The best of today's campaign 2012 coverage.
While Obama's national job approval ratings are flagging, says the National Journal, his state-by-state numbers are the ones to look at – and those are even worse: "The race for president isn’t a national contest. It’s a state-by-state battle to cobble an electoral vote majority. So while the national polls are useful in gauging the president’s popularity, the more instructive numbers are those from the battlegrounds. Those polls are even more ominous for the president: In every reputable battleground state poll conducted over the past month, Obama’s support is weak. In most of them, he trails Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. For all the talk of a closely fought 2012 election, if Obama can’t turn around his fortunes in states such as Michigan and New Hampshire, next year’s presidential election could end up being a GOP landslide. Take Ohio, a perennial battleground in which Obama has campaigned more than in any other state (outside of the D.C. metropolitan region). Fifty percent of Ohio voters now disapprove of his job performance, compared with 46 percent who approve, according to a Quinnipiac poll conducted from July 12-18." [National Journal]
Nate Silver wonders whether Rick Perry's strong poll numbers are for real: "At the betting market Intrade, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has overtaken Mitt Romney and is now considered the most likely person to win the Republican presidential contest. Mr. Perry is given a 35 percent chance of claiming the nomination as compared to Mr. Romney at 29 percent; Michelle Bachmann is a distant third place and assigned a 9 percent chance of winning. Are the bettors being sensible or getting ahead of themselves?" [New York Times]
An anti-gay crusader and close Michele Bachmann ally has sued Rachel Maddow and MSNBC for defamation, reports Mother Jones: "Bradlee Dean, a longtime ally of GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, runs a heavy-metal ministry in her Minnesota district that travels to public schools on the taxpayers' dime to push students to find Christ. He has performed at fundraisers for Bachmann, and Bachmann has done the same for Dean's ministry, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International. Long a target of local bloggers in his home state, Dean has become increasingly defensive over the last few months as national organizations have taken note of his ties to Bachmann, and he strongly hinted that he was about to push back against the criticism in a big way. And now he has. On Tuesday, Dean announced he was filing a defamation suit against MSNBC host Rachel Maddow (and the network) for $50 million." [Mother Jones]
The tea party-ization of the GOP helps Ron Paul, says the New York Times: "Mr. Paul’s libertarian views have moved from the fringe toward the mainstream of conservative thinking in the past several years, with his warnings about fiscal meltdown gaining new resonance and the 2008 financial crisis allowing him to press his longstanding critiques of the Federal Reserve. Now, as he again seeks the Republican presidential nomination, he is hoping to show that he can translate the new attention into votes. And his first test is the straw poll next month, where he is hoping he can organize his band of followers into a political machine capable of beating some or all of his brand-name rivals. Even if he does not win, a strong showing by Mr. Paul could dent the campaigns of other candidates, especially Tim Pawlenty and Representative Michele Bachmann." [New York Times]
Rudy Giuliani could be a factor in the 2012 race, speculates the Washington Post – as a Rick Perry booster: "Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani continues to mull the possibility of a 2012 presidential bid, but his true power in the race may come if he decides against running and instead throws his support to Texas Gov. Rick Perry ... 'Rudy would be an awesome asset to any campaign,' said Perry's longtime political svengali Dave Carney. 'Of course canididates matter to voters, but the mayor's stature brings a lot of value added to the effort.'" [Washington Post]
As much as he's disappointed liberals, Obama won't face a primary challenge, argues Eric Alterman: "True, nobody on the left is terribly happy with Obama. Hispanic activists are said to be 'unsatisfied.' Jews are said to be kvetching too, though it is really only the machers in the professional Jewish organizations and the big donors who are evincing any genuine unhappiness. Gays wish he would endorse gay marriage. Women are angry about the concessions he made on the choice issue to get his healthcare plan passed. And environmentalists are giving him a grade of "F" for the first term. And I’ve not even mentioned the war in Afghanistan, civil liberties, or Obama’s Bush-like expansion of presidential power. But the fact remains, the president faces no significant opposition from his left and won’t between now and 2012." [The Daily Beast]