having significant investments in fast-food chains, consumer electronics companies, drugmakers and oil giants.
Renacci has a stake in the Lancaster, Calif.-based minor league baseball team, the JetHawks, worth $100,000 to $250,000 and loaned the Westerville, Ohio, Gordy’s Bar and Grill at least $250,000 in 2010. An investment in a Harley-Davidson dealership dropped in value from at least $500,000 in 2010 to about $4,400 in 2011.
Renacci is one of a handful of members of Congress who opted to disclose the exact value of many assets instead of reporting them within broad ranges. He listed $26,000 in Lululemon Athletica, $89,000 in McDonald’s and $281,000 in Chevron stocks, among hundreds of financial holdings.
Renacci has a line of credit of $1 million to $5 million with his primary investment manager, Raymond James and Associates.
6: SEN. DICK BLUMENTHAL (D-CONN.)
Minimum net worth: $79.11 million
Like many on Roll Call’s list, much of Blumenthal’s minimum net worth of $79.11 million comes from the family of his spouse. His wife, Cynthia Blumenthal, is the daughter of New York real estate magnate Peter Malkin.
Many of Cynthia Blumenthal’s assets listed in the Peter L. Malkin Family 9 LLC are worth more than $1 million, including a real estate company in Sao Paulo, Brazil, multiple properties in midtown Manhattan and entities that leased and operated the Empire State Building.
When a senator’s spouse’s assets are worth more than $1 million, they fall into a broad category of “over $1 million” that requires no further delineation, meaning the Blumenthals’ actual wealth could be far greater.
The value of assets in family trusts that will eventually go to the Blumenthal’s dependent children were also reported in this year’s filing and included in the overall calculation of the senator’s minimum net worth.
The senator reported a single mortgage of $500,000 to $1 million as a liability.
NATIONAL REVIEW: Why Romney doesn’t need a poll lead in Ohio
The race for Ohio is slowly tightening, but Mitt Romney does not hold a lead in a single poll in the current Real Clear Politics average (he is tied in two). Two polls from Time and CBS/Quinnipiac have grabbed headlines by showing Obama a five-point lead in each. Romney is chipping away at Obama’s poll lead, but the Democratic advantage in party-ID has increased across these polls. When looking at the polls in Ohio, it is becoming entirely possible that Mitt Romney should be able to win Ohio without ever showing a consistent lead in the polls, or any lead at all.
In the past week Romney has trimmed four-tenths of a point off of his deficit in the RCP average, going from 2.5 to 2.1, but at the same time, the average party-ID advantage for Democrats in these polls has risen from 5.5 to 6.5. A big reason for the increase in Democrats’ share in the polls is due to early voting. If a pollster calls someone who says they voted already, they are automatically passed through the likely-voter screen since they have, after all, voted. The problem with this can be best summed up by Gregory House: “Everybody lies.”
Following a firestorm of negative feedback, CNN hastily deleted from its website late Wednesday virtually all mention of a study about the effect hormones have on women’s political preferences.
“A post previously published in this space regarding a study about how hormones may influence voting choices has been removed,” a message posted on the website at 8:15 p.m. read. “After further review it was determined that some elements of the story did not meet the editorial standards of CNN. We thank you for your comments and feedback.”
The study, authored by researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio, used an “Internet survey of 275 women who were not taking hormonal contraception and had regular menstrual cycles” to mine its data.