If even 5% of all news organizations had the ability to dig into a story like Rolling Stone does, our Country would be much better for it. But for now the music magazine is our best source for real, unbiased, we don't need to balance the story to not make anybody look bad news.
Mitt Romney likes to say he won't "apologize" for his success in business. But what he never says is "thank you" – to the American people – for the federal bailout of Bain & Company that made so much of his outsize wealth possible.
According to the candidate's mythology, Romney took leave of his duties at the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1990 and rode in on a white horse to lead a swift restructuring of Bain & Company, preventing the collapse of the consulting firm where his career began. When The Boston Globe reported on the rescue at the time of his Senate run against Ted Kennedy, campaign aides spun Romney as the wizard behind a "long-shot miracle," bragging that he had "saved bank depositors all over the country $30 million when he saved Bain & Company."
In fact, government documents on the bailout obtained by Rolling Stone show that the legend crafted by Romney is basically a lie. The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster – leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." 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. - Rolling Stone
— Whenever Mitt Romney and/or Paul Ryan enthusiastically points or gives a thumbs up (See photo for excellent example) — Whenever a speech is interrupted by clapping. Drink more (or take a shot?) if there is hootin' and hollerin' — For every flag pin you spot on a lapel
— Every time someone mentions "We Built It" — Whenever someone mentions Obamacare
— Whenever someone says "We can do better!" — Whenever someone says "We can change it!" — Whenever someone says "We believe in America!" — Every time you see a suggested Twitter hashtag — Every time Romney reassures us that he's a tried and true conservative.
Take Two Drinks:
— Whenever "The Romney Program for Economic Recovery, Growth and Jobs" is mentioned — If anyone calls Ryan out for referring to rape as a "method of conception" — Every time there is "USA USA USA" chanting
— When Romney's taxes are mentioned
— When Bain Capital is mentioned
— (LADIES ONLY) Every time regulations pertaining to your body are discussed by men
Take Three Drinks:
— Every time you see a woman in a pantsuit — Every time someone thanks Jesus — Every time you see a combover — Palin sighting!
Waterfall: Ron Paul sighting!
I've been reading the embargoed speeches that will be given tonight and strongly strongly ask you not to play the above game.
With Isaac headed toward New Orleans, Republican National Convention officials are considering a number of worst-case scenarios including a quick roll call and a truncated speech by Mitt Romney.
Officials conceded on the record for the first time Monday that plans for an already shortened three-day convention were in doubt. “We’re hoping we go forward with Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” said James Davis, communications director for the convention. “We are agile and we can move things around but we’re planning for” a three-day convention.
A senior GOP official said no decision had been made and none was likely Monday, but said the convention conceivably could be as short as a single day.
One of the worst-case scenarios would be Romney delivering a brief speech declaring the emergency is bigger than politics, shuttering the convention and turning the public’s attention to the Gulf Coast.
"That might not be the worst-case scenario” politically for Romney if he’s seen as putting people ahead of politics, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss convention options.
The latest storm track has Isaac traveling along Florida's western coast early next week. This could very well be the second consecutive Republican National Convention that loses a day to hurricanes.
(Updates from Matt: Tampa officially has a 3% chance of receiving 60 mph winds, and a 14% chance of receiving Tropical Storm winds (35 mph).
Also, there is another storm forming in the East Atlantic about a week behind Isaac, and the very long range forecasts show it as a decent hurricane off the coast of North Carolina the following week. Just saying...)
Officials in Florida are holding a disaster planning drill to determine just how bad a Category 3 hurricane would be for the Republican National Convention.
This week, he and other state Emergency Management officials will run through the nightmare scenario of a major hurricane hitting Tampa during the middle of the convention. The storm, nicknamed "Hurricane Gispert" for Hillsborough's recently retired EOC director, will follow the path of the last major storm to hit Tampa Bay, the Hurricane of 1921.
"The impacts would be devastating," said Brian LaMarre of the National Weather Service in Ruskin. He is among the team of meteorologists helping to coordinate with the U.S. Secret Service for just such a scenario. The week of the convention, a team from the Ruskin office will staff the emergency operations center in Tampa around the clock.
"Downtown Tampa would be under water, transportation would be severed," says LaMarre. "If we see a category 1 impact downtown Tampa at high tide, the bridges will no longer be passable." - WTSP
Matt has written repeatedly about hurricanes and conventions (see here, here, here, here and here). The biggest takeaway from his posts is this:
The chance of a hurricane hitting Tampa Bay the week of the convention are probably less than 1 percent, a National Hurricane Center scientist estimates. ...
"For a major hurricane, it's a rare event," said Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
In August, most hurricanes move east to west. So Tampa Bay, on Florida's west coast, tends to be a "little shielded," he said.
Landsea puts the chances of a hurricane hitting the Tampa Bay area during August at about 2 to 3 percent.
For any given week in August, the chance may be one-half of 1 percent — or possibly up to 1 percent if 2012 is an especially busy hurricane season.
I don't think people should be worried about hurricanes in Tampa... they should be worried about earthquakes.
And just in case you think Charlotte reporters aren't joining in the fun there's this:
The peak of hurricane season is usually around Sept. 10, but the peak activity in the Carolinas is the first week of September.
That week happens to coincide with the DNC this year.
Lewis Collins is concerned about what his trip to work in uptown Charlotte will be like in early September.
"It's going to be a madhouse," he said.
But he's also concerned about a hurricane hitting the coast - or possibly further inland -- at the same time. Collins said he still remembers everything about 1989, the year Hurricane Hugo hit. - WSOC
TAMPA, Fla. – With the Republican National Convention just 100 days away, convention Chief Executive Officer William Harris reported today that preparations for the event are “right on schedule.”
“We’ve made enormous progress toward a very big job,” said Harris, who is responsible for overseeing the countless details involved in planning the four-day gathering, from securing 16,000 hotel rooms to house the delegates, alternates, media representatives and guests to the design of the podium where the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential and vice-presidential nominees will give their acceptance speeches.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I’m delighted to report that we’re right on schedule,” Harris declared, adding that work will intensify as the convention draws closer.
Tom Coburn has heard enough posturing about that $800,000 conference the Government Services Agency held in Las Vegas. He’s got a bigger target: The $36 million taxpayers will spend on the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer.
Earlier this year, Coburn put the public financing of the conventions as the number one item in his annual “Wastebook” of the most wasteful expenditures of taxpayer money. Now Coburn has written a letter to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz asking them to give the money back.
“Can we agree once and for all the party is over when it comes to travel and meetings paid for by the taxpayers?” Coburn wrote today in a letter to Priebus and Wasserman-Schultz. “If you agree, I would urge you to reject the millions of dollars of public financing for your 2012 party convention provided by the federal government through the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) and to return the money to the federal government.”
The convention financing comes from a taxpayer fund that comes from the so-called $3 check-off — the little box on your tax return where taxpayers can dedicate $3 of their income tax to go toward public financing of political campaigns.
And the DNC and RNC Respond:
DNC spokesperson Kristie Greco said, “Political nominating conventions are an essential part of our democratic process, voluntarily funded by the taxpayers. Contrary to Senator Coburn’s assertions, we use the federal grant to fund the functions necessary to renominate the president and vice president.”
RNC spokesperson Sean Spicer said, “Conventions serve an important role in the process of nominating candidates for President and Vice President of the United States. If Senator Coburn has ideas on how to overhaul campaign finance laws that will provide political parties with viable alternative funding sources or on the funding for future conventions, he should address them through the legislative process.”
I think the key thing here is that the money comes from voluntary funding. Ever wonder what the money goes toward when you check the box on your return? $36 million is a drop in the bucket on what we'd save if we returned to Reagan-era taxes.
World attention will focus on Tampa for the Republican National Convention from Aug. 27 to 30. But St. Petersburg will get the first shot at media and visitor exposure with a huge kickoff party the night before at Tropicana Field.
Plans for the Aug. 26 gathering have not been finalized, but the event could draw upward of 20,000 people.
The Secret Service on Monday confirmed plans for the kick-off event in Pinellas County that local officials had hinted at but not officially announced.
The 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee is organizing social and corporate-business oriented gatherings around the Tampa Bay area during the four days of the convention that designates the party's presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Now the nonpartisan host committee gets an additional venue at Tropicana Field to showcase visitor and business development opportunities in hopes of bolstering the area's economy for years to come. - Tampa Tribune
If you've been paying attention you'll know that the DNC is holding a Kick Off party but is inviting people from around the area to attend. While the details for the RNC event haven't been announced I can guarantee you it won't be open to the public.
TAMPA, Fla. – The 2012 Republican National Convention today unveiled its redesigned official website, www.GOPConvention2012.com. The enhanced website provides a robust platform for expanded interactive and multimedia capabilities, including video and live-streaming broadcasts of convention proceedings. It fully integrates convention social media channels.
"We are planning an innovative, dynamic and informative convention," said convention Chief Executive Officer William Harris. "One of our most vital assets in accomplishing this mission is our redesigned convention website and other digital assets such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
"GOPConvention2012.com and our social media channels will provide a vibrant platform from which we communicate our nominee's messages," Harris said. "Our goal is to tear down the convention walls and make the 2012 Republican National Convention open and accessible to anyone, anywhere."
The site offers key features being deployed today and at critical junctures as convention planning continues, including the ability to login via social network platforms for a customized viewing experience and deep integration of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks.
GOPConvention2012.com will also include live chats and historic photographs and videos of past Republican conventions. Other features will be added to the convention website in the coming weeks.
"The redesigned website will provide an interactive experience to our web visitors while helping us build a community and make history," said Director of Communications James Davis.
The redesign effort was led by Alexandria, Va.-based Campaign Solutions, which created and maintained the 2008 and 2004 Republican Conventions' websites and digital strategies. The company has been recognized for its work, including Pollie Awards for web design from the bi-partisan American Association of Political Consultants.
Campaign Solutions' online strategy and website design efforts were also honored with the "Best of Show" award for the 2008 Republican National Convention website (Minneapolis-Saint Paul) and the "Best Website" award for the 2004 Republican National Convention website (New York).
Politico has posted a memo from the Santorum campaign that makes all of our delegate work extremely relevant. We have highlighted some of the more interesting points.
To: Mike Biundo From: John Patrick Yob Date: March 10th, 2012 Re: Santorum Path to Delegate Victory
Rick Santorum is very well positioned to earn the delegates necessary to win the national convention despite what the Romney campaign and their official/unofficial surrogates’ fuzzy math may claim.
As a result of their inability to inspire the GOP based on message, the Romney campaign made the curious decision to lead their post-Super Tuesday campaign with the argument that the race is over, rather than touting his positive qualities as a candidate.
The effort to talk about the math was a defensive smokescreen intended to distract from the major problems the Romney campaign faces in county, district, and state conventions across the country when national convention delegates are actually elected.
The reality is simple: the Romney math doesn’t add up and he will have a very difficult time ever getting to a majority of the delegates.
The situation is only going to get worse for them and better for Rick Santorum as time passes. Simply put, time is on our side.
Strength of Candidacy Romney has been forced to outspend the field dramatically in order to barely win in states he should have won handily (Michigan and Ohio), and losing other states by wide margins (Tennessee and Oklahoma).
Rick Santorum continues to win contests and gain national convention delegates because he has emerged as the favorite of the conservative grassroots base of the Republican Party. As a result he has wins in most caucuses. He also has won the majority of counties even in Romney states excluding moderate urban areas.
Support from Conservative Base Romney has proven incapable of inspiring grassroots conservative support in caucuses as he has lost lost every caucus contest despite outspending the other candidates by many multiples.
Similarly, there are serious cracks in the Romney finance operation as the campaign finance reports show that he is incapable of inspiring grassroots donors across the country to donate to his campaign. Instead his campaigns are funded by contributors who have already maxed out and are incapable of donating again in the primary. This explains why the SuperPAC is forced to pay for such a large proportion of their paid media.
The lack of grassroots support that plagued his caucus states operation, and plagued his small donor operation, will now plague his national delegate election operation.
Rick Santorum has excelled in caucuses and small dollar contributions and therefore will also excel at state conventions where activists are more conservative than the average primary voter.
Longer Proportional Process Favors More Conservative Candidates I served in a similar role for John McCain 2008. At this point of the process there was a very real concern about the possibility of a more conservative candidate staying in the race and fighting us at state conventions across the country where more conservative activists determine the election of National Convention Delegates. Although John McCain was winning primaries in a fractured conservative field, he was not the favorite of grassroots conservative activists in the party. Similarly, in this race, a drawn out process favors conservative candidates such as Rick Santorum. This is a major problem for Mitt Romney, the moderate in this race.
Even more importantly, the proportional process that Romney supporters pushed through the Republican National Committee has turned out to be a major problem for the campaign. Suddenly the election of the actual delegates at county, state, and district caucuses is now more important than the primaries—regardless of what the media covers as determinative. It is difficult for any candidate to clinch the nomination in a proportional calendar without over-performing in the state conventions that elect the delegates. As a result, the state conventions will ultimately determine the outcome of this race.
Romney Frontloaded Friendly States Romney supporters on the Republican National Committee manipulated the calendar to front-load several of the states that were favorable towards him. That was beneficial to his early lead in the delegate count, however it is problematic for him as the race continues and moves towards less friendly states. This is one of the reasons that they emphasized fuzzy math after Super Tuesday.
Race Moves towards Santorum’s Strength The race for the nomination will soon start to move towards primaries and caucuses that are more favorable terrain for Rick Santorum. More importantly, the race will eventually move from primaries and caucuses that are often beauty contests to real county and state convention contests where actual delegates to the national convention are elected.
Anyone who knows anything about state conventions knows that the most conservative candidate has a big advantage over a moderate candidate. In many cases, this advantage is overwhelming.
Romney’s Delegate Problem Romney has a delegate problem in that he will have a very hard time getting his moderate supporters elected as delegates in these convention systems. This was evident in Iowa this weekend where the Romney operation collapsed, and Santorum and Paul gained.
The Real Calendar The Real Calendar (TRC) officially kicked off this weekend in Iowa where activists gathered to begin the process of electing national convention delegates. It is clear to anyone who understands this process that a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney is going to have a difficult time winning as many delegates to the national convention in an Iowa County and State Convention system as the media calculated based on the Open Caucus system that took place in January. This system will play out in state after state, and although there will be hiccups in certain states, on average Rick Santorum will gain far more delegates than Mitt Romney through this delegate election process.
The Real Count The count largely depends on how you calculate the delegates in states such as Iowa that have not yet elected their National Convention Delegates. For example, the RNC currently gives Santorum 0 delegates for Iowa, the media gives him 7. We believe he will end up with more than 7 delegates as the process plays out. We also believe that Romney will receive less. (See the Delegate Counts on the top left - Oreo)
Most of the publicly available delegate counts are fundamentally flawed because none of them have taken into account that conservative grassroots activists at county and state conventions will elect more Santorum delegates than a primary or even caucus beauty contest in the same respective state would allocate. Therefore, the Real Counts are far better than the projected counts and will continue to improve as the National Convention approaches and states elect their actual convention delegates. The Santorum campaign will keep a tally called the Real Count moving forward. It will be based on the results of both the Real Calendar and the Traditional Calendar.
Traditional Calendar There is unlikely to be very much change in the delegate totals based on the results of Tuesday’s contests. Regardless of the results, we anticipate this finally becoming an election between the moderate establishment candidate and the conservative grassroots candidate as we move towards Missouri and beyond.
March 17th – Missouri Rick Santorum will do very well in Missouri, win a number of delegates, and have momentum heading into Illinois.
March 20th – Illinois Mitt Romney might have an edge in Illinois but we feel very good about our ability to once again win the more conservative areas of the state, earn a considerable number of delegates, and maintain momentum heading into Louisiana.
March 24th – Louisiana Primary Louisiana is going to allocate approximately half of its delegates in the Primary on March 24th and half of them later in a caucus process. It is likely that Santorum picks up considerable delegates in both of these contests.
We assume that Newt Gingrich will become less of a factor in terms of vote totals in races after the Louisiana Primary, if not before.
April 3rd – Wisconsin, Maryland, and DC These primaries are winner take all. They could be the first contests that are a one- on-one between a conservative and a moderate. The emphasis that day is likely to be on Wisconsin. Most recent polling has shown Santorum to be doing quite well in the state and it is expected to be a very close contest. Not being on the ballot was not a problem or us in DC because DC Republicans would almost surely vote for the most moderate candidate anyway.
April 24th – New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware Rick Santorum will win a very large number of delegates on April 24th including his home state of Pennsylvania. Some analysts in the media have argued that Romney will do well in the Northeast because he is the moderate in the race – however that is not necessarily consistent with recent history in contested primaries in these five states. April 24th could be a good day for Rick Santorum.
May 8th – North Carolina, Indiana, and West Virginia We believe that May 8th is the beginning of the end for Mitt Romney and the date that puts Rick Santorum on a path to the nomination. Rick Santorum will have the momentum coming out of these contests. Our research shows us that even the uncommitted delegates in West Virginia favor Santorum.
May 15th - Nebraska and Oregon Rick Santorum will do well on May 15th in Nebraska and hold his own in Oregon.
May 22nd – Kentucky and Arkansas Rick Santorum will likely win a majority of the delegates on May 22nd and gain significant momentum leading into Texas.
May 29th – Texas Rick Santorum will win the Texas Primary and dramatically close the public delegate gap with Mitt Romney on May 29th.
June 5th – California, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, and New Mexico The candidate who wins the most delegates on June 5th will lead the public delegate count going into the national convention. Rick Santorum will also lead the Real Count by this point.
June 26th – Utah We will go out on a limb and predict that Romney will win Utah.
Conservative Majority of Delegates: Public vs. Actual Delegate Counts There is a “Conservative Majority” of delegates emerging as county and state conventions elect their actual National Convention delegates. This “Conservative Majority” will support Rick Santorum over a moderate-establishment Romney.
There are three reasons why the counts that are put out by the RNC and media organizations are not reflective of the real numbers:
1. Unbound and Uncommitted Delegates elected by grassroots activists are more likely to favor Santorum than those elected by direct primary election. This represents a movement of delegates into Santorum’s tally.
2. Bound delegates elected by grassroots activists will favor Santorum as rules allow. Gingrich delegates are more likely to favor Santorum.
3. Rule Breaking states such as Florida and Arizona.
Unbound Delegates As has been described previously, unbound delegates are much more likely to favor Rick Santorum than Mitt Romney because they are largely elected by more conservative caucus and convention systems. Therefore, this race is much, much closer than what the current media and RNC counts portray.
Bound Delegates Bound delegates are largely elected at state conventions across the country and therefore are more conservative than an average primary voter. If the convention goes multiple ballots, it is likely that a conservative candidate like Rick Santorum will gain votes on the 2nd and 3rd ballots whereas a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney will lose votes. (See a list of when each state allows their delegates to vote for someone othere than their candidate here - Oreo)
We obviously do not know how Newt Gingrich will move forward with his campaign but we are confident that whether before the convention or on the convention floor that when the time comes Newt Gingrich delegates are far more likely to vote for Rick Santorum than they are for Mitt Romney.
Majority Needed for Romney, Not for Santorum Mitt Romney must have a majority on the first ballot in order to win the nomination because he will perform worse on subsequent ballots as grassroots conservative delegates decide to back the more conservative candidate. Subsequently, Santorum only needs to be relatively close on the initial ballot in order to win on a later ballot as Romney’s support erodes.
Romney Difficulty in getting 50% of Remaining Delegates Even Romney’s own counters admit that he needs to earn almost 50% of the remaining delegates in order to win the nomination. We believe this number is higher than 50% for the reasons described in this memo. Regardless, this is going to be very difficult in a three or four person race, especially as he loses delegates at state conventions such as Iowa.
Florida and Arizona Florida and Arizona broke RNC rules both when they moved forward and also when they chose to allocate delegates. Their delegations will be challenged if seated as winner-take-all.
Conclusion Time is on Rick Santorum's side. He will gain delegates as this process plays out and conservatives are elected as National Convention Delegates. Despite the Romney campaign’s smokescreen, they cannot change the fact that he can’t inspire the base of the party, has a delegate problem, and has a very difficult time getting to a majority.
The delegate race is currently much closer than some would like people to believe. It will get even closer as actual national convention delegates are elected at county, district, and state conventions across the country. They represent the Conservative Majority of the Republican Party, and that is a huge problem for a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney.
Furthermore, Rick Santorum will gain the momentum in late May by winning Kentucky, Arkansas, and Texas and head into California and New Jersey with significant momentum.
At that point there will be a Conservative Majority of the delegates to the National Convention and Rick Santorum will become the presumed Republican nominee for President of the United States.
Please also read: Romney’s Fuzzy Math for a Fuzzy Campaign http://www.newsmax.com/Ruddy/mitt-romney-santorum-gingrich/2012/03/08/id/431848 Romney’s Curious Claim of Mathematical Inevitability http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/romneys-curious-claim-mathematical- inevitability_633326.html
Two in the Bush: Is Romney Counting His Iowa Delegates Too Soon? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/09/two-in-the-bush-is-romney- counting-his-iowa-delegates-too-soon.html
The host cities for the Republican and Democratic national conventions, respectively – have taken markedly different approaches to disclosing how they spend federal funds provided for convention security.
Each is receiving a $50 million grant to cover police expenses related to its convention. In Tampa, the City Council votes on and often discusses police proposals for spending that money.
In Charlotte, not.
Now members of each City Council are defending their own city’s approach to striking the necessary balance between security and open government. - Tampa Bay Times