Obama, Romney battle for media coverage over Bush tax cuts, donations

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama is pulling another news event out of his hat as polls show his campaign struggling in 12 critical swing states and as Gov. Mitt Romney reports a huge $106 million haul of June donations.

Obama will use the Rose Garden July 9 to announce his opposition to a pending tax increase for families and people making less than $250,000.

That statement is likely to keep Obama in the news, but Congress is very unlikely to pass any tax bill until after the election, so the pitch is likely intended to spur his progressive base.

In January, taxes are scheduled to rise for many families, individuals and businesses because of the Democrats’ continued opposition to the broad tax cuts pushed through by George W. Bush in 2003.

Bush’s tax cut reduced marginal tax rates for almost every American. However, his cut was only temporary due to Democratic opposition. In 2010, Obama supported a short extension of the tax cuts until 2013.

Some top Democrats, including New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer, now want the next extension to include people making between $250,000 and $1,000,000. That limit would prevent a tax increase on many Democratic-leaning professionals in New York, Florida, Virginia, California and other wealthier states.

Obama’s surprise news event was announced by the the New York Times on the same day that Romney’s camp announced its $106 million haul for June.

That’s a record income for any GOP candidate, but it falls short of Obama’s record-breaking income during the 2008 race.

The June haul has boosted Romney’s bank account to $160 million, said a statement from the campaign.

The monthly income, and perhaps the bank account, is likely greater than Obama’s June intake, despite his record-breaking fundraising campaign.

Obama’s June donations may be announced July 9.

The Romney campaign tried to downplay the role of wealthy donors to the campaign, and said that 536,729 donations — which amounted to 94% of its donations — were of $250 or less.

Romney’s good news was modestly boosted by a USA Today/Gallup poll showing him close behind Obama’s score in 12 crucial swing states.

Obama claimed 47 percent of the states’ votes, while Romney had 45 percent, following several months in which Obama’s media and TV-ads dominated Romney’s coverage in the 12 states.

“Obama and his allies have outspent Romney’s side on ads so far by almost a third… [including] including a negative flood from the new breed of super PACs,” according to a report in USAToday.

However, Obama’s spending advantage will likely disappear as Romney converts his donations into attack-ads.

So far, roughly 8 percent of voters say they’ve switched candidates amid the ad barrage, said USAToday.

A June 5 poll by TheHill newspaper showed that 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama has significantly changed America for the worse. Only 35 percent say he has made the country better.

Moreover, the poll showed high interest among voters.

That’s important because many strategists say Obama’s team hopes to win by maximizing turnout by their base, while minimizing turnout by swing voters — especially by white blue-collar voters — who might support Romney.

Seventy-seven percent of likely voters say the election is very important, and 12 percent say it is important. Forty-seven percent say they’re paying more attention than they did during the same period in the 2008 race, while only 21 percent say they’re paying less attention, said the poll.

The poll was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research. The 1,000 respondents were 77 percent white and 27 percent non-white. Thirty-five percent of respondents identified themselves as Republicans, and 34 percent said they were Democrats.

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