Romney also ducked and dodged when Halperin pushed him on whether his time at Bain Capital was fair game for the campaign — he repeatedly touted his private-sector experience as an asset but kept turning back to Obama’s agenda rather than discussing details of his own work.
Obama, meanwhile, told Air Force Academy graduates that he's shepherded in a "new era of American leadership" — then departed to go shake the money tree in Denver and Silicon Valley, two of five fundraisers in the next two days that are expected to total $3 million for the campaign.
SNEAK PEAK: New poll numbers in the Massachusetts Senate race will be out tonight. Check out The Hill newspaper Thursday or thehill.com later Wednesday evening for details.
TOMORROW'S AGENDA TODAY: Mitt Romney will give remarks at a private charter school in Philadelphia, continuing his education push in a potential swing state.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Do not buy into the BS that you hear." — White House press secretary Jay Carney, pushing back on GOP claims that government spending had ballooned under President Obama.
POLL POSITION: Mitt Romney leads President Obama by 6 percentage points in Florida, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, and by 7 points in Arizona, according to PPP. Obama led Romney nationally by four points in a new NBC poll, while Gallup had them tied.
President Obama released two new ads on Wednesday, both of them positive spots not focused on Bain Capital. One says he’s personally committed to protecting Medicare, while the other touts his work to protect veterans' benefits.
Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) is out with a new ad attacking Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownLawmaker offers bill to impose 'exit tax' on expatriating companies For Clinton, there's really only one choice for veep Let the Democratic veepstakes begin MORE (D-Ohio) for supporting the Wall Street bailout and healthcare reform, and for sending U.S. dollars overseas. It's the first negative ad for Mandel, who has put up two positive spots. Brown's campaign, which has already aired attack ads targeting Mandel, called the ad outrageous, and said it was full of lies about Brown's record.
Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillBill would target retaliation against military sexual assault victims Senate Dem takes on drugmaker: ‘It’s time to slaughter some hogs’ Week ahead: Drug pricing back in focus MORE (D-Mo.) released a new video featuring her mother, Betty Anne McCaskill, recalling the first-term Democrat's outrage over misidentified graves at Arlington National Cemetery. The video touts McCaskill's work to support veterans and U.S. troops, and is timed to coincide with Memorial Day.
BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:
A spokesman for Jesse Kelly, the GOP nominee in a special election to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), tried to cut off an interview with local ABC affiliate KGUN after a reporter asked Kelly about an endorsement from ALIPAC, a controversial anti-illegal-immigration group. Spokesman John Ellinwood was reportedly outraged that the station dredged up an endorsement from 2010, although Democrats pointed out the group re-endorsed Kelly last week. An update to the story said Ellinwood later called the TV station to complain about its journalistic standards and to cancel another interview that had been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who's taken some flak for editing his mother out of a picture on a campaign mailer sent to non-Jewish voters after sending the original to Jews in his district, told a local TV station that the change was intentional and a "clever idea" to draw attention to his family. The only problem? His campaign told The Hill last week that the edit was because the original photo was "awkwardly composed."
Former Maine Gov. Angus KingAngus KingCapitol Hill’s forest champions helped secure win for wood The Hill's 12:30 Report Merkley becomes first senator to back Sanders in White House bid MORE, an independent, is pushing back on a report that he bought two $5,000 tickets to an Obama fundraiser, which one of his GOP opponents said was a sign of his secret allegiance to Democrats. King said the tickets were purchased before Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) announced her retirement, and that his son used the tickets with his wife. His spokeswoman also said King has been open about his support for President Obama.
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) is out with a new website slamming former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert (R), the first direct attack he's made on Leppert in the campaign. It’s an interesting move — former Texas Solicitor General Ted CruzTed CruzCruz makes energetic push to the end Cruz praises Obama’s basketball abilities Jim Gilmore misses delegate slot for Cleveland MORE (R), a Tea Party favorite, is likely Dewhurst’s bigger challenge, and any attacks on Leppert could help Cruz stay ahead of him and make the runoff against Dewhurst. But if Dewhurst still thinks he can reach the 50 percent mark to avoid the runoff entirely, the attacks make sense. The primary is next Tuesday.
Former Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) picked up an endorsement from Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnGOP faces existential threat Sanders tops 2016 field in newly deleted tweets The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Okla.), who called LeMieux a "proven leader" who is committed to cutting spending and the debt. LeMieux and Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) are competing in the Senate primary in Florida, but neither has had much traction. Coburn's backing is significant because it came less than a week after former Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), a social conservative, jumped into the field.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Vice President Biden has negative favorability for the first time since becoming President Obama's vice presidential pick. According to Gallup, 42 percent of voters see him favorably, and 46 percent see him unfavorably.
Sarah Palin endorsed Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchSupreme Court wrestles with corruption law IRS: Annual unpaid tax liability was 8B Hatch asks Treasury for memo that decreases transparency of tax rules MORE (R-Utah), some major good news in his race against Tea Party challenger and former Utah state Sen. Dan Liljenquist (R).
Former President Clinton and President Obama engaged in a bit of a proxy war in New Jersey on Wednesday — Clinton recorded a robocall for Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), a longtime Clinton loyalist who backed Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonDNC chairwoman: If up to me, I’d exclude independents from Dem primaries Trump: My rallies are 'safest place you can be' Reeling Cruz tries to survive Trump tide MORE for president in 2008, while top Obama adviser David Axelrod was in town stumping for Pascrell’s primary opponent, Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.).
Arizona's secretary of state has backed off from questioning whether President Obama can appear on the ballot because some voters had questioned his U.S. citizenship after Hawaii told him Obama was indeed born there.
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