STEPHANIE CUTTER, deputy Obama campaign manager, to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week“: “If you looked at the report on Friday, the areas where we ARE doing well are areas that we’ve been able to AFFECT policy. Manufacturing jobs continue to rise, and that’s precisely because the president stepped in and did what nobody else was willing to do – to save the auto industry. And that has had a great impact on manufacturing jobs, up and down the supply chain. Now, that report ALSO showed areas that are still hurting, particularly teachers and construction workers. And that just shows the wisdom of the president’s policies. Because we have … two policies sitting on the desk of Congress right now that they could act on – to put teachers back to work, and put construction workers back to work, rebuilding our roads, bridges and highways.”
ERIC FEHRNSTROM, Romney campaign senior adviser, appearing versus Cutter on a show-opening roundtable: “It’s not that we don’t think that this president is trying – I think he is. It’s just that his policies are not working.”
–Fehnrstrom, pressed by George Will on Romney’s view of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget: “He’s for the Ryan plan. He believes it goes in the right direction. … At least the Paul Ryan plan puts us on a path toward a balanced budget. It gets those annual deficits down, in a way that this president has been unable to do.”
VEEPSTAKES – Alex Castellanos, to David Gregory on “Meet the Press” roundtable: “I think the problem for President Obama is his campaign message has devolved down to, ‘This is as good as it gets. I’m doing the best that I can.’ Which leaves Mitt Romney, I think, a tremendous opportunity to be Moses, to say, ‘Follow me. We can do better.’ …
“I think Romney would probably be wise to pick the dullest guy he could pick — a suitcase with no handle. Because you want the spotlight not to be on your V.P. pick, you want it to be on Barack Obama … But [Sen. Rob] Portman has a problem: George Bush [who he served as budget director and U.S. trade representative] — he gives Democrats [an issue] to campaign on. I think somebody to watch is a Bobby Jindal [the Louisiana governor], who has been vetted, who’s been out there, who has a terrific record.”
BEHIND THE CURTAIN – “The man planning the Romney presidency,” by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns: “Mike Leavitt, … the former Utah governor and Health and Human Services Secretary under President George W. Bush, has been tapped to head Romney’s transition process … As the point man for what is internally called ‘Project Ready,’ Leavitt is stepping into a post that historically gets little attention during the campaign but becomes the focal point of a government-in-waiting beginning the day after the election. And already, plugged-in Republicans from Washington to Salt Lake City are buzzing that [if Romney wins,] Leavitt could make his own transition next January into the job of White House chief of staff or as a Valerie Jarrett-like personal counselor to a President Romney. … In an interview, Leavitt confirmed his involvement but said little about a process that is just underway. ‘The most important thing is to let the campaign be the focus of attention and for us to very quietly do what needs to be done, and that’s what we’re engaged in,’ he said about the transition planning.
“The job traditionally is filled by political insiders who enjoy the trust of the candidate — Bush picked prep school friend and gubernatorial Chief of Staff Clay Johnson while Obama chose former CAP chief and former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta … Romney [has] tapped somebody a lot like himself. … The Utahn, 61, hails from an old Mormon family, has run a business, leans right politically, but is no ideologue, and is as passionate about whiteboards as Romney is about PowerPoint. Both are steady, prudent men. There is one important area in their backgrounds where they differ, however. Though it’s little known even in the political class, Leavitt has deep experience as a campaign operative. He worked in Utah campaigns in the ’70s and ’80s and for legendary pollster Richard Wirthlin in Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection. Since installing Romney to take over the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Leavitt and the GOP nominee have become close. They’re contemporaries, share a circle of high-powered intimates in politics and business and their wives are friends. …
“[W]ith little fanfare, [Leavitt] has become one of the most influential advisers to the candidate this election cycle. He has an office at the Boston headquarters, travels with Romney at times, has been summoned to rally donors and is tight enough with the high command that he scored an invite to campaign manager Matt Rhoades’s engagement party last month. He’s also a surrogate and has headlined health care policy discussions at $10,000 per-person Beltway fundraisers for Romney. … Asked if he was having fun, Leavitt sounded a Romney-esque note: ‘I refer to it as intellectually stimulating.’ http://politi.co/LbEDRb
BULLETIN: LOS ANGELES (AP) – Former “Family Feud” show host Richard Dawson has died at age 79.
FOR MONDAY PAPERS – “Losing faith in Democrats’ religious outreach,” by AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll: “[S]ome religious leaders and scholars who backed Obama in 2008 … say the Democrats have, through neglect and lack of focus, squandered the substantial gains they made with religious moderates … In 2008, the Obama campaign … built grassroots support among religious voters by organizing ‘faith house parties,’ sending Roman Catholic and evangelical surrogates on the campaign trail, and holding faith caucus meetings at the party’s national convention. … Obama made gains over the 2004 nominee, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, with voters who attend religious services more than once a week, 43 percent to 35 percent. Obama also won 26 percent of the evangelical vote, compared with 21 percent for Kerry. ‘It wasn’t huge, but it was statistically significant,’ said John Green, director of the University of Akron’s Bliss Institute for Applied Politics. … Catholics, who comprised about one-quarter of the electorate in 2008, haven’t voted in a bloc for decades, but the candidate who wins the most Catholic votes usually wins the election.” http://bit.ly/L5vJ9p
SNEAK PEEK – E.J. Dionne, in tomorrow’s column, says both sides should more candid: “[A] challenge to conservatives: If cutting taxes is really more important to you than fiscal balance, why not just say so? … Job creation is at the heart of the campaign, and it is the issue about which we will have the least clarity. To me, … it is perfectly obvious that rolling back government, both here and in Europe, has been exactly the wrong thing to do in a time of high unemployment. To save words, I refer you to a pile of fact-rich Paul Krugman columns. …
“[L]et’s debate over whether greater inequality impedes faster growth or promotes it. … I think the evidence shows that when inequality gets out of hand (see 1929 and now), it’s a drag on the whole economy. … [I]f we don’t use this campaign at least to define the problems we face, we will end up wasting the $2 billion or so this campaign will cost, and a lot of time.”
TOP STORY – “Mubarak verdict adds to tension before Egypt vote,” by Reuters’ Marwa Awad and Tamim Elyan, in Cairo: “Egyptian pro-democracy campaigners called for a new uprising on Sunday, enraged that a court had spared former leader Hosni Mubarak his life … In the first judicial reckoning of a leader toppled in last year’s Arab spring uprisings, Mubarak was handed a life prison sentence. His sons were found innocent of corruption charges and senior policemen were acquitted. Thousands took to the streets for protests that went on through the night in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in other cities, adding to political tension building since Mubarak’s last prime minister made it through to a presidential election run-off. Many took the verdicts as proof the Mubarak clan still holds sway as Egypt prepares for the vote on June 16 and 17, billed as the final stage of an army-led transition to democracy.”
REAL WORLD – “US tries not to make waves with ‘Pacific Pivot,’” by AP’s Eric Talmadge in Singapore: “As the United States moves to bolster its military position in Asia, it faces severe budget cuts from Congress, an increasingly powerful rival in China and a hornet’s nest of regional political sensitivities. The shift in U.S. policy puts Asia and the Pacific front-and-center of its strategic priorities and is driven by concerns that China has raced ahead in the world’s most economically dynamic region while the U.S. was tied up fighting its wars … But [the] region [is] increasingly beholden to China’s economic engine.
“Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is spearheading the U.S. effort to sell the new strategy in Asia, told regional defense leaders at a major security conference in Singapore that it is only natural for the Asia-Pacific to be in the spotlight because it is home to some of the world’s biggest populations and militaries. … Long-term allies such as Japan, Australia and South Korea strongly support a robust U.S. presence and see the shift as a welcome development. … But others [like Indonesia ]worry the U.S. could try to isolate China, at the rest of Asia’s expense.”
EMAILS WE DIDN’T OPEN – From “campaigntodeafeatobama.com”: “?EXCLUSIVE: We’ve obtained Democrats Internal Document – MUST SEE” … From email@example.com: “It’s kind of a big deal” … From yahoo.fr: “Are You A Trustworthy Person?”
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BIRTHDAYS: NewsChannel 8’s Katherine Amenta … Whitney Smith, Sen. Kerry’s press secretary, doing a tour of Virginia vineyards in a limo full of friends (cork tip: Colin Bishop) … Zach Zagar, with Rep. Todd Rokita’s office … Erick Erickson (hat tip: Patrick Gavin) … Anderson Cooper is 45 … Larry McMurtry is 76 … Nadal is 26 (h/t AP)
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Audrey Gelman, press secretary to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (hat tip: Erika) …
–“Statement from Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden on the Marriage of their Daughter Ashley Biden to Howard Krein: ‘We are pleased to announce that our daughter, Ashley Blazer Biden, married Dr. Howard Krein [Saturday] evening in Wilmington, Delaware. The private ceremony was attended by the bride and groom’s close family and friends. We’re happy to welcome Howard into our family, and we wish them all the best in their new life together.’” White House photo by David Lienemann (who was a birthday boy yesterday) http://bit.ly/MmY1lp
–The (Wilmington) News Journal, photo refer at top of p. 1, “ASHLEY BIDEN GETS MARRIED” – Story on p. A15, by Cori Anne Natoli and Maureen Milford: “Vice President Joe Biden walked his daughter into the St. Joseph on the Brandywine church Saturday, where, in a very private, intimate ceremony, she exchanged vows with a Philadelphia doctor. Inside the chapelesque church, 200 guests, family and close friends – and a 27-person bridal party – witnessed the union of Ashley Blazer Biden and her groom, Dr. Howard David Krein. The overall ambiance was as mild as the warm windswept day; low key and well protected by the Secret Service. Details had been hush-hush … Father David Murphy, along with Rabbi Joseph Forman, officiated the hour-long ceremony. It [was an] intimate and understated wedding of Biden, 30, to Krein, 45, a Philadelphia otolaryngologist and plastic surgeon. ‘It will come as no surprise to anyone in Delaware that this was one of the happiest and most difficult days of my life,’ Vice President Biden said Saturday night.
“Ashley, a graduate of Archmere Academy, wore a gown designed by Vera Wang. Howard, a native of Cherry Hill, N.J., received his Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology from UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. … After the ceremony, guests went to the Biden’s sprawling and secluded Greenville home. Laura Goldman, a Philadelphia blogger who is a patient of Krien’s, [said] the couple met through their work. Ashley Biden is a social worker.” http://delonline.us/MmWqMc
– Jennifer Yuille, Edward Skyler” – NYT: “Jennifer Lynn Yuille and Edward Gabriel Skyler were married Saturday evening at the New York Public Library. Judge Paul A. Crotty of United States District Court in New York, officiated. Mrs. Skyler, 36, is the head of consumer communications at Facebook in New York. She graduated from the University of Michigan. She is a daughter of Debra L. Yuille and Ronald D. Yuille of Charlevoix, Mich.
“Mr. Skyler, 39, is the executive vice president for global public affairs at Citigroup in New York, where he oversees communications, government relations, corporate marketing, philanthropy and sponsorships. He was, until April 2010, the deputy mayor for operations of the City of New York. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received a law degree from Fordham. He is a trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission. He is the son of Rita D. Skyler and Martin L. Skyler of New York.” http://nyti.ms/KnD7St
–Elisabeth Hire and Chris Hayler were married yesterday by the Rev. Timothy Ahrens at First Congregational Church in Elisabeth’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio, surrounded by family, friends, and many Democratic campaign alumni. D.C.-based guests braved the weather to travel on Friday night, some driving through the night after cancelled flights. The bride is the Director of Operations in the Office of the Vice President, and the groom is a Senior Strategist for Stones’ Phones in Washington, DC. They met in 2007 while working on Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign. Guests remarked on the couple’s perfect wedding kiss at the altar, the toasts by each of their siblings that didn’t leave a dry eye, the killer music playlist during cocktail hour, and the end-of-the-night serenade on the hotel’s pool deck of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
–Department of Homeland Security Deputy General Counsel Seth Grossman and Debbie Elias, a Vice President of Product and Research at the Nielsen Company, were married last night on the beach in Bayville, Long Island. The rehearsal dinner featured photo-fetti with pictures of bride and groom. In a ceremony by the water, the bride vowed to protect the groom from all TV spoilers, and the groom reciprocated by promising a yearly viewing of “Garfield’s Halloween Adventure,” before a rousing horah and bogeying down to a perfect MJ dance medley. Guests enjoyed cotton candy and make-your-own sundaes. N.Y. Times entry, with pic http://nyti.ms/KXHlgq
D’OH! AWARD – Five-term Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) ends write-in campaign after failing to get on primary ballot because he didn’t get enough valid signatures – Release datelined Livonia, Mich.: “‘I have ended my write-in campaign in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District … One can’t clean up a mess multitasking. Honoring my promise to the sovereign people of our community only allows me to finish the official duties of my present Congressional term; and aid the State Attorney General criminal investigation that I requested into identifying the person or persons who concocted the fraudulent petitions that have cost me so dearly. … To those who unhappy at this news, I’m sorry; to those happy at this news, you’re welcome.’”
THE MONEY, HONEY – L.A. Times col. 1-2, “California is a golden state in presidential race: Residents have given $60 million to Romney and Obama, and they’re not done,” by Seema Mehta and Melanie Mason: “Obama, in a quick fundraising trip this week, will hit San Francisco and Beverly Hills, locales that rank high on his list of major donors. The Beverly Hills gala on Wednesday, headlined by the singer Pink, and a dinner the same evening could raise as much as $10 million. Romney spent much of last week raising millions in GOP enclaves such as Del Mar, Newport Beach, Riverside and the Central Valley, as well as the wealthy communities of Beverly Hills and, in the Bay Area, Hillsborough. Californians have already contributed $60 million to the president and his Republican rival, as well as more than $5 million to other candidates whose efforts failed … Obama has taken in $49 million of that largesse, in donations to his campaign and assorted party groups.” http://lat.ms/Mn2wwi
SENATE SCRAMBLE – Boston Sunday Globe banner, “Warren trounces rival, girds for nasty campaign: At state party convention, Defranco can’t garner enough votes for primary,” by Noah Bierman, Frank Phillips, and Glen Johnson in Springfield: “Elizabeth Warren, vowing Saturday not to ‘‘fold up the first time I got punched,’’ reinvigorated her Senate campaign with a crushing blow to her last remaining primary opponent, clearing the way for a direct challenge to US Senator Scott Brown. Warren, drawing on her strong support from Democratic activists, used her organizational muscle to take 95.77 percent of the delegate vote.
“The win denied immigration lawyer Marisa DeFranco the 15 percent delegate threshold required to secure a spot on the September primary ballot. It was the first time in recent party history that a Democratic candidate in a two-person race had ever failed to reach that level. The unexpectedly dominant margin gave Warren a much-needed boost after weeks of negative publicity and tough questions related to whether she used undocumented claims of Native American heritage to gain advantage in her academic career.” http://bo.st/KXLEII
MEDIAWATCH – “New Republic Looks to Poach Competitors’ Talent,” by Erik Maza: “It used to be the New Republic fed up-and-coming talents to the big leagues. Now it may be the other way around. With Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes at the helm, the newly-flush Beltway journal is not just dipping into the talent pool of larger competitors, but taking direct aim at some of their marquee reporters. Recently, the magazine has approached The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins, New York Times magazine contributor Robert Draper and The New York Times’ Mark Leibovich … The overtures are a bold move for a magazine that has less than 50,000 readers. But Hughes is intent on telegraphing that his influential if little-read magazine will be an aggressive competitor. …
“By going after seasoned, investigative reporters, Hughes is also re-affirming his conviction in long-form journalism … Hughes had said he plans to double the magazine’s staff, now at 15. … Mark Leibovich said he was happy at the Times. … Draper, who is in Libya on [month-long] assignment for National Geographic, and Filkins both declined comment. … Evan Smith, Draper’s former editor at Texas Monthly and now the editor in chief of the Texas Tribune, reached out to Hughes after his editor’s letter was published in March and came away impressed with the budding publisher.” http://bit.ly/LVPekx
DESSERT — Rain fails to dampen spirits of jubilee queen’s subjects,” by AFP’s Katy Lee in London: “Loyal subjects and curious onlookers refused to let the rain dampen their spirits on Sunday as they lined the Thames under umbrellas waiting to watch Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee river pageant. In a spectacle not seen on such a scale for 350 years, more than 1,000 boats of all shapes and sizes were to sail downstream through central London to mark the queen’s 60 years on the throne. The monarch was to take her place on a sumptuous royal barge for the highlight of the four-day public holiday weekend to mark the jubilee, with ships filling the horizon. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered along the river, but the heavy rain and London fog that descended overnight was making it a challenge to see very far at all. By early morning, a few hundred people had made it on to Westminster Bridge to secure a prime spot — not that they could see very much: the Houses of Parliament’s famous Big Ben clock tower was barely visible on the north bank.”
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