Archive - June 2012




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Monday Morning Quarterback – 6/25/12

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: June 25th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group, a public affairs firm, specializing in grassroots advocacy, coalition building, political engagement and communications strategy. Breaking News: We wanted to let our readers know that Monday Morning Quarterback author and Rouen Group Account Director Michael Yost has accepted a senior position with the Romney for President Campaign in Michigan.  While The Rouen Group is sad to lose Michael, this is an incredible opportunity to help elect the next President of the United States. Our loss will certainly be a huge gain for The Romney for President Team. Michael has promised to provide MMQ readers with some insights from the campaign trail along the way. We wish Michael the best. Please make sure to follow him on Twitter: @Michael_Yost Random Fact of the Week: Via @UberFacts: "People who stay up later tend to have higher IQs!" Check THIS out: http://bit.ly/LM5Ax4Sp Latest Obama v. Romney Polling:  Sunday, June 24
Race/Topic   (Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
General Election: Romney vs. Obama Gallup Tracking Obama 46, Romney 45 Obama +1
General Election: Romney vs. Obama Rasmussen Tracking Obama 43, Romney 48 Romney +5
President Obama Job Approval Gallup Approve 51, Disapprove 45 Approve +6
President Obama Job Approval Rasmussen Reports Approve 44, Disapprove 54 Disapprove +10
RealClearPolitics Poll Averages - Battleground States: North Carolina: Romney 47.8, Obama 44.5 - Romney +3.3 Michigan: Obama 46.4, Romney 45.0 - Obama +1.4 Ohio: Obama 46.4, Romney 44.6 - Obama +1.8 Florida: Obama 47.0, Romney 45.2 - Obama +1.8 Iowa: Obama 46.5, Romney 44.0 - Obama +2.5 Colorado: Obama 47.2, Romney 44.4 - Obama +2.8 Virginia: Obama 47.8, Romney 44.8 - Obama +3.0 Wisconsin: Obama 47.4, Romney 44.4 - Obama +3.0 Nevada: Obama 49.3, Romney 44.0 - Obama +5.3 New Hampshire: Obama 48.5, Romney 42.5 - Obama +6.0 Once More, With Meaning: Romney Can Win, But He Needs More Than Applause Lines: Via Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal: "You know what Republicans on the ground think when they look at Mitt Romney? "Please don't blow it." They think President Obama can't win but Mr. Romney can still lose. So they're feeling burly but anxious, hopeful yet spooked. They see Mr. Obama as surrounded by bad indicators—bad polls, bad economic numbers, scandals. Mr. Romney is looking good, as are his crowds. When the camera shows people in the stands behind him as he speaks, they no longer look as if they walked in off the street or put a bet on a horse and are straining to see if it breaks from the pack. Now they look like people watching their horse take the lead, with no one coming up the outside. The Romney strategy the past eight weeks has been, in a small way, shrewd: have the candidate out there talking in a candidate-like manner, but don't let him say anything so interesting that it will take the cameras off Mr. Obama. The president is lurching from gaffe to mess, from bad news to worse. Don't get in his way as he harms himself. It's working, but won't for long. People want meaning, a higher and declared purpose. With just more than 130 days to go, Mr. Romney has to start pulling from his brain and soul a coherent and graspable sense of the meaning of his run. "I will be president for this reason and this. I will move for this and this. The philosophy that impels me consists of these things." Only when he does this will he show that he actually does have a larger purpose, and only then will people really turn toward him. He has to tell Americans why they can believe him, why a nation saturated with politics, chronically disappointed by its leaders, and tired of promises can, actually, put some faith in him. They want to know how America can come back. Because they're pretty sure, down deep, that America has another comeback in her."

Monday Morning Quarterback – 6/18/12

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: June 18th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group, a public affairs firm, specializing in grassroots advocacy, coalition building, political engagement and communications strategy. Random Fact of the Week: Via @UberFacts: "Ink for your printer is literally more expensive than blood." Pro-Bailout Party Leads Greek Vote: Via The Washington Post: "Greece’s conservative New Democracy Party prevailed in elections Sunday, giving it the chance to form a new coalition government that would try to comply with the difficult terms of the country’s bailout and secure its spot in the euro zone. After weeks of uncertainty, the outcome of the parliamentary elections could reassure international leaders and investors, who have nervously watched developments in Greece, fearful that its exit from the euro zone would rock the global economy. A showdown could have forced Greece out of the currency union, setting off dangerous ripple effects with investors suspecting that other struggling European countries, such as Italy and Spain, also might not be able to meet their obligations. The result could have been a series of domino-like exits from the euro zone, ultimately causing the disbanding of the currency union and economic chaos. Greece's economic plight and Europe’s broader problems have become one of the chief risks to the world economy, and will be a focus of talks when President Obama and other Group of 20 leaders meet in Mexico this week. Europe’s troubles already are buffeting the U.S. economy, making them a matter of immediate concern for Obama’s reelection efforts." Romney Scaling the Blue Wall: Via Josh Kraushaar in The National Journal: "For much of the presidential campaign, President Obama’s top strategists have outlined their numerous paths to 270 electoral votes: win Florida, sweep the Southwest, or pick off a Southern state or two. But they didn’t prepare for the possibility that working-class white voters in the Rust Belt could abandon the president en masse, throwing his well-laid plans into disarray. With the economy struggling to pick up steam, three must-win “blue-wall” states are looking increasingly winnable for the Romney campaign: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Both election results (from the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall) and reputable polling show that all three states are shaping up to be highly competitive, and that both campaigns will be devoting significant resources there. It’s no coincidence that Mitt Romney’s “Every Town Counts” bus tour, which kicks off on Friday, is focused on winning over working-class whites, hitting the blue-wall battlegrounds along with three other blue-collar bastions: Ohio, Iowa, and New Hampshire. Given the attention paid to the Hispanic boomlet making the Southwest friendlier turf for Democrats, it’s easy to forget that the Rust Belt battlegrounds are heading in the opposite direction. The Rust Belt states are also the bigger electoral prize: There are 20 electoral votes combined in the states of Nevada (6), Colorado (9), and New Mexico (5), but 46 electoral votes in Michigan (16), Wisconsin (10), and Pennsylvania (20). Obama’s team expected that the historic Democratic tilt of those states would keep them in its column. But the slow-growing economy is putting them squarely in play, one of the biggest reasons why Obama’s reelection now looks in jeopardy." Mitt Romney Has an Opening With Young Voters: Op-Ed by Brad Chase in The Daily Caller: "Last year, young Americans started about 2 million small businesses. The social media revolution has transformed Generation Y into a highly mobile and ambitious group eager to take risks and take charge as entrepreneurs. They scoff at being written off as lazy or entitled. They don’t want handouts. They want a chance — a chance to build something on their own, to create their own niche in the world using their own unique skills and experience. They don’t need any more “hope” and “change” from a community organizer. They need a CEO to open the door for those opportunities through smart financial and operational management. Generation Y has seen enough John Hughes-inspired high school movies to know that the popular kid is an illusion and nerds always prevail in the end. If Romney wants to win the youth vote, he should give up on trying to compete with the cool kid and own every bit of his dorky, brainy reputation. Make no mistake: The youth vote is up for grabs in 2012. And if the polls remain as tight in five months as they are today, the youth vote could be a factor in swinging the election. It remains to be seen which candidate will be the first to truly embrace young voters. We’ll know the answer when the candidates stop running for prom king and start running for student council president." Parties Strategize for Dealing With Supreme Court Decision on Health Care: Via The New York Times: "House Republicans are not waiting for the Supreme Court verdict on the new health care law to plot their strategic response. If the measure is not thrown out entirely, House leaders plan to force a vote immediately to repeal the law to reinforce their deep opposition to the legislation, opposition that has become central to their political identity. The emerging game plan for the Republicans who control the House is just one element of the coordinated planning by groups on both sides of the issue as the Supreme Court ruling approaches as early as next week. The Republican National Committee, in consultation with Congressional campaign offices and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, is readying a war room. The National Republican Congressional Campaign has mounted a petition drive for repeal, complete with a function to allow signers to watch their faxed petitions arrive over the Internet. At the White House, which has much riding on the case, top officials continue to project confidence that the court will rule in its favor and that the administration will move on to put the law into force. But White House allies and advocates of the new law do not necessarily share that view and are gearing up in the event of an unfavorable decision. Representatives of groups favoring the law from crucial political battlegrounds converged on Washington this week for two days of meetings to coordinate their political response at the behest of Families USA, one of the law’s most stalwart defenders. Democratic aides on Capitol Hill are readying a comeback intended to force Republicans to show their hand on the issue of the uninsured." Americans for Prosperity Minnesota Targets Lawmakers on Vikings Stadium Vote: Via Minnesota Public Radio: "Americans for Prosperity Minnesota, the local arm of the conservative Americans for Prosperity, is targeting three state Senate incumbents for supporting the new Vikings stadium. In an unusual twist, two of those targets are Republicans: Sen. Julie Rosen of Fairmont who is running in SD 23 and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria who is running in SD 8. The third, Sen. Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka, is a Democrat running in SD 44. The AFP-Minnesota mailers may raise some eyebrows; it's unusual for a right-leaning organization to oppose the records of right-leaning lawmakers. But (John) Cooney (AFP-MN's state director) said that political affiliation doesn't always mean much to AFP. "The votes that they took certainly weren't conservative in nature," he said. "We believe that you don't just fight for conservative issues, but you hold our public representatives accountable for the votes they take." AFP has chapters in more than 30 states, including Minnesota, but the group here has kept a relatively low profile since it opened up shop in 2011. It weighed in on the right-to-work debate, it hosted a rally for tax cuts featuring former GOP contender Herman Cain, and it commissioned a poll about the Vikings stadium. Cooney isn't sure which legislative races or which issues AFP-MN will be weighing in on next, but added that the group will be focusing on the legislative performance of any number of state lawmakers. "Our hope is that we won't be seeing bills like [the Vikings stadium bill] come up again in the near future" he said. "We want to be part of the dialogue in the state on how we spend our taxpayer dollars." Voter ID Fight Escalates as Ritchie Bows Out of Case Via The Star Tribune: "Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a DFLer who has campaigned against the photo ID requirement for voting passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, said Thursday he will not defend the language of the proposed constitutional amendment in a court challenge that names him as the defendant. Ritchie's decision, announced in a letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, followed a vote by Republican legislative leaders earlier in the day to hire their own attorney to fight a lawsuit that seeks to derail the amendment before it reaches voters in November. The announcement upset Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, who accused Ritchie of shirking his duty to stand up for even those legislative decisions he disagrees with. The dispute concerns a legal challenge pending before the state Supreme Court. The League of Women Voters Minnesota, Common Cause, Jewish Community Action and several individuals filed the suit, saying the language that voters will see on the Nov. 6 ballot does not "accurately and factually" describe the constitutional changes being proposed. Groups on both sides of the issue have filed briefs to join the suit, including the pro-ID group Minnesota Majority and anti-ID organizations such as AARP and the St. Paul NAACP. The Republican sponsors of the ID bills, Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake and Sen. Scott Newman of Hutchinson, have filed a separate brief in support of the amendment. The court is set to hear oral arguments July 17 and is expected to rule relatively quickly because of the need to prepare ballots for the general election." THE WEEK IN REVIEW: THREE ARTICLES WORTH THE READ: The Detroit News Op-Ed: Bailout Good for Detroit, But Really Good of UAW Daniel Henninger in The Wall Street JournalWould Harry Truman Blame Paris? Michael Hirsh in The National Journal: How Badly Has Obama Alienated the Middle Class? HIGHLIGHTS: SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT: Golf - U.S. Open: Webb Simpson captures his first major (and only his fifth PGA win) at the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club with a 1-over 281.  

Monday Morning Quarterback – 6/11/12

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: June 11th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group, a public affairs firm, specializing in grassroots advocacy, coalition building, political engagement and communications strategy. Random Fact of the Week: Via @UberFacts: "Each Twitter user adds about $71.00 to the entire company's value - Facebook users are worth more contributing $118.00." The Media Doesn't Understand Races in the States: Via Jay Cost in The Weekly Standard: "...the media is making major mistakes in its analysis of the campaign in the 50 states. Here are four huge problems with its approach. 1. The president is under 50 percent in most swing state polling averages. It’s not an ironclad rule that Obama cannot rise in the polls, but common sense suggests that it will be tough. 2. Most polls are of registered voters. This matters because the actual electorate will only be a subset of registered voters, and will probably be more inclined to vote for the GOP. So, these polls probably overstate Obama's “lead,” such as it is. The two major exceptions to this are Rasmussen, which is already using a likely voter screen, and PPP, which uses an idiosyncratic screen of “voters” (basically surveying people who voted in previous elections). Nobody else uses this screen; PPP switches to “likely voters” later in the cycle and until then its polls should be taken with a grain of salt. 3. There is no “blue wall.” This is a common point pundits will make – the list of states that have not voted Republican since 1988 amounts to a “blue wall” for the president. Nonsense. It’s better to say that these states have Democratic tilts, some of them pretty minimal. Take Pennsylvania, for instance. The Keystone State usually votes about 3 points more Democratic than the rest of the country. So, if Romney wins the nationwide vote by 3 points, then he will stand a very good chance of winning Pennsylvania. 4. The “horse race” metaphor has its limits. Take this from the guy who used to write the Horse Race Blog: The concept of a horse race does not capture the idea of voterpsychology very well at this point. Roughly 85 percent or so of the electorate is locked in – though they may not be admitting it to pollsters – while the final 15 percent has barely started the decision-making process. So, the idea that Obama has a “lead” in the polls is really a non sequitur. The gettable voters are not yet engaged, so there really is no race going on at the moment. California Pension Victories Could Catch on Nationwide: Via Bloomberg News: "Victories for measures to rein in pension costs in San Diego and San Jose, California’s second- and third-largest cities, may show other cash-strapped U.S. municipalities a path to follow, local officials say. Voters in both communities on June 5 passed ballot initiatives requiring city employees to contribute more to their retirement plans, steer new workers into a 401(k)-style defined- contribution funds and raise the retirement age. “If you explain this to the voters, they’re going to support you,” San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said by telephone. “The voters get it. They understand the connection between having to put huge amounts of money into retirement and cutting services to the people.” Soaring pension expenses have strained municipal budgets in the U.S., forcing city officials to cutjobs and services to stay solvent. Contract talks with workers generally haven’t reduced payrolls enough as costs rise while revenue remains under pressure from the recession that ended in 2009. Meanwhile, most retirement plans haven’t recouped investment losses from the financial crisis. That has left cities with billions of dollars in unfunded promises to retirees. In San Jose, the 10th-largest U.S. city with 946,000 residents, annual retirement costs increased to $245 million from $73 million in the past decade, prompting Reed last year to threaten to declare a state of fiscal emergency. In San Diego, the eighth-largest U.S. city with 1.3 million residents, officials budgeted $233.6 million for retirees this year, up from $87 million in 2004, according to budget documents. San Diego has “set an example for cities across America that are looking for ways to rein in rising pension costs,” Mayor Jerry Sanders said in a statement after the vote. “Public employees should have no better retirement benefits than the taxpayers they serve.” Obama's Reelection Could be in Europe's Hands: Via Dana Milbank in The Washington Post: "Some think that Ohio will decide the presidential election. Others are watching Florida or North Carolina or Wisconsin. But if you really want to know who will win the White House in November, you should ask the Europeans. They aren’t eligible to vote, but they may well cast the deciding ballot — and for President Obama, it’s looking grim. For all the chatter at home, the election won’t be determined by fundraising, or Bain Capital, or Obamacare, or Mormonism, or birth certificates, or even crucial issues about taxes and spending. In the end, Obama will win if voters perceive the economy to be improving — which it was until Europe’s troubles stalled the recovery in recent months. Greek elections on June 17 are expected to produce a government that will abandon the euro, putting more pressure on Spain, which has already said that its banks need a bailout. The Spanish troubles have aggravated a standoff between Germany, which demands more austerity in exchange for a bailout, and France, where the new socialist prime minister favors more government spending. The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel observed in recent days that Europe has moved “a little closer to the abyss.” Wisconsin Recall Outcome Emboldens Minn. Republicans on Union Issues: Via Minnesota Public Radio: "One of the big questions of Minnesota's 2012 legislative session was whether the Republican majority in the Legislature would ask voters to decide whether unions could require all workers to belong to a union and pay dues. Lawmakers never voted on the question, in large part due to concerns that the state's labor unions would spend millions to defeat the proposal and those who helped put it on the ballot. But supporters of the so-called "Right to Work" amendment say Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's victory in Tuesday's recall election should give them the courage to follow through with the plans. Organized labor targeted Walker after he pushed through a plan that stripped collective bargaining rights from many public employees. Walker survived the recall vote, defeating his Democratic opponent, Tom Barrett, by several percentage points. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said he also is emboldened by Walker's victory. He said Republicans will continue to oppose tax increases, and he suggested public employees will be targeted if Republicans retain control of the Legislature this fall. "As far as public sector unions — whether it's state workers or teachers unions — they should not have a different set of standards that are above and beyond the taxpayers that are actually funding their salaries and funding their benefits," Zellers said. "The days of a gold-plated government versus what an average Minnesotan gets paid, I think, are gone." Vikings Stadium Could Be Morrie Lanning's Legacy: Via The Pioneer Press: "Retiring state lawmaker Morrie Lanning insists that his controversial and successful campaign to help finance a $975 million Minnesota Vikings stadium did not drive him from a 39-year-career in public service. But his reputation as a diplomatic leader was never more tested. In the end, it took an 11th-hour deal after Lanning delivered news to the Vikings that they needed to pony up more money or the largest state project in Minnesota history was off. Lanning told the Vikings near the end of the session that lawmakers wanted the organization to up its original ante by $50 million. Team officials didn't take it well, he said. Instead, the Vikings agreed and the bill survived what Lanning called probably the most difficult political environment in his 40 years of politics -- not only in Minnesota but also the country. It makes the outcome even more remarkable, he said. "It's not the reason I'm leaving. It's just the reality of the current political situation," Lanning said. "I could have kept plugging away." Lanning, 67, a former vice president and dean at Concordia College who served as Moorhead mayor for 22 years, has been known as a politician who can manage various viewpoints inside and outside his party. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a Democrat, said Lanning builds partnerships across party boundaries and is able to put his ego aside to get things done. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, a Republican, calls him a "true statesman." THE WEEK IN REVIEW: THREE ARTICLES WORTH THE READ: Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post: What Wisconsin Means Matt Lewis in The Daily CallerRonald Reagan Raised Taxes 11 Times? The Real Story Charles Malanga in The Wall Street Journal: State Politicians and the Public Pension Cookie Jar HIGHLIGHTS: SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT: Tennis - French Open: Rafael Nadal tops Novak Djokovic in four sets (6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5) to claim his record 7th French Open title.  

Monday Morning Quarterback – 6/4/12

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: June 4th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group, a public affairs firm, specializing in grassroots advocacy, coalition building, political engagement and communications strategy. D-Day in Luverne, Minnesota: The 68th anniversary of D-Day is this Wednesday, June 6. A personal account of what went on this day in the small southwest Minnesota town of Luverne (courtesy of the Ken Burns PBS documentary "The War"). Random Fact of the Week: Via @UberFacts: "The average iPhone user has 40 apps installed on their phone. Android users average 25 and Blackberry users average 14. Wisconsin Recall - Latest Articles and Polling: The Survivor: Via Alex Altman in Time Magazine: "Normally friendly, Wisconsin has been anything but in the past few months. Statewide, the question of whether to keep Governor Scott Walker or kick him out for slashing collective bargaining for most public employees has set neighbor against neighbor. Three in 10 Wisconsin voters have stopped speaking with someone about politics because of Walker, according to one recent poll. None of this was part of Walker's original plan when he assumed the governorship in 2011, but on a personal level, it is paying off nicely. Walker has surfed a controversy of his own making to the center of the national stage. In the final days before the June 5 recall election, he has shattered fundraising records, befuddled his opponents and pulled ahead in the polls. The referendum has transformed a rookie governor into a conservative superstar. By charging straight at his critics, Wisconsin may actually be moving closer to the Republican column. Having assembled a seamless campaign to defend their imperiled star, party elders hope that his survival could foreshadow Romney's ability to ride a similar coalition of fiscal conservatives, Tea Partiers and heavyweight donors to an upset in the state in November. While Republicans haven't won Wisconsin on the presidential level since 1984, George W. Bush nearly pulled off the feat twice, and Romney is only a step or two behind Barack Obama in recent polls." Why the Wisconsin Recall Sets a Bad Precedent: Via Andrew Rotherham in RealClearPolitics: "Most of the commentary about the recall (aside from the abundance of passionate feelings about Walker himself) focuses on its political wisdom. In the long run what should concern us is the governmental wisdom of this kind of recall. Are recalls based on policy choices even a good idea? Barring corruption or incapacity to govern, shouldn’t elections at least settle who holds an office for a fixed period of time? In our already poisonous politics, are recalls poised to become one more weapon in our ongoing total political war? If the Walker recall succeeds, it will energize efforts elsewhere -- and create an incentive for a partisan tit for tat response. And although the Wisconsin election is focusing attention on unions, in practice other interest groups can play this game as well. If you think our politicians are paralyzed by special interests and lack courage to take on the big problems facing the country now, imagine their timidity when they start paying attention to the threat of real-time responses to any controversial actions they take." Wisconsin Recall to Resonate in Presidential Race: Via John Whitesides in Reuters: "Tuesday's recall vote also has the attention of two very interested outsiders: Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, who are gearing up for their November 6 showdown for the White House. Whatever happens when Wisconsin voters decide whether Walker should be replaced by Democrat Tom Barrett, the repercussions promise to echo deep into the presidential campaign. "The vote here will definitely be seen as a harbinger of things to come," said Wisconsin-based Republican consultant Mark Graul. "The winning side will have tremendous momentum, and there will be implications far beyond Wisconsin." "If the governor is successful" in warding off a recall, "it will show the mood of voters is closer to where it was in 2010 than in 2008," Graul said. "And that could portend trouble for Obama here and in other similar states, like Ohio," another Midwestern state that will be perhaps the most significant battleground in the presidential race. But after months of polarized battle over Walker's agenda, most Wisconsin voters seem to have made up their minds. A recent Marquette University law school poll said just 3 percent of voters remain undecided; a Democratic poll this week put the figure at 1 percent. While Democrats have a slight edge in voter registration in Wisconsin, Republicans seem to have at least a slight edge in enthusiasm. The Marquette poll found 91 percent of Republicans were "absolutely certain" to vote, compared with 83 percent of both Democrats and independents." Most Recent Wisconsin Recall Polls: Marquette University: Walker 52, Barrett 45 WeAskAmerica: Walker 54, Barrett 42 WPR/St. Norbert: Walker 50, Barrett 45 RealClearPolitics Average: Walker +6.6 Job Numbers Remind Obama That He Must Do More Than Just Attack: Via Dan Balz in The Washington Post: "Friday’s dismal jobs report and some unexpected words from Bill Clinton delivered a bracing reminder to President Obama and his advisers that the election remains primarily a referendum on his record and that their path to victory may lie less in trying to discredit Republican Mitt Romney and more in winning a battle of ideas with their Republican rival. The latest report — just 69,000 jobs were added last month — was far worse than forecasters had predicted and undermined the administration’s contention that the economy is truly on a path to recovery. Administration officials pointed out that the economy added jobs for the 27th consecutive month. The weakness of that response underscored the challenge facing the president as he seeks to convince voters that he has the tools and the political wherewithal to fix what still ails the economy. The Labor Department’s monthly report could not have come at a worse moment for the president, given the relatively weak jobs growth of the two previous months. History suggests that voters’ perceptions of the economy, and therefore the performance of the incumbent, begin to lock in several months before an election. By that measure, Obama has little time to show progress. The economy appears to have fallen into another spring slump, after signs in the winter that suggested the recovery was genuinely taking hold. And the president may have only limited ability to affect the biggest looming danger to the U.S. economy, which is the situation in Europe. It is no wonder that analysts say the president’s prospects for reelection are no better than 50-50." President Obama Visits Minnesota: Via Minnesota Public Radio: "The president's visit to a Honeywell plant in Golden Valley came on the same day the Labor Department released disappointing job numbers for May and the nation's unemployment rate ticked up. Within moments of taking the podium, Obama responded to the news that the nation's economy added only 69,000 jobs in May. The number of jobs created in May job were about half what most analysts were expecting, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent. Obama said the economy faces some serious headwinds, notably the situation in Europe. He pressed Congress to pass his job creation proposals. Obama rattled off his job creation "to do" list for Congress, which includes tax credits for small businesses that add jobs, and eliminating tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas. He also wants Congress to make it easier for some homeowners to refinance their mortgages and to again approve renewable energy tax credits. For his Minnesota visit Obama focused on the final item on his list: the creation of a "Veterans Jobs Corps," which would find jobs for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in law enforcement, fire departments and other civilian occupations. In a conference call with reporters before the president's speech, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a surrogate for the Romney campaign, said the latest jobs numbers highlight the failures of the Obama administration. "Of course we welcome him to Minnesota," said Pawlenty, who ended his own presidential bid last summer. "But it's also an opportunity to talk about the abysmal impact that his policies have had on the American job market and free enterprise." Seen As Safe, Klobuchar Fights Complacency Threat: Via Martiga Lohn in the Associated Press: "Complacency may be the biggest election year challenge for Amy Klobuchar, one of the most popular incumbents in the U.S. Senate, as she runs for a second term representing Minnesota. The 52-year-old Democrat has raised $5 million so far and is facing off against a little-known opponent, Republican state Rep. Kurt Bills, a high school economics teacher who's allied with libertarian-leaning presidential contender Ron Paul. Democratic party activists enthusiastically endorsed Klobuchar's re-election bid at their party convention in Rochester on Saturday, taking mere moments to endorse her by acclamation. Klobuchar, who won her first Senate race with a commanding 58 percent of the vote, runs the risk of being almost overlooked as Democrats turn their urgency toward winning back a U.S. House seat in northeastern Minnesota and overturning Republican majorities in the state Legislature. Former Republican Sen. Rudy Boschwitz said Klobuchar's race isn't so different from his position in 1990. At this point that year, he was considered a safe bet for re-election. He went on to lose narrowly to a little-known Democratic college professor named Paul Wellstone in a major upset. Boschwitz said he spoke recently with Bills and told him of the parallels. "I said, 'In politics, nothing is for certain,'" Boschwitz said. "The impossible in politics often happens." THE WEEK IN REVIEW: THREE ARTICLES WORTH THE READ: George Will in The Washington Post: Wisconsin's Peter Pan Progressivism Maureen Dowd in The New York TimesDreaming of a Superhero Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times: Starving Its Own Children HIGHLIGHTS: SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT: Golf: Tiger Woods wins the Memorial Tournament, claiming his 73rd PGA tour victory which ties him with Jack Nicklaus. Watch the shot that everyone is talking about.  
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