Thursday, August 30, 2012
What does Romney need to accomplish tonight?

The end game for this more than $50 million bash in Tampa is in sight. Obviously all eyes are on the nominee, but the undercard tonight is a who’s who of it’s own: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Floridians Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Connie Mack are among the speakers. There will also be a surprise speaker on the slate (my guess is Nancy Reagan). The good news for Romney is there isn’t a speaker among them who will likely overshadow him — unless somebody pulls a Condi Rice and surprises the crowd with striking oratory (Rice cast a real shadow over Paul Ryan’s speech).
There is already a lot of hype about how this is the most important speech of Romney’s career. That is not necessarily true. It’s one of the most important speeches of his life, but there will be other opportunities to score points at the debates and on the campaign trail. Romney does have a chance here tonight to come across a little more likable, a little less out of step with the majority of Americans and cast himself as a candidate with real solutions.
This is a fragmented party, from tea partiers to Ron Paul libertarians to evangelicals to old school fiscally conservative centrists. They are united by one cause: defeating Obama. Many delegates admit privately that they are waiting for a reason to vote for Romney. He can score big points if undecided viewers and uninspired delegates come away tonight believing Romney has a plan.

Read more.

What does Romney need to accomplish tonight?

The end game for this more than $50 million bash in Tampa is in sight. Obviously all eyes are on the nominee, but the undercard tonight is a who’s who of it’s own: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Floridians Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Connie Mack are among the speakers. There will also be a surprise speaker on the slate (my guess is Nancy Reagan). The good news for Romney is there isn’t a speaker among them who will likely overshadow him — unless somebody pulls a Condi Rice and surprises the crowd with striking oratory (Rice cast a real shadow over Paul Ryan’s speech).

There is already a lot of hype about how this is the most important speech of Romney’s career. That is not necessarily true. It’s one of the most important speeches of his life, but there will be other opportunities to score points at the debates and on the campaign trail. Romney does have a chance here tonight to come across a little more likable, a little less out of step with the majority of Americans and cast himself as a candidate with real solutions.

This is a fragmented party, from tea partiers to Ron Paul libertarians to evangelicals to old school fiscally conservative centrists. They are united by one cause: defeating Obama. Many delegates admit privately that they are waiting for a reason to vote for Romney. He can score big points if undecided viewers and uninspired delegates come away tonight believing Romney has a plan.

Read more.

Ryan: ‘We need to stop spending money we don’t have.’ Reality: His highly touted budget plan will add to the deficit. Expect to see that quote in an ad … from Obama and the Democrats. Politics editor David Morris on Paul Ryan’s controversial convention speech last night. Read more commentary and live updates on our convention blog.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Expect the warm-and-fuzzy soft sell tonight from Mrs. Romney; look for Christie to jab at the Democrats. The bomb-lobbing New Jersey governor won’t bite the head off a bat, especially if Isaac turns out to be a killer storm, but he and Ann Romney should be colorful, must-see TV. Their speeches will have to set a tone for this soggy-start love-in. Political editor Ken Bazinet on Ann Romney and Chris Christie’s highly anticipated, primetime convention speeches. Ken’s commentating on our GOP Convention blog, where you can see updates from the convention and direct your questions/comments to our political team. 
Monday, August 27, 2012 Tuesday, May 8, 2012
House Republicans know they have to tone down the diatribes and stop hiding behind their uncompromising agenda if they’re to accomplish their goal of ousting President Obama. Ken Bazinet on the GOP’s Etch A Sketch moment. Read more
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What’s next for Rick Santorum?

Rick Santorum’s decision to suspend his presidential campaign because of concerns about his young daughter’s health won’t win him a spot on the Republican ticket as Mitt Romney’s running mate. But it will leave him with a better chance of winning the GOP nomination in 2016 if Romney loses to President Obama this fall.

Read David Morris’ full analysis of Santorum’s prospects. Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr. 

What’s next for Rick Santorum?

Rick Santorum’s decision to suspend his presidential campaign because of concerns about his young daughter’s health won’t win him a spot on the Republican ticket as Mitt Romney’s running mate. But it will leave him with a better chance of winning the GOP nomination in 2016 if Romney loses to President Obama this fall.

Read David Morris’ full analysis of Santorum’s prospects. Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Could Marco Rubio be the next vice president of the United States?

The senator from Florida can help Romney across the board — with the tea party, with Hispanics and in the state itself, a must-win for the GOP. He’s the best bet, even though he says he isn’t interested. Though he and Romney differ on immigration policy, Rubio’s spot on the ticket could sway enough Hispanic voters for Romney to carry Florida, hold on to Arizona and make it close in New Mexico. Add Texas, which Romney will win no matter whom he picks, and the GOP has a shot at toppling Obama.

Read David Morris’ full breakdown of the eight leading VP contenders. Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr.

Could Marco Rubio be the next vice president of the United States?

The senator from Florida can help Romney across the board — with the tea party, with Hispanics and in the state itself, a must-win for the GOP. He’s the best bet, even though he says he isn’t interested. Though he and Romney differ on immigration policy, Rubio’s spot on the ticket could sway enough Hispanic voters for Romney to carry Florida, hold on to Arizona and make it close in New Mexico. Add Texas, which Romney will win no matter whom he picks, and the GOP has a shot at toppling Obama.

Read David Morris’ full breakdown of the eight leading VP contenders. Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What We’re Reading, 3/28/12

Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. On our collective radar today: debt deal #longreads, Gingrich staff cuts, and the true cost of fine dining.

"Obama vs. Boehner: Who Killed the Debt Deal?" By Matt Bai (The New York Times magazine). Bai’s much anticipated 9,700-word story might be the conclusive take on the so-called “grand bargain” that collapsed last summer. “If we understand what really went on last July, then we’ll have a better sense of how difficult it will be for the two parties to stave off the coming political calamity and why, too, the situation may not be quite as hopeless as it seems,” writes Bai.

"Gingrich Cuts Staff, Aims for Tampa," by Mike Allen and Ginger Gibson (Politico). Gingrich slashed his staff by a third this morning in what Politico calls an attempt to save his “flailing” campaign. Kiplinger’s Richard Sammon explained last week why Gingrich is still hanging in the race, despite his losses.

"Diane Sawyer Sits Down With Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke" (ABC World News). Sawyer grilled the Fed chairman on gas prices, the housing market and unemployment during last night’s World News. His response in a nutshell: “I think that our economy’s gonna recover and continue to grow and be a world leader. But we’ve got a lot of challenges, and there’s no covering up that fact.”

"Why More Americans Are Living Alone" (PBS NewsHour). While we’re talking transcripts, here’s another interesting segment that aired last night: Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at New York University, breaks down “the biggest social change of the last 50 or 60 years” — more Americans live alone. It could have huge implications for urban planning and economies in the future.

"High-End Food, Low Wage Labor," by Laurie Woolever (Dissent magazine). Woolever dissects restaurant economics, where chefs and executives take home big paychecks — but most employees make about $274 a week. The story is paywalled on Dissentmagazine.org, but still available (where else!) on Woolever’s Tumblr.  

"What Does the Health-Care Law Mean to Me?" By Wilson Andrews and Karen Yourish (The Washington Post). We aren’t reading this interactive, per se, but it explains the implications of health care reform better than many a story on the subject. “Answer a few questions and get a quick overview of how the health care law will impact you,” says Kip reporter Neema Roshania. “It’s pretty cool!”

What are you reading?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What We’re Reading, 3/22/12

Every morning, we poll the staff and round-up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. In our inboxes and on our iPads this morning: Student debt, North Dakota boom times, and a new name for everyone’s favorite brand of macaroni and cheese.

"Too Big to Fail: Student Debt Hits a Trillion," by Rohit Chopra (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Chopra calls it “sobering,” but we’ll call it staggering: A blog post by the CFPB’s student loan ombudsman claims that U.S. student debt tops $1 trillion — 16% higher than an estimate released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York earlier this year.

"Mitt Romney’s Evangelical Problem," by Ryan Lizza (The New Yorker). Forget Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch drama — his real struggle is with evangelical voters, who have failed to embrace him in any contest thus far. This line from Lizza’s analysis is telling: “The single best predictor of whether Romney loses a state is the percentage of voters who describe themselves as evangelical.”

"How Far Would You Go for a Comeback?" By Ann Carrns (The New York Times). You may not have heard of Williston, North Dakota. But the town of 15,000, “ground zero in North Dakota’s petroleum explosion,” is attracting thousands of people who can’t find work elsewhere.

"The Nonprofit 1 Percent," by Steven Thrasher (The Village Voice). This week’s Voice cover story makes a surprising claim about salaries and excess at New York nonprofits: “In the nonprofit world, things don’t turn out to be so different than in places like Wall Street.”

"Kraft’s Top Lawyer Says Let’s Rename the Company ‘Mondelez,’" by Jim Edwards (Business Insider). Kraft’s apparently renaming its international division — with some interesting outcomes. “I don’t know what kind of weight Kraft’s name pulls in, say, Mexico or England, but you have to wonder at this decision,” jokes Kip reporter Susannah Snider. “At least they nixed ‘Tfark.’”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What We’re Reading, 3/20/2012

Good morning, Tumblr! Every day, we round up the favorite morning reads of the Kiplinger staff. On the list this sunny Tuesday: Budget proposals, Madoff’s prison letters, and what your hair has to do with the economy.

"The GOP Budget and America’s Future," by Paul Ryan (The Wall Street Journal). Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan released the GOP budget proposal this morning to great fanfare. He also penned this hefty WSJ editorial, which lays out the Republicans’ “new Path to Prosperity.” The Washington Post sums it up here.

"U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran," by Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker (The New York Times). We’re all following the Iran/Israel conflict, but no one more closely than Ken Bazinet, who covers politics for the Letter. “This spells out the perils of an uncertain strike against Iran’s nuclear sites and why the Pentagon isn’t sure an attack will work,” he says. “But there is still a belief that Israel could launch a strike in the next year.”

"The Secret Madoff Prison Letters," by Diana Henriques (Forbes). Madoff’s best-known biographer drops several pages of emails Madoff sent her from jail — his attempt, she says, to rewrite his history.

"Vatican Bank Image Hurt as JP Morgan Closes Account," by Philip Pullella and Lisa Jucca (Reuters). Staff writer Lisa Gerstner sent this link with a note: “Apparently the Holy See is too opaque for JP Morgan Chase, which shut down one of the Vatican’s bank accounts for lack of transparency.” We’ll leave further puns to you.

"Breaking Down the Mortgage Settlement: How Far Does $26 Billion Go?" By Cora Currier (ProPublica). ProPublica lays out the numbers from last week’s settlement over mortgage servicing abuses, with some interesting results. For instance: Only five percent of underwater mortgages will qualify for modification.

"How Do Racial Attitudes Affect Opinions About the Health Care Overhaul?" By Shankar Vedantam (Morning Edition). A new paper by Brown University researcher Michael Tessler suggests that attitudes toward race and health care policy are linked.

And to end on a light note, as we often do: Disney’s John Carter may rank among Hollywood’s biggest flops of all time, costing the studio some $200 million. In better news, beauty salon sales are up, which indicates a growing economy. 

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