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The GOP’s Electoral College Scheme

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English: Electoral college map for the 2012, 2...

English: Electoral college map for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 United States presidential elections, using apportionment data released by the US Census Bureau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Reid Wilson | National Journal

 

Republicans alarmed at the apparent challenges they face in winning the White House are preparing an all-out assault on the Electoral College system in critical states, an initiative that would significantly ease the party’s path to the Oval Office.

Senior Republicans say they will try to leverage their party’s majorities in Democratic-leaning states in an effort to end the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Instead, bills that will be introduced in several Democratic states would award electoral votes on a proportional basis.

Already, two states — Maine and Nebraska — award an electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district. The candidate who wins the most votes statewide takes the final two at-large electoral votes. Only once, when President Obama won a congressional district based in Omaha in 2008, has either of those states actually split their vote.

But if more reliably blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were to award their electoral votes proportionally, Republicans would be able to eat into what has become a deep Democratic advantage.

All three states have given the Democratic nominee their electoral votes in each of the last six presidential elections. Now, senior Republicans in Washington are overseeing legislation in all three states to end the winner-take-all system.

Obama won all three states in 2008, handing him 46 electoral votes because of the winner-take-all system. Had electoral votes been awarded by district, Republican nominee Mitt Romney would have cut into that lead. Final election results show that Romney won nine of Michigan’s 14 districts, five of eight in Wisconsin, and at least 12 of 18 in Pennsylvania. Allocate the two statewide votes in each state to Obama and that means Romney would have emerged from those three Democratic states with 26 electoral votes, compared with just 19 for Obama (and one district where votes are still being counted).

Republicans are able to contemplate such a bold plan because of their electoral success in 2010, when the party won control of state legislative chambers and the governorships in all three states, giving them total control over the levers of state government.

“If you did the calculation, you’d see a massive shift of electoral votes in states that are blue and fully [in] red control,” said one senior Republican taking an active role in pushing the proposal. “There’s no kind of autopsy and outreach that can grab us those electoral votes that quickly.”

The proposals, the senior GOP official said, are likely to come up in each state’s legislative session in 2013. Bills have been drafted, and legislators are talking to party bosses to craft strategy. Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, has briefed Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Chief of Staff Jeff Larson on his state’s proposal. The proposal “is not being met with the ‘We can’t do that’ answer. It’s being met with ‘I’ve already got a bill started,’ ” the official said.

Republican state legislators are motivated to act after Romney’s loss. And the party lost legislative seats in all three states, adding urgency to pass the measures before voters head to the polls in 2014.

Tweaks of electoral-vote rules are hardly unprecedented, according to Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University. State legislatures routinely changed Electoral College allocation rules in the early years of the Republic; the political fallout then can inform present-day lawmakers considering the changes.

“State legislative elections became tantamount to the presidential election in a state. Local issues were put aside for presidential politics,” McDonald said. “These states legislators thus risk the nationalization of their state politics, to the detriment of their personal careers. State legislators learned that once they fixed the Electoral College rules, national politics no longer dominated state elections.”

In the long run, Republican operatives say they would like to pursue similar Electoral College reform in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. Obama won all three states, but Romney won a majority of the congressional districts in each state.

Any changes to the allocation of Electoral College votes would have a major impact on each party’s path to the White House. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have given Democrats their collective 246 electoral votes in each of the last six elections. That virtually forces Republicans to run the swing-state table.

But rewriting the rules would dramatically shrink or eliminate the Democratic advantage, because of the way House districts are drawn. The decennial redistricting process has dumped huge percentages of Democratic voters into some urban districts, while Republican voters are spread over a wider number of districts, giving the party an advantage. This year, Democratic House candidates won more than 1 million more votes than Republican candidates, but Republicans won 33 more seats.

And if Republicans go ahead with their plan, Democrats don’t have the option of pushing back. After the 2010 wave, Democrats control all levers of government in only one state — West Virginia — that Romney won this year. Some consistently blue presidential states have Republican legislatures; the reverse is not true.

Some Republicans acknowledge that the party would open itself up to charges of political opportunism, but that they would frame the proposal as a chance to make the system more fair.

“With the frustration of the current system—and the fact that almost everyone would agree proportional or CD is more representative and maybe more fair than the current winner-take-all—Republicans have a strong, righteous argument,” Anuzis said. “However, the motivation would be viewed as being purely political since it hasn’t been done before.”

 

Wasserman Schultz (D) FL Involved in Police Altercation Outside FL Voting Precinct

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, U.S. Congresswoman (D-Florida, 2005-present).

, U.S. Congresswoman (D-Florida, 2005-present). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Javier Manjarres

A group of sign-waving campaign ralliers comprised of both Democrat and Republican supporters outside an Aventura, Florida polling location witnessed Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz get involved in a heated altercation with an Aventura policeman after she apparently took issue with his request to not engage in campaign activities in the street which would hold up oncoming traffic.

She listened to the police officer’s respectful and reasonable request, but Wasserman Schultz continued to argue with the police officer, according to several people who witnessed the incident.

Wasserman Schultz was greeting voters and waiving her campaign signs on a street leading into the polling site and was obstructing traffic by stopping cars before they could even enter the parking area.

The police officer respectfully asked Wasserman Schultz to move onto the sidewalk as everyone else was required to do, but the  Congresswoman was unhappy with not being able to campaign how she saw fit.  Unnerved by the simple request from a police officer, Wasserman Schultz made a “well placed” phone call to some unknown individual in a position of authority.  Five minutes later, the Aventura City Mayor came to the scene and was confronted by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and proceeded to get an earful from her as well.

Wasserman Schultz stayed about 20 minutes before she  left the scene with the six or so supporters she brought with her.  After the congresswoman left, one of the Democrat supporters who witnessed the whole incident confronted the Mayor and told him that what she did was “extremely inappropriate” for her to berate him in the manner she did.

This altercation is just a few days removed from an earlier incident in which the congresswoman took issue with a Democrat voter who refused to campaign and support her and instead supported her Republican congressional opponent Karen Harrington.

Related: Wasserman Schultz Election Day Worries

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omney: Debates ‘diminished’ Obama

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Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland todayBy |

RENO, Nev.Mitt Romney continued to claim momentum in the aftermath of his debates with President Barack Obama, insisting that the forums boosted his campaign but “diminished” his Democratic opponent’s.

“He’s now been reduced to talking about ‘Sesame Street‘ characters and word games and misplaced attacks on me,” Romney told a crowd of roughly 2,500 people here.

The GOP nominee said Obama had “four debates”—including the vice presidential debate—to “lay out” a plan for the future but failed to do so.

“You can boil down what he’s saying to four simple words: ‘more of the same,'” said Romney.

For months, Romney has mocked Obama’s campaign slogan (“Forward”), telling audiences it should have been “forewarned” instead. Today he revised that attack, telling the crowd Obama’s plan “doesn’t feel like forward. It feels like backwards.”

As he has in recent weeks, Romney expressed confidence he’ll win the election, telling the crowd here he understands how to jump-start the struggling economy and “that’s why I’m going to win.”

Yet in a sign of how close the election is, Romney shook up his usual stump speech. He peppered his remarks with examples of voters in their “40s or 50s,” women and younger people who he said would benefit under his presidency.

Speaking in a swing district in a swing state, Romney called the upcoming election a “defining” moment for the country.

“I think the choice you make here in Nevada—and perhaps right here in Reno—will make a difference for the nation, will make a difference for the families of the nation and will make a difference for your family,” Romney said.

It was a theme he hit repeatedly while urging his audience to consider the impact of their vote.

“This election is about your family and families across this country, and the choice we make will have an enormous impact on your family,” Romney said. “I understand what it’s going to take to get this country strong again and to provide the answers that your families need. This is an election about two very different pathways for America.”

DNC predicts Romney debate win in battle of lowered expectations

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by Lexi Stemple | September 29, 2012

It’s a further lowering of expectations ahead of the first debate in Denver  next week.

Mitt Romney Steve Pearce event 057

Woodhouse says the way the DNC sees it, challengers win the first debate when  they are up against incumbents.

Mitt  Romney has had a lot more time to debate, the president has not debated in  the past four years in terms, of a campaign debate. I think the president will  hold his own, but he’s not known for sound bites. And these are 60 second, 90  second responses.”

Woodhouse says Democrats are “trying to be realistic about expectations”  because the president is “lucky to be able to devote three consecutive hours to  debate preparation.”

Woodhouse also paints Romney as a good debater and gives him credit for  “dispatching Newt  Gingrich” who Woodhouse considers a pretty good debater.

Woodhouse said he wants to see Obama “talk from his heart about where the  country was and where he wants to take the country.”

He’s looking to see the president connect with Americans during the debate,  the way Woodhouse thinks Obama was able to do in Charlotte during the Democratic  National Convention.

The first debate will focus on the economy, and Woodhouse wants specifics  from Romney on his economic plans.

“It’s going to be interesting to see if Mitt  Romney will bring more than just zingers to get under the president’s skin,”  he said. “It would be nice if he came with some substance for example like his  tax plan or his plan to voucher-size Medicare.”

Read more: http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2012/09/29/dnc-predicts-romney-debate-win-battle-lowered-expectations#ixzz27z10fOij

Why Romney is losing must-win Ohio

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Why Romney is losing must-win Ohio

By Peter Hamby, CNN Political Reporter
updated 9:33 AM EDT, Wed September 26, 2012
GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will campaign on Wednesday in Ohio, where he trails President Barack Obama in polls.

(CNN) — Polls show Mitt Romney trailing President Barack Obama in just about every one of the swing states where the 2012 campaign is being waged.

But Romney appears to be in deeper trouble in Ohio than elsewhere, an alarming development for Republicans who know that the candidate’s White House chances begin and end with the kind of middle-class voters who reside in places such as Akron, Cincinnati and Zanesville.

So why exactly is Romney trailing?

Two surveys released in recent days, one from the Ohio Newspaper Association and another from The Washington Post, crystallized the challenge facing Romney as he embarks on his second straight day of campaigning in the Buckeye State.

The topline numbers — Obama led by 5 points among likely voters in the Ohio poll, and a startling 8 points in the Post poll — only tell part of the story.

Fresh polls give Obama advantage in four battleground states

Romney’s favorable rating is underwater. Almost two-thirds of voters approve of Obama’s decision to bail out the auto industry, a staple of Ohio’s manufacturing economy. The president leads Romney by a wide margin on the question of who would do more to help the middle class.

And when voters are asked which candidate would do a better job handling the economy, Obama has a sturdy lead, undercutting the thematic premise of Romney’s candidacy.

Romney aide: Obama ‘spiking football’ early in Ohio

Interviews with some two dozen Republican strategists and elected officials across Ohio revealed an array of explanations — and no easy answers — for Romney’s failure to catch on there.

Some pointed to the Obama campaign’s aggressive effort to hang Romney’s opposition to the federal bailout of Chrysler and General Motors around his neck. Others said a hangover remains from the divisive 2011 battle over collective bargaining rights that hurt the GOP’s standing with working class voters.

A handful of GOP strategists blamed Romney’s standing on campaign staffers who aren’t Ohio natives.

One longtime Republican strategist griped about the “arrogant top-down” approach of the Romney team and said they have done a poor job listening to the advice of savvy Ohio strategists — a charge rebuffed by Romney aides who point out that field staffers from the Ohio offices of Sen. Rob Portman and House Speaker John Boehner have come on board.

Still others cited Romney’s lackluster political skills and said his stiff CEO demeanor as a turnoff for Ohioans, with one Republican officeholder saying that former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour wasn’t far off when he said recently that Romney is being caricatured as “a plutocrat married to a known equestrian.”

A man without a message

The main criticism that emerged, though, is that Romney is man without a message.

“We are still at a point where I think it’s still a winnable race for Romney,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Generally when you talk people, there is a feeling that Obama hasn’t done that great a job. But Romney hasn’t made the sale. He still can. But he hasn’t made the sale yet.”

Another statewide Republican officeholder who — like others interviewed for this article — did not want to be identified criticizing the Republican ticket, offered a blunter assessment.

Both Romney and Obama, this official argued, have provided nothing but “narrow arguments” and “fantasy land” policy prescriptions for the country.

Opinion: Can Romney get back on track?

“Why is Mitt Romney running for president and what will his presidency be about?” the official asked. “I don’t think most Republicans in Ohio can answer that question. He has not made a compelling case for his candidacy. Don’t make your campaign about marginal tax rates. Make it about your children and your grandchildren and the future of this country.”

Romney is adjusting. The campaign, prevented from spending general election funds until after the Republican National Convention concluded in late August, launched its first statewide television buy of the campaign last week.

The former Massachusetts governor has also intensified his rhetoric on trade, long a potent issue in Ohio, accusing the president of failing to stand up to China and costing Americans jobs.

But Romney’s argument du jour — he has spent a week attacking the president’s handling of foreign policy and the recent turmoil in the Middle East — isn’t likely to resonate in Ohio as much as a concise and aggressive jobs-themed message, Republicans said.

Several Ohio GOP operatives even credited the Obama campaign for presenting a more consistent economic argument.

Fallout over bailout

Obama forces have persistently reminded voters about the auto bailout — on television and in small-scale earned media events around the state — and Republicans faulted Romney for failing to develop a succinct response to the criticism in a state where one out of every eight jobs is tied to the auto sector.

Romney wrote a New York Times op-ed in 2008 titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” and argued for a managed bankruptcy for the industry, without the use of government funds. In May, he took credit for proposing the bankruptcy idea. In August, he tapped a running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who voted in favor of bailout.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign has aired multiple TV ads on the issue and synced their pro-bailout message with down-ballot Democratic candidates such as Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Poll: Brown ahead of GOP challenger in Ohio Senate race

Labor organizations are leaving thousands of bailout-themed doorknob hangers and making phone calls to union members highlighting Obama’s support for the auto industry.

According to The Washington Post poll, 64% of Ohio registered voters view the federal loans to GM and Chrysler as “mostly good” for the state’s economy. Only 29% said the bailout was “mostly bad.”

Putting a finer point on the matter, one longtime Ohio GOP strategist called Obama’s advantage on the auto bailout “a kick in the balls” for the Romney campaign.

Ground operation a bright spot for Romney

One aspect of the Romney operation that earned praise from Republicans is the campaign’s ground game, which has made more than 3 million volunteer voter contacts so far this year and knocked on 28 times as many doors in Ohio as John McCain’s campaign did in 2008.

“It’s one of the better operations in the country, as it always is,” Romney’s political director Rich Beeson told CNN. “Ohio has always led the way and it is again this cycle.”

The so-called “victory effort” — a joint venture of the Romney campaign, Republican National Committee and Ohio Republican Party — has 40 offices statewide.

The Obama operation, which has been deeply embedded in the state for four years, has more than twice that number. But the Romney campaign has managed to keep pace with the president’s voter contact effort, data from to the Post poll revealed Tuesday.

The humming ground effort, combined with Ohio’s traditional GOP lean and what’s expected to be a more animated conservative base than in 2008, has Republicans confident that the final margin on Election Day will be much closer than the 5, 6 or 7-point Obama lead seen in recent public polls.

“Nobody will win Ohio by 5,” said Mike Weaver, a Republican consultant with more than two decades of campaign experience in the state. “Anybody who tells you that doesn’t know Ohio. This state is too close. It’s too divided. It will not be Obama by 5 or Romney by 5.”

Weaver complimented the Romney campaign effort and predicted a 2-point victory for Republicans in November but advised the GOP nominee to spend more time in the state and rely less on scripted remarks before large crowds.

“I think they need to get Romney here in Ohio more, and talking off the cuff more,” he said. “I think he is a sincere guy, and I think the more he talks off the cuff, the more people will like him.”

Another Ohio Republican strategist said Romney should begin dispatching his wife, Ann, to the suburbs of Cleveland and Columbus, where there is “room for improvement” — a nice way of saying that Obama has a double-digit lead among women voters in Ohio, according to the Post poll.

A lingering complication for Romney’s argument in Ohio is the improving state economy.

Romney: My ads have been ‘spot on’

Mixed message from Kasich irks GOP

Republican Gov. John Kasich’s relentless boosterism for the uptick in Ohio job creation runs counter to the national Republican message that Obama’s policies have kept the economy from bouncing back.

The statewide unemployment rate has fallen to 7.2%, roughly a point below the national average. In bellwether central Ohio, home to the capital city of Columbus and its thriving suburbs, the jobless rate fell to 5.9% in August.

Kasich is not shy about talking up Ohio’s job growth, even if it muddles the Romney campaign’s arguments about the state of the national economy.

At a recent campaign event in conservative Owensville, a fiery Kasich boasted that “Ohio is rocking!” — moments before turning the microphone over to Paul Ryan, who proceeded to issue dire warnings about Obama’s economic policies.

The mixed messaging has rankled Republicans in the Romney and Kasich camps. Both sides have done their best to keep the tensions under wraps, but they occasionally spill over into public view.

Rex Elsass, Kasich’s media consultant and a longtime adviser, told CNN that Romney is “running counter to the reality and the perception of people in Ohio.”

“Romney would do better if he stood on John Kasich’s shoulders and said, ‘Here’s an example of a state that’s doing better with job creation, in spite of what the president is doing,’ ” Elsass said.

“When you run advertising here that’s running in the rest of the country, it’s inconsistent with how people are feeling about Ohio, that things are getting better,” he continued. “If you’re just telling people things are getting worse and you throw in a graphic at the end of the ad that says ‘Ohio,’ that’s not a state-specific message and it’s not working here.”

Romney has, in fact, complimented Kasich’s economic development efforts in a spate of local interviews and at campaign events — and there are no accounts of personal animosity between the two men.

But Republicans close to the campaign have groused privately that Kasich is bringing little to the Romney effort beyond appearing at campaign events, while Boehner, Portman and a handful of other statewide officials have loaned manpower and money to the fight.

Portman, for instance, has turned himself into one of Romney’s most reliable allies on the campaign trail, hosting more than 20 fundraisers and raising more than $2 million for the campaign.

Romney praises debate practice partner Portman

One Washington-based GOP operative involved in the campaign and closely watching Ohio accused Kasich of not doing enough to help Romney win the state.

“No single swing state Republican has been less willing to criticize President Obama at important junctures in this campaign than John Kasich,” the Republican told CNN. “Anyone who doesn’t want an Obama second term should be furious at him.”

Rachel Maddow Examines Claim Obama Is Secretly Gay

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Rachel Maddow Examines Claim Obama Is Secretly Gay

By    On Top Magazine Staff  Published:    September 15, 2012
The Rachel Maddow Show (TV series)

Rachel Maddow on Friday examined Jerome Corsi’s new conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama is secretly gay.

On her MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow told viewers that Corsi, author of Where’s The Birth Certificate, began promoting the theory after Obama released his long form birth certificate.

Corsi “needed a new reason to get out of bed every morning.  And Jerome Corsi has now found one,” Maddow said.  “Did you think they would give up on this?”

Maddow shared with her audience Corsi’s supposed evidence.

“It was preposterous to the people I knew then to think Obama was going to keep his gay life secret,” Kevin DuJan, who reportedly worked as a gossip columnist in Chicago, is quoted as saying in one of Corsi’s articles published on World Net Daily.  “Obama used to go to the gay bars during the week, most often on Wednesday, and they said he was very much into older white guys.”

Corsi also claims that a ring Obama wore while in college must mean he was secretly gay married to his Pakistani roommate.

(Related:Claim: Obama was once married to a Pakistani man.)

“Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay.  World Net Daily says so,” Maddow said.  “Now the president is going to have to unveil his straight certificate –the long form one.”

(Watch the segment at MSNBC.)

Romney on debates: Obama will ‘say things that aren’t true’

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Romney on debates: Obama will ‘say things that aren’t true’

By George Stephanopoulos | ABC OTUS News – Fri, Sep 14, 2012

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

(Correction, 11:34 am: A previous version of this article said that Mitt Romney defined middle income as between $200,000 and $250,000 a year. In fact, Romney defined middle income as that salary range “and less.”)
With the first presidential debate less than three weeks away, Mitt Romney is spending lots of time getting ready behind closed doors. In his first comments on that debate prep, he told me that Sen. Rob Portman is a tough stand-in for a president who basically lies in debates.

“I think the challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true,” Romney said. “I’ve looked at prior debates. And in that kind of case, it’s difficult to say, ‘Well, am I going to spend my time correcting things that aren’t quite accurate? Or am I going to spend my time talking about the things I want to talk about?”

The former governor told me he’s tempted to use Ronald Reagan’s famous line against President Carter in a 1980 debate, “There you go again” – the same line that Bill Clinton turned on Romney and the Republicans at the Democratic convention in Charlotte.

When I asked if Portman was crushing him in early debate preps, Romney was coy.

“I’m not revealing those kind of secrets. But I will never debate Rob Portman again,” Romney said with a laugh.

“He’s very good,” he said.

[Senator John McCain expressed a similar sentiment after going against Portman in his 2008 debate prep. McCain later told the New York Times, laughing, “I hate him still.”]

The debates are at a critical moment in the campaign with the latest polls showing Obama gaining an edge over Romney in the key battleground states.

Romney told me the debates “may well be” the campaign’s make or break moment.

“Sometimes there’s something big that happens and they become deciding. Other times, it’s like, well, nothing really changed. We’re in the same spot we were before the debates. I can’t predict what’ll happen. But I think it’ll be revealing one way or the other,” he said.

Romney said he wasn’t concerned about new polls showing him trailing in Virginia and Ohio – even though it’s virtually impossible for him to get the 270 electoral votes he needs without victories in those two states.

“Well, I’m ahead in a lot of other states, too. I saw one this morning, ahead in Florida, ahead in North Carolina. Gosh, we’re even tied in Wisconsin,” Romney told me. “These polls are going to bounce around a lot. I don’t pay a lot of attention day to day to which state’s up and which one’s down. But I believe that when the final decisions are being made by the American people, they’re going to ask themselves, “Who do I have confidence in to keep America safe? And who do I believe can get our economy doing what it needs to do?”

Romney said the most important numbers in this election are 23, 47 and 16: “23 million Americans out of work or underemployed, 47 million people on food stamps, $16 trillion in debt. And now the Federal Reserve, it says, ” Look, this economy is not going well,” he said.

And it’s because of those economic conditions some Republican allies are worried. George Will on “This Week” said “If the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business.” Laura Ingraham said “If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party, shut it down.”

“Well you know, beating an incumbent is never easy. The president exudes an air of likability and friendliness, which is endearing,” Romney told me. “But at the same time, I think people recognize that he has not done the job they expected him to do and that he promised he would do.”

The race will be decided by “the people in the middle” who “won’t make their mind up until the very, very last moment,” the former governor said.

And many of those people – 63% of registered voters – want more details about what a Romney presidency would look like, according to our latest ABC News/ Washington Post poll.

The former governor cited his 59 point – and more than 150 pages – economic plan that he released, but acknowledged that “people aren’t going to sit down and read a book.”

“So that means that in the speeches I give over the coming weeks I need to lay out some of the principles that were described in that book. And I will in more detail,” he said.

Democrats say Romney’s plan would cause a $2000 tax hike on the middle class – something Romney disputes and points to a number of studies that say his plan to cut taxes will not increase the deficit, including one by Harvard professor Martin Feldstein.

Feldstein says Romney’s math will work, but he would have to eliminate the home mortgage, charitable, state and local tax deductions for incomes greater than $100,000.

When I pressed Romney on that point, he conceded that he actually hadn’t read the Feldstein report that he and Paul Ryan cite on the campaign trail.

“I haven’t seen his precise study,” he said.

“I said that there are five different studies that point out that we can get to a balanced budget without raising taxes on middle income people. Let me tell you, George, the fundamentals of my tax policy are these. Number one, reduce tax burdens on middle-income people. So no one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers,” he said.

Romney defined middle income as $200,000 to $250,000 a year and less.

“Number two, don’t reduce the share of taxes paid by the wealthiest. The top 5% will still pay the same share of taxes they pay today. That’s principle one, principle two. Principle three is create incentives for growth, make it easier for businesses to start and to add jobs. And finally, simplify the code, make it easier for people to pay their taxes than the way they have to now,” he said.

When I asked if he and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, would specify which loopholes they would close in order to pay for the tax cuts, Romney said he’s relying on his experience as Massachusetts governor.

“I’ve found that you have to work with the people across the aisle. My legislature was 87% Democrat. So if I’d have come out and said, “Here this is my bill. This is the way I want it,” you’d never get it done,” he said. “You lay out your principles. Those are my principles, don’t raise taxes on middle-income people, make sure the high-income people pay the same share they’re paying today, encourage growth by bringing down rates, and finally simplify the code. Those are my principles. I’ll stick with them. And I believe that’s going to help get the economy going and grow jobs.”

I also asked the presidential candidate about a recent poll number that showed registered voters by a 19% margin would prefer to have dinner with Obama instead of Romney.

So what’s dinner like at the Romney house? “Chaotic,” he said.

“You’d have grandkids climbing all over you. Probably some food would be thrown from one side of the table to the other by one of my grandkids. It’d be a lot of fun,” he said.

“So I can’t tell people who would have more fun at whose table. But I can tell you the president’s a person that a lot of people like. I don’t dislike him myself and wish him the very best. But I think the American people are looking for someone who has the capacity to help them get good jobs and more take-home pay. And I do,” Romney told me.

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