Roundup: the best of today's campaign 2012 coverage.
The GOP presidential race features two Mormons – Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman – but/so the church is keeping its distance: "The Mormon Church is preparing for the 2012 elections with a campaign message of its own: It has nothing to do with orchestrating or promoting the presidential candidacies of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr., both Mormons... Already, the church said it has reined in the participation of officials in political campaigns and reshuffled a public advertising campaign to avoid appearing to interfere in politics. Church officials now monitor the Internet, television broadcasts and print publications daily to sniff out even a hint that anti-Mormonism is entering the 2012 campaign." [Wall Street Journal]
The debt ceiling debate is the first of many issues that will force GOP candidates right of center, writes Ed Kilgore: "The big debt limit vote in Congress, it is increasingly obvious, is just an appetizer for the divisive, voter-alienating struggles it has built into the schedule at key points during the 2012 presidential campaign, making an eventual GOP presidential nominee’s efforts to 'pivot to the center' an athletic feat, at best. And as Tea Party activists and other conservatives have made clear in their reactions to the deal just signed, their efforts to force everyone in the GOP to join in future hostage-taking exercises aimed at middle-class entitlements and other targets beloved of voters have just begun." [The New Republic]
The LA Times marvels at Newt Gingrich's hapless campaign: "Over the summer, Gingrich's presidential campaign has suffered repeated blows. Most of his staff resigned. Excessive spending left his campaign more than $1 million in debt. News accounts focused on his extravagant Tiffany's line of credit rather than his policy proposals. His campaign schedule grew baffling... Polling bears out Gingrich's decline. Though he routinely used to receive double-digit support, he now typically languishes in the single digits. Gingrich said polling was meaningless, given the large number of candidates in the field, and that his numbers would rise as he rolled out proposals such as modernizing the Food and Drug Admnistration." [LA Times]
Sarah Palin might not go away, even if she decides against a 2012 run : "Flirting with a kingmaker role, Sarah Palin bashed Mitt Romney and praised Michele Bachmann in an interview with Sean Hannity on Tuesday night... Palin has shown little indication she'll enter the race, though she said in the interview she hasn't made up her mind yet. But her direct attack on Romney suggests that she might play a significant role from the outside." [TPM]
Mitt Romney rolled out a new ad hitting Obama close to home: "President Obama can't even head home to Chicago for some birthday fundraising events without getting hounded about the sagging economy by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. On Wednesday, Romney released another in a series of Internet videos trying to tie Obama’s political fortunes to the floundering economy. With images of empty storefronts and abandoned city streets, the ad notes that Chicago’s unemployment rate is up 48% since November 2008, when the president was elected." [LA Times]
The Atlantic ranks the health of 2012 candidates and past leaders alike: "In 2008, there was a considerable amount of concern voiced over the health records of the major party candidates for president and vice president... A similar concern is arising in the 2012 presidential primaries, as health records of GOP hopefuls are released with surprising findings, and sometimes, as in the case of Michele Bachmann, not so voluntarily. But how unhealthy is the migraine-sufferer really compared to the rest of a field that includes cancer-survivor Herman Cain and motorcycle-riding Jon Huntsman? To answer these and other questions, we turned to an approach that provides quantifiable, objective comparisons of the health of the former and current White House executives with GOP candidates: a health utility analysis... The results of this analysis show that, among living politicians, Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden have the lowest health utility – while President Obama and several young, fit GOP candidates have the highest marks." [The Atlantic]