Everything you need to know about Day 3 of the Republican National Convention
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RCP Obama vs. Romney: Obama +1.1%; 7-day change: Obama +0.1%.
RCP Obama approval: 47.7%; 7-day change: -0.3%.
Intrade percent chance of Obama win: 57.0%; 7-day change: +0.5%.
Top story: Day 3 of the Republican National Convention
Mitt Romney, now officially the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, addresses his party and the nation’s voters. “Mitt Romney on Thursday night cast himself as a capable and tested executive for a country that has been deeply let down by President Obama, in a speech that marked the culmination of his five-year quest for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney, 65, showed rare flashes of emotion during the speech, choking up as he described his late mother, and as he talked about the days when his five sons were young. After officially accepting the nomination, he reached out to disaffected voters who were excited about Obama as a candidate in 2008…Romney's appeal capped a Republican primary campaign based on his impressive resume. Romney has presented himself as a sober alternative for a sobered country, burned by its emotional investment in Obama…On this night, Romney sought to add depth to his campaign persona. He described his parents' 64-year marriage, in which his father left a rose at his mother's bedside every day. Romney cited his own long career in business as evidence that he can do a better job.” David A. Fahrenthold and Karen Tumulty in The Washington Post.
Excerpts:: “But today, four years from the excitement of the last election, for the first time, the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future. It is not what we were promised…It's not just what we wanted. It's not just what we expected. It's what Americans deserved…I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn't something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we CAN do something. With your help we will do something…So here we stand. Americans have a choice. A decision…How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America? Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and Change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama? You know there's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.”
@TobinCommentary: Romney passes his big test. Acceptance speech sets stage for campaign with a chance to win.
Romney’s convention speech fights for disaffected Obama voters. “[H]e still needs to tackle the much harder job of convincing those Americans who so emotionally invested their hearts in President Obama four years ago that it is time to accept that his presidency did not work, let go of him and move on…It is Mr. Romney's job now to convince them that it is beyond repair; that the risks of staying in it are larger than the risks of starting anew with him, that he and Mr. Ryan represent a fresh start akin to a generational change. But leading these voters -- many of them women, according to pollsters -- to that conclusion takes finesse and delicacy, Republican strategists say…Rather, strategists say, it requires providing a path that gives them permission to make their break. They need to be told that it is O.K. to remain proud of their initial support for Mr. Obama, but that they can be equally at peace with a decision to change their minds now.” Jim Rutenberg in The New York Times.
@mattyglesias: If you’re disgruntled with Obama, but nervous about a Romney administration nothing here to move the dial.
Romney managed to come off as a person, and perhaps a likeable one at that. “In accepting the Republican nomination, Romney spoke emotionally about his Mormon faith and church community, about his romance with Ann and raising five boys, about his mother's feminist streak and his father's entrepreneurial spirit. The evening's program amounted to a high-definition showcase of Mitt the Man -- an all-out effort to convince voters of his character, compassion and convictions…On the campaign trail, Romney is sometimes awkward and emotionally distant, a multimillionaire who processes data but struggles to show he is in touch with folks' everyday struggles. He was not that man Thursday night. At times he seemed to choke up, his eyes watery.” Philip Rucker in The Washington Post.
The Republican’s convention bump in the polls has arrived. “Mitt Romney has moved into a narrow lead over U.S. President Barack Obama in a small bounce for him from the Republican National Convention, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Thursday…But the most recent daily rolling poll gave Romney a two-point lead of 44 percent to 42 percent among likely voters…So-called convention “bounces” are typically short-lived. With Obama to accept his party’s nomination for a second term next week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, the incumbent could quickly rebound…[T]he poll was further evidence of an extremely close race.” Steve Holland in Reuters.
@DouthatNYT: It was a highly effective reintroduction to Romney the man, w/absolutely nothing in it to make Americans nervous about voting for him.
The Democrats release some details of their convention schedule. “[F]irst, there will be feel-good Tuesday night, with speeches by the first lady, Michelle Obama…Mrs. Obama will be joined Tuesday night by the convention's keynote speaker, Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio…Wednesday night is attack night. Elizabeth Warren, who is trying to unseat Senator Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts, will offer up her particular brand of Democratic-base appeal, while former President Bill Clinton will play the part of Representative Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential candidate who slammed Mr. Obama in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday night. Expect to hear a broad takedown of the Republican agenda. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will appear before the hall on Thursday night around 9:30 p.m., right before his boss, and will offer up a testimonial on the Obama years, officials said. Finally, around 10 p.m., will come the president himself.” Helene Cooper in The New York Times.
Wonkbook’s guide to the other convention speeches
The Republican ‘surprise guest’ was movieman Clint Eastwood. “I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, what's a movie tradesman doing out here?…So I — so I've got Mr. Obama sitting here. And he's — I was going to ask him a couple of questions…So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them? I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just — you know — I know — people were wondering — you don't — handle that OK…So anyway, we're going to have — we're going to have to have a little chat about that. And then, I just wondered, all these promises — I wondered about when the — what do you want me to tell Romney? I can't tell him to do that. I can't tell him to do that to himself.” The Washington Post.
@jbarro: Clint Eastwood should get an endorsement deal with a chair manufacturer.
Frmr. FL Gov. Jeb Bush on education and reform. “We can restore America’s greatness…[T]o have a great future – a secure future – a future that is equal to our potential as a nation, we need to do something else. We must make sure that our children and grandchildren are ready for the world we are shaping today. It starts in our homes, in our communities, and especially in our schools…We need to set high standards for students and teachers and provide students and their parents the choices they deserve. The first step is a simple one. We must stop pre-judging children based on their race, ethnicity or household income. We must stop excusing failure in our schools and start rewarding improvement and success. We must have high academic standards that are benchmarked to the best in the world…So here’s another thing we can do: Let’s give every parent in America a choice about where their child attends school.” Politico.
@bdomenech: Jeb Bush remains one of my favorite Republicans. Serious, genuine, diligent.
FL Sen. Marco Rubio on the American ambition. “[T]he one thing I remember [of my grandfather] is the one thing he wanted me never to forget. That the dreams he had when he was young became impossible to achieve . But there was no limit to how far I could go, because I was an American…Because for those of us who were born and raised in this country, sometimes it becomes easy to forget how special America is…[Obama's] are tired and old big government ideas that have failed every time and everywhere they have been tried. These are ideas that people come to America to get away from. These are ideas that threaten to make America more like the rest of the world instead of helping the rest of the world become more like America.” Fox News Insider.
@TobinCommentary: Marco Rubio talking about American exceptionalism, not Obama versus Romney. Very effective.
Frmr. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, with spouse Callista, on the Romney-Reagan comparison. “The election of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will decisively move America to a better future. Remembering President Reagan reminds us that the choices we make matter, and this year is as important as the choice we made in 1980…It’s striking how President Carter and President Obama both took our nation down a path that in four years weakened America’s confidence in itself and our hope for a better future…The Romney plan for North American energy independence is exactly the kind of bold, visionary leadership Reagan believed in, and it’s what we need now.” Politico.
@jamespoulos: Newt Gingrich’s speech refers to Mitt Romney 4 times; “fundamentally,” 45 times.
Frmr. MA Lieut. Gov. Kerry Healey on Romney’s record as governor. “Massachusetts needed Mitt Romney to turn us around. Massachusetts was in deep trouble. We had a massive budget gap and soaring unemployment…Mitt Romney answered the call of service and accepted the challenge. How did he fix our state? Well, he quickly assembled a cabinet of the best and the brightest, drawing on both parties, Republicans and Democrats, half women, half men, to give him the full spectrum of ideas and advice. He respected different opinions, valued open debate, and when it was all said and done, Mitt Romney knew how to make a decision. Governor Romney did what many thought was impossible. He turned around a $3 billion budget gap and created a $2 billion rainy day fund…We cleared out regulations on small businesses. We cut taxes 19 times. And, as a result, unemployment dropped to only 4.7 percent.” Politico.
@CitizenCohn: Feel like Healey forgot something in her list of Romney’s MA accomplishments … darn, what what as it … something about health maybe?
MA Sec. of Workforce Developmnent Jane Edmonds on Romney’s character. “By way of background, my politics is as a liberal Democrat. My passion is about education, workforce training, and leadership. When I first met Governor Romney, I was struck by his humanity, his grace, his kind manner…I could tell immediately, just by our interaction, that he is the real thing - authentic. He struck me then - and now - as honest, transparent and inclusive…My initial size-up of the man held true. During the 4 years I served in his cabinet, I saw him up close and personal many times, and he always drove us in his Administration to make government better for the people…He is unquestionably an amazing steward and leader, a servant leader and someone whom I respect very much. That's the kind of leadership that has always inspired me. Unselfish leadership.” Transcript.
Craig Romney, Mitt’s son, on Hispanic Republicanism. “It's easy to forget that the story of my father's success begins with the story of two immigrants - my grandfathers - who came to this country with little more than hope in the opportunity of America…We've had the privilege of hearing about different chapters of this same inspiring American story from Governors Sandoval and Martinez and soon-to-be-Senator Cruz. We're seeing this story play out in the lives of many other Hispanic Americans who have become leaders in the Republican Party and throughout our nation.” Fox News Insider.
@JonahNRO: They could actually make a pretty awesome Romney family human pyramid.
FL Rep. and Sen. candidate Connie Mack on the American Dream. “We’ve always been a people with big dreams and limitless potential. After all, this is America…These are the achievements that are brought about by a free society that honors individual effort…Mitt Romney’s plans to restore America’s promise and purpose will be realized and the American dream will once again be available to all her children. We are a nation of dreamers – Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright brothers. Dreamers like Neil Armstrong who sought new lands and took giant leaps into American exceptionalism…Tonight we embark on a renewal of the American dream.” Naples Daily News.
@mattyglesias: Hoping Connie Mack will explain how his hardscrabble upbringing as the son of a senator demonstrates the value of individualism.
Grant Bennett, friend of Romneys, on religion. “I have spent thousands of hours over many years with Mitt Romney. We spent our time together serving our fellow men and women — we spent it serving in our church…While raising his family and pursuing his career, Mitt Romney served in our church, devoting 10, 15, even 20 hours a week doing so…Mitt's response to those who came was compassion in all its beautiful varieties: He had a listening ear and a helping hand…Mitt taught faith in God, personal integrity, self-reliance and service to our fellow men. And Mitt did what he challenged us to do. He led by example.” Fox News Insider.
@thegarance: “Mitt Romney became my alarm clock.” — Grant Bennett on getting called a lot at 6am
Staples founder Tom Stemberg on Romney the businessman. “It wasn't easy at first. I had a vision and a business plan [for Staples]. Then I met Mitt Romney. He helped make it come alive…When I told him about Staples, he really got excited at the idea of saving a few cents on paper clips. Funny thing…The truth is Mitt was not a typical investor. He was a true partner. Where some saw an unproven new business, he saw a store that could save people money. He recognized that efficiency creates consumer value. He never looked at Staples as merely a financial investment. He saw the engine of prosperity it could become.” Fox News Insider.
@mattyglesias: Democrats furiously rearranging schedule so Michael Scott can make the case against Staples.
Romney campaign chair Bob White on leadership. “I was there when Mitt turned around desperate situations; fixed big, broken things; and had a profoundly positive impact on people’s lives. Our journey began when Mitt asked a small group of us to help him start an investment firm called Bain Capital…Mitt never hesitated. He made the tough decisions, coalesced the team, and moved forward.Time and time again, I have seen this decisive leadership…When the obstacles seemed insurmountable and others panicked, Mitt was the calm in the storm. He never lost hope…Go back and look at every pursuit in Mitt’s life. Surrounding him are people who have worked with him over and over again. They trust and respect him. They want to be part of his team. They want to be part of the change.” Politico.
@TobinCommentary: Bob White tells story of how Mitt closed down his business to mobilize search for a partner’s missing daughter.
KLEIN: Missing from the Romney speech was policy substance. “We heard precious little about Mitt Romney's plans for the country…Romney's speech spent 260 words. There was almost no mention — and absolutely no description — of his budget, tax, health care or Medicare plans…All in all, Romney's speech was...fine. I doubt he did himself any harm. And I'm sure he'll get some sort of a convention bump. But it felt like a missed opportunity for him to close the deal. The American people already know that they're not happy with the economy. Tonight was Romney's chance to persuade them that he has a better way. But his speech really didn't even try to do that.” Ezra Klein in The Washington Post.
BROOKS: Romney and the Republicans envision a dynamic and striving America. “[T]oday's Republican Party unabashedly celebrates this ambition and definition of success…Speaker after speaker argued that this ideal of success is under assault by Democrats who look down on strivers, who undermine self-reliance with government dependency, who smother ambition under regulations…If you believe, as I do, that American institutions are hitting a creaky middle age, then you have a lot of time for this argument…On the one hand, you see the Republicans taking the initiative, offering rejuvenating reform. On the other hand, you see an exhausted Democratic Party, which says: We don't have an agenda, but we really don't like theirs. Given these options, the choice is pretty clear.” David Brooks in The New York Times.
STRASSEL: Romney’s new strength, his boldness. “We’ve also learned that Mr. Romney can be unexpectedly bold, in ways that have gelled into a strong platform…One other area of boldness, largely unnoticed: Even before the Ryan pick, even before nonparty groups were out in force, the Romney campaign was taking an aggressive posture toward the electoral map…[Their] early bets may provide Mr. Romney some intriguing flexibility in the electoral-vote count…The unexpected courage Mr. Romney has shown in recent weeks in embracing Mr. Ryan and the big issues is the sort of daring he’ll need when facing the many small and large campaign decisions yet to come.” Kimberley A. Strassel in The Wall Street Journal.
SILVER: Romney’s generic speech. “The risk-taking Mitt Romney who picked Representative Paul D. Ryan as his running mate was not on display in Tampa on Thursday night. Instead, in accepting the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney delivered a mostly well-written and reasonably well-delivered speech -- but one that largely avoided policy substance or sweeping narrative, instead seeking to turn the election back into a referendum on President Obama…Instead, Mr. Romney's strategy was pretty clear. He was seeking to fulfill the role of the generic Republican -- a safe and unobjectionable alternative with a nice family and a nice career - and whose main credential is that he is not Mr. Obama, the Democratic president with tepid approval ratings and middling economic numbers. It may be a smart approach.” Nate Silver in The New York Times.
NOONAN: Romney is Mr. Adequate. “Mitt Romney’s speech? He had to achieve adequacy. He did. It was a speech that seemed assembled by people who love pictures but not words. And that will limit a speech. It could not be accused of being an applause-line speech. He spoke compellingly of the centrality of faith in his life. Mr. Romney always looks to me like a kindly, well-intentioned and intelligent man. That’s how he looked Thursday night. There are big policy differences between him and the president.” Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal.
@dandrezner: Alex Castellanos on Romney’s speech: “good enough”
KRUGMAN: Romney and Ryan will kill Medicare. “The Republican Party is now firmly committed to replacing Medicare with what we might call Vouchercare. The government would no longer pay your major medical bills; instead, it would give you a voucher that could be applied to the purchase of private insurance. And, if the voucher proved insufficient to buy decent coverage, hey, that would be your problem. Moreover, the vouchers almost certainly would be inadequate; their value would be set by a formula taking no account of likely increases in health care costs…” Paul Krugman in The New York Times.
MITCHELL: Why the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law is broken. “[T]he political parties and their campaigns aren’t what they used to be, either. In a significant way, the culprit is campaign-finance reform. The McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 was intended to diminish the role of money in campaigns, but it has instead had the effect of diminishing the parties themselves…The act barred national political parties from using money not subject to federal limits, a prohibition that included spending on state and local races and on issue advocacy. Money will find its way into campaigns, though, and so it simply began to flow around the parties instead of into them.” Cleta Mitchell in The Wall Street Journal.
O’DRISCOLL: The case against further monetary easing. “But whatever path Mr. Bernanke points the FOMC toward, further ‘monetary accommodation’ of the type being discussed will be futile at best or counterproductive at worst…Fed purchases of mortgage-backed securities direct credit to favored firms and sectors rather than to the businesses that could make most productive use of it…Quantitative easing is the Fed’s version of ‘stimulus,’ the complement to fiscal stimulus. The trouble with all forms of temporary spending is that they have no permanent effects. They delay needed adjustments in the economy…No repeat of a one-off round of bond buying by the Fed substitutes for the fundamental and permanent changes needed.” Gerald P. O’Driscoll in The Wall Street Journal.
KANSTROOM: The cruelty of deportation. “Barack Obama has presided over a record increase in the number of removals, in many cases on legal grounds that offend our basic notions of fairness. These injustices predate him; they started in 1996, when immigration policy was changed in a draconian fashion…[O]ne of history's most open societies has developed a huge, costly, harsh and often arbitrary system of expulsion.” Daniel Kanstroom in The New York Times.
SHLAES: End the mortgage tax break. “[N]ow is the perfect moment to close the favored loophole of the upper middle class forever. And that a President Mitt Romney would be the one to do it…[T]he chief appeal of repeal is the reduction of price distortion. You are more likely to lose a house if you paid too much, because its true value was muddied by politics. You are more likely to keep a house whose price at the time of purchase was transparent and derived from the relative quality of the investment.” Amity Shlaes in Bloomberg.
Top long reads
Hanna Rosin examines the impact of the recession on family structures in the South:“In the last decade, men, especially working-class and middle-class men, have had very different experiences in this economy from the women around them. The manufacturing sector has lost almost six million jobs, nearly a third of its total work force, and has taken in few young workers. Across eastern Alabama, the old textile mills closed one after another, badly shaking up the economy. In Tallapoosa County, which contains Alexander City, the unemployment rate at the time I first visited last year was 13.3 percent — pretty standard for the region during the height of the recession. The housing bubble masked this new reality for a while, creating work in construction and related industries. But then that market crashed as well…As the usual path to the middle class disappears, what's emerging in its place is a nascent middle-class matriarchy, in which women like Patsy pay the mortgage and the cable bills while the men try to find their place.”
James Pogue writes about the travails of being a fact-checker in a “post-fact” political era:“I work on and off as a fact-checker at the most accurate magazine in America. I think so, at least. The checker assigned to this piece may come up with a list of competitors for that title--and in that case I'll say that, having either been fact-checked by or been a fact-checker at most of them, she can count this fact as my own original reporting…I get paid an absolutely fair--generous, even--amount of money to sit at a desk in New York and hunt down bits of imprecision. Not to be cute, but imprecision might not even be a very precise way of explaining what I'm looking for. But I'm certainly not just looking for falsehoods. Smaller research departments, or magazines that rely on interns, generally don't have the time, money, or will to do much beyond trying to figure out what's wrong in the piece, but our approach is much more abstract.”
Amazing interlude: Water balloons. Free fall. Slow motion. Go.
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Still to come:low-paying jobs are only thing on offer since recession; a primary care provider pays for his own poll; a Texas court blocks state’s voter ID law; the GOP’s rightward shift on energy; and stunning digital mapping of the nation’s winds.
Jobs outlook? Just ‘meh.’ “This week's economic data has come in broadly as expected, leaving the forecasters at Moody's Analytics to continue to forecast that job growth will be slower in August -- but still faster than it was in the spring…’Labor market data over the past week confirm that August has been a sluggish month for job creation. We still look for a 145,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls.’” Economix Editors in The New York Times.
Strong retail sales during back-to-school season are a positive economic surprise. “August sales at stores open for more than a year rose 3.6 percent at retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters, topping forecasts for a 2 percent rise. The statistics were reported on Thursday…Back-to-school is the second-strongest selling season for retailers after the winter holidays.” The New York Times.
@grossdm: Don’t freak out re: poor consumer confidence number. Hard economic data-car, retail sales, housing-have all been rising as confidence falls
A majority of post-recession new jobs have been low-paying, new report says. “The disappearance of midwage, midskill jobs is part of a longer-term trend that some refer to as a hollowing out of the work force, though it has probably been accelerated by government layoffs…The report looked at 366 occupations tracked by the Labor Department and clumped them into three equal groups by wage, with each representing a third of American employment in 2008…Lower-wage occupations, with median hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83, accounted for 21 percent of job losses during the retraction. Since employment started expanding, they have accounted for 58 percent of all job growth. The occupations with the fastest growth were retail sales (at a median wage of $10.97 an hour) and food preparation workers ($9.04 an hour). Each category has grown by more than 300,000 workers since June 2009.” Catherine Rampell in The New York Times.
@resnikoff: Since Romney will be going off about jobs, one last reminder: “Jobs” as a goal in of itself tends to mean disregarding labor conditions.
An academic economist, Columbia professor Michael Woodford, is making a notable presentation at the Fed’s Jackson Hole retreat. “Columbia University economics professor Michael Woodford has urged Mr. Bernanke to make stronger commitments to keep interest rates very low for a long time. Mr. Woodford is scheduled to present a paper Friday at the Fed’s annual retreat, focusing on the most pressing question Federal Reserve policy makers face: How to boost a weak economy when interest rates are near zero. His paper won’t be released publicly until Friday morning, but Mr. Woodford’s thinking on the subject has influenced central bankers’ policy decisions for years…Mr. Woodford’s research suggests one way central bankers can spur growth is by spelling out that they plan to keep their benchmark short-term interest rate, the federal funds rate, very low even after growth starts picking up. That should help prevent long-term rates from rising and encourage households and businesses to borrow, spend and invest sooner rather than later.” Kristina Peterson in The Wall Street Journal.
The clock is ticking for Eurozone action. “After an uncharacteristically calm August, European policy makers and financial markets are facing a tumultuous autumn marked by major showdowns in key euro-zone battlegrounds…’The agenda is exceptionally busy,’ said Ken Wattret, chief euro-zone economist at BNP Paribas in London. ‘It could be a roller-coaster ride.’…[T]here are reasons to think this fall’s events are especially vital. With Spain and Greece on the ropes, European officials face stark choices.” Charles Forelle in The Wall Street Journal.
The EU leadership is pushing for a banking union. “The European Central Bank would be given sweeping authority over all 6,000 eurozone banks under a plan being drawn up by the European Commission, putting Brussels on a collision course with Germany and the ECB itself, which have urged a more decentralised first step towards "banking union". The plan, agreed at a meeting this week between top aides to Jose Manuel Barroso, commission president, and Michel Barnier, the EU's senior financial regulator, would strip existing national supervisors of almost all authority to shut down or restructure their countries' failing banks, giving those powers to Frankfurt. Under the proposal, ultimate authority would pass to a new ECB "supervisory board" separate from the ECB's existing governing council. Although its make-up is still being debated, the leading plan would create a 23-member board: a national representative from each eurozone country plus six independent members, including its chair and vice-chair.” Peter Spiegel in The Financial Times.
Convention-y interlude: Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.”.
A primary care provider surveys population. Finds awful results. “[O]nly 54 percent thought their doctor would know their name if they ran into each other on the street…Forty-three percent of those who did not have a regular wellness visit reported not doing so because there was no time in their doctor's schedule…In a decent number of cases, patients did not even bother going to their primary care providers: 31 percent said that their specialist could provide the same care.” Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post.
A Texas court blocks voter ID law, continuing a series of similar challenges across the country. “A federal court on Thursday struck down a Texas law that would have required voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting their ballots in November, ruling that the law would hurt turnout among minority voters and impose ‘strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor’ by charging those voters who lack proper documentation fees to obtain election ID cards. The three-judge panel in United States District Court for the District of Columbia called Texas' voter-identification law the most stringent of its kind in the country…Known as Senate Bill 14, the state's voter-identification law requires voters who show up at the polls to identify themselves with one of five forms of ID, including a driver's license or a United States passport…In its unanimous 56-page ruling, the federal judges found that the fees and the cost of traveling for those voters lacking one of the five forms of ID disproportionately affected the poor and minorities.” Charlie Savage and Manny Fernandez in The New York Times.
Emissions standards hike may lead to an unintentional underfunding of highway trust. “The America Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) said Thursday that higher gas mileage requirements for cars enacted this week by the Obama administration will make less fuel tax money available to pay for construction projects…The Washington, D.C.-based ARBTA said the administration’s proposal to require cars to get 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025 will cost the highway trust fund, which traditionally pays for a large portion of road and transit projects, $71 billion…The federal gas tax, which has been 18.4 cents per gallon since the early 1990s, currently generates about $35 billion per year.” Keith Laing in The Hill.
Shell drilling project in Arctic takes another step forward. “Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Thursday that Royal Dutch Shell would be allowed to start ‘certain limited preparatory activities’ for oil drilling in the environmentally sensitive waters off Alaska's northwest coast. Salazar said that Shell can now construct what is known as a mud-line cellar, a 40-foot-deep structure needed to install a blowout preventer, a device that can help head off spills. He said Shell would also be allowed to drill a ‘top hole’ as deep as 1,400 feet and set steel pipe and concrete…The partial go-ahead was given to Shell because time is running out on the open-water season before the ice returns and prevents drilling.” Steven Mufson in The Washington Post.
The GOP platform makes a huge rightward leap on energy. “Over the past four years, the Republican Party has undergone a fairly dramatic shift in its approach to energy and environmental issues. Global warming has disappeared entirely from the party's list of concerns. Clean energy has become an afterthought. Fossil fuels loom larger than ever. And one way to see this shift clearly is to compare the party's 2008 and 2012 platforms. No longer a Republican concern. It may seem difficult to believe now, but back in 2008, the Republican Party's platform had a long and detailed section on ‘Addressing Climate Change Responsibly.’…Skip ahead to 2012, and the GOP platform takes a markedly different tone. That section devoted to climate change? Gone. Instead, the platform flatly opposes ‘any and all cap and trade legislation’ to curtail greenhouse gases. It demands that Congress ‘take quick action to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations.’ It criticizes the Obama administration's National Security Strategy for ‘elevat[ing] 'climate change' to the level of a 'severe threat' equivalent to foreign aggression.’” Brad Plumer in The Washington Post.
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