Former MA Governor Mitt Romney campaigns through swing states, seen here in June with Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
In a Monday night interview with a Fox affiliate in Denver, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced he would limit tax deductions up to $17,000. That's all well and good, but did he pick that number out of thin air? The former Massachusetts governor didn't specify in his quoted comments:
“As an option you could say everybody’s going to get up to a $17,000 deduction; and you could use your charitable deduction, your home mortgage deduction, or others — your healthcare deduction, and you can fill that bucket, if you will, that $17,000 bucket that way. And higher income people might have a lower number.
“Or you could do it by the same method that Bowles-Simpson did it where you could limit certain deductions, but that’s the sort of thing you do with Congress.”
While we wait to find out why Romney chose that $17,000 number or if he will adjust it, the proposal appears as close to a politically neutral one as possible in the world of taxes. It increases federal revenue while avoiding targeting any one particular exemption, deduction, or group of people that might lead to an outcry. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) proposed limiting the value of deductions in July, but he offered no specific number in his plan to reduce the deficit.
Hopefully, in the 45 minutes allotted to discussing the economy in tonight's debate, moderator Jim Lehrer can offer some pointed questions to elicit more specifics about Romney's vague tax plan.
Video of Romney's interview with the Fox affiliate is embedded below.
Barring a reversal, Pennsylvania voters won’t be required to produce a photo ID at the polls next month, thanks to a judge’s ruling this morning. But voting-rights groups say they’re concerned the state may continue with a campaign telling voters they do need ID, potentially causing confusion and keeping some voters from the polls.
“That is the big question: Will the state continue to run advertising saying that people need ID?” Witold Walczak, a lawyer with the ACLU of Pennsylvania, told Lean Forward. “Because that’s false.”
Judge Robert Simpson ruled Tuesday morning that the state must continue with its “soft rollout” of the voter ID law. That means poll workers can ask voters for ID, but can’t turn them away, or force them to cast provisional ballots, for not producing one.
In a decision being cheered by voting-rights advocates, a judge has issued a preliminary injunction against Pennsylvania's controversial voter ID law.
Judge Robert Simpson ruled that poll workers can ask voters for ID, but they cannot turn away voters who do not have one. Nor can such voters be forced to cast a provisional ballot.
The ruling did not strike down the law, it merely ensured that the law won't be in effect for this fall's election.
“We are very glad voters will not be turned away from the polls this November if they do not have an ID,” said Judith Browne Dianis of the Advancement Project, which helped bring the case, in a statement.
California Gov. Jerry Brown looks on during a news conference at Google headquarters on September 25, 2012 in Mountain View, California.
The domestic workers rights movement suffered a significant legislative defeat on Sunday when California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, vetoed that state's proposed Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. The law would have mandated that all of California's estimated 200,000 domestic cleaners, health care workers, private cooks and child care professionals receive regular meal breaks and pay for overtime.
Brown indicated his support for domestic worker protections in general, but said the bill left "unanswered questions" about enforcement and a potential increase in the cost of domestic labor. Jill Shenker, field director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), dismissed those concerns. "We've been working with the families and employers of domestic workers all along the way, who feel there are absolutely solutions to the affordability question and ways to make the bill work," she told Lean Forward.
The New York legislation, which was signed into law by Democratic Gov. David Paterson in November 2010, mandates that employers pay overtime to workers who have worked more than 40 hours in a week and institutes a number of protections against unfair labor practices like withheld pay or sexual harassment. "In short," wrote Demos fellow Sharon Lerner, "people who hire domestic workers now have to behave like regular employers."
While Shenker said the NDWA was "very disappointed," with Brown's veto, "organizing over the long haul is nothing new for domestic work."
Many of the NDWA's 35 nationwide affiliates continue to organize around local concerns. Domestic worker groups in San Francisco and Houston are organizing around allegations of employee wage theft, and their New York City migrant workers center affiliate is running a campaign against domestic worker trafficking.
Affiliates in Illinois and Massachusetts, Shenker said, are contemplating state-level campaigns for a New York-style bill of rights, but "there are so many factors around organizing sponsors, and all kinds of things, so I don't want to say for sure that something's happening."
Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk (L) during drills at a July NFL football training camp. Birk recently spoke out against marriage equality.
Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk penned an op-ed this past weekend for the Minneapolis Star Tribune condemning same-sex marriage.
"I think it is important to set the record straight about what the marriage debate is and is not about, and to clarify that not all NFL players think redefining marriage is a good thing," Birk wrote.
His piece goes on to say that "marriage is in trouble right now" for many reasons, and America has a duty to "preserve and promote a healthy, authentic pro-marriage culture."
Birk encouraged all Americans to engage in the debate over marriage equality with civility and respect, but added that he was against redefining marriage:
"Same-sex unions may not affect my marriage specifically, but it will affect my children—the next generation. Ideas have consequences, and laws shape culture. Marriage redefinition will affect that broader well-being of children and the welfare of society. As a Christian and a citizen, I am compelled to care about both."
He also adds that his choice to speak out against same-sex marriage is "not meant as an offense to any person or group" and that "there is no opposition between providing basic human rights to everyone and preserving marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman."
Matt Birk speaks on the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment (Sep 29, 2012)
Birk's piece comes on the heels of his teammate Brendon Ayanbadejo's outspoken support for marriage equality. Ayanbadejo has long been an advocate for marriage equality and was recently thrust into the spotlight when a Maryland State delegate sent a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti condemning the Ravens linebacker for making such a public endorsement. The delegate later backed down on his attacks and acknowledged Ayanbadejo's right to free speech.
Ayanbadejo told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts earlier this month that he'd received an overwhelming amount of support, including support from within the NFL community. In a vitriolic letter to the Maryland delegate who condemned Ayanbadejo and asked the Ravens to silence him, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe wrote,
"You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?"
Kluwe also responded to Birk in the Pioneer Press on Monday in an open letter that addressed each of Birk's concerns. He criticized Birk's unwillingness to accept a redefinition of marriage and argued that marriage has already been redefined over the years:
"Marriage used to be one man and multiple women. Marriage used to be a way to exchange property between two families. Marriage used to be between brother and sister to keep the royal bloodline pure. Marriage used to be between children. Marriage used to be only for people that were the same skin color. Marriage used to be a lot of things, many of them oppressive towards women and minorities. I think I’d rather marriage be between two people that love each other and are committed to each other no matter what combination of fleshy bits are hanging off their bodies; not a reality TV show."
Kluwe also added that the only impact same-sex marriage would have on the next generation would be on those who are gay and cannot get married, and that he planned to commit himself to tearing down those barriers that stopped people from marrying the ones they love.
Maryland is one of the four states to vote this November on same-sex marriage. See Melissa's recent discussion about down-ballot issues after the jump.
If my church home back in Philadelphia, Mother Bethel A.M.E., is skipping a worship service, you know something's up. The reason they did so yesterday was a good one if civic participation and responsibility is your thing:
As the city, state, and nation await the fate of Pennsylvania's new voter-ID law a little more than a month before the presidential election, a historic church in Philadelphia took matters into its own hands Sunday.
Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, at Sixth and Lombard Streets, canceled its 11 a.m. service, and members fanned out to eight congregations, traveling as far as Lancaster, urging people to register - even reregister - to vote.
Their message: If you think you are registered, register again and make sure your voter registration exactly matches the name on your identification card. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 9 in Pennsylvania and Oct. 16 in New Jersey.
Folks at Mother Bethel and elsewhere in Pennsylvania are hitting the streets to educate voters about the election and the state's increasingly confusing efforts to suppress its own citizens' vote. Still, they have to wait until November 6 -- in my home state of Ohio, they're about to get started voting tomorrow morning.
As I write, several Ohioans are camping out at various Boards of Elections throughout the state as if they were waiting on Springsteen tickets:
Several Democratic state senators in battleground Ohio plan to mark the start of early voting by sleeping outside local boards of elections offices on Monday night.
Early voting for the Nov. 6 election starts on Tuesday. Ohioans can cast an early ballot by mail or in person without having to give a reason. State senators in some of the Ohio's largest counties plan to take part in what they're calling a "Sleep Out The Vote" campaign to raise awareness for early voting. At least five Democratic senators in Hamilton, Lucas, Cuyahoga, Franklin and Mahoning counties plan to stay overnight at their local boards.
About 30 percent of Ohio's total vote — or roughly 1.7 million ballots — came in ahead of Election Day in 2008.
That last point is key -- according to reports, early voting numbers in Ohio are expected to be big; absentee ballot requests already are up from 2008. Tomorrow, we'll post more here about Ohio; you can click here to watch Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio talking about the "Sleep Out the Vote" initiative, and his re-election fight, earlier this evening on "Hardball with Chris Matthews."
Speaking of Pennsylvania, the start of Melissa's look this past weekend at voter suppression efforts can be seen below. See more of that discussion here.
Melissa Harris-Perry has the latest on This Week In Voter Suppression, highlighting how while Republicans are working hard to combat voter fraud with strict voter ID laws, the actual fraud is happening within their own party. Wisconsin Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore, The Nation's Ari Melber, Colorlines.com Brentin Mock, and The Advancement Project's Katherine Culliton Gonzalez join to discuss.
The Internet is a brutal place. Shielded by digital anonymity, bullies are emboldened to unleash cruelty that shames, hurts and silences their victims. That seemed to be what was happening when a young man posted a photo of Ohio State University sophomore Balpreet Kaur in the 'funny' section of social news website Reddit.com.
The caption read, "I'm not sure what to conclude from this." Kaur is a Sikh woman. Her appearance is unusual because she has facial hair that she chooses not to remove. She did not know this photo was taken. She did not know it was posted on the Internet. She did not know that strangers were ridiculing her appearance.
"I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body... By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions."
No anger. No vitriol. No name calling. With that thoughtful, brave, and breathtakingly graceful response, Kaur altered the all too familiar storyline of Internet cruelty and personal shaming. And she transformed her would-be enemy into her ally.
Trafficking survivor Aisha Graves, one of our guests today.
This is a guest post from one of our guests today, FAIR Girls executive director Andrea Powell, written prior to her appearance today.
Human trafficking isn’t something that happens "over there." I know this because as co-founding Executive Director of FAIR Girls, I spend my days side by side with girls from all over America who have been bought and sold like commodities. FAIR Girls helps hundreds of victimized girls each year become safe, healthy, and restored survivors.
This should be a central issue this election season, and one that every voter knows and cares about. Human trafficking knows no boundaries. A girl can be trafficked right out of her own home, school, or neighborhood.
There are 100,000 girls and boys at risk toward trafficking right now in America. There are between 14,000 and 20,000 foreign victims of labor trafficking, including domestic servitude, who are also victims of trafficking brought into the United States annually. This issue affects all of us on a daily basis.
Here are some warning signs that someone you know may be in a trafficking situation:
Unexplained absences from school
Frequent disappearances from home/running away
Sudden presence of an older boyfriend of girlfriend
Isolation and seemingly uninterested in friends and family
Scripted behavior or speech
Unexplained cash or new things that they can not normally afford
Excessive hotel keys or cash in wallet
Planning a trip to work or travel somewhere with someone they barely know
There are so many ways that you can help a victim of trafficking become a survivor! Please consider connecting to FAIR Girls or another local nonprofit serving victims of trafficking in your area. Consider hosting fundraising drives for clothing (including interview clothes for jobs), basic toiletries, bedding, and even school books.
The number of girls who FAIR Girls serves has more than doubled from a year ago. I believe that this is directly related to the unregulated and vastly growing marketplace of Backpage.com, My Redbook, and other online classified advertising web sites where pimps advertise their often very young victims.
As I write this, I have received three text messages from girls in FAIR Girls program, including 12-year-old Kristie, who wrote to me saying, “Good luck this morning. Love ya.” These are real girls, and we need to prove to them that they are truly going to get the attention and care they need from the federal government all the way down to each individual who reads this post.
Watch today's discussion about sex trafficking -- one segment below, and the other after the jump.
President Obama spoke before the Clinton Global Initiative on Tuesday, in a speech that he devoted entirely to the issue of human trafficking. Asia Graves, who was a victim of sex trafficking, and Andrea Powell of Fair Girls, join Melissa Harris-Perry to discuss.
A far cry from the microchips, wires, and bits and bytes that form them, what computers have come to mean in our culture has manifested itself in so many positive and negative ways. It's no different in politics, where campaigning has seized technology as a way to reach out and connect in an emotional and substantive way. And yet in the actual voting process, the technology has become a hinderance to many, with fear of what it can do stunting the progress beyond the butterfly ballot, and with those who have been courageous enough to make that progress hitting the bumps in the road that come with any technological advance. (For evidence, see what Apple's going through with its new Maps app.)
Today, Melissa will get technical in a number of ways, including an examination of technology in our politics, how early voting is going and will go -- whether people are voting on paper or using a computer -- and the upcoming debates (sure to be live-tweeted by yours truly and thousands more). She'll also take the mess Scott Brown has made for himself with race-baiting Elizabeth Warren to take a look at race as a social construct. We'll also have a look at sex trafficking and slavery, which also has a disturbing online aspect we'll explore.
Keep an eye out also for another sterling Footnote, and Melissa's daughter making a cameo! We'll also invite these folks into #nerdland:
Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer at the Washington Post.
Katon Dawson, former South Carolina GOP chair, and former senior advisor to Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign.
Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, NBC Latino contributor, director of communications for Latino Decisions, and fellow at the LBJ School at the University of Texas.
Kevin Gover, director of the Museum of the American Indian, civil rights attorney, and member of the Pawnee tribe.
Asia Graves, survivor of human trafficking, and case manager at Fair Girls.
Amy Jo Martin, founder and CEO of Digital Royalty, and author of the upcoming "Renegades Write the Rules."
Andrea Powell, executive director and co-founder of Fair Girls.
Jamal Simmons, democratic consultant at the Raben Group.
As always, folks -- be sure to interact with us during the show here in the comments of this post, on Facebook, and on Twitter, using the hashtag #nerdland. We look forward to having you join us at 10am ET on msnbc!
"I was just hoping to help farmers be able to farm food and feed their families," Nelson told the Patriot-News of the event's origins in an interview on Friday. "There was a time we were the strongest, after World War II, when everybody was pulling the plow. Now the government is only trying to make things better for the big corporations."
Nelson also talked to Melissa about the presidential election, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comments. It is something to see, folks, despite the Skype technology! Take a look before you join us today at 10am ET on msnbc!
Twenty-seven years after musician Willie Nelson launched the first Farm-Aid concert, the folk singer is at it again.
Melissa began today's "Foot Soldiers" segment with a fable about a starfish, meant to illustrate the power of doing even a little bit to make a difference -- even when the difference you're making appears to some as too small to bother. Marion Leary has known that power well, since she launched the website for her non-profit organization, Sink or Swim Philadelphia, a year ago Monday.
What Sink or Swim does is explained well by the PSA above, and by its description: it "assists people in Philadelphia and surrounding counties who are uninsured or underinsured with medical expenses using social networking to garner web donations."
Leary was Melissa's "Foot Soldier" today, thanks to a Facebook nomination from her aunt. Turns out that Leary isn't the only one in her family giving of herself. See my interview with her below.
LR: How did you get started, what were you doing before, what gave you the idea for Sink or Swim Philadelphia?
ML: I'm a nurse by background, and I'm still a nurse. I run a clinical research group at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, and I would constantly see patients and family members struggling to not only worry about how to survive their illness, and how they're going to get better, but also worrying about how they are going to pay for their hospitalization. Repeatedly this would happen, and then a couple of friends and family members got sick and literally had to decide between food and rent or paying their medical bills. I couldn’t sit around and watch anymore, I had to do something. And so I started sink or swim. It's a Band-Aid, it's not a complete fix, but at least it's something. The idea is to give our recipients one month's respite where they don't have to decide between life necessities and getting well.
LR: What gave you the idea for the online platform?
ML: I don't know if you've ever heard of Kiva.org, they're a micro-lending organization where they try and help people in developing countries. I was a huge fan of that organization, and I really loved their platform. I thought it would be an equally successful platform for this type of organization that I wanted to start. So I modeled it somewhat after Kiva.org but on a smaller scale. And it's a really good way for people locally to crowd source and to actually help direct individual, instead of giving money to a big organization where you don’t know if the money is going to go to the person or the cause that you donate money for. With Sink or Swim you know that the money that you're donating is going to that individual who actually needs the help.
Marion Leary and one of the Philadelphians she helped.
LR: How long ago did you start Sink or Swim?
ML: It will be a year October 1st, so we're coming on a year.
LR: Does all of the money go straight to the recipient, or do you take some of it to run your business?
ML: We keep 10% of whatever is raised and we use it just for maintenance costs for website and outreach materials. But everything else goes to the recipient’s billing agency, hospital or pharmacy, so the recipients don't actually ever see the money, but we pay off their bills, pay for their medicines or procedures or whatever they need.
LR: Gotcha, so you're not handing them cash, but the money is going specifically to a cost associated with their care. How do you come up with where specifically the money goes?
ML: I meet with each of the recipients and we talk about what their exact health care need is. This month, [our recipient] Joe needs help with a wheelchair van. He's close to raising the money that he needs, once he figures out who he's paying for that van we hand the check over to that company, not to him. We do that to protect our donors and so that they know that the money we raised is in fact going to what they're donating for, and that the recipients aren’t going to take it and spend it on something else.
LR: What was the turning point that made you actually start Sink or Swim?
ML: Honestly I just kept seeing this problem on the news and at work, and hearing stories and - sort of like having a baby - it's never the right time, so you just kind of have to do it. I was working full time, and I was still in school trying to finish my master's degree, I had a new kid… It was hard to also start a new organization but i just had to. It’s always hard, but it’s harder for these people who are struggling. I just couldn't make that the excuse anymore. I felt like i had to do it.
LR: Are any of your family members involved in this type of work?
ML: I have a twin sister; she is a Philadelphia firefighter, and she started an organization about a year and three months ago called Red Paw Emergency Relief Team. They are like the Red Cross for animals.
They're the only ones in the country that do what they do.
LR: Like you were saying, it’s not a solution it’s a Band-Aid, but still it’s making a direct impact in specific people's lives in ways that you can see. That’s you, one person, helping once person each month. I guess that leads me to another question. Do you see small donations? Large donations? Do people get excited about it, what's the reaction?
ML: it's crazy! The generosity of random strangers from all over the country, and even all over the world - we've only had a few international donors, but still - I thought this would be local folks helping other local people but we've had donations from 25 different states, random strangers have donated large amounts to people they don’t even know. The generosity of people has really been one of the best outcomes for me from doing this. Sometimes it’s hard to see the best in the world. There's a lot of violence, there’s a lot of wrong doing going on, and this really has helped with my outlook on the human race, because people really are so generous.
You can follow Sink or Swim on Twitter at @SOSPhilly. Watch Melissa's "Foot Soldiers" segment below.
Marion Leary, a former critical care nurse who created the non-profit "Sink or Swim Philadelphia" is Melissa Harris-Perry's foot soldier of the week.
We're in the thick of it, folks. November 6 is around the corner. You would think the Romney campaign would get this, but instead they face the reality of a candidate who is acting like a mark pretty much daily. (Perhaps he learned from "MC Sheriff" in the EPMD video above just how it's done.)
"So I finally found a place to park [the yacht] after about 20 minutes, and I pulled in, I said, 'Who's going to grab the rope?,' and I looked up and there was Mitt Romney. So he pulled me in, he tied up the boat for me. He rescued me just as he's going to rescue this great country."
I totally relate to that whenever I parallel park! Thanks, Mitt Romney!
Oh, and as Jay Smooth noted in his most recent videoblog for Animal New York, even Romney's own family members aren't helping:
Why is it that whenever Mitt Romney's family talks about Mitt Romney, they always tell stories that make him sound like a d*ck?
I mean, I'm not judging; I'm sure he is a loving husband and a father, I'm not judging him as a person. I'm just saying, whenever his family talks about his family life, he ends up sounding like someone you'd never want in your house, much less the White House.
From #47percent and this week's "harvesting" comments (more on that later), to Clint and his chair and all the way back to the high-school gay bashing and putting the dog on the roof, I'm not sure that "messaging discipline" are words familiar to those in Romney's Boston headquarters. Or if they are, they're doing it wrong. It would be one thing if it were just something a quirky candidate does on the way to victory (see: Bush, George W.) The problem for the Romney campaign is that this stuff is hurting them (where it hurts, no less).
President Obama may have him marked for a whooping in a few weeks, and a sound one at that. He's lining up early voters while his opponent is still trying to get America to like him. But today, Melissa will get into a number of big reasons why this is not over.
One of the biggest reasons this isn't over? Well, a lot of those Obama voters, even if they're jazzed up by Jackson's appeal, won't be able to vote. In particular, we'll dig into the insanity happening in Pennsylvania in today's edition of This Week in Voter Suppression!™ We'll also delve into how the NFL's replacement referee lockout turned some Republicans (even Scott Walker) pro-union; the fees and roadblocks that help form the achievement gap in this country's education system; and a Foot Soldier we got from a Facebook submission by a viewer out there in #nerdland!
Our guests include Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, political sports journalist and author Dave Zirin, MSNBC contributor Ari Melber, and many more!
As always, folks -- be sure to interact with us during the show here in the comments of this post, on Facebook, and on Twitter, using the hashtag #nerdland. We look forward to having you join us at 10am ET on msnbc!
You can see the Jay Smooth video referenced above after the jump.
She's spent much of her childhood in and out of homeless shelters. She's attended more schools than she can easily keep track of — most of them struggling urban schools where disruptions and low expectations are the norm.
But visions of the Ivy League have motivated this high school senior since she was 13, when she became captivated by a character's similar quest on the television drama "Gilmore Girls."
The profile we produced, and Melissa's interview with her at Sunday's event, is our Good Look™ of the week. Whether you missed the town hall, or want to revisit and/or share the video, please check our carousel above for all the Education Nation video!
We will be talking about education today, reporting and discussing the achievement gap. That, and much more today at 10am ET on msnbc! See you in #nerdland!
Eboni Boykin joins Melissa Harris-Perry for a special Education Nation edition of her show to tell her story of how she made her way from living in a homeless shelter to attending Columbia University.
Earlier this week, we brought up just how much super-PAC spending is in this election season -- almost four out of every five dollars, total. Now, today, it became apparent that deep-pocketed Democrats are catching up in the money race.
The New York Times reports that billionaire George Soros will be handing off $1 million to the pro-President Obama super-PAC Priorities USA Action. Soros has notably stayed on the sidelines for much of the election, but according to the Times, a longtime political adviser to Soros announced the billionaire’s seven-figure commitment to the president’s re-election efforts, in addition to $500,000 for super-PACs aiding Congressional Democrats.
The move signals a departure from how many liberal donors have addressed qualms with the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United. The advent of super-PACs left many liberals to scoff at the law and pursue alternatives in grassroots organizing, by comparison to conservatives who largely exploited it as an anonymous piggy-bank of unfettered cash.
Soros attributed his late donation due to the Supreme Court ruling, but told specific members of the Democracy Alliance in an email that the Romney campaign's threats to the social safety net were worth combating (hat tip to the New York Times’ Nicholas Confessore):
“I fully support the reelection of President Obama,” Mr. Soros said in the email. He had not contributed until now, he wrote, because he opposed the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, which paved the way for super PACs and unlimited money in politics. But since then, Mr. Soros wrote, he had become “appalled by the Romney campaign which is openly soliciting the money of the rich to starve the state of the money it needs to provide social services.”
Soros’ cash infusion comes after Priorities USA reported that it had for the first time raised more than its Mitt Romney-supporting counterpart Restore Our Future with $10.1 million to $7 million. NBC News’ Michael Isikoff noted a rise contributions from the president’s inner circle of supporters - particularly trial lawyers - who are concerned with the number of federal judge appointments to be decided by the next occupant of the Oval Office.
"October is going to look like Christmas for the Democratic super-PACs," Isikoff told NBC's Chuck Todd yesterday. That may be true, but at the end, how much difference will it all make?
Gavin Aronsen asks whether super-PACs are overhyped in a new piece in Mother Jones. He answers with five reasons why they're not, one of which is that they've kept the Republican nominee's candidacy afloat:
The Obama campaign has raised $150 million more than Romney's. However, the $143 million already spent by outside groups opposing Obama has tilted the money game in Romney's favor. "We helped leave this race a statistical dead heat," Steven Law, president of Karl Rove's American Crossroads super-PAC, told the Wall Street Journal. "Obama has gotten almost nothing for all the money his campaign has invested." Likewise, Gary Bauer, the former GOP presidential candidate who runs the anti-gay marriage super-PAC Campaign for American Values, told the Journal, "If Romney didn't have the help from the outside groups that he's had, this race would be over."
Super-PAC spending or not, is it over, anyway? That will be a question Melissa will tackle in tomorrow's show. Tune in at 10am, on msnbc.
"Melissa Harris-Perry" is hosted by the Tulane political science professor of the same name. Join her each Saturday and Sunday as she explores politics, culture, art and community beyond the beltway. A panel and guest-driven conversation featuring penetrating political analysis and humor, "MHP" continuously challenges the definition of politics and will push the boundaries of what we know, how we know it, and where we get our information. Twitter: @MHPshow.