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Request to Readers Attending LP National Convention: Bring Extra Laptop, Help IPR Provide Coverage
(from: Independent Political Report @ April 28, 2012, 10:09 PM)

Any of our readers who plan on attending the Libertarian National Convention in Las Vegas coming up this next week can help us cover the event better by bringing an extra laptop I (Paulie) can use. Feel free to give me a call at 415-690-6352 before, during or after the convention.

Other IPR writers will be there, and all or most of them have their own laptops already. I can also sign up additional correspondents if some would like to help us provide coverage. However, I would like to make reporting from the convention a major part of what I do there, and I can do that much more effectively if I have a laptop I can use on the spot.

Webcam equipped and long battery life would be a bonus, but I’ll borrow whatever I can get.

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Sunday Breakfast Menu, April 29
(from: NY Times The Caucus @ April 28, 2012, 09:07 PM)

Washington takes note of the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.

White House Correspondents' Association Dinner Highlights
(from: NY Times The Caucus @ April 28, 2012, 07:41 PM)

Just as they do every year, the famous officials, journalists and Hollywood stars will gather Saturday night at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner for an odd mix of celebrity and wonkdom. Below is a selection of Twitter messages and photos from the event.

Daily Kos Elections Weekend Digest: Examining the presidential electoral map for November
(from: Swing State Project @ April 28, 2012, 05:00 PM)

Welcome to the first week of the rest of the 2012 campaign cycle. And, as expected, it was actually a pretty sleepy week, on balance. There were some big headlines downballot (where two House incumbents found themselves on the outs after a key primary election), but the race for the White House might have seen its slowest week in terms of news and data in months.

The near future could get pretty interesting, though. North Carolina and Indiana head to the polls in a little more than a week, and the primary elections for the Wisconsin recalls fall on the same date. That touches off a four-week span with 10 states having primary elections of some sort.

The moral of the story?it is only going to be quiet for a minute or two. So rest up. As for this week's data and headlines, you can find them just past the jump in this "calm before the storm" edition of the Weekend Digest.

Romney Advisers Concede the Personality Contest
(from: Washington Wire @ April 28, 2012, 02:08 PM)

Associated Press
Mitt Romney waves to supporters at a campaign stop in Charlotte, N.C., earlier this month.

Mitt Romney may be conceding — the likability battle, that is.

Eric Fehrnstrom and Peter Flaherty, senior advisers to the Romney campaign, acknowledged in the starkest terms yet that instead of trying to win the likability race against President Barack Obama, they’ll focus on their candidate’s credentials.

“This is not an election that’s going to be decided on issues like dogs or likability,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said at a Washington Post Live event Saturday, referencing the now infamous story of the candidate’s dog Seamus.

Mr. Romney made the point in his own words in campaign stops Friday as he encouraged young people to judge candidates on their records — not the “brilliance of their words.”

(On a similar theme, campaign manager Matt Rhoades wrote in a memo Friday, “President Obama and his team want to make it a very small election about dogs, tax returns and his winning TV persona.)

It’s a risky gamble. In presidential elections voters tend to opt for the candidate they like the best. And because of that the Romney campaign has dabbled in strategies to make Mr. Romney more relatable. They brought back more revealing town hall events, the candidate’s body man launched a blog to help humanize Mr. Romney and Ann Romney (the more personable half of the couple) is making more appearances on the stump.

They now seem intent on arguing that President Obama isn’t taking the challenges the country faces seriously enough. The advisers used the president’s appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” to buttress their point.

“This election is not going to be about who’s cooler,” Mr. Flaherty said, “The question’s going to be: Who do you trust to run the economy?”

Mr. Fehrnstrom weighed in on Mr. Obama’s slow-jam-the-news segment, in which he teamed up with Mr. Fallon to give a satirical pitch on his plan to freeze interest rates on student loans.

“I did think there was something a little bit off key about the president slow-jamming and appearing to make light of the fact that students are struggling,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said.

Mr. Romney has a couple late-night television appearances under his belt and will likely do more.

“But you won’t see the governor slow jam the news,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said.

Sara Murray covers the 2012 presidential race. Follow her on Twitter @SaraMurray

First Review of Robert Caro's New Book
(from: Political Wire @ April 28, 2012, 10:55 AM)

Steve Kraske: "Maybe I'm showing my age. Maybe I'm showing the effects of too many years covering politicians. But these days, I'm deep into the fourth volume of an ongoing series of books on the 36th president, a man who died back in 1973. The really scary thing: I'm relishing every minute of it."

"Robert Caro's new book on LBJ -- The Passage of Power -- shares a trait with the first three. It is simply a stunning achievement. Enduringly fascinating, probing and popping with surprising insights, the book is a breeze of a read... Magisterial. Foundational. Groundbreaking. Pick your adjective for Caro's Lyndon Johnson. For now, I'll go with another one: simply amazing."

The book is officially out on Tuesday.

Cuomo Says He's Made History, Again and Again
(from: Political Wire @ April 28, 2012, 09:59 AM)

In just 16 months in office, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has claimed to do something "historic" more than 80 times, the New York Times reports.

"His frequent citation of his place in history, according to rhetoricians, provides a frame for how he hopes the public in New York and across the country will view him -- as someone who turned a dysfunctional state capital from a place of corruption to competence."

Russian Voters About to Gain Ability to Elect Governors of Regions
(from: Ballot Access News @ April 28, 2012, 09:57 AM)

The Russian Parliament has passed a bill to again let Russian voters choose Governors for the various regions of Russia. See this story. Under current law, all the Governors are appointed by the central government.

Quote of the Day
(from: Political Wire @ April 28, 2012, 09:49 AM)

"The only politics we understand is scandal, and the only scandal we understand is sex."

-- Bill Maher, quoted by Gawker, on his HBO show last night.

Republicans are the Problem
(from: Political Wire @ April 28, 2012, 09:27 AM)

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein: "We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party."

"The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."

"When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country's challenges."

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