Sunday, July 1, 2012

2012 Election in Review: June 2012

Each month, Elephant Watcher recaps the activity that occurred in the general election during the previous month. Follow these links to read recaps from the Republican primary: May 2011, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, January 2012, February, March, April.

Generally speaking, the presidential campaign was quiet during the month of June. Each candidate toured the country, raised money, and plotted out his strategy. Mitt Romney's strategy, essentially unchanged since the Republican primary, was to attack Barack Obama's handling of the economy. Throughout the month, Romney gave few hints that he would pursue a different direction. With no economic news indicating a robust recovery in the works, Romney had little incentive to abandon his original plan.

In the absence of real campaign news, much speculation swirled about concerning Romney's choice of vice presidential running-mate. U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Marco Rubio remained favorites on Intrade, but Tim Pawlenty stepped into focus amidst rumors that Rubio was not even being vetted. Romney later denied the report, claiming Rubio was, in fact, being vetted for the position. But at the end of the month, the identity of the VP was either securely under wraps or still undetermined.

Obama, for his part, skirmished with Romney by criticizing Romney's actions while head of Bain Capital. These attacks backfired after prominent Democrats--including an Obama surrogate--defended private equity firms in general. Though Obama experimented with accusing Romney of wanting to return to Bush-era policies, he tended to favor the "class warfare" line. By June's end, the Obama team's strategy did not yet appear to be fixed.

On June 28th, the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare constitutional--by declaring it a tax. Romney responded by attacking Obamacare, repeating his calls for "repeal and replace." For the first time, Romney was able to say that only by voting Romney could America avoid Obamacare. In the days following the decision, it became apparent that the country could become engaged in a lengthy debate over Obamacare for a second time. Polls suggested that the healthcare plan had not become any more popular since it was passed in 2010.