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News from the Votemaster

Romney Begins Foreign Trip with a Series of Gaffes

For someone as cautious as Mitt Romney, it is surprising that within a day of arriving in Britain he made a number of gaffes that have been widely reported in both the British Press and American press. When Romney commented that the security around the Olympics was not quite up to snuff, British Prime Minister David Cameron shot back: "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere" (a pointed reference to Romney's management of the Winter Olympics in Utah in 2002). But even Romney's attempt at praise fell flat when he acknowledged America's shared Anglo-Saxon heritage with the U.K., forgetting that the majority of Americans trace their roots to Central Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia rather than Britain. Politicians make gaffes all the time, but given that the only purpose of this trip is to make Romney look presidential, insulting his hosts is not a great start.

Tampa Strip Clubs Getting Ready for the Republican Convention

Since the Republican National Convention is likely to be completely surprise-free, with one speaker after another bashing President Obama for not fixing the economy, the thousands of delegates, alternates, staffers, and reporters may be looking out for other things to do and the Tampa strip-club industry is gearing up to accommodate them. One club has hired a Sarah Palin lookalike to arouse the Republicans. The trade association for the industry, although technically nonpartisan, did implicitly express a political preference by noting that Republicans outspend Democrats at their places of business three to one. The problem with all this activity is the danger of some important Republican being photographed with his pants down, so to speak.

Obama to Sign Israel Security Bill Just as Romney Arrives in Israel

In the primaries, Romney had it easy with a bunch of opponents who were not ready for prime time. Now he is in the big leagues. Just as he is about to show up in Israel to attack President Obama for not helping Israel enough, Obama is going to sign a bill to strengthen U.S.-Israeli military cooperation. If you think the timing is a coincidence, you are very naive. This is why sitting Presidents have won reelection 70% of the time since WWII: they have a lot of control over the agenda. So while Romney is in Israel attacking Obama for not doing more for Israel, Obama will be talking to reporters about how the bill he just signed gives Israel more military aid and access to missile defense and other advanced weapons.

Obama Falls Short on Education Goal

One area Romney has not hit Obama so hard yet is Obama's promise that the U.S. would lead the world in college graduates by 2020. Currently it is 16th and has no chance of becoming #1 by 2020. Obama has said that countries that out-educate us now will out-compete us in the future but he has done little to achieve his stated goal. Probably the reason Romney hasn't hit him harder on this is that would raise the question of how Romney plans on becoming #1 and most of the solutions involve federal money--lots of it.

Bloomberg Endorses Scott Brown

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown his support to Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who is enmeshed in a bitter and expensive struggle with consumer rights advocate Elizabeth Warren for a Senate seat in Massachusetts. Bloomberg said he supports Brown due to Brown's (minor) deviation from the Republican othodoxy on gun regulation. Brown opposes federal legislation that would allow anyone with a concealed gun permit to use it nationwide. Bloomberg does not want someone with a concealed gun permit from, say, Texas, to be able to legally carry a concealed gun in New York City. What Bloomberg didn't say was whether Warren's concerted opposition to Wall Street played any role in his decision to come out for Brown.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Illinois 51% 31%   Jul 16 Jul 22 IPSOS
New Jersey 50% 42%   Jul 18 Jul 22 Monmouth U.
Nevada 50% 45%   Jul 24 Jul 24 Rasmussen

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Michigan Debbie Stabenow 52% Pete Hoekstra 38%     Jul 21 Jul 23 PPP
New Jersey Bob Menendez 44% Joseph Kyrillos 35%     Jul 18 Jul 22 Monmouth U.
Pennsylvania Bob Casey 46% Tom Smith 36%     Jul 21 Jul 23 PPP