Obama, Romney face off in Ohio

Romney and Obama face off in the battleground; Edwards gets off; and Thursday's other top political stories

Topics: 2012 Elections,

This state ain’t big enough for the both of us: Today, in one corner of Ohio, President Obama will deliver what’s billed as a major economic speech. And in the other corner of the state, Mitt Romney will deliver what’s billed as a major economic speech. The two candidates will be holding their first campaign events in the same state today, and speaking at almost the exact same time. Ohio is already being positioned as the key state in November, the swing state of swing states.

Working for Obama: A new poll showing that more Americans blame Bush than Obama for the economic downturn, just as the Democrat is shifting his message to pointing out the terrible economy he inherited.

Working for Romney: A recent poll showing the Republican up a couple of points over Obama in Ohio.

Edwards gets off: The Department of Justice announced Wednesday afternoon that it will drop its case against former presidential candidate John Edwards after a federal trial in North Carolina ended in mistrial last month. As Amanda Marcotte wrote in Salon, this is a good move for justice, as the case against Edwards was always politically motivated, on shaky legal grounds, and seemed to be an attempt to criminalize adultery. Meanwhile, there are likely dozens of examples of real campaign finance violations that never get any attention from federal prosecutors. $400 haircuts for all!

No judges for you: Despite what experts say is a “crisis” in the federal bench due to the painfully slow confirmation of new judges, Senate Republicans are prepared to downshift even further and bring the pace of confirmations to a near stop. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is invoking the dubiously named “Thurmond Rule,” named after the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, which holds that the opposition party won’t confirm new judges six months before a presidential election. Roll Call’s John Stanton reports: “Republican sources said the GOP will impose its blockade on circuit court judges now but that district court nominees will likely continue to be confirmed until at least early September, when cooperation on lower court picks has traditionally ended.”

The Wall Street Journal notes the general obstructionism of the GOP may be an attempt to stall for time, in the hopes they get more conservative lawmakers after November.

About that Dem message discipline problem: Mitt Romney’s dire message about the economy is being undercut by his own allies — Republican governors who are looking to bolster their own political fortunes by touting job growth in their states, the Wall Street Journal notes.

National significance for me but not for thee: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was quick to tout his win in the state’s recall election last week as a good omen for Republicans everywhere, but he won’t say the same about the other recent special election that attracted national attention, Arizona’s congressional race Tuesday, won by Democrats. “No,” Walker replied when the Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez asked him yesterday if there are any national lessons in the Democratic win for former Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s seat. “I think if you look, it was personality-driven,” he explained. He may be right, but he’s probably overstating the significance of his race in Wisconsin as well.

Meanwhile, in what will no doubt be viewed as fallout from Wisconsin, though they deny it, the AFL-CIO is pulling campaign funds from President Obama’s reelection campaign. ”We wanted to start investing our funds in our own infrastructure and advocacy,” AFL-CIO spokesman Josh Goldstein told US News’ Liz Flock.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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