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Best of the Blogs, Politics: Romney Bundlers Identified, and the Latest Predictions for This Close Race


Plus, the latest on the Affordable Care Act.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful election season and financial commentary on politics from around the Web.

Open Secrets
Link: More Romney Bundlers Are Identified

"A new analysis by of the lobbyists who have bundled money for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign shows that they have raised at least $5.2 million.

"The biggest lobbyist bundler for Romney? That would be Patrick Durkin, who works for Barclays Capital (BCS)-- the giant British bank currently under attack by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic for allegedly rigging international interest rates. Durkin is apparently responsible for personally raising $1.1 million for the campaign. To put Durkin's hard work into context, even if every one of the donors he has bundled together gave the maximum $5,000, it means that Durkin has reached out to at least 220 donors other than himself.

"The top bundler in the last three months was one of those new ones: Bill Graves, the president of the American Trucking Association, who raised $587,000 for the campaign since March 15. Individuals are still limited to giving just $5,000 to a campaign ($2,500 for each primary and general election), which makes the challenge of raising hundreds of millions of dollars needed for a successful presidential campaign enormous. But bundlers, like Graves, can go out and tap their own personal and professional contacts."

VB News
Link: Washington Will Be the First State to Offer Facebook Voter Registration

"The state of Washington will be the first to offer residents the ability to register to vote via Facebook (FB), a move the state hopes will attract more young voters.

"Washington is one of only thirteen states that offers online voter registration, which it introduced in 2008. According to data given to the National Journal 475,000 registrations have been processed via the online system, and from 2010 to 2011 62 percent of those newly registered voters were under the age of 34.

"Facebook voter registration is likely to improve these numbers. This means more young voters, who, if trends hold, are likely to vote for a Democratic candidate. That's good news for the state's Democrats, but not current Washington Governor Christine Gregorie: The two-term governor is not running for reelection this year."

FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus
Link: July 17: Obama's Odds Fall on Gloomy GDP Forecast

"Tuesday was a bit of an eclectic day for economic and polling news, but there was one data point that had the largest influence on our presidential forecast. That was the latest edition of the Wall Street Journal's economic forecasting survey, which showed more bearish projections for gross domestic product and other economic indicators. Economists now expect the below-average growth that the economy has been experiencing to continue for quite a while, with GDP growing at a rate of about 2% into early 2013. The panel's previous projections had not been especially bullish, but had been closer to 2.5%.

"There was also data out on industrial production on Tuesday, which showed a rebound in June after a decline in May. Industrial production has generally been fairly robust over the past year, and is one of the more emphatic signs that our economy - however tepid the recovery might be - is at least not in recession right now. However, since the trend in the industrial production numbers had already been favorable (excluding the poor May data point), the new numbers did not shift our model's economic index much."

Election 2012 Blog
Link: Across-the-Board Federal Cuts Could Cost 2 Million Jobs, Aerosopace Industry-Funded Report Says

"A new report commissioned by the aerospace industry contends that across-the-board federal budget cuts set to take effect in January 2013 could cost the country's economy more than 2 million jobs and raise the national unemployment rate by 1.5 percentage points over the next year.The report is the latest conducted by George Mason University economist Dr. Stephen Fuller on behalf of the Aerospace Industries Association.

"'Every state, every community, every industry is on the chopping block,' AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said at an event Tuesday unveiling the report. 'The guillotine falls in just 168 days. Stopping it should be the very highest priority of Congress in the legislative days that remain this year.'

"Ayotte, meanwhile, argued that both sides must come together to find 'alternate spending reductions.'

"'It is my hope that we would act in a responsible way before hundreds of thousands of people in this county get a layoff notice because we have failed to come together and to resolve this important issue,' she said. 'And I think it's also important that we not play chicken with our national security or our economy at this time.""
Link: Romney, Obama Uphold Health Care Falsehoods

"With the US Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on June 28, voters are guaranteed to continue hearing the same old false claims about the law from politicians. And President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney wasted little time in taking to the airwaves to rehash plenty we've fact-checked before. Obama even threw in a few new claims.

"The CBO has estimated that at least a few million Americans with employer-based insurance will in fact not be able to keep their current plans, and there's nothing in the law that would prohibit employers from switching health care plans, just as they could before the law was passed. Also, the president's 250 million figure includes everyone in the US with insurance - the latest estimate from the Census Bureau is that 256.2 million Americans have health insurance. But those who buy private coverage on their own - 30.1 million persons - may have to get a new plan if theirs doesn't cover minimum benefit standards, which are yet to be determined. Plus, the insurance carriers offering these policies can change the plans without the policyholders' blessing. The CBO has estimated that by 2016, 2 million fewer persons will get coverage through the individual market."

Political Ticker
Link: Trending: Weiner: No Plans to Run for Mayor

"Former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned last year amid scandal, said in an interview published Wednesday he had no immediate plans to run for office.

"'I can't say absolutely that I will never run for public office again, but I'm very happy in my present life. I'm not doing anything to plan a campaign,' Weiner told People Magazine when asked about rumors he was considering a run for New York mayor.

"'I've had enormous regrets about what I put Huma through, how I let my constituents down,' he said. 'But it's not like I sit all day replaying it in my mind. With a baby, it's pretty easy to put things into perspective.'"
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