Romney’s Virginia problem

A third candidate could split the vote; Dems ease on climate change; and other top Wednesday stories

Topics: Democratic National Convention, Mitt Romney, Virginia, Environment,

Romney's Virginia problem

New trouble in Old Dominion: Former congressman Virgil Goode Jr. has qualified for the presidential ballot in Virginia as a third-party candidate, throwing up a stumbling block for Mitt Romney’s hopes of winning the pivotal state. Goode, a Republican, could siphon votes away from Romney in what is expected to be a narrow election in the state. The Virginia Republican Party is challenging Goode’s eligibility, alleging petition fraud.

Climate change: The new Democratic Party platform “offers more restrained statements about the urgency of addressing climate change and shifts the party’s energy strategy away from going ‘green’ toward an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach, a phrase also used in the Republican’s 2012 platform,” Reuters reports. The new platform recommits to fighting climate change, but reflects a reality in which even talking about global warming is dangerous for politicians after Republicans killed a cap-and-trade bill.

What bounce? Two new polls seem to confirm what earlier ones showed: Mitt Romney got no bounce from the Republican National Convention. A new Gallup poll finds a net change of negative 2 points. A CNN poll out yesterday, meanwhile, finds that less “than four in ten registered voters said the Republican convention made them more likely to vote for Romney,” though he did get slight boosts in favorability and other ratings. As Gallup notes, “Romney becomes one of three recent nominees — and the first Republican — who did not receive a convention bounce, joining George McGovern in 1972 and John Kerry in 2004.” Those two lost.

Department of unfortunate timing: The U.S. sovereign debt surpassed the $16 trillion threshold yesterday as Democrats were beginning their national convention in Charlotte.  The Daily Treasury Statement put the debt at $16.016 trillion, a new record. Republicans have made the debt a centerpiece of their campaign against President Obama, and featured not one but two massive debt clocks at their convention in Tampa last week. Republican leaders seized on the timing of the news to slam Democrats.

Hank Williams Jr., still crazy: The country singer is apparently undeterred. “We’ve got a Muslim for a President who hates cowboys, hates cowgirls, hates fishing, hates farming, loves gays, and we hate him!” Williams told a crowd a music festival in Dallas. Williams, who used to appear on Fox News regularly as some kind of political analyst, was the subject of a media firestorm in October after he said Obama was like Hitler. ESPN yanked “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” off Monday Night Football.

Alex Seitz-Wald

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

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